Custom made crochet characters for Hospice

Kathy Hawrys of Vanderhoof Hospice took me to visit a lady in town who has donated to the Hospice Suite. Eleonore Wlasitz has made such a generous contribution for an individual, she deserves special mention.

Last year she gave the full $1,300 proceeds of the sales from her one-of-a-kind crochet characters and she is continuing this year to use her talents to support the Hospice Suite and Family Room project which is still in need of funds for furniture and glass doors etc.

November craft fair

Eleonore is selling with help from her daughter-in-law Anita Wlasitz through Facebook and word of mouth. She will also sell from a table in November’s Craft Fair at WL McLeod. “I’d like to have at least 100 for the table because you have to have a variety” crochet critters for sale later on

Moved from Kamloops

Eleonore moved here from Kamloops two years ago. She sold her crochet characters and donated to Hospice in Kamloops. Since she has a very personal connection with Hospice, she wanted to do the same in Vanderhoof.

Last year Eleonore contacted the society to let them know about her idea. “We wanted them to know that we were selling these for donations to Hospice and we didn’t want anyone to think that we were using the Hospice name to scam people. That we indeed would donate the money.” said Anita.

Strong local response

The online response in Vanderhoof was immediate. “I actually got a little bit overwhelmed when I got all the orders. Anita would take the photos and put them on Facebook. People would say “Here’s a picture of my dog, can you do my dog?” or ” I love that giraffe, can you make it in pink with purple dots.” or “I’m a fan of Star Wars, can I have a Yoda?”” she said, smiling brightly.

The first year Eleonore started crocheting for Hospice in Kamloops she managed to donate $800 proceeds of sales. The second year in Kamloops she sold more and could donate $1,000. Soon after she moved to Vanderhoof she sold them on facebook and at a table at the annual craft fair in November at WL McLeod. In October and November last year Eleonore made $1,300 worth of sales, and she immediately wrote a cheque to Hospice for that amount.

“I was so shocked at the support in Vanderhoof. The people here are just so supportive.”

Home made value

Eleonore has kept her prices very low. She sells them below cost for $5 – $25 each. Her time and certainly a significant portion of her materials are donated.

“It’s very economical for a home made item that takes so much time. She’s putting them out there at a price that doesn’t cover what she puts into it.” says Anita.

“I like to keep it affordable so that the price isn’t too expensive and then they can get one for each of their kids maybe.” says Eleonore.

“Last year the Pokemon balls were popular and they were great because they were safe and you could throw one at your sister and it wouldn’t make her cry.” says Anita.

“People would come into the store and ask “Do you have anything that’s made from here, locally? Home made things are becoming much more popular,” says Kathy.

Knack for design

Eleonore has a knack for designing her own crochet patterns. “For some of them I have patterns, others I use this body or that head. I get a picture and I try to make it.”

The Amineko cat pattern is her favourite. “I keep wanting to make more cats because I just love them. Neko is Japanese for cat and Ami means crochet.”

Moody cat, lots of fun

“The Amineko cats are kinda lame looking at first with a neutral face and then you pose them and they suddenly have such a personality and different moods. They can be relaxed and happy or kinda grumpy or if you lie them down like this, they’re like “I’m so tired”. It’s the same pattern but with the way you move it, it takes on a different emotion.”

“It’s such a lot of fun. I just enjoy making them. I have so much fun making them”

Safe, durable materials

“The wool I use is durable washable synthetic acrylic wool. Natural fibres are sometimes scratchy and you can’t wash 100% wool.” says Eleonore. “I use all brand new wool and fibre stuffing. Wash it by hand or in the machine in a gentle machine cycle and delicate soap. Rinse them and squeeze them out real good. A gentle dryer setting will work.”

“At first I started making them and I used buttons for eyes. Kids see them and they want it, and Grandma’s buy them. So now I make sure they’re child safe. I don’t use any wires or buttons or things that can come off.”

This year Eleonore is going to split the proceeds; donate half to Hospice and half to the St. John Hospital Women’s Auxilliary.

Reminder to support Hospice

“This is a good reminder to the community that Hospice is continually looking for support. The Women’s Auxiliary too. This is an opportunity for people to be reminded.” says Eleonore.

“Its such an awesome idea and it’s so generous of you to donate,” said Kathy.