Hats for South Africa update!

My daughter, Evelyn, made her first delivery of hats to the  Maternity Hospital.  I first wrote about this family and friends knitting project here.

Evelyn had over 70 hats to deliver, as well as a few wash cloths and other goodies.

Evelyn had never visited the hospital, and was impressed with the professionalism of this government hospital.  The staff though were what impressed her most of all.  They are devoted to the care of their patients.  There was a real sense of pride in taking care of the women and babies that need a safe environment for birthing.  While in the United States home births are on the rise, a good maternity hospital makes all the difference among the poor.  The death rate of newborns is a real concern in many parts of the world, a good sterile hospital with trained staff is the answer to high infant mortality.

Home births are a luxury of the rich, who have quick access to a hospital, and also checks to make sure they will most likely have a normal birth. The home birth moms I know here in the US all had to under go testing before the local mid wife would consider them for a home birth.  Even then, the local mid wife here has been in court twice over childbirth deaths.  She jokes she has great insurance.

I find it very sad that the women that push home birth and are anti vaccination are all economically well to do.  Little do they consider that in other part of the world vaccinations and hospital births are the key to keeping child mortality rates low. I often want to tell these new ago moms how crazy their counterparts in Africa would consider them for turning their backs on modern medicine.


The hospital  staff seemed very pleased to get their first donation of knitted items.  They were impressed with the quality of the wool and acrylic yarn used.  I was worried my hats made up of bits and pieces of what was leftover from other project weren’t going to be good enough.  Instead, the reception by the staff of these  soft and colorful hats has me happily knitting more hats.

If anyone has small bits of truly nice yarn please sent it my way.  Even if it is just enough for a stripe in a small baby hat, it will be welcome.  Mixing up the yarns has resulted in some really cute hats.  My co blogger Naomi donated some wonderful creamy bamboo yarn, that made up into beautiful soft hats.  She had made something beautiful for herself to wear, and the leftovers came to me.  Now the yarn is knitted into several hats and on soon to be on the heads of babies in South Africa.

My younger daughter continues to loom hats, the smallest size of the loom is perfect for newborns.  The colors she uses are wonderful, and since the loom works best with thick yarn she creates very warm newborn hats.  I keep an eye out for the soft chunky yarn to go on sale and then buy up the most colorful skeins.

The hospital assured my daughter Evelyn that all sizes are welcome as the mothers often have other young children that could also use a hat.  South Africa is warm, but winter is coming and most houses don’t have heat.  A hat on the head is a good thing during the chill of a winter night.

I also plan to make some polar fleece blankets for the babies.  It will simply require cutting, and I can get polar fleece in the clearance section of the local fabric store.  South Africa lacks things like cheap polar fleece.  Also I have mentioned before that knitting is still considered a “granny” activity.  Evelyn has started “learn to knit” parties where she hands out needles and  yarn.  Even a basic square can be a wash cloth.  While trendy in the US, knitting is not poplar yet among young people in South Africa.


It’s great fun for me to combine different yarns and come up with a really fun, and warm, hat.  While I know this started as just an activity to help keep me occupied during my enforced “taking it easy” time, it had done my mental state a world of good.  I’m so happy also to find the hats are going to such a well run facility, where the hats will find the heads that need them!

I look forward to shipping off another box with hats and cotton yarn later in the month.  My goal is to send off a box every few months.  Shipping costs are high, but most of the yarn I used is donated.  I have at least 3 more months of enforced “taking it easy”, which while upsetting does mean a lot more hat knitting.

Categories: Travel

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5 replies

  1. Oh Kitty they are such cute little hats. Even with little hearts on them. I’m so happy you are working on this project. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great post and gesture! I should get back to knitting baby hats. They’re quick to knit, so there’s no real excuse to not knit them. 🙂

    • you knit them and I’ll send postage for you to send them to me Kate, and then send them on to South Africa. If you notice, many of the hats are just left over bits.

  3. Well done Kitty. It’s a very worthwhile cause and the hats you’ve made look wonderful. There will be plenty of mothers who are going to be so grateful for your efforts.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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