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Calling all Knitters: Join 100 Year-Old Gran Knitting Beanies for Newborns

Joan Young turned 100 in May. She’s been knitting for 90 years. That’s a lot of baby booties and beanies!

Over the past several years her prize project has been knitting beanies for newborns at Mater Mother’s Hospital in South Brisbane. Joan has helped hundred of Mater Mother’s Hospital newborns keep warm and is looking for knitters to help join her on her mission.

If you’re a knitter, or if you’ve ever wanted to take up knitting, then check out how you can help below.

Joan’s knitting journey

Joan, who lives on the Gold Coast, is a busy mum, gran, great-gran and great-great gran to five children, nine grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. She’s been knitting since was 10 years old and has made countless outfits for her own family. 

It wasn’t until Joan purchased a Mater Prize Home ticket that she felt compelled to use her knitting gift to help newborns. Once she found out that the Prize Mater Home tickets are used to help Mater’s little miracle babies, she knew she could do more than just purchase a ticket. 

“Every time I buy tickets, I read about how these tiny babies have been saved thanks to life-saving treatment at Mater. I thought ‘I have to do something for these little babies’,” Joan said. 

Joan got to work and now spends a lot of her free time knitting baby booties and beanies for newborns in need. She knits every day and over the years has made thousands of baby shawls and booties for other hospitals around the state too.

Joan knitting beanies for newborns
Go Joan! What a knitting legend! Source: Supplied

“I just love knitting. It’s nice to see the result of my work – in no time I have something that takes shape,” Joan added. 

“I was young when I started knitting. When I was 12 my mum taught me how to make booties and I still use the same pattern.”

In many instances, newborns will require something warm on their heads after birth and Joan’s beanies are loved and cherished by families across Queensland. 

“To receive a package with something so sentimental is priceless,” Mater Mothers’ Hospital Assistant Director of Clinical Services Kathleen Goldsmith said. 

Calling all knitters

If you would love to help Joan and the other army of knitters, they would LOVE some more handmade beanies. Around 40 babies are born each day at Mater Mothers’ Hospital and these newborns need to keep their itty bitty heads warm, especially premmies. 

“The beanies are used in birth suites and theatre recovery wards to maintain the temperature of babies when they are first born.

We have a shortage on beanies at the moment and any help we can get to warm little heads and hearts is greatly appreciated.” Mater Volunteer Senior Manager Judy Johnson said. 

Even if you don’t know how to knit but have always wanted to try, you can find the specific pattern at Mater.org. We’ve also shared it below. 

Beanies for newborns may be delivered or sent to:

Mater Mothers’ Hospital, lvl 5
Raymond Terrace
South Brisbane 4101


Baby Beanie Pattern

General Instructions:

  • Stocking Stitch: Knit one row and purl the next row alternately.
  • Single Rib: K1, P1
  • Double Rib: K2, P2
  • Seaming for Baby clothes.

Place two pieces of fabric evenly together, right side to right side and sewing stitch by stitch, taking care that the stretch is the same as the fabric, ie, insert needle from right to left through centre of knob (formed by knitting stich at beginning and end of purl row) in front piece of work, then insert needle from left to right through centre of knob at back of work. You should have an almost invisible join.

Pattern 1 Using 3 or 4 ply baby wool 3.25mm needles

  • Cast on 100sts
  • 1st Row K2, P2 to end of row (double Rib)
  • Repeat 19 times (20 rows) Work in stocking stitch for 20 rows
  • With right side facing decrease for crown
  • Row 1. K10, K2 tog to the end of row
  • Row 2. Purl
  • Row 3. K9, K2 tog to the end of row
  • Row 4. Purl

Continue until 10 sts remain, break off yarn, leaving enough to seam the garment, run the thread through sts and sew up the seam as per instructions.

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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