Casting aside their self-proclaimed “naughty past,” a group of Revera residents in Stittsville, just outside Ottawa, have instead turned to taking up knitting needles, and in doing so have crafted more than 1,000 handmade items for the Ottawa Hospital, including everything from hats for preemie babies to cozy sleeves for covering children with intravenous tubes attached to their bodies.
At last count, the Knotty Knitters totaled about 15 residents, led by 90-something Monetta Ayotte, who started knitting when she was 11 years old — for the Canadian military, no less. They average about six hours a day, their passion echoed by the group’s motto: “If we’re sittin,’ we’re knittin.’” At one point, the knitting got so intense that they ran out of wool, eventually garnering a donation from the Stittsville Legion and other Revera communities in the area.
If we’re not sittin,’ we’re knittin.’
The idea sprang to life after Revera resident June Warner, and her daughter, Bonnie McConnell, a nurse, recognized the need for knit covers in her work at the hospital, especially for patients undergoing chemotherapy or other treatments requiring intravenous injections. The knitted sleeves help keep the lines in place, and in doing so also keep the patients warm and toasty.
But it’s not just the patients benefitting from the woolen wear. The Knotty Knitters feel a renewed sense of purpose and accomplishment. Or as Jenna Gardiner, a Revera lifestyle consultant, told the Ottawa Citizen
, “As long as they’re giving back, they’re happy.
Today, the legion, the hospital and the Revera residents act as partners. And while they’re now swimming in wool donations, they’re on the hunt for more members to keep up with their project, with hopes to expand the club to other retirement residences in Ottawa.