I had been working on editing a new book project with knitting industry leader Vickie Howell when one day she had called me and asked me to join her down in Florida to meet with Sarah Krug who was doing amazing things with knitting. Vickie was working on her next podcast series called “Knitters Who Make A Difference” and wanted to meet Sarah in person for a one on one interview with her.
The two ladies joined me for coffee at The Pour coffee shop in Panama City Beach, Fl. It was an early afternoon on a Thursday and as I walked from my car towards the coffee shop, the sun began to peek out from behind rolling white creamy clouds brightening up the blue sky, shimmering on the Gulf, and warming my face.
The coffee shop was quiet for a weekday afternoon in between the lunch rush and the impending flurry of students that would soon show up after school let out.
Sarah and Vickie were already inside at the counter looking over the menu up on the wall. Once decided and ordered, they picked up their cups at the counter and moved through the room towards a table in the back. As we passed by a handful of large puffy chairs, Vickie looked around at them and mentioned they looked so comfy, just the right size for curling up with a fun sock project. Sarah laughed and agreed that this was a great little place to come and spend a few hours sipping delicious drinks and getting lost in a knitting project. She said she was here at least once a week with a small knitting project and her children in tow to catch up with other homeschooling families.
The three of us wound our way to the back of the cafe and chose a secluded table next to a dark wall. We put our cups down on the little table and soaked in the atmosphere. Although the walls were dark, the table felt cozy and warm from the light of the small table lamp. This was a great little spot to spend our next half hour together.
Vickie sipped her cafe au lait and as she put it down, a warm smile crossed her face and she said “So Sarah, it is such a pleasure to be here and to see you in person. You seem so down to earth in your knitting videos and I just love that. You came on my radar after I read in a Facebook group that you reached your goal of donating 100 knitted kennel blankets to Lucky Puppy Dog Rescue in Panama City, FL all made by children in the area! That is just phenomenal! Tell me what first inspired you to share knitting with children?”
Sarah smiled and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Vickie, thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve always enjoyed sharing ways to be creative with children. I had the opportunity to teach private music lessons years ago and loved it. I loved seeing my students’ personalities shine when they were behind the cello or violin. They were so proud of themselves and it came across when they played music.
Once I became a mom, I was inspired to help my own children bring out their creativity and when my daughter was 7 years old, she asked me to show her knitting. She eventually got the hang of it and as she did, her self-confidence began to shine.
Children crave learning and figuring out how to be productive in the world. Knitting is a skill that they can take with them their whole lives. It creates independence for them to make their own clothes to wear or make money by selling knitted crafts. It’s a gift they get to pass on when they teach others as well, it’s amazing.”
“I love that!” Vickie said as Sarah reached for her cup and wrapped her fingers around the sides. Vickie looked out the window and saw the beams of sunshine coming through the clouds. It lit up the blue water of the Gulf and she turned to Sarah with both arms out. “So why here? Why Florida? Why the panhandle?”
Sarah put her cup down on the dark wooden table and a thoughtful expression crossed her face. “My family has always wanted to live here. My husband first had the dream of moving down here years ago and so we decided to make the trip down from New Jersey and set up a home here. We knew we wanted a barndominium to fit our interests and busy lives so we opted to build one ourselves. The property is more like a homestead you might see in other parts of the country because we have a huge garden and there are chickens running around. I’ve always wanted a garden labyrinth and I have one with a really awesome view from my home knitting studio. It’s like my little sanctuary.” she giggled.
“I understand that!” Vickie laughed. “I’m a work at home mom too and I have school aged children. I know what you mean, we moms need that little private creative space for ourselves when the chaos of the day dies down.”
“Exactly!” Sarah said with a smile.
“OK” Vickie continued, “what is going on with the knitting donations? That seemed like a huge undertaking… coordinating 100 kennel blankets to the shelter. I know what it’s like to push for deadlines and organizing with children can be chaotic. You were really able to pull it off though! Wow! Tell me about that.”
Sarah paused before she answered. “Yep, it was a huge project! When the idea first crossed my mind to donate 100 knitted kennel blankets all made by children, I hesitated at the size of the project. I wasn’t sure if I could get this off the ground. Then the more I thought about it, the more the idea seemed to grow and take on a life of its own and amazingly everything began to fall into place.
“I first posted the idea in our Panama City Beach Mom’s Facebook group to get a feel for who might be interested in participating. I said we were looking for school-aged children who wanted to learn, or already knew how to knit, to join us in this great project for the shelter. The plan was to donate 100 blankets all handmade by the kids and give them to the Lucky Puppy Dog Rescue on December 24, 2025. I posted in the group on a Sunday night and by Monday morning the post had blown up! We had over 100 comments of families who wanted to join us and I even had several members in the group message me privately how they could help. It was awesome!”
Sarah smiled and took another sip from her cooling drink and inhaled, then wiped the beginning of a tear from the edge of her right eye.
