Sarah Bade is known by some as the “mad knitter.”
She’ll finish a baby hat in a single church sermon. Give her a day, and she can knit five baby hats or three adult-sized caps.
Although the 21-year-old developmentally delayed woman struggles in many ways, her parents think knitting is a calling.
“She can’t add two numbers together, it’s too complicated. She doesn’t know time,” said her mother, Terri Bade. Knitting, on the other hand, took hold. Within two weeks of learning how to loop yarn around a plastic loom, Sarah became unstoppable.
The craft takes “incredible patience and perseverance,” said her father, Greg Bade. “Sarah was put on Earth to be a knitter.”
Sarah learned to knit just three years ago. Thrilled with the young woman’s newfound craft, friends, family and fellow church members have donated yards and yards of yarn to show their support.
The Bades adopted Sarah from a Bulgarian orphanage in 1993; she’s the second of 10 adopted children who range in age from 9 to 23.
“We had no idea what we were getting into,” said Terri Bade. Sarah also has cerebral palsy and a first-grade reading level that is not likely to improve much.
The child-sized woman sits in a chair next to an illuminated floor lamp with carefully placed knitting tools on the table next to her. She’ll knit for hours, only interrupting her rhythm for chores: “I’ll check the laundry or set the table,” she said.
Since then, she’s outfitted every youngster in her church and all the kids in her youth group. She sent 100 hats to an orphanage in Afghanistan and donated caps to Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital.
“We wanted to find something she liked to do,” her mother said. “She loved going to baby showers, and I wanted her to be able to have something to give. No one loves babies’ heads as much as Sarah.”
The Mead High School graduate’s obsessive-compulsive disorder prompts her to count the hats again and again, stacking them neatly or ordering them by size on the floor. With 47 more hats ready for delivery, she’s hunting for the next recipients. The residents in a nursing home perhaps, Sarah says.
Sarah will also do special orders on occasion.
Susan Webley, who struggled to part with a collection of yarn from her late grandmother, trusted Sarah to do something with it. Of course, the young woman knitted her a hat.
“I will cherish the hat forever,” Webley wrote in a thank-you card. “I miss my grandmother very much and this hat will be the perfect reminder of her because she loved to knit just like you do.”