Obs Library Knitting Circle have donated 10 000 beanies for babies

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Sep 11, 2011 No Comments ›› Brett Herron

On Tuesday 6 September the Obs Library Knitting Circle celebrated 10 000 beanies! 10 years ago the Mowbray Maternity Hospital made a plea for baby beanies – to keep newborn babies’ heads warm – and the ladies took up the challenge of knitting the beanies…they never put their needles down and have over the past decade donated 10 000 beanies to 10 000 babies!

Here are the speeches made by the Library Staff at the tea party hosted to celebrate and thank the knitting circle:

Years back, Mowbray Maternity Hospital appealed through The Tatler for “ beanies for babies” to be knitted as the best growth rate for the babies is to have a warm head. One hears horror stories of the “fish and chips” – new borns who go home wrapped in newspaper for warmth. Nadia approached some borrowers and asked if they would be interested in knitting in the library on Wednesday mornings. Thus they have done diligently for years, only taking a break over the festive season. They are also required to hand in their “homework” each week and woe-betide those who are absent – a “sick note” is then compulsory. Historically, libraries are quiet places of refuge so I shan’t say too much about the noise that emanates from the group

It is difficult to single our people or organisations without trampling on delicate toes but there are four special thanks that need mentioning
Firstly: The knitters. Without their diligence no amount of donated wool or money would be of any use. Thank you one and all.
And now in no particular order: The OCA who generously sponsors 80% of the wool required, never refusing our continual requests.
Gary and staff of Obz Laundry in Station Rd who wash and dry all the knitted items with great care. On one particular occasion, Jane, with whom I usually deal with, was not there and I handed the load to Gary Himself. On the slip he wrote “baby load – R20 to pay”. I was a little taken aback but in the current economic climate, I thought it fair. Later in the in the day when Jane went through the book and saw the entry, she was horrified and admonished Gary by saying “You should be ashamed of yourself, charging the babies R20”. Gary admitted to lapse of concentration and hotfooted to the library to both apologise and return the R20.

Word spread from friend to friend and now kind folk who are not part of the Wednesday knitting group drop off their contributions. Beanies have been received from as far away as the USA, Holland, UK and Germany. Recently two young Dutch students joined the group whilst studying in Obs and despite neither of them having knitted before, with a little assistance, produced very passable items. Knitting can be addictive – one lady says she now finds it impossible to watch TV without producing beanies.

When I joined the staff at Obs in October last year, I was informed that gender equality was a priority at the library and until such a time that I knitted beanies, I would not be fully accepted as a staff member. My granny didn’t knit, my mother didn’t knit, my sister didn’t knit – What to do?
Rosemary was a patient teacher and I managed to knit a beanie in one week. I am frequently in the dog-box over my tardiness with time keeping and on one particular day I got the usual reprimand for being late. There we however, extenuating circumstances; as I got off the bus I realised I had left my knitting on the seat, too late, the bus had left. I hailed the first taxi asking him to go as fast as possible and catch-up with the said bus. Many stops later, I retrieved the peripatetic wool and needles to have to catch another taxi to work. It turned out to be an expensive beanie.

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