How nattering puts a smile on kids’ faces


22 August 2019

 Happy-Sad face dolls knitted by residents of Jane Winstone retirement village.


A group of women living at Jane Winstone Retirement Village have used their ‘knit and natter’ sessions to knit dolls for Whanganui Hospital’s children’s ward.



The dolls have a smiley face on one side and a sad face on the other. When children are sick or stressed, or can’t express themselves through words, they can use the dolls to communicate.


“The dolls can be the friend children take home with them. It helps provide a happy memory during what can be a tough time,” says paediatric nurse Rose Bourne.


“The group is very clever and the dolls are absolutely wonderful,” she adds.  


The knit and natter group has knitted about 40 dolls over the last four months, but they have also made clothes for local organisations like Jigsaw and Women’s Refuge as part of a wider community knitting project. Patterns and bamboo knitting needles have been supplied by Lyn Dawson of Peggy & Friends who was sponsored by Ryman Healthcare to visit each retirement village.


Charmaine Staines, Jane Winstone’s van driver, has also knitted some dolls.


“The dolls are all different, they’ve all got different personalities. It’s really enjoyable making them. It was easy knitting and lots of fun. It’s good to do something for the community,” she says.


Charmaine says it takes about an evening to knit the dolls, but sewing, stuffing the dolls and getting their arms and heads right, takes about the same amount of time.


"If it puts a little smile on one face, it's been worth it," says Barbara Cromarty, one of the knitters.


Their next project is booties for newborn babies in Whanganui Hospital’s neonatal unit.