NewsPositively San Diego


Knitting hats for the homeless

Posted at 2:20 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 17:20:27-05

(KGTV) -- Knit two, purl two. In this story that is Positively San Diego we meet an east county woman who has used that stitch countless times to spread warmth to those who need it the most.

"By the way, I'm knitting as you're talking to me," said Spring Valley resident Karen De Vos as our Zoom interview got underway.

I responded, "I love it!"

As she began to list the many places where knitting comes naturally to her, "When I'm watching TV, when I'm in the car, if I'm in a doctor's office, or if I'm in a movie theatre."

De Vos said she learned the craft when she was 9 from her mother. And over the years she's created keepsakes like Christmas stockings for family and friends.

"Then the Santa Claus on one side," said De Vos, showing off one of her stockings, "And then the reindeer and then the trees and then comes the foot."

De Vos enjoyed the creativity, but it took on new meaning in the early '90s when a charity drive asked her to knit hats to help the homeless stay warm.

"In the last three years we all know homelessness has become a terrific problem," says Devos, so, as the years have gone on since I've been knitting, I sort of felt maybe I was doing a better calling then I had ever done before."

For some 30 years now, de Vos has been knitting 60-plus hats a year for those in need, sticking with the same pattern while mixing up the colors. And as she points out, they're very stretchy, so one size fits all. She dons one of the hats to make the point.

"Some people like to wear the flap all the way down, but I think it looks cuter with the flap up."

The former middle school teacher and librarian says it's her way of giving back. Her hats go to Father Joe's Villages and the "Voices of our City Choir," famed for showcasing the singing of San Diego's unsheltered.

"When you get to be my age there aren't too many active things you can go out and do, you know, for charity purposes. But at least I can sit without any movement or anything and create something that will go for good," De Vos said.

And as she has knitted some 2,000 hats and continues to knit through this interview, she mentions, "I even can knit when I'm reading too."

Karen De Vos lives with her husband of more than 60-years at a senior living community in Spring Valley. She says he's very supportive. Also, she says her efforts bring out a spirit of generosity in others has she's been gifted quite a bit of yarn from friends and businesses.

If you're wondering, each hat takes about 3 hours to knit.