Bay knitters will warm hearts, lives

getimage (14)WITH winter just around the corner, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day ambassadors in Port Elizabeth are crocheting up a storm for a national Freedom Day knitting challenge.

Port Elizabethans can now join the “good wool” initiative because it now has its own ambassadors here, three women who call their group Good Wool Blankets Port Elizabeth.

“We get together each month with our group of women from Motherwell to knit and crochet. For some of them, it’s all they do because they don’t have jobs and it keeps them busy while giving back to the community,” said one of the trio, Jacquene Anderson.

Since becoming ambassadors in January, the group has grown substantially, by inviting knitters on social media and via other contacts to join them. They now number about 70.

Next month on April 21, to celebrate the 21 years of democracy in South Africa, the 67 Blankets project plans to collect 21 000 blankets and lay them around the 9m bronze statue of Madiba at the Union Buildings.

Carolyn Steyn, founder of the initiative, said: “We want to cover the lawns in a sea of colourful blankets to celebrate the 21 years of democracy theme. Our call to action is 21.04.21 and we want all South Africans to come on board.”

Stitch by stitch, the women are creating colourful blocks that they sew together to make blankets.

Zuziwe Nxakana, from Motherwell, fondly known as “Mamfene”, said she enjoyed knitting with the women.

“Each of us were knitting individually, but then got together. What we’re doing here is really special and it’s an honour and a real gift to be crocheting under the banner of our great beloved icon, Tata Madiba,” Mamfene said.

Good Wool Blankets PE is planning its first knitathon next Saturday at Sixth Avenue Walmer shopping centre to encourage the Walmer and Walmer Township community to become involved in the project.

“We need to warm the people of PE this winter. Our dropbox is the Plain Purl store at the shopping centre and we urge everyone to come to the knitathon. We’ll even have knitting classes for those who can’t knit,” Anderson said.

Steyn said Airlink would fly all completed blankets to Pretoria for the 21 000 blankets challenge and return them to be given to the needy in time for the winter months.

Join the women of Good Wool Blankets this Saturday in Stanley Street at Buenos restaurant between 9.30am and 12.30pm for a knitathon, sponsored by Mohair South Africa.

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-Nomazima Nkosi

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