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Knitters for military personnel reach milestone

Sue Griffin and Carol Scannell showcase their knitted pieces. [PHOTO BY HALLE VAZQUEZ] Sue Griffin and Carol Scannell showcase their knitted pieces. [PHOTO BY HALLE VAZQUEZ]

The local Handcrafted Items for our Troops, which calls itself the HIT Squad, recently celebrated a production achievement.

The knitters who make scarves, toboggans, socks and other pieces for those serving in the armed forces have made 10,000 items.

The HIT Squad formed in 2016 after the leader of the previous knitting group, Operation Toasty Toes, moved away. The knitters wanted to “keep the mission going,” as Sue Griffin.
The organization’s procedure is simple: knit pieces, get names of those deployed, and send packages out to men and women serving their country. Now that the group has reached their milestone of 10,000 knitted items, Griffin, the group’s communications director, and fundraising coordinator Carol Scannell are hoping to expand their operation and grow the organization.
Their connection to the armed forces inspired both Scannell and Griffin to join the knitting group.
“My father was a B52 pilot, so I grew up in the military, and that’s what makes this so special to me.” Scannell said. Griffin’s father fought in World War II. Some members of the HIT Squad are veterans themselves, and this inspired them to continue contributing to those stationed anywhere cold. The personnel serving at bases in cold climates have a need for warm clothing like hats, slippers, balaclavas and dickies that the group makes, and they are rewarded by addressing it.
“Most people don’t think it gets cold in places like Afghanistan, but it really does, especially in the mountains.” Griffin said. “In the winter at night, it gets darn cold.”
Once the HIT Squad was formed in 2016, the group began to knit sporadically and sell in local souvenir shops to meet their production goals. Through selling goods at the Chimney Rock Gift Shop and at the Hendersonville Farmers Market and getting mountains of donated yarn, the group is able to make enough funds for postage and knitting supplies. Uniform guidelines mandate that personnel wear green, brown and white dickies and gloves, so most pieces require certain threads that the knitters have to buy themselves.
“We have to use specific colors that the soldiers are authorized to wear with their uniforms.” Scannell said. With the help from the Chimney Rock Gift Shop, though, they are able to reach their funding goals to maintain production and buy the yarn. “They are one of our main supporters. They love our cause and they love handcrafted items.”
Aside from this, the women devote their energy, their love, and their effort into creating their pieces.
As fall approached, the HIT Squad sent their first shipment of knitted goods for 2022. Keeping records entirely on paper, Griffin has dedicated herself to crunching years of numbers to track each milestone, with a running cumulative total at the bottom of every record.
“I’m a geeky spreadsheet person, honestly,” she said.
They both emphasized that the knitting production records, like their most recent, mean nothing without the letters of appreciation and the pictures of soldiers wearing their pieces. The women have kept a scrapbook of every picture, letter or thank you email they have received from those deployed. The love and gratitude that the HIT Squad receives inspires them to continue their cause.
“They’re sacrificing so much for us, and they treat us like we’ve done them a great service just by knitting them some pieces,” Griffin said.
The knitters have no plans of slowing down their operations, and will continue to sell, to send, and to serve, as long as soldiers, sailors, and flyers are deployed. Every stitch is made to support an armed force member, not to create profit, and this genuine love is what carries the organization.
Sue and Carol only want this operation to expand so they can receive more local names to send knitted goods to, and so they can find more knitters to aid the cause. They can be reached at, and would love to reach another 10,000 pieces.