Local knitters are unsung heroes


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/11/2020 (817 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Whether they are the technicians at Winnipeg Clinic or the dinner staff when we come home, essential workers  have been everybody’s heroes during this COVID-19 pandemic because they serve us while risking personal safety.

I can think of yet another kind of self-giving person — the knitters. among us They click away with their needles year after year for the needy, especially for newcomers who can’t speak English and have not yet experienced Manitoba winters. Knitting groups regularly hold sales to help schools and charities such as Siloam Mission and René Deleurme Centre.

Pat Dodd is one such knitter at Riverside Lions Estates in St. Vital, where the ladies knit scarves, socks, mitts, and toques for the needy. The establishment supplies the yarn and looks after the distribution of the knitted items to their selected charities.

Photo by Anne Yanchyshyn Pat Dodd, of Riverside Lions Estate in St. Vital, has been making knitted items such as mittens, socks and toques for years.

During our interview Pat showed me a special toque she’d knitted. The stitches were flawlessly even, the pattern distinct, and the two-colour wool ends neatly worked in. A friend of hers said he’s given his granddaughters Pat’s toques because she makes unique ones with a hole in the back to allow for ponytails.

He supplied the accompanying picture of Pat and remembered that she also made “sweaters, Harry Potter scarves, etc. for our immigrants and others in need.”

Pat has also donated knitted items to the retired teachers/support staff luncheons, which she proudly attends, having served as an educational assistant in St. Vital schools for over 20 years. In that time she studied and graduated with Grade 12 students at Dakota Collegiate.

I would be remiss not to mention the giving that has been done by the knitting club at Dakota House.

Founded in 2009 by Vera Butterworth, with Betty Buckingham as secretary/treasurer, they met once a week while others knitted in their suites. Unheralded, they made sweaters, afghans, socks, toques, mitts, scarves, etc., and held sales twice a year. The articles left over were donated to schools, care homes, and Siloam Mission. Over the years they donated $7,500 from these sales to six different charities, and if you added the articles donated after sales, the total worth would almost double. Remarkable.

As numbers of outside buyers decreased, the club disbanded last fall. But several knitters are still making toques and mitts for schools, and lap robes, shawls and slippers for senior’s homes.       

Betty had a final remark to offer:

“Many thanks to all the beautiful knitters in the past and those still knitting — they just don’t know how to quit.”

A recent Free Press editorial cartoon was right: “Not all heroes wear capes.”

Anne Yanchyshyn is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email her at acy@mymts.net

Anne Yanchyshyn

Anne Yanchyshyn
St. Vital community correspondent

Anne Yanchyshyn is a community correspondent for St. Vital.

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