Knitters do it all for breast cancer awareness

To start the day in Newport Beach, Kathy Leek had a black bag that could have fit two people.

That is if it wasn't so full of yarn.

Throughout Saturday, about 35 people whittled down the raw material in the Fashion Island Macy's, knitting or crocheting items to sell in support of breast cancer awareness and research during the sixth annual Knit One Cure Too "knit-a-thon" put on by Spa Gregorie's.

"This young gentleman is teaching me how to finger knit," Leek said, motioning to one of the youngest volunteers, who had yarn hanging off their hands.

For six hours, women sat around a table on Macy's first floor, swapping stories while they worked through Leek's enormous stash to make caps, scarfs, baby blankets and other items that Spa Gregorie's locations in Newport Beach and Rancho Santa Margarita would sell, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Marie Todd visits from Orange every year for the camaraderie and to help raise money.

"It's for a good cause," she said.

Across from her, Maria Martini, 88, worked on a scarf. Her daughter recently underwent surgery and radiation treatment for breast cancer.

For Martini, passing around photos of projects and sharing tips with fellow knitters was a plus.

"I enjoyed every minute of it," she said. "I just enjoy people."

Leek said each Knit One Cure Too raises about $5,000. This is the third year she has organized the event at Macy's.

The store is gracious enough to let the workers sell their wares while they knit, Leek said.

By 1 p.m. Saturday, plenty of skeins were left for knitters to work on, and some volunteers will keep working on projects through October, Leek said.

For the first time this year, Girl Scouts joined the knitting-fest.

Laguna Beach Troop 308 produced a basket of blankets to jump-start the fundraising.

"It's a great way to teach these young women what it means to pay it forward," said Cadette troop leader Stephanie Masakischatz.

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