Become a wooligan and give back

Wooligans… Elizabeth Damons-Mentor, Avril Petersen, Julia Beziek and Carol Beukes join the others to knit together every Friday.

It’s all fingers on board at the Grassy Park library every Friday when a group of knitters and crocheters come together to make blankets, scarves, beanies and other items for those most in need.

The group of around 30 women meet up and exchange patterns, tips and conversation while they work away.

They later donate their handiwork to organisations like orphanages, hospitals and old age homes.

The group meets at the Grassy Park branch of the 67 blankets NPO initiative, which was started nearly 10 years ago as part of the Mandela Day campaign to knit blankets for the needy and since its inception a decade ago thousands have contributed their time, wool and efforts to make hundreds of thousands wool products.

Knitwits Ronehl Alexander, Ruth Ely and Charlene Mitchell.

67 Blankets ambassador Ruth Ely who has been with the NPO for eight years, said coming together and knitting or crocheting is about community and giving people a space to do something good together.

“We come together in a safe, comfortable and welcoming space where we socialise and have a cup of tea while we knit and crochet and it is such a joy. It’s also such a heart-warming feeling being able to hand over wool products that we made to people who need that extra bit of love,” said Ms Ely.

The group of knitters at the Grassy Park library.

Anyone, even those with no knitting or crochet experience, can join.

Charlene Mitchell was at the library with her grandchildren about three months ago when she saw the group congregating and has been attending the knitting club ever since.

“I initially brought my mother to the knitting group as I didn’t know how to knit or crochet but as time went on they taught me how to. At first it was a bit difficult because I had no idea how to do it but with the help and encouragement of the ladies I can knit and crochet and I am so happy to be able to give back in such a way,” she said.

Ronelh Alexander also didn’t know anything about crocheting or knitting but learnt when she joined the group and has been unable to put down her needles since then.

Sharon Roubach, Elizabeth Petersen and Merci de Waal working on their next project.

“I started out with crocheted scarves and beanies and now I don’t want to stop and sit up till 3am in the morning. When I’m watching TV, or busy cooking I’m always sitting with my wool and I love it. To know there’s someone out there wearing that beanie or blanket and it’s keeping them warm is such a nice feeling and that is what keeps me going,” said Ms Alexander.

She encouraged young and old to join the knitting and crochet initiative.

The ‘knitwits’ or ‘wooligans’ meet at the Grassy Park library every Friday from 9am to 12pm – anyone is welcome to join or contribute to the project by donating wool, knitting gear/equipment or knitted goods.

For more information or to find out how to donate contact Ruth on 083 730 9829 or email to