They don’t know how to quit


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/12/2021 (540 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Count that day lost whose low descending sun

Views from thy hand no worthy action done.

                                                                                                                              — Baltazar Gracian
The handicrafters at Christ the King Church in St. Vital must have taken Baltazar Gracian to heart. Co-ordinator Brian Dawson has for years passed on their knitted or crocheted lap blankets to our seniors at Dakota House, to CancerCare, and to anyone else needing the feel of warmth and care in their hour of need. I have thankfully been blessed with one to keep my injured knee cozy during theevening news.

Photo by Anne Yanchyshyn Jean Brydges and Ramy Remedios show off some of the lap blankets they’ve created, the Christ the King beige and green blanket sits at the centre.

It reminds me of one seniors poetry-writing class. To motivate us, our instructor brought in a beloved memento of his late grandma — a faded, hand-knitted shawl he called a babushka. In the Jewish tradition it might have been called a prayer shawl, spelling comfort and loving arms and security back in his childhood days. I believe that today’s lap blankets serve a similar purpose.

Another person who has through the years crocheted for charity is Dakota House tenant Remedios Fernandez (Ramy, for short). Originally unable to speak a word of English, she sailed alone to Canada after the Second World War, where a kind relative took her in. Within three years her suitor arrived from Spain; they married and eventually became a family of five. Daughter Linda has been Ramy’s right arm in supplying her mom with yarn to keep her fingers busy, crocheting lap blankets and toques or knitting mitts and socks for those less fortunate. Special hooks enable her to crochet in spite of arthritic hands. Linda buys all the yarn as well and distributes the finished products to places such as Siloam Mission and Main Street Project.

Jean Brydges is another prolific artisan here at Dakota House. She belonged to our knitting club and helped raise the thousands of dollars our ladies took in at their annual sales for years. They have disbanded, but Jean and some others continue to contribute. As their former secretary-treasurer Betty Buckingham says, “They don’t know how to quit.”

In the photo, you can see the unique kiddies’ quilts Jean has sewn as well as her crocheted sweater and tablecloth. Her hands are never idle. She even called for her knitting kit when hospitalized recently — she says that when she was six she was taught by her English grandmother that “young ladies do not sit idle!”

We have yet another tenant named Wilma Coffin who does fabulous work for herself and for charity. And how many others?

They’re there making the world a little more beautiful for everybody, and in the process of enriching other lives they’re also enriching their own.

Anne Yanchyshyn is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email her at

Anne Yanchyshyn

Anne Yanchyshyn
St. Vital community correspondent

Anne Yanchyshyn is a community correspondent for St. Vital.

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