Proof that people who knit are the generous and compassionate type.
Last January, an Aptos yarn shop challenged themselves to collect 2012 hand-knit hats by the time the blighted year was over. A month ahead of schedule, Yarns by the Sea has reached its goal and the hats keep piling in.
"There are so many different stories, a story with each one, what we really should have done is written them all down," said Chrissy Perkins, owner of Yarns by the Sea.
The hats, which range from baby-sized to military, poured in from "everywhere," thanks to the thriving local community of knitters in Aptos.
They came from San Diego, and Grass Valley, from sisters in New York City, and a history teacher who got her students involved. The Santa Cruz Women's Jail on Blane Street even got knit several hats, as well as women in a Mexican village that an Aptos knitter visited.
"188 people knit hats for us to reach our goal," said Sarah Burdick, an employee at Yarns by the Sea.
On Thursday, Aptos collected hat number 2,043 from a local man who had just learned to knit and made two hats for the challenge.
For an agile knitter, the act of knitting a hat takes "a couple evenings," according to the group of employees and customers who were knitting at Yarns by the Sea on Saturday afternoon.
Perkins says she's "touched" by the response from the local knitting community and their friends and relatives who knit.
"I'm hoping to get them out into the community now, and get them on the heads of people before the holidays," said Perkins.
Perkins is still deciding how to distribute all of the hats, but the Santa Cruz Women's Crisis Center and the Homeless Center are two likely recipients. They will also be donating to hospitals, including a cancer Hospital in Oakland, as one Oakland knitter requested.
Yarns by the Sea employees Noreen Winkler and Cheryl Proctor were also fundamental in knitting and and helping to organize the challenge.
The store opened in Aptos about two years ago.
Find them on Facebook or go to their website to find out more about their classes, knit-alongs, and products. Open seven days a week, 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Thursdays.