Monday, 19 September 2016

100 Hats

Our knitting group is loosely affiliated with Age UK, a charity for older persons. We used to meet twice a month at the Age UK centre in Whitley Bay, but then it shut down. So now we meet in the Comrades Club, a pub run by a group to do with veteran soldiers. Interestingly, I just learned that it opened in 1920, to help survivors of WWI.

Following the carnage of World War 1 many of the survivors of that conflict hoped to preserve the unique spirit of friendship forged during the years of privation and danger. In themonths that followed the Armistice, Comrades Clubs began to be established throughout the Nation by British Servicemen.  
Here on North Tyneside the Whitley Bay and Monkseaton Comrades of the Great War Club was formed and its doors were first opened in 1920 when the first members entered what was a converted private dwelling house at 14 The Links, Whitley Bay on the seafront.

But like many community groups, they sometimes struggle financially and so welcome other groups to use their facilities and pay some rent. 

We meet in the 'snug' at the back. A snug is usually a smaller seating area and perhaps a separate bar. They were often designated for the use of women, back in the day when women weren't allowed in the men's area, even with their husbands. Amazing what used to go on in ordinary society. Anyhow, the staff are lovely and helpful and we've landed on our feet thanks to Meriel, the lady who runs our group.

We still knit these little hats for Age UK. A company that makes fruit smoothie drinks called Innocence Smoothies has a thing (I'm not sure if it's advertising or fund-raising; I'll let you decide) where one month of the year in Sainsbury's (a national supermarket chain) all their bottles have little hats on them. Each year our group is contacted to let us know our 'quota', that is how many little hats the company will pay us to knit. 

For each hat we give them they give something like 25p to Age UK. It works out to a ridiculous hourly 'wage' but that matters nought as we enjoy keeping our hands busy and I particularly love using up tiny bits of yarn. There is probably a mental diagnosis for my obsession with small bits of textiles and yarn, but never mind.

I set myself the goal of knitting 100 hats, a good, finite number. It helps a lot to know when I can stop! Otherwise it could go on forever, so 100 it was. We always meet our quota (something like 2500 this year) with several hundred left over, so I'm happy with only making a small contribution to the effort. 

Only I miscounted. I thought I had 100, but then when I put them into rows and columns to photograph there were only 99. So I sat down and knitted another. 

And the pink one makes 100!

And you know what happened.

The lost hat, now 101

I found that 100th hat hiding in another I had 101 hats. I also made extra pom poms as many of the little old ladies in the group aren't fond of making them (and many don't like the sewing up process either; neither do I but I crochet them together which makes it a bit easier). I sat down and made 100 pom poms while we were on holiday as well. I'm pretty good at pom poms these days, if I do say so myself.

And then you know what happened? When we got home and sat down in front of the telly after dinner to catch up on various history programmes, I found 8 more hats sitting on the bookcase next to my I'll be turning in 109 hats.

I'm not even going to count those pom poms again.


Indigo Dragonfly said...

What a fun project! What are the dimensions of the hats? In the photographs they look like normal, head-sized hats. I assume they are much smaller?

Shelley said...

MUCH smaller! I would say they would fit the OJ bottle you get at McDonalds? They are 28 stitches by something like 16 rows on fairly small needles with double knit. A couple of inches in diameter about maybe 3 inches tall with the pom pom on top.