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Knitting group in Minnesota creates special arm warmers for dialysis patients

The Knit-y Gritty Knitters have been making hats, shawls, and teddy bears for years, and last month they added a new item to their repertoire: arm warmers made specifically for people receiving dialysis treatments.

The craft group meets once a month in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. They typically donate their knitted creations to the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Association, but in July, new member Dorothy Gmyrek suggested they start knitting arm warmers for people undergoing dialysis. Dialysis is a treatment for patients with kidney failure, and it removes toxins and excess water from their blood. Gmyrek's sister is on dialysis, and she shared that the treatment can leave people feeling extremely cold.

Gmyrek's pattern for an arm warmer covers the hands and forearms, leaving open the part of the arm used during treatment. The knitters use colorful yarn to create their arm warmers, and have already distributed several to facilities in the area. "You can't just knit everything and put it away," Knit-y Gritty Knitters member Judie Mather told the Star Tribune. "You have to give it somewhere. ... There was a need, and we said, 'Let's go for it.'"

The arm warmers have been well received by patients, who often have to undergo treatment multiple times a week for hours at a time. Carly Hodes, development manager for the National Kidney Foundation's Minnesota division, told the Star Tribune she believes "any group of volunteers who take their precious time and resources to hand-make items that provide comfort to these patients are special people."