Hoping to bring comfort to young couples who've lost their babies, Jeannie Sorkin of Rootstown decided to create keepsakes for these would-be parents.
In 2015, during a period when she wasn’t working, she said she donated crocheted blankets to what was then Robinson Memorial Hospital.
"I donated them to the families of stillborns so they have something to hold the baby in while they spend their final moments with them and then have something to take home as a keepsake," she explained. "You can only make so many things for yourself and other people in your life. I decided to make the little blankets and donate them to hospitals and parents of stillborns."
She said she’s currently trying to find good yarn for a batch of blankets she said she’d probably donate to the Akron Children’s Hospital. She’s made about a dozen blankets she plans to donate so far.
"I make them for different gestational stages," she said, explaining if babies arrive weeks early they can be too small for a blanket sized for a typical baby.
Sorkin said there are certain yarns she tries to avoid because they aren't soft enough for a baby.
"I want it to be as if this is for a live baby," she said. Some yarns, including some that are older feel like "sandpaper."
Sorkin said she she shops around for yarn bargains at places like Joann Fabrics and Goodwill, often seeking clearance deals. Her favorite yarn for the blankets is Bernat, which is extremely soft but also costly, running as much as $10 to $12 per skein.
Sorkin said she’s been crocheting since she was 9 years old and still has the first blanket she completed.
"I’m surprised I’ve kept it all this time because as many moves as I’ve had, it’s amazing it wasn’t lost in a move," she said.
Now, she said she can complete a small blanket in a day if she has time to devote to it.
She said she’s received yarn donations from people in a variety of locations, including Tonya Wilson of Ravenna, Judith Ruley of Dayton, Casey Starr of Canfield, Elizabeth Rogers of Jackson, Mich., and Leslie Finkbeiner of Mercer, Pa.
"I drove all the way to Mercer, Pa. to initially buy yarn," said Sorkin. "When I arrived and we spoke more about what it was being used for, she gave me my money back and said I could just have it. She gave me about $72 worth of yarn."
Reporter Bob Gaetjens can be reached at 330-541-9440, email@example.com or @bobgaetjens_rpc.