Homemade comfort for babies

Helen Savicki isn’t the type of person to give up.

Although legally blind, the St. Luke’s Home (SLH) resident continues to crochet blankets for premature and sick infants. Over the past 15 years, Savicki has crocheted more than 700 blankets for the Threads of Love Foundation, a national organization that distributes clothing, blankets and handmade articles to hospitals throughout the country.

Using donated yarn, Savicki creates 18-inch-by 18-inch blankets in a variety of colors. Since arriving at SLH in early 2012, Savicki continues working on the blankets thanks to her "toolbox."

"I’ve got my bag with me," said Savicki, referring to a red bag decorated with family photos. "I always carry some yarn with me and my tools ­ three crochet hooks and a small pair of scissors. I can stay in business that way!"

Crocheting runs in Savicki’s family. Her mother and grandmother both crocheted, but it wasn’t until the Camden native married that she became interested in the craft. "My mother-in-law crocheted and made all these nice things," Savicki recalls. "She had a large family, including five daughters and myself. Sometimes we’d just sit around the dining room table and she’d teach us a little bit at a time."

Savicki, who moved to New Hartford after her marriage, acknowledges that she has struggled as her eyesight has worsened, but she’s not one to give up. "It’s not as bad as it sounds," she said. "I can do things but they’re just a little more difficult."

Threads of Love began in 1993 when a pediatrician reached out to church members about burial gowns for babies born prematurely and were too sick to survive. The foundation seeks to provide infants and their families with homemade tokens of support and comfort during times of uncertainty.