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Beanies, blankets, booties for babies

To welcome them into the world, babies born in Wairarapa Hospital are gifted with a blanket or knitwear lovingly stitched together by a local quilter or knitter.

This week, the hospital held a morning tea to thank the many hands involved in crafting the donated items. A range of community groups receive orders and referrals regarding who needs what from Plunket, Whaiora, and the hospital.

Janet Morrison, president of the Wairarapa branch of the New Zealand Federation of Women’s Institutes, said the federation donates hundreds of items each year in the region.

“There’s a lot of people struggling out there, so we have a lot of community donating going on,” Morrison said.

“There was recently a shortage of bassinet blankets, so when there’s a specific need like that we’ll try to help.”

There are 10 institute groups in Wairarapa’s branch of the federation. Morrison believes there have been 700 items donated to many organisations.

Another prolific crafting group, Quilting Aroha, is responsible for the donation of hundreds of baby quilts – each a different print and sewn together with immaculate stitching. There is a branch in Masterton and Carterton, and Masterton member Peta Campbell said last year her group made 352 quilts.

“We sometimes get overwhelmed with orders, so then the branches work together.”

Wairarapa Hospital maternity care worker Suzanne Cramer-Roberts said all the ladies who contributed are fabulous.

“The stuff that comes through is magnificent,” Cramer-Roberts said.

“Some knit the whole caboodle set, from beanies to booties. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Mentioning the bassinet blanket shortage brought up earlier by Morrison, Cramer-Roberts said the knitting speed displayed by the groups’ members is extraordinary.

“I said we were running out of quilts at the end of winter, as they tend to drop off 10, but it’s still so damn cold,” Cramer-Roberts said.

“A week later, it was like, ‘Oh, here they come!’”

Noting how appreciative everyone was to receive a quilt or knitted good, Cramer-Roberts everyone who contributed deserved a major thank you.

“It’s the love that’s interwoven with what they knit.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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