Two Knitting Needles are Changing the World. Darlene Matz

Darlene Matz, mega knitter but also commissioned Pastor for the Presbyterian church in Kaktovik Alaska


Knitting is relaxing.

I’m from northern Minnesota where I lived on the reservation. Today I am a commissioned Presbyterian pastor and I serve Kaktovik Presbyterian church. Being a grandmother is remarkable.

My special phrase is, ‘Alone we cannot change the world but we can make it a better place for one other person.’

I love helping people and being with people.

Each hat is Unique

I read Little House on the Prairie books. They knitted and I wanted to also learn to knit. The lady I learned from is left handed. Being that I am right handed my knitting is different from other knitters. 

In 2005 my mother died and I had just started making hats after not knitting for many years. My stepfather said to me, “how many of those are you going to do anyway?”

My answer was 25. 

Sadly, my stepfather laughed at me. Well that made me more determined to do more than 25. Since 2012 I’ve made more than 3,000 hats.

Knitting is fun. I make hats for the homeless and the villages in northern Alaska. I’m free with my time to do it. I don’t want to sit at my house. Being involved with people makes me happy.

Once I finish a hat it is done. I don’t deliver the hats because I can’t travel to all of the villages, therefore I cannot see the happiness and smiles from the children and adults. But the response is not important. 

In the native culture it means more if something is hand done and I make each hat unique so people can take pride in wearing it.

A Sewing Machine that Brought Rags to Riches

When I was in Tanzania where my husband was working there was a woman who had several children and no money. Her home was made out of banana leaves. I wanted to help her but I didn’t want to just give money. From my inquiries I learned that she liked to sew but she no longer had the means to do so.

Matata is her name and I bought a sewing machine for her. Getting her started cost about $200.00 with an extra $50 for clothes and food. I felt good about the experience; in fact it is the biggest impact for me to see. 

That little offering changed her life and the community’s as well because that seamstress became a community leader out there. She’s making changes for the better.  

Touching people’s lives in simple ways is fulfilling.

Link to the different churches that Darlene’s ministry serves in the Yukon area

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  1. Kathie Anthony on 02/17/2019 at 10:16 PM

    This Podcast was just lovely to listen to-thank you both for sharing these stories!

    • Catherine on 02/23/2019 at 11:37 AM

      Thank you Kathie! I’m so glad you are enjoying listening to the podcast. Darlene is very interesting and I’m glad I met her. Thank you for sharing your comment.

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