Coronavirus: 94-year old Kingston senior keeps busy with her knitting

Click to play video: '94-year old Kingston senior keeps busy with her knitting creating a COVID-19 blanket'
94-year old Kingston senior keeps busy with her knitting creating a COVID-19 blanket
Johanna Klaassen is passionate about her knitting, and during the COVID pandemic, she has crocheted a 40-square blanket she has nicknamed her COVID blanket. – May 16, 2020

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, many Kingston seniors endure isolation to stay safe in their homes.

One Kingstonian who is well into her 90s has kept herself busy doing her favourite past-time.

“No, I never get bored,” says Johanna Klaassen.

Klaassen is a mother of four, with seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, has always kept herself busy.

But during the novel coronavirus pandemic, she turned to her knitting — something she has done for decades.

“Well yes, it is my hobby,” says Klaassen, “because I have always knitted.

“I don’t know how many pairs of socks I have knitted … but if one pair is finished and especially before Christmas, there are a lot of people who got socks because I knitted them.”

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Klaassen’s latest project to keep herself occupied was an afghan now draped over the front of her sofa that she has nicknamed her COVID blanket.

Kathi Colwell with her mother Johanna. Global News

“I really enjoyed it and I’m so proud of it … that I did that,” said Klaassen, “especially when you can’t go anywhere and you have to stay home.”

It took about two months for Klaassen to crochet all of the squares, using up all the old yarn in her home. There are 40 squares in the blanket.

“These ones, they are my favourite ones,” says Klaassen, pointing to the middle six panels in dark red, brown and yellow.

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An immigrate from Holland with her late husband John in 1954, Klaassen celebrated a quiet 94th birthday on Saturday.

Her daughter Kathi Colwell says her mother has also been a volunteer and has donated many pieces of her work to charities, several documented in a glossy hardcover book created for her 90th birthday by her children.

Global News. Global News

“She even made little knitted dolls, with different skin colour, to go to Africa for children who were dying from AIDS, so they were buried with something; just some of the ideas Mom had and some of the charities she became involved with,” says Colwell.

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Kathi Colwell, Johanna’s daughter. Global News

Now Klaassen is looking for another project and is patiently waiting for the yarn stores to reopen.

“I can’t sit still (waving her hands in the air). I have to do something,” said Klaassen. “My hands have to be busy (laughing).”

As for her COVID blanket, Klaassen has yet to decide where it should go — but will most likely be donated to someone through her church.

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