A pearler of a gran: Ellen Beasley
A pearler of a gran: Ellen Beasley

Granny knits for the needy

WHERE do tree jumpers go when July ends?

Some become resplendent artworks showcased in galleries or holding pride of place in craft group halls, others are carefully unwound by dedicated souls like Maryvale grandmother Ellen Beasley destined for a far more profound role.

The quietly spoken 89-year-old spends her spare time knitting pint-size jumpers and cot blankets for the world's underprivileged children.

It is a commitment she juggles with her involvement with the talented Maryvale Art and Craft Group.

For the past six or seven years the group has created impressive tree jumpers as part of the annual Jumpers and Jazz Festival.

As a something of a master craftswoman – Mrs Beasley's mother taught her how to knit when she was just five years old – the octogenarian inevitably has an integral role in the group's production.

“They are a lovely group and I thoroughly enjoy being involved, the jumpers and jazz festival is one of our highlights,” she said.

But when the frivolities finish – and make no mistake Mrs Beasley loves the fun of the winter festival – she takes the leftover pieces and undoes her careful art work to reuse the wool.

With the painstaking care of a compassionate woman, who loves children, she reinvents some festival art pieces as much-needed winter wear for struggling infants in third world countries.

“Not all of our tree jumpers become children's jumpers and I use other wool,” she explained.

“Last year I unwound some little frogs from our display and knitted them into tiny jumpers for needy children.

“I have no idea where exactly my handmade jumpers and blankets end up, I just hope they help keep someone warm somewhere.”

It is a mission that has kept her for motivated for the past six years.

“I could have knitted more than 50 jumpers and quite a few blankets, I don't keep count,” she said.

Yet what she does keep close track on is her family: she is the proud mother of six, grandmother to 22 and great grandmother to “about 50”.

“I moved to Maryvale to be near my daughter and I still do my own housework,” she said.

“But in the afternoons I knit, I love knitting, I am never without it.”

True to form, she was knitting in Palmerin Street as this year's trees were dressed.

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