Crocheting booties, blankets and beanies for newborns at Hopkins County Memorial Hospital is a labor of love for Betty Landes, who is looking to recruit helping hands for her project – even if she has to teach the skill first.
Landes, 75, has been a resident of Sulphur Springs for the past three years and has taught knitting and crochet classes at the Senior Citizen’s Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive throughout that time.
“I just do it for the joy of it – I like to keep my hands busy,” said Landes, who makes wall hangings, sweaters, slippers, vest and a variety of other crocheted items. “With everything I do, I can’t do it all by myself so I have to have some help.”
The classes take place at 1 p.m. every Monday.
According to Landes, she has been perfecting her avocation since 1951 when she first picked up a needle and yarn while in the hospital for an extended period of time.
Born with a rare bone and blood disease she said she went in the hospital on Jan. 19, 1951, to have her daughter, but they didn’t take her until April 20.
“Then I had to stay another six weeks,” she explained. “I asked my mother and brother to bring me a needle, some thread and a book.”
Landes said she taught herself how to crochet and knit by copying patterns in the book.
“I was there all that time,” she said. “So, I started making these little raised flowers, Irish crochet. The first thing I ever made was an Irish crocheted tablecloth.
“I’ve been copying patterns ever since,” she added.
The little beanie hats take her approximately 45 minutes, but baby booties can be made in as little as five minutes.
“Many mothers show up at the hospital without these items and need them to take their newborns home in,” said Karon Weatherman, director of the Senior Citizen’s Center, who prompted Lan des to make the baby items.
Landes has hand-delivered about 42 beanies to the hospital in the last couple of months and said she enjoys seeing the young parents with their newborns.
“I do most of them in white, but I can do pink or blue or whatever,” explained Landes who said she is often commissioned to create crochet gifts for baby showers. “If they know the child’s name I can incorporate that, or put ‘It’s a girl,’ or ‘It’s a boy,’ into the pattern.
“I taught myself how to do that too,” she added with a laugh.
As for the beanies, booties and blankets for the hospital nursery, all those are donated from the goodness of her heart.
“I just love to make beautiful things and give them away,” she admitted. “It makes me feel great.”
Anyone interested in learning to crochet or knit are encouraged to attend Landes’ classes.
For more information call Karon Weatherman at the Senior Citizen’s Center at 903-885-1661 or just show up for classes.
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