The first time Judy Godsey took newly woven hats to the JamesCare facility in Dublin, she was instantly greeted with gratitude.

The first time Judy Godsey took newly woven hats to the JamesCare facility in Dublin, she was instantly greeted with gratitude.

A woman asked, "Oh, you're bringing new hats, can I get one?" Godsey recalled. "She just started digging through the box to have a hat to wear home."

Godsey is part of a group whose members help cancer patients who visit the JamesCare facility for chemotherapy treatments feel more comfortable.

An administrative assistant for the city of Dublin, Godsey is a charter member of Knit Wits: city employees and residents who enjoy knitting for a purpose.

About 14 women met in 2003 to knit 87 hats for chemotherapy patients at JamesCare. This year, Knit Wits, which has grown to about 30 members, knitted and donated 845 hats.

"Some of the people have gotten pretty creative with the hats," Godsey said. "One woman always uses big, old-fashioned buttons and other women weave ribbons into them. They are so colorful."

While undergoing treatment, chemotherapy patients often lose their hair and their scalps become sensitive, said Kristin LeRoy, a staff nurse at the JamesCare facility. Wigs are often too expensive and uncomfortable, so many of the patients opt for hats.

"They're so pretty and so well done, people ask how much they cost," LeRoy said. "When you tell them it's free they can't believe it and they get so excited. No one takes more than one or two because they want to leave some for the other patients."

While the Knit Wits are only one of many groups that donate items to JamesCare, the women feel like they're making a difference.

"It's amazing how many patients that will write us notes that say, 'You have no idea how wonderful this made me feel' or 'how pretty this made me feel,' " said Christine Nardecchia, Dublin's volunteer services coordinator.

The hats, which are made of a roll brim pattern, have no seam and take about two to four hours to finish, depending on a person's skill level.

"It's a simple circular pattern that you can make while doing other things," Nardecchia said.

The hats feature various colors and textures. Godsey typically makes her hats while watching television.

"It's really a wonderful thing because it doesn't take that long to make them," Godsey said. "You can get a couple hats out of a strand of yarn, so it's not that big of an expense.

"It makes us feel good, but it also makes those ladies feel so good that get them," she said. "It's so nice that someone is thinking of them and it was nice to have a pretty hat to wear. One woman said it's such a little thing, but it means so much to her that someone is thinking of her."

The Knit Wits meet several times a year to enjoy each other's company while knitting hats, and to see how creative each member gets with the pattern.

"It builds great camaraderie between all the members," Nardecchia said. "They're so active and the group keeps getting bigger and bigger every year."