June 3, 2020

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Uplift: Hats off for Solveig

Solveig Meinhardt tries on one of her knitted hats. (Andrew Ryan / Winnipeg Free Press)

Solveig Meinhardt tries on one of her knitted hats. (Andrew Ryan / Winnipeg Free Press)

When it comes to caring, our hat is off to Solveig Meinhardt.

In fact, about 190 hats and counting are off to 16-year-old Solveig.

You see, Solveig, who lives with Down syndrome, was looking for something to do last November when someone came up with the idea of teaching her to knit using a circular knitting machine.

Since then, the machine is Solveig. She has produced about 190 woolen toques in nine months.

And it is all for a good cause now: the woolen hats made by Solveig are all destined to go to this year's Koats for Kids charity.

"She does it non-stop now," Solveig's mother, Lynn, said recently. "Her teacher told her she can take it to school. It keeps her happy and centred there."

Solveig's dad, Bjoern Erik, said when his daughter is doing something like watching TV, she doesn't stop knitting. "You see it go around and around and around," he said.

Solveig is so dedicated that, during a recent family driving vacation to visit relatives in Georgia, she took her machine - and her wool - with her.

"She made 19 hats while we were gone," Lynn said. "(Her relatives) asked if they could have a hat and she said no, you can't have one. They are all for Koats for Kids."

Lynn said they've purchased wool and they've also found leftover wool from various places.

"I have no idea how much wool she has gone through -- maybe I don't want to know," she said with a laugh.

Now this is where you can step in to help.

Solveig's father, who is pastor at St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church, at 65 Walnut St., recently asked his congregation for donations of yarn in the church bulletin.

"If you can help, please leave yarn in the box located in the narthex," the announcement said.

We figured we would widen the request so more people can help Solveig in her quest to make more toques.

If you have some wool to donate -- or even want to buy some for that purpose -- you can bring it down to the church and drop it off. You might want to call ahead to 204-775-6477 to make sure they're open before you do.

Who knows? If you drop some off, this winter you might see a kid or teenager walking around wearing a hat made by Solveig with your wool.

And that will warm not just a head, but also your heart.

- Kevin Rollason


Bestseller a book store 

  • Sarah McNally (Yvonne Brooks photos)

    Sarah McNally (Yvonne Brooks photos)

    Her name is one half of a Winnipeg bookselling institution -- and now she done the same in New York City.

    Sarah McNally, the daughter of Paul and Holly McNally, two of the founders of McNally Robinson Booksellers, opened up McNally Jackson Books in New York's SoHo neighbourhood 14 years ago.

    McNally opened a second location in Brooklyn earlier this year, and plans to open a third in Manhattan later this year and a fourth in Brooklyn in future.

World record harvested

  • Hundreds of combines harvest a crop of winter wheat to set a world record.  (Photo: PeminaValleyOnline.com)

    Hundreds of combines harvest a crop of winter wheat to set a world record. (Photo: PeminaValleyOnline.com)

    Hundreds of farmers helped set a Guinness world record on the weekend.

    The record to break was 244 -- set in Saskatchewan in 2012 -- so on Saturday, 306 combines set off on a field south of Winkler to harvest a crop of winter wheat for a minimum of five minutes.

    Three combines that didn't make the minimum were scratched, but it still left 303 machines for the record.

    The Harvest for Kids event raised awareness and funds for Children's Camps International.

Lucky dogs!

  • Zach Munn, left, introduces a dog at Ebb & Flow First Nation to its doghouse, while Mike Brambilla helps out.

    Zach Munn, left, introduces a dog at Ebb & Flow First Nation to its doghouse, while Mike Brambilla helps out.

    More than a dozen dogs in Ebb and Flow First Nation are in the doghouse -- but that's a good thing.

    The 15 canines have their own place now thanks to 30 carpentry and woodworking students at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon.

    The students provided the labour and Brandon real estate agent Zach Munn provided the materials with the help of donations.

Coming together in song

  • Karen Burke (left), director of Toronto Mass Choir, and singers from the Nova Scotia Mass Choir and the Toronto Mass Choir on the Halifax waterfront. (Alex Cooke / The Canadian Press)

    Karen Burke (left), director of Toronto Mass Choir, and singers from the Nova Scotia Mass Choir and the Toronto Mass Choir on the Halifax waterfront. (Alex Cooke / The Canadian Press)

    Two award winning gospel choirs surprised pedestrians strolling along the waterfront in Halifax on Saturday afternoon.

    The choirs -- the Toronto Mass Choir and the Nova Scotia Mass Choir -- got together to make a splash, singing standard gospel songs including This Little Light of Mine and Amen.

    The Toronto choir was in Halifax to play a Saturday night show with their Nova Scotian counterparts.

Nails warm hearts

  • We'll end this week's Uplift with a heartwarming story about a Walmart cashier who helped a woman living with cerebral palsy get her nails done.

    Ebony Harris, a cashier at a Walmart in Burton, Michigan, was working when she saw the nail salon in the department store refuse to do Angela Peters' nails because her hands shake.

    Harris saw this and decided to use her own break to do Peters' nails herself.

    "We're not trying to bash the nail salon," Harris said. "We're not trying to make them lose customers, make them look bad, but maybe spread awareness that no matter the person, who they are, what colour they are, disability, whatever, they're people too," said Harris.

    "She's a girly girl. She's just like you, me, Tasia, my daughter, anybody. She wants to look pretty, you know, and so why can't she?"

    As for Peters, she forgives the people working at the nail salon.

    "I don't want anyone fired, I just [want to] educate people that people with different challenges like being in a wheelchair, we can have our own business and get our nails done like anyone else."

Squee!

Lending a helping paw: On July 23, Mark-Cuss passed his intense, 90-minute evaluation and was certified to take part in the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program. The program is always on the lookout for a few good dogs (and their human handlers) to join. The dog-and-handler teams visit many places including hospitals, schools, personal-care homes, mental-health facilities, and, in recent years, Winnipeg’s airport. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

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