A Collingwood resident is committed to making sure all newborn babies have a cozy welcome into the world.
Wendy McLachlan knits hats for newborn babies and has donated several to the obstetrics department at the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital (CGMH). CGMH then makes sure every newborn baby is given a unique, hand-knit hat when they are born.
“It’s something that I like to give to the hospital,” said McLachlan. “Something that I like to do as well, knowing that I get to give it to someone who will appreciate it.”
McLachlan has been knitting baby hats using a small, round loom for almost five years. She got started in Florida, where she and her sister spend every winter, after joining a local group called the Boomer Loomers.
The Boomer Loomers is a non-profit crafting group in The Villages in Florida, that makes items for around 40 various charities including cancer patients, homeless families and active military personnel. For years, they would meet every Saturday morning and talk to each other while they crafted their creations.
The group would often receive letters from hospitals and charities around the country showing their appreciation.
“It was fun,” said McLachlan. “You knew that your creation got to someone who really appreciated it.”
McLachlan purchased her loom of her own so she could continue making the hats when she was home in Collingwood. It takes her about an hour to make each one and she typically does so in the evenings in front of the TV.
She saw the impact the donations had in the U.S. and wanted to support somewhere local as well.
Prior to the pandemic, McLachlan had contacted the hospital, but they weren’t accepting donations at the time. She continued to knit the hats during the COVID-19 lockdowns and started to build up a solid collection, so she decided to try again.
In May, McLachlan was scheduled for routine testing at the hospital, so she brought her stash of hats with her. She was directed to the obstetrics department where she was introduced to Dr. Gillian Yeates, chief of obstetrics and gynaecology at CGMH.
Dr. Yeates was thrilled to receive the selection of hats and she immediately introduced McLachlan to a mother-to-be, who was nearly nine months pregnant at the time.
“The woman was having a boy so I pulled out a blue hat and I put it on her stomach and the three of us took a picture,” McLachlan smiled.
To date, McLachlan guesses she has made anywhere between 200 and 300 baby hats. She can typically complete one or two in a single sitting and loves experimenting with different colour combinations.
“It’s a creative outlet, and it’s very satisfying when you finish it,” she said.
McLachlan has already started creating a new collection of hats and she plans to contact the hospital again before she leaves for Florida this winter.