By Billie and Robert Nicholson

The Magic Yarn Project is the brain-child of an oncology nurse, Holly Christensen, from Alaska. When she learned that a close friend’s daughter had been diagnosed with cancer and would be in the hospital for a while, she began to think about what she could do to bring a little magic back into the life of this little girl during the trying times of cancer treatment. Knowing that often chemotherapy results in the loss of hair, Holly came up with the idea to make a Rapunzel yarn wig for her friend’s daughter. The wig was a real hit. Then her friend mentioned that there were other little girls in the hospital that would love to have such a special gift. What started as a small project soon grew into something much bigger.

The Magic Yarn Project was created to answer the call to bring yarn wigs to little cancer fighters and help community members get involved in a worthwhile service project.

We learned about this project through our church’s women’s organization. Our regional group adopted this project and began making yarn wigs. This project has been especially close to our hearts because we were involved in chemotherapy treatment when our grand daughter was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia five years ago.

I learned to crochet decades ago during the “granny square” era. I had not touched yarn and crochet hooks for about thirty years but I still had several hooks tucked away among sewing supplies. When I learned about this project, the first thing I needed, after locating the crochet hooks, was to refresh my memory on how to do it again. Our church group started with a crochet lesson to bring us all up to speed.

Fortunately, the Magic Yarn Project website has a variety of ideas and instructions on which yarn wigs, based on Disney characters, need to be made. As it turns out, little girls are not alone in cancer diagnoses, little boys get cancer, too. One of my favorite projects has been creating yarn wigs designed after Captain Jack Sparrow, of “Pirates of the Caribbean” fame. Jack’s wig is made using homespun wool that looks like hair as well as regular soft yarn for the cap. Braiding the hair and adding beads allowed room for creativity. Among the buttons I had stored were some acquired from Spindale’s Tanner outlet that look like gold coins. Each of my Captain Jack wigs has a signature coin button braided in right up front.

The Magic Yarn project is a tax exempt 501(c)3 organization and operates through volunteers making donations of money and time. The demand for wigs grows daily. Each year roughly 5,000 girls age 2-10 are diagnosed with cancer. If you or your organization feels the tug of this project on your heart-strings as we did, feel free to visit the website for more details.

We recently visited with our now recovered grand daughter. She was so excited about these wigs, she is planning to take some to the clinic where she was treated. We are happy to be a part of adding a little play and daydreaming time back into the lives of children during cancer treatment.

Billie and Robert welcome your questions or comments. You can reach them at