By Danielle Kutchel
Crafty residents of Aveo Botanic Gardens Retirement Village have put their needles together for a good cause, knitting almost 100 dolls for people affected by the summer’s horrific bushfire season.
After hearing about those who have lost everything in the fires, residents of the village decided to do what they could with the skills they possessed.
About 15 residents came together every Thursday in January with plans to knit 100 comfort dolls to send to the disaster zone, feeling that there would be a need for them later on after the fires, especially for children.
To date, they’ve completed 85 of the comfort-giving items, which are now on their way to the fire-affected zone.
Comfort dolls, also known as trauma dolls, are widely used in hospitals and other situations where children face negative situations – but group member Pamela Hook said anyone could benefit from a doll as they are designed for whoever needs them.
Each comfort doll knitted by the group is unique with every knitter putting their own character into it.
Ms Hook said the group was motivated by a desire to respond in any way they could to the inferno.
“It gives us a sense of making a contribution and I think that’s what galvanised people because they couldn’t give a lot of money but they could give their time and skill. It gave everyone a sense of pride,” she said.
Ms Hook said the group hoped to keep the project going and was happy to act as a drop-off point for anyone in the community who would also like to contribute their own knitted creations.
“It doesn’t take long to knit the doll. We have a contact with Vinnies who is helping to distribute the dolls, so getting the dolls to the right people is easy to do.”
Darrin Bayliss-White, community manager at Aveo Botanic Gardens, said he was proud of the knitting group’s efforts.
“Within our Aveo community, we know that the littlest things can mean so much, so we transpose that across to the wider community,” he said.
Ms Hook agreed.
“The little things, when you think about it, do make a difference and that’s all we’re trying to do.
“We can never understand what they’re going through but we’re doing our best to empathise with their loss and we’ll do whatever we can to support them.”
Needles size 8/9, 8-ply wool, five bands of colour, 32 stitches. Row numbers: four, 14, 12, 10, 10. The last row is for the cap and is shaped by knitting stiches together. The piece is joined by sewing together, stuffing and finishing off. Comprehensive patterns are available online.
Anyone wishing to drop off a completed doll can bring it to Aveo Botanic Gardens Retirement Village, 41 Craig Road, Junction Village.