“I’m sorry, Vickie”, she said, “excuse me. I get so emotional thinking about the impact this made for the kennel, it’s incredible.”
Vickie folded her hands in lap and leaned forward. “I think I might cry too, but please go on. Tell me what happened.”
Sarah continued, “When I called the kennel, they told me they were so overwhelmed. Funds had been tight since the pandemic and all the volunteers were stressed out about the future of the kennel. In an understanding way, I chatted with the girl on the phone for a while and we set up an appointment so I could come by and share with them my idea about the 100 knitted kennel blanket donation all made by children.”
Sarah shifted in her chair and dabbed at the edge of her other eye. “When I came over to the kennel, I saw that they had maxed their space. The animals were so loved and cared for by the volunteers yet they just didn’t have a lot of adoptions. The girls told me that they needed help getting the word out about their organization. That’s when I lit up and I shared with them my idea about the blankets. And they loved it! That was in early October 2025, I think it was the 6th.”
Sarah pointed towards the front of the shop and turned back to Vickie.
“When I had the group of knitters on board, I got permission from this very coffee shop to put a little booth up there in the front.”
Sarah looked back toward the door and the large windows.
“That’s where we had a little info spot. I set up a little display about our project. Anyone interested in participating could grab one of the handouts which had the pattern for the blanket on one side and info about Lucky Puppy Dog Rescue on the other side. Then I put a wire donation bin for the finished blankets there next to the door and we began to meet here once a week with families and kids who wanted to work on the blankets.”
Sarah looked toward the ceiling and took a deep breath in and slowly exhaled.
Vickie smiled and put her cup back down that she had nested in her lap.
“I love love love that!” she exclaimed. “It feels so good to get an idea going that has such a bigger purpose than any of us ever know.”
“Right!” Sarah replied. “This project set a huge ball in motion for the kennel.”
She went on, “Because of our donation bin, it caught the attention of our local paper, the elementary school over in Panama City and the Girl Scouts, they all gravitated toward this project and the donations came pouring in!”
A few days before our December 24 deadline, the ladies at the kennel, along with a few moms who helped teach knitting to the kids and some of the knitters from Destin Yarn Shop which is about 30 miles away got involved and we sat here around the table right over there in those comfy arm chairs and counted out the kennel blankets. We bagged them up and got ready for delivery.
Then on December 24, at 12noon, we met the girls at the front driveway of the Lucky Puppy Rescue and hand delivered them the blankets. We must have had about 100 families come with us to give the donation and celebrate. The press was there to write us up and of course many of the families who had a hand in making the blankets took pictures and shared them all over social media!”
Sarah smiled a huge smile and brushed the hair off her face. She leaned forward in the chair and pulled out her cell phone. After a few taps, she pushed it across to Vickie who began to scroll and saw picture after picture of the event.
She passed the phone back to Sarah who then swiped and tapped on the screen again.
A few moments later Sarah had pulled up an article on the screen and passed the phone back to Vickie who looked up at Sarah and paused before she said, “Wow, Sarah, oh my goodness, 50 adoptions?! Did I read that right? The kennel adopted 50 dogs because of the impact you made with the kennel blanket project?”
“Yes” Sarah answered slowly and then said, “We helped them get the word out all right. 50 animals were given new homes soon after our donation project was complete.”
Vickie brought both hands down in her lap loudly and said, “There it is. Knitting can change the world!”
“Yes it can” Sarah agreed enthusiastically! “This project was such a blessing for everyone who got involved. I still can’t believe it, it all happened so fast, like the Universe put it together for me.”
“It sure seems that way,” Vickie continued, “how did you get the idea to put this project together in the first place?”
“A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to take a class called The Master Key Experience focusing on the book called The Master Key System. The class was a long 6 months to complete but it helped me believe in myself again. I gained so much self-confidence and my self-esteem went through the roof. So when this idea popped into my head, it was actually part of an exercise from being in the class. I had to write out what I wanted in life. And then went through a process to clearly see this project long before it even began. All of it came into view in my imagination, the home we built, the knitting videos I put online, our ecommerce stores that my husband and I run, I saw it all so clearly and in action, in my mind first. That was what got the ball rolling for me a few short years ago and eventually we got down here to Florida, set ourselves up on our beautiful little homestead and got involved in the community with what you see here today.”
“Wow” Vickie said. “That’s just so awesome. Well, thank you, Sarah, I really appreciate your carving out some time for me to interview you in this gorgeous part of the country. I would love for you to share your story on my podcast and so let’s do that. Let’s keep in touch and we’ll set that up.”
“You’re welcome, Vickie” Sarah replied. “I would love to be a part of your show and yes, let’s definitely set that up! I can’t wait!”
The ladies both gave a little giggle as they stood up and got their things together and headed for the door. I pushed my chair back towards the table and turned to see them walking out, discussing a visit to Destin Yarn Shop before Vickie had to fly back to Texas. And as I peeked out the door, I spied the turquoise water and white sands and headed towards the beach.