They don’t know how to quit

Count lost on that day whose low setting sun

no worthy deed done by your hand.

— Baltazar Gracian

The craftsmen at Christ the King’s Church in St. Vital must have grown fond of Baltazar Gracian. Coordinator Brian Dawson has for years given away her knitted or crocheted lap blankets to our seniors at Dakota House, CancerCare and anyone else who needs a sense of warmth and care in their time of need. Luckily I was blessed with one to keep my injured knee comfortable during the evening news.

It reminds me of a poetry class for seniors. To motivate us, our teacher brought a beloved keepsake from his late grandmother—a faded, hand-knitted scarf he called a babushka. In Jewish tradition it may have been called a prayer shawl, meaning comfort and loving arms and security in his childhood days. I believe today’s lap blankets serve a similar purpose.

Another person who has crocheted for charity over the years is Dakota House renter Remedios Fernandez (Ramy for short). Originally not speaking a word of English, after World War II she sailed alone to Canada, where a friendly relative took her in. Within three years her suitor arrived from Spain; They married and eventually became a family of five. Daughter Linda was Ramy’s right arm, providing her mother with yarn to keep her fingers busy, crocheting lap blankets and bonnets, or knitting gloves and socks for the less fortunate. Special hooks allow her to crochet despite her arthritic hands. Linda also buys all the yarn and distributes the finished products to places like Siloam Mission and Main Street Project.

Jean Brydges is another prolific artisan here at Dakota House. She was a member of our knitting club and helped raise the thousands of dollars our ladies made in their annual sales over the years. They have disbanded, but Jean and a few others continue to contribute. As her former secretary and treasurer Betty Buckingham says, “They don’t know how to quit.”

In the photo you can see the unique children’s blankets that Jean sewed, as well as her crocheted sweater and tablecloth. Your hands are never idle. She even called for her knitting when she was recently admitted to hospital – she says she was taught by her English grandmother when she was six that “young ladies don’t sit idle!”

We have another tenant named Wilma Coffin who does great work for herself and for charity. And how many others?

They are there to make the world a little bit nicer for everyone, and by enriching others’ lives, they also enrich your own.

Anne Yanchyshyn is parish correspondent for St. Vital. Email her at

Anne Yanchysyn

Anne Yanchysyn
Correspondent of the parish of St. Vital

Anne Yanchyshyn is parish correspondent for St. Vital.


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