Sawatsky Sign-Off: Seniors repay the favor by knitting hundreds of hedgehogs

Esquimalt, BC –

To understand why Norah Macey knits hundreds of hedgehogs, we need to go back to the day when she was suddenly forced to buy a book on knitting socks.

“I haven’t knitted in 25 years,” the senior recalls with a smile. “I thought, ‘I guess I’ll knit socks!'”

Although the first pair of socks she made were too big, but her husband ended up using them as a pair of slippers, Norah was undaunted.

“I knit like a banshee,” laughs Norah. “I knit in the morning, noon and evening.”

She knits countless cozy items for her family and friends, before knitting for strangers she notices while cycling in her neighborhood.

“I would see people with cold ears,” Norah said as she showed CTV News the knit shirt that fits under a cycling helmet. “I would say, ‘Here, there are ear warmers.'”

When cyclists would inevitably offer to pay, Norah would always refuse to accept – something she herself would never have imagined as a child.

“There was a time in my life when I could use a few dollars to buy a loaf of bread for my kids,” says Norah.

Norah said she initially stopped knitting around the time she started raising her children in poverty.

Norah said: “A lot of people helped me back then, feeding my baby. “I could not have survived without the kindness of everyone in the neighborhood.”

Norah is in a better place now. So when her stepdaughter recently suggested knitting items with broader appeal than water bottle holders or illuminated foot warmers — hedgehogs perhaps — Norah was inspired.

Norah said: “I think it’s time to give back.

She says she has made hundreds of hedgehogs since then. They take about three days to knit and have colorful coats and smiling faces.

While she has used dozens of them to decorate her Christmas tree, most have been given away for free to those in need or donated to charities (including the yellow and blue which she is currently working on to raise funds for the Red Cross in Ukraine).

“When they were done, I felt like I gave birth,” laughs Norah. “And then I give and have a lot of love.”

The love of giving that Norah suggests people get paid upfront whenever they can.

“I don’t care how much time passes, you will do something kind for someone else,” Norah said before laughing. “And then we even!”

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