After spending the last five months in Cleveland following a lung transplant, Jan Evans received a unique and heartfelt welcome home from the women in her knitting group, Chix with Stix. The group “yarn bombed” a tree in front of Evans house, representing a tapestry of friendship and love.
For nearly a year, Evans had been traveling back and forth to the Cleveland Clinic for pre-transplant screenings and evaluations to see if she would be a candidate for a new lung.
Evans had been diagnosed with a fatal rare disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
“They checked every system in the body to make sure that there’s nothing in your body that’s going to cause you to reject this precious donation of an organ,” Evans said.
Last summer, Evans was approved for a transplant. A few weeks later — on her birthday — she found out a lung was available for her.
“I got my new left lung for my birthday,” she said. “They even sang Happy Birthday to me in the operating room before I went under.”
Evans and her husband then spent the next several months in an apartment in Cleveland, needing to remain close because of various procedures and testing.
They finally returned home Tuesday.
“I’m so happy to be back in our home,” Evans said. “These ladies and many like them have been so supportive with cards and letters and encouragement and outpouring of love.”
The knitting group got Evans’ permission before covering a tree in her front yard with yarn. She was more than happy to oblige.
“I was thrilled, and I think they had fun doing it,” she said. “It was such a boost to my morale. It was really fun to come home and drive down Griffith Avenue and see that on the tree. They made my homecoming really special. They’re just a wonderful group of women.”
She added, “We come from so many walks of life, and we’ve been brought together by this love for the art of knitting and designing and sharing and spending time together. We’ve developed really close friendships and we’ve become a great support group for each other.”
Rebecca Eggers, one of the members of Chix with Stix, said the group had a blast. Linda Knight helped spearhead the idea and coordinate all the logistics.
A total of 18 knitters each made a layer spanning three yards, and they were all woven together on the tree.
Members estimated that upwards of 200 hours worth of knitting went into the project.
“We just really wanted to get the tree covered with some joy,” Eggers said. “Our idea was just to bring joy to Jan. “It’s kind of a wonderful, creative group of women.”
Evans said they’ll leave the yarn up as long as they can, but they’ll take it down if the weather makes it look shabby.
Also attached to the fabric is a laminated note to Jan from the Chix with Stix. It reads:
“This colorfully clad majestic tree represents so much more than the yarns of labor woven into it. It displays the sisterhood of a shared art, a sense of belonging, a treasure of times retreating together, a blend of different individuals joined by the common love of creating beauty, covering of each other through some of life’s most difficult moments, and over time, through much laughter, becoming woven into a beautiful tapestry of friendship and love. It is an honor to be woven together with these beautiful hearts.”