Where there’s wool, there’s a way

Wool Corner owner Erna Schmitt shows off some of the knitted 'boobs' sold in store.

Walking into the sun-warmed Wool Corner store on Blaauwberg Road, with its rows of multi-coloured wool, feels like pulling on a particularly cozy jumper.

Erna Schmitt, who opened the store on Wednesday June 15, sits behind a table with a cup of coffee in hand and knitting magazines scattered before her, while visitors to the store filter in making themselves at home on the inviting lounge chairs while their eyes scan the wares on display.

Apart from a range of wool, assorted knitting needles and crochet materials there are various handmade items knitted by the NGO Nutty Knitters and also the Happy Hookers. They have a range of crocheted ponchos, Minion dolls and knitted baby goodies.

“I only sell items made by the Nutty Knitters and the Happy Hookers, and all proceeds go to the groups so that they can buy more wool and supplies,” said Ms Schmitt who joined the Nutty Knitters five years ago.

The group has about 50 women in the Table View area and surrounds who knit for various charities and organisations such as Lambs of Dunoon, Huis Ysterplaat, Tygerberg Hospital, Groote Schuur’s premature babies unit and old age homes.

“Everyone gets a blanket, a beanie, a scarf and fingerless mittens. The Happy Hookers make crochet items, and they get sponsored to make items which are given to people in hospital who are bedridden,” said Ms Schmitt.

Apart from helping the knitters and crafty crochet artists do what they love for charity, the store also serves as a “kuier plek” where anyone in the area can come in, sit down and enjoy some knitting.

“There are a lot of lonely people around here, and when you get to a certain age, you don’t make friends very easily. So on a Tuesday, we sit here and knit. Soon we’ll have a lady who will come here and give knitting lessons, and another who will teach crocheting.”

“I just love being here and having people around me,” said Ms Schmitt.

According to Ms Schmitt, the most popular item in the store is the Minion dolls. More than 1 000 have been sold. The dolls were handmade by one woman who hasn’t made a cent off any of them.

Knitted “boobs” are also another unique item in the store. They are made for women who have had mastectomies but cannot afford reconstructive surgery.

“They’re made from coffee cotton, which is very soft and washable, and come in different sizes. We also do specialised items. A lot of people come in and say they want an item made with specific wool or in a certain colour.

“In summer, we use more cottons and have crochet tops and bikinis,” said Ms Schmitt.

The store is at 234 Blaauwberg Road. To find out more about Wool Corner and Nutty Knitters, call Erna Schmitt at 072 579 5856.