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January 27, 2016. Update from IWK Volunteer Resources

“Good morning IWK Supporters!

I would like to take a moment to thank you so much for your generous donations for our patients and families! When items such as comfort bears, finger puppets and quilts are donated to the Health Centre, there are really no words to express the positive impact these gifts can make to a patient’s visit.

Recently, an old post about our need for comfort bears has resurfaced – and while we can always use comfort bears/dolls, we do not have a current, urgent need for them.

What we could use more of are finger puppets as we can go through upwards of 1,000 in any given month.  We distribute finger puppets to many areas of the hospital – for children having procedures, blood work, siblings waiting for their loved ones etc… so they are well used! And we often hear that our patients keep them for years afterwards. 

Items can be dropped off at Volunteer Resources Monday-Friday 8am-4pm. 

Thank you again so much for your support of our patients and families – you truly make a difference with your contributions.”

Kylene Mellor

Manager, Volunteer Resources

Below is the old post that was published in 2012. It resurfaced in December 2015- January 2016, I wrote more about it here. If you enjoy making those bears and dolls, I am sure you will find a good place for them. Otherwise, there is no need to make more for now, and if you wish to support the current need, consider making finger puppets instead.

~A message from IWK Volunteer Resources

“At the IWK Health Centre, we provide knitted comfort dolls and small teddy bears to children who are undergoing surgery, having complicated medical tests done or who just need a bit of extra cheering up.

These little toys are so popular that we simply can’t keep a supply in storage – as fast as they arrive, they are given away. Our goal is to have children leave the hospital with a positive memory of their visit, so they aren’t afraid to return if the need arises. Whether this is done with a finger puppet or little toy, the end result is the same – smiles on little faces.

We have the privilege of being able to distribute many comfort items to our patients and families, to help make their hospital visit a bit more pleasant, and a bit less frightening. We are truly blessed in the Maritimes to have so many talented and generous craftspeople helping us with this. In the Volunteer Resources department, we often say that we have the best job in the Health Centre. Almost every day we stop what we are doing to admire a new donation. Anyone who gets discouraged with the state of the world should come and do our job for a week, to see this outpouring of generosity”.

The knitted dolls and bears can be dropped off at the

IWK Volunteer Resources
5850/5980 University Avenue
Halifax, NS  B3K 6R8

(They are located on the main floor of the women’s site, just down the hall to the left of the Protection Services desk.)

The members of a local knitting group donated these dolls and teddy bears. Aren’t they cute? They are also quite simple to make. You can find a pattern for comfort dolls on the IWK website, and below is the pattern for teddy bears. Please note that the credit goes to the anonymous knitter who created it and posted it on the website that is currently unavailable.

Here is the printable Little Knitted Teddy pattern  with step-by-step photos.

Little Knitted Teddy

With 4mm needles and Baby Double Knitting.

Garter stitch used throughout (knit every row)

Cast on 8 stitches and work 16 rows.
Break off yarn and cast on 8 stitches and work 16 rows to form other leg.
Knit across both legs (16 sts) and complete 8 rows.
Cast on 8 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows.
Work 8 rows.
Cast off 8 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows.
Now work 38 rows on these 16 sts.
Cast on 8 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows.
Work 8 rows.
Cast off 8 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows.
Work 8 rows.
Using only first 8 stitches, work 16 rows and then cast off.
Return to remaining 8 stitches and work 16 rows and then cast off.

Making up.

Fold knitted piece in half lengthways. The fold becomes the top of the head.

Join seam around teddy, leave a small gap between the legs.
Turn right side out.
Backstitch a diagonal line across corner of head to form ears.
Stuff (with flame resistant stuffing) and slip stitch closed area left for stuffing.
Embroider a face on teddy.
Take a double thickness of yarn and thread around neck, going in every few stitches, (making sure there are no loops that little fingers can get into).
Draw up yard tightly to form neck and secure ends.

Optional scarf

With same needles and thickness of yarn, cast on 60 stitches.
Knit 6 rows and then cast off.
Tie round teddy’s neck and secure in place if being given to a small child.

This is my Teddy in progress.

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