Knitter Knatter sessions create little hats for neonatal babies


A group of elderly ladies and gents have spent weeks knitting hats for the neonatal department at the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton.

The neonatal intensive care unit at Princess Anne Hospital is one of the largest neonatal units in the country, providing  specialist care to around 900 babies a year from across the south and the channel islands.


Every week, the group meet for the Knitter Knatter session at Woodlands House, Southampton with their knitting needles, yarn and a determined purpose to work together on the project. It is also a great social interaction session, giving the residents a chance to have a good gossip and chat!


Over 150 hats have been creatively made with attention and care to be presented to the hospital ready for the small infants.

The multi coloured hats are lovingly hand knitted to make sure they are the correct size for premature babies. Some of the knitted hats have a section or gap to ensure any tubes or equipment can still be used without the hat causing an obstruction.


It is clear to see that the residents have benefitted from this hobby – for some, it is the first time they have knitted whilst others are rediscovering an old interest.

The wellbeing benefits are far ranging too – with the group enjoying the gentle physicality of keeping hands and minds busy.

Some experts have praised knitting for the rhythmic, repetitive motion and relaxation it brings to the mind and body. The simple sit down task is also famous for stimulating the whole brain at once including the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobe which handles sensory and visual information and stores memories.


Sourcing a simple knitting pattern and following design has brought a smile to the residents faces.

Jane Edwards is a Carer at Woodlands House and she runs the knitting sessions:

I found patterns that the resident would like, and I sit with them and we all knit together while having a chat and a giggle. Some of our residents may struggle with their eye sight or movement in their hands so I made the knitting task very simple and achievable.

Our residents love to participate because it gives them a goal to know they are making a difference to little ones who need a nice warm hat and that is an encouraging thought. The success of this project, breeds confidence and we are knitting other items that will be given to Dorset Police, so they can distribute them to distressed children.



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