Knitted teddy bears in demand

by Mike Isle

A Charing Cross resident and a Christchurch law firm are getting behind a plea for local knitters to make teddy bears for children in hospital.

Michelle Bassett, a mother of three who lives in Charing Cross, says the Christchurch Hospital’s neonatal and acute children’s wards are in desperate need for teddy bears and she, and the law firm she works for, Harmans Lawyers in Papanui, are urging local knitters to make a teddy or two and donate it to the hospital.

Michelle says the teddies are easy to make and she even has a pattern, which The Record is happy to publish here.

Michelle and a work colleague at Harmans, Susan McDonnell-Golds, came up with the idea of going public after they heard the hospital used knitted teddy bears as a gift for children in the hospital and for new babies to take home.

Hospital chaplain Mary Minson said that they were giving away 30 teddy bears or more a week and most of those were coming from church groups, but such was the popularity of them that the hospital was struggling to meet the numbers required.

“It is just wonderful to see the children’s faces when they are given one of the bears. It is just a moment of joy for them, and we are immensely grateful to everybody that takes the time to make and donate the bears,” she said.

Michelle Bassett has made her public plea on various Facebook pages, including her own, in Selwyn and is organising local drop-off points. In the meantime, teddy bears can be taken directly to Christchurch Hospital, to Harmans Lawyers 485 Papanui Road or by emailing Michelle at Michelle.Bassett@harmans.co.nz to arrange collection.

Little Teddy Pattern (Neonatal & Children’s Wards)
Use 4mm needles (size 8) and 8 ply (double knit). Garter stitch
Use 5mm needles (size 9) if preferred gives firmer finish
Cast on 8 stitches, work 16 rows, break off wool
Cast on 8 stitches, work 16 rows, to form other leg
Knit across both legs (16 sts)
Knit 16 rows
Cast on 8 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows (to form arms)
Knit 8 rows
Cast off 8 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows
Work 38 rows on these 16 sts, to form head
Cast on 8 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows
Knit 8 rows
Cast off 8 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows
Knit 16 rows
Using only the first 8 stitches, work 16 rows, cast off
Return to remaining 8 stitches, work 16 rows, cast off

Making up
Fold knitting in half lengthways, fold becomes top of the head.
Join seams around teddy, leave a small gap between legs. Turn right side out
Backstitch diagonal line across corners of the head to form ears
Stuff and slip stitch gap closed
With double thickness of wool, slip stitch around neck and draw up, to form neck, secure ends
Embroider a face on teddy

Scarf
Cast on 60 stitches. Knit 6 rows. Cast off
Secure in place with stitch at back of neck
Please only use dacron stuffing. If you have old dacron pillows or duvet
inners, these could be washed and used.