Knitting for Africa, a Family Project

I’ve recently been battling an immune disorder illness and am working with my physicians on what will be the best treatment for the best quality of life.  This takes time, figuring out which drug will be enable me the most mobility, without causing too many side effects.

While this process goes on, and hopefully is nearing completion, I have had to spend a lot of time resting.  It’s important not to “over do” anything, though you can be sure when I do “over do” my body let’s me know.  This means I have had to learn how to amuse myself while being resting, and often being in a bit of pain.


South Africa, filled with natural beauty

My daughter lives in the beautiful country of South Africa.  She has been wonderful, calling me almost every day to check up on me.  She makes me laugh with stories of my grand kitties, and also telling me about her “new” 17 year old Audi convertible.  She listens to my complaints, but also came up with a terrific way for me to “just rest” and yet also feel I’m doing something useful.

2 Spring bunnies, a Winter bunny, and a Valentine's Day bunny.

2 Spring bunnies, a Winter bunny, and a Valentine’s Day bunny.

I knit, and like all knitters I have a lot of leftover yarn.  I’m not going to throw out any of the leftovers, especially when I can find small projects to knit.  I had been doing a lot of bunnies.  In fact, I not only did holiday bunnies, I did Valentine’s Day bunnies for my friends that have been helping get through this tough time.  I’ve also done Easter/Spring bunnies.  My husband began to get worried about how the bunnies were growing in number, just like bunnies are apt to do.


My daughter had a better suggestion.  She mentioned a wonderful maternity hospital near where she lives that helps women without means to have their babies in a safe hospital environment.  The Mowbray Maternity Hospital has many patients that are so poor they have nothing for their newborns.  Evelyn suggested I start making baby hats with the leftover yarn.  She said while newborn size is nice, any size will do, as these babies need everything.  Another suggestion was wash cloths, because these families truly have almost nothing, and babies need cleaning.  While monetary donations are of course the most important, the hospital is more than glad to receive any hats or wash cloths.

Most homes near Cape Town where my daughter lives, do not have heat.  My daughter has a space heater for when it’s needed and a well insulated home.  The mothers that go to this hospital more than likely depend on bundling up for surviving cold nights and the cool winters.  Hats are needed.

Another interesting thing is that unlike the US, knitting does not have the same popularity in South Africa.  My daughter has had people surprised she knits, it’s considered a “grandmother” activity.  My daughter is actually having a knitting party for her friends to learn how to knit a simple square, which can be used as a wash cloth.  Anyone can knit a square.  (Almost anyone!)

My other daughter, that lives close by, has also joined the knitting baby hat bandwagon.  She has a knitting loom that makes a perfect size newborn hat.

I have enjoyed using up odds and ends of yarn making baby hats.  I’m recycling yarn that other wise might not be used with a project both my daughters are also involved in.  I’m feeling perhaps not well physically, but mentally I’m doing much better just by  knitting these hats.

I’ve got a box of hats, and some extra yarn for wash clothes, ready to mail off to South Africa.  I’m still knitting some bunnies, after all there are still holidays I haven’t covered.

even a goth bunny...

even a goth bunny…

My daughter has also promised to stuff her suitcase with hats on her next visit to the US.  My daughter gave me a great gift to help get over my rough patch. I feel I’m doing something productive instead of just  wasting time resting resting resting.  It may only be a small hat, but it makes me happy to be part of this continuing project with my both my daughters.

Categories: Travel

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7 replies

  1. Leave it to you to make lemons out of your illness. And we should all take note. I bet those women are teary eyed to see these little gems on there little gems.

    I have a ton of quilting scraps my mother collected forever. I keep telling myself that I’m going to use them and make quilts also. But I can’t get myself to sit down and thread a needle these days. And doubt I will have time in my old age either. I used to be quite good with a needle and thread.

    I thought about making lap sized quilts for babies and also for the chemo chairs (they supply blankets when you are sitting there for hours, but sometimes they run out as they have to wash them after every use) There are probably lots of charities that I could donate them to, but alas I do not have the time to quilt right now.

    I think that maybe we should start thinking this through and supplying people with hand made gifts. I wonder what is most cost effective? Sending a box of knitted goodies has got to be expensive, and your daughter can only pack so much. If we eliminated the shipping costs it seems like there might be a solution, and an awful lot of people could get crafty.

    I see the knitting row at TAM during the lectures. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a workshop teaching people to do this and then just knitting away and piles could be donated at the end of the conference to a Las Vegas charity?

    Let me think this over…

    • oh great plan! Yeah Evelyn just packs her suitcase full of hats and whatever….I asked locally but we have lots of knitting stores and there are more than enough donated hats. It’s only in SA where women often carry the full burden of work, they can find work as domestics….and don’t have time to do things like knitting. Evelyn did teach her maid to knit, and she knit hats for her children. Of course buying hats would probably be cheaper but also they do not have wal mart and cheap clothing places such as we do here. I think knitting at TAM would be great! Even a square that could be a wash cloth would be welcome and Evelyn can stuff it all in her suitcase! Great idea Susan!

  2. What a brilliant and worthwhile way to occupy your down time and to keep you in check too so you don’t misbehave.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx


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