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News arrow Features arrow Keeping children warm a labor of love for Brookings knitter


Keeping children warm a labor of love for Brookings knitter

Brookings resident Heide Heikilla has been knitting clothes, babies and children for years. The Pilot/Marjorie Woodfin

Brookings knitter Heide Heikilla said she was thrilled when she saw the looks of joy on the faces of the 11 children who received her gifts of sweaters, hats, mittens and socks on a recent Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Heikilla has been knitting for others since recovering from a serious injury she sustained when she was struck by a vehicle while walking across Highway 101. She has donated warm knitted garments and blankets for babies in the Curry County Head Start Program, the Pregnancy Care Center, and a New York organization that sends garments to needy children in other countries.

However, she explained that this year, with many in the Brookings-Harbor community in need, her pastor, Dr. Gordon Myrah, suggested that perhaps, “Charity begins at home,” and that she should consider providing warm garments for children in her own community.

“The looks of thanks and happiness on their faces, was a wonderful thank you for me,” she said.

Actually, it was help from her pastor’s wife, Diane Myrah, who started her knitting in 2000 when she was in recovery from head and elbow injuries. Heikilla said that Diane Myrah brought her some yarn and suggested that she try knitting as therapy.

She explained that she learned to knit in Germany in the first grade.

“I didn’t like it much, but we received grades from one to five, with one being best, and I always managed to knit enough to get a one.

However, after her school years, when she came to the United States and began raising a family, she said she didn’t have time to knit, so she had to learn all over again after her injuries.

In an earlier interview, Heikilla said it didn’t work too well at first.

“I couldn’t follow a pattern, and I was feeling sorry for myself when I thought, ‘Maybe, I can get help from above.’”

She said she began to pray, and then began to knit without a pattern and has been knitting ever since.

Prior to the Sunday gift giving, Heikilla showed an array of finished knitted sets spread out in her living room and bedroom. The sets included completed blankets, sweaters, mittens, socks and caps.

“It gives me something to do, and I enjoy it,” she said.

Trinity Lutheran Music Director Charlotte Heatherly was at the Sunday service when the young people were presented with the warm knitted garments.

“It was so sweet. It was just lovely,” Heatherly said.

Heikilla said she plans to give the remaining knitted garments to the Brookings Pregnancy Care Center and Kalmiopsis Elementary School for children who need warm clothing.


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