Two years ago Bauer saw a news broadcast announcing that St. John
United Church of Christ in Lincoln was donating its 1,000th coat to
Central Illinois Economic Development Corp. for distribution to
local children. The story mentioned that the church also gave hats
and mittens to accompany the coats. Though not a St. John member,
Bauer said she immediately thought, "I could knit the hats and
mittens." That year she made seven sets.
Using yarn supplied by
the church Charity Guild, Bauer set to work last December, right
after turning in her 2005 handiwork. She said she can complete a hat
and mitten set in half a day, "if nobody bothers me." That's the
equivalent of 50 full days contributed over the year to this labor
"I'm very proud of her," said Bauer's husband, Don. He added that
his wife also made about nine helmet liners in 2005 for donation to
the armed services. Again she got the idea from the news. She saw a
story about Decatur women knitting the helmet liners and decided
this was another way for her to contribute. The special wool for the
liners is expensive, though, so Bauer did not make any this year.
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Colors for the hats and mittens come from pleasing combinations
she sees around her. For example, the blue and yellow slide on a
playground inspired one pattern. Coats on children she sees on the
street, even cars in TV ads may provide inspiration.
The hats are rounded, and those in feminine colors include a
pompon. "I didn't think the boys would like a pompon dangling down,"
Bauer explained. She said she found a pattern she liked and "just
went with it."
Bauer started knitting 47 years ago. Her first project was a
green and blue sweater for her first baby. The Bauers have three
sons: Bill of Atlanta, Mike of Tulsa, Okla., and David of Mount
Pulaski. They have four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.