“I used to knit when I lived in Norway: jumpers, socks, beanies… When I moved to Townsville in tropical north Queensland, I had to rethink what to make in the hot climate. I started knitting toys, tea cozies, tissue box covers, and fingerless gloves – because that aircon can be freezing some days – and enjoyed selling them at monthly craft markets. I loved the feedback (and inspiration) from customers, and with the sales I enjoyed a free hobby.
But I was also looking for a charity I could help (with my knitting) in my own town: one that I had a personal connection to, and could help long term.
My work in vegetation management used to take me to pastoral properties all over regional Queensland, and I enjoyed the country, the people and their hospitality. And the Ronald McDonald house provides accommodation for those outback families, so they can stay close to their seriously ill child for weeks or months. Therefore I had once registered as a volunteer at the Townsville Ronald McDonald House. But at the time I registered as a volunteer, they were only after weekday volunteers, which I could not combine with my full time job. But I had mentioned I loved knitting, and knitted some donations instead.
At some point I dropped off a donation of “lego box tissue box covers” at the Ronald McDonald House, which the volunteers thought would look cheerful the living rooms. When I asked what else I could knit, they mentioned baby blankets were always appreciated. I then found out that Townsville is the only other hospital in Queensland outside Brisbane that has a neonatal intensive care unit to care for pre-term and very ill babies. And my sister had a preemie 13 years ago. She told me how hard it was to leave the hospital those 4 weeks her little girl had to stay there: she wanted to be there day and night.
So when the volunteer coordinator asked me a few weeks later if I could perhaps start teaching mums to knit baby blankets for their own child: I thought that was a great idea! Not only would that provide the mums with that much needed baby blanket: the knitting itself can be therapeutical during stressful times, and the blanket is both personal and unique. The pattern or the colours can reflect the families’ passion: being horses, the ocean or the local rugby team.
So far, I have been surprised by in-kind material donations, which I am currently trying to match up so colours “make sense” for babies. Initially I didn’t think black and navy were particular baby like, but while browsing pictures for inspirations, I realised a black and white zig-zag blanket can look very “posh”. While the Cowboys, the Townsville rugby team and popular throughout regional Queensland, is navy, grey and yellow. Perfect match!”
Check out this lovely campaign here: