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Montrealer knits thousands of baby hats for newborns at Jewish General Hospital

Volunteer knits thousands of baby hats for newborns at Jewish General Hospital
WATCH: The Jewish General Hospital’s birthing unit sees hundreds of mothers come through the doors with new babies every month. As Global’s Olivia O’Malley reports, they also leave with a unique birthday gift made by hand with love by two sisters.

After growing tired of sewing beds and sweaters for rescued dogs, Barbara Eusanio set off in search of a new hobby.

“I always knew how to knit. My mother belonged to a knitting club and I used to tag along and watch the intricate stitches,” she said.

Eusanio put her skills to good use and quickly found a new outlet ⁠— knitting baby hats.

“I knew I didn’t want to sell them and I knew I didn’t want to go the craft route.”

All it took was a phone call to the Jewish General Hospital and one nice operator to put Eusanio in touch with Risa Weigensberg, who works in the birthing unit.

“She was very happy I called and said ‘Yes we must meet’ and we did it at a Starbucks and I said ‘Here’s what I have’ and she said ‘Come on in,'” said Eusanio.

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The variety of small hats and the craftsmanship impressed Weigensberg.

“I thought that they were so well done and they were colorful,” she said.

In the beginning, Eusanio’s knitting needles couldn’t keep up. The demand for hats boomed with 350 babies born each month at the hospital’s birthing centre.

She first enlisted her sister Linda to help, then added variety to the hats by offering fabric hats and themed hats for each season.

Her winter delivery includes green and red hats for Christmas, blue and yellow for Hanukkah and bright, cherry red for Valentines Day.

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Two and a half years after her first meeting with Weigensberg, Eusanio estimates she has created over 3,000 tiny caps.

Eusanio never expected the hats to have the impact they have had on her or the families of newborns.

“I never looked at a return, I was glad to do it and when Rita would say ‘Oh they were excited or they really liked it,’ it makes you feel good,” said Eusanio.

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The handmade gift often acts as a keepsake for many families at the hospital.

“Some of them say it will stay with them forever and some of them say that they will pass it on to their grandchildren,” said Marta Guekozin a nurse at the birthing centre.

With her last delivery dropped off and awaiting new owners, Eusanio is getting ready to spend her winter in Florida, where her ideal day is sewing hats by the window watching golfers play.