Thursday, September 16, 2010

Caps for Good

I was reading my amazing friend Tamsin’s blog this afternoon when I was instantly motivated to crochet a hat. She participates in a service project—sometimes spearheading one of her own and sometimes jumping on the bandwagon of an existing one—each month. This month she chose to participate in Caps for Good and invited her readers to join in, too. So I made a hat this afternoon, between playing the part of school teacher, lunch monitor, Fa Zhou, the Emperor of China, disciplinarian, and mother.


It seemed a little plain when I finished so I attached little ears to it. Andrew says it looks like a Winnie the Pooh hat now. I think it’s cute but it’s a little small according to their size specifications—my gauge must be off. I think I’ll send it in anyway and it can be given to a really premature baby somewhere.

Caps for Good will be collecting hats until February 2011 when they will send them to select countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

Having given birth to a baby in Africa, I happen to know firsthand that they don’t hand out hats for newborns like they do in America. Of course, they didn’t wash the baby off right away, either, so Miriam was given to me with her hair still encrusted with blood and vernix. That naturally helps keep a baby warm, but we put a hat on her, anyway, to help keep her even warmer. Andrew’s mom brought some baby hats out for us.

I only went to the nursery at the hospital once—Miriam stayed in our room the whole time we were in the hospital—and there were all these tiny babies lying on their sides (because that was the favoured position in Egypt at the time, I suppose), covered with blankets but, for the most part, hatless. The air conditioning was running full blast—right over these brand new babies! Poor things!

Frankly, though, I almost laughed when I read that hats would be delivered to Africa because, in North Africa, at least from what I’ve seen, babies are usually ridiculously bundled up, even in the heat of the summer, in large fluffy blankets. Often parents will carry around this huge basinet-basket thing that is so loaded with blankets you can hardly see the child inside.

“Hats are the last thing they need!” I thought to myself, but then I remembered how poorly insulated the buildings are and how the winter air (all fifty degrees of it) seeps through the brick wall and turns the entire building into an icebox.

Miriam slept in bed with us—with a hat on—for the first several months of her life because I really didn’t believe she could generate enough body heat to keep herself warm in our poorly heated house.

Perhaps hats for Africa are a good idea, after all. Silly me.

So I made a hat. I’m planning on making another one, too. Today I broke out the knitting needles that have been sitting dormant in my craft stuff since 1994 when I gave up trying to learn how to knit. I looked up some instructions online, sat down, and taught myself how to knit. So far it’s mostly turning out to be a horrible mess reminding me somewhat of a thneed but hopefully by the end of the month I’ll be able to wrangle a hat out of it.


You should make a hat, too! Tamsin said that if we get the hats to her she’ll mail them in altogether. And I say that if you get the hats to me I’ll get them to Tamsin. Now, isn’t that generous?


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Nancy! And I have to tell you that as a somewhat avid knitter, my little heart leapt at the mere mention of you teaching yourself to knit :)