Holly Christensen had the original idea—to crochet a yarn wig for her friend’s little daughter as she went through chemotherapy. A part-time nurse with a background in oncology, Christensen knew that chemo could make kids’ scalps too sensitive for regular wigs. She wanted to make something fun and cozy for the three-year-old girl, so she made her a yarn wig styled after Rapunzel in the Disney movie “Tangled.” The little girl was delighted. And so was the internet. Christensen featured the gift in a post asking for yarn donations to make more wigs for more young patients, and the post went viral.
That was September 2015. In the two years since then, with the help of friend and now co-founder Bree Hitchcock, Christensen has organized over 3,000 volunteers in making and donating more than 4,000 yarn wigs in nearly 30 countries. (The tally on the website says it’s at 4,164.)
The wigs are simple. A crocheted beanie is the base, and then the ‘hair’ is hand-looped into the weave, styled as you go. They don’t take long—two to four hours, depending on the style. Volunteers, called Magic-Makers, have included everyone from Girl Scout troops to active duty soldiers. Some make entire wigs (following the Magic Yarn Project’s easy tutorials), some make crocheted accessories, like superhero masks, tiaras, or hats, and some just make the hand-decorated cards that accompany every donation.
The Magic Yarn Project has never charged a single recipient for a wig. They run purely on donations of yarn, time, and money. Volunteers host workshops in the U.S. and Canada to help teach the process, and you can find out if one will be near you soon by checking on their Facebook page.
If you’d like to support the project, they have several options for you to do so on their website.