What started off as a bonding activity for a mother and daughter has transformed into something much bigger.
"I love to knit and my mom loves to knit—it's a relaxing and bonding experience to knit on the couch together," said Emily Levine, a 2011 graduate of Briarcliff High School.
The tradition began last year when Levine returned home to Briarcliff over winter break—she attends Goucher College in the Baltimore area—and completed her first ever entire knitting project.
"The first thing I finished was a hat," she said, which she gave to her boyfriend.
"I was so proud," she recalled. "It made me feel so good that I created something that he loved and I felt like I was keeping him warm and happy."
Now, Levine said she can knit a hat in about two hours and decided to turn the feel-good hobby into an even better cause.
Inspired by Maggine Doyne, founder of the Kopila Valley Children's Home and Primary School in Surkhet, Nepal, Levine looked for ways to help the cause.
"I have been a fan of Maggie Doyne for a long time," said Levine. "She built a home for these orphans in Nepal...and now teaches 300 children a day. She's incredible."
Levine connected with Doyne and began knitting hats to send to the remote area of Nepal.
"I wanted to find a way to help her from the states," she explained. "It's great for children who don't have very much and a very important thing, I think."
Levine started knitting hats in January and is busy building up her supply before figuring out how to get them to the home.
"So far, I have about 25 and they are continuing to come in," she said.
Levine said her mother, grandmother, sister and roommate have been contributing.
Her short-term goal is to get 40 hats made for the children who live with Doyne, "but I'm not going to stop there," she is quick to add.
Even if the hats can't be delivered, Levine, a peace studies major, said she might even deliver them herself if she studies abroad next semester.
She has even started her own blog to raise awareness about the project and encourages others to get involved, even if they can't knit.
"The kind of yarn I use is very expensive," she said, adding some friends have purchased her supplies on Amazon to keep the hats coming. "The more yarn I have the better."
Despite a full college workload, Levine says it's that same great feeling she got from knitting with her mother that keeps her motivated to continue to knit hats between classes, on school breaks and any time she can.
"When I knit things and give them to other people, it makes me feel really good," she said.
For more information, visit Emily Levine's blog.