Volunteers turn mother’s yarn into ‘going away’ gift for children


| March 2009

  • McCaslins with gifts
    ENJOYING GIFTS: Shaun McCaslin, his 5-year-old daughter Aryn, 8-year-old son Cade, and 3-year-old son Liam enjoy sweaters and pillows made from wool that belonged to their late mother and wife, Elizabeth McCaslin, of Hartville, Ohio.
    Chris Spitzer
  • McCaslin and son
    TOGETHER: Youngest son Liam was among Elizabeth McCaslin’s visitors during her stay in a hospice center.
    Shaun McCaslin
  • Drying yarn
    A MOMENT IN THE SUN: Yarn dries on a fence after being washed.
    Chris Spitzer
  • Prayer shawl
    A LASTING GIFT: Some of the yarn became prayer shawls.
    Chris Spitzer
  • McCaslins with author
    SUCCESSFUL PROJECT: Chris Spitzer, who organized the yarn project, hugs the McCaslin children.
    Shaun McCaslin

  • McCaslins with gifts
  • McCaslin and son
  • Drying yarn
  • Prayer shawl
  • McCaslins with author

This is the story of an outpouring of love from people united by the common thread of being part of one cloth we call humanity.

Elizabeth McCaslin, of Hartville, Ohio, came into my life about eight years ago. She was interested in rare breeds of sheep, and we were both active in promoting the CVM/Romeldale (California Variegated Mutant) breed. She was a young, intelligent, happily married mother, and, like many of us, a “fiberholic.”

She received a diagnosis of having an incurable, fast-growing cancer. Almost immediately, it took away her voice. She could only communicate via the written word or the computer.

When pain prevented her from sleeping at night, she would e-mail me, and we would chat about our sheep. She wanted to make sweaters for her family from her sheep’s wool, to use her roving – the prepared strands of fiber from which yarns are made – to create the garments. Yet, she realized she wouldn’t be able to do so.



“Do you know of some women who could help me spin and knit my roving into sweaters for my family?” she wrote. “That would be the perfect ‘going away’ gift.”

Reading her message, tears came to my eyes, and I assured her the wish could come true.






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