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Bield resident's talent not to be 'stitched' at

One of Bield’s Dalkeith residents has put her knitting skills to festive use by completing 15 Christmas-themed teddies to raise money for charity.

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One of Bield’s Dalkeith residents has put her knitting skills to festive use by completing 15 Christmas-themed teddies to raise money for charity.

Sixty-nine year old Irene Bishop has knitted every day for the last 30 years, and has spent the last two months creating intricately designed penguins, logs, snowmen and Santa Clauses.

The teddies have been donated to raffles or given to charities to help make a difference over the winter months.

Irene said: “I have been knitting for over 30 years non-stop. It keeps my hands busy and my mind off of a lot of things.

“I started when I moved to Malta in the 70s, and would create and sell Christian display crafts out of lace and wool. I used patterns out of magazines and was even part of a knitting circle to begin with.

“I have made some more traditional-style toys, but I also knit scarves, cardigans, hats and socks.

“Earlier this year, I also completed quite a few Trauma Teddies for the Children 1st campaign, which are kept in police cars and given to children who are in troubled circumstances.  

“I have also knitted dog coats for the RSPCA and over 200 hats for premature babies in Africa.

“It’s all just second nature to me. I knit most of the day and only put my pins down for a tea break. It just keeps me occupied.”

Although active with her pins and needles, Irene hasn’t always been able to undertake her much-loved hobby. Since moving back to Scotland with her Maltese husband Tony, she has unfortunately suffered three strokes.

Irene added: “It hasn’t been easy but I think that it is important to keep yourself mentally and physically active when you can. Knitting is my way of concentrating and staying on the ball with the patterns.

“I have tried tapestry and crochet, which I never really got into. However, these are things I would like to try again in the New Year – it’s nice to learn new things.

“I have just finished a variety of Christmas teddies, which I have donated to raffles, charity and given as gifts. I enjoy knitting more at this time of year.

“There is nothing better than seeing the joy on the face of a child receiving one of your knits. It makes it all worthwhile.”

Whitehill Lodge is a Bield development for those aged 60 and over who want to be able to retain their independence while having help on hand when needed.