Betty Golden’s Buckhead apartment is awash in color. Her vivid decor comes from the assortment of knitting yarns in a rainbow of shades that find their way into the 86-year-old’s signature hats and scarves.
“Right now, I hardly have a seat to sit on,” said Golden. “I even have 250 hats in my car, ready to be delivered.”
Golden is an unlikely entrepreneur who gives her products away. The materials that crowd her residence at the Jewish Tower are really a work of thanksgiving she started in 2009.
“I wanted to do something in honor of the paramedic who helped my husband when he collapsed,” said Golden, whose husband Stan passed away three years ago. “I was going to make some hats and let her deliver them to children at Scottish Rite, Egleston, Spalding [children’s hospitals] and any place they’re needed.”
The project quickly became bigger than just a handful of hats. People heard about Golden’s idea and jumped on board, volunteering their time and knitting needles to create caps and scarves for young cancer patients. A craft store in Smyrna has become knitting central for a small band that meets every Saturday to work on their creations.
“We have as few as three and sometimes as many as a dozen people show up,” said Golden. “I also get hats from people I never see, even out-of-towners, who knit at home and send me hats. To date, more than 2,000 hats have been delivered.”
As her collection of knitwear grew, Golden’s project expanded. She has taken hats and scarves to local women’s shelters and supplied volunteer knitters with yarn. She’s distributed hand looms and taught those who want to pitch in how to use them. Her efforts have become the Project of Love, Remembering Stan.
“I never liked to ask for donations, but I had to get money to keep this going,” said Golden. “So every penny of the scarves I sell goes to buying yarn and looms for the project.”
Recently, Golden branched out again. As a birthday present, her family gave her 30 teddy bears that she outfitted with knitted hats and scarves. The plush toys are on their way to a local children’s shelter.
“They were just adorable. I almost didn’t want to give them away,” she said.
While bringing a bit of cheer to children, the project has also brought Golden in touch with caring people she would have never met.
“Honestly, I’d rather have my husband back,” she said. “But I think he’s busy looking for good knitters and tapping them on the shoulder to say, ‘My wife needs you!’”
Information about the project is online at www.projectoflove.com.