Julia Clarke has been knitting since she was a pre-schooler - her father taught her using meat skewers for needles - but she no longer has children of her own needing protection from bitter Rotorua winters.

For some time she's been knitting dolls for auctioning in Auckland, proceeds going towards buying Christmas toys for deprived children, but now she's turning out rugs for refugees.

Now 80, Julia lives at Ahipara (with a magnificent view of the beach straight across the road), and doesn't get out much. So she's inviting fellow knitters, or anyone who would like to learn, male or female, to join her there to chat, enjoying a cuppa and make more rugs.

She was quite happy to sit and knit whilst watching a film, she said, the latter pleasure making her feel "a bit idle," and her urge to contribute to her community remained undimmed. And she would enjoy some company.

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Some years ago Julia had heard of a woman in Palmerston North who had been knitting for refugees. Eventually, and not without difficulty, she tracked her down, and found that a national network of knitters, Operation Coverup, had been formed.

A woman on Onerahi collected Northland contributions, the results of all that knitting being dispatched overseas every time there was a containerful.

The next batch was destined for Middle Eastern refugees in Ukraine, who she had no doubt would be feeling the chill. Anyone who would like to join her was welcome to contact her on (09) 409-4086.

Knitters would need to provide their own wool, which could be bought in Kaitaia, although the cheapest source was old jerseys that could be found in abundance at various op shops, unpicked and recycled.