Eureka volunteer knits 500 baby hats

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Since January 2011, Carol Yost of Eureka has been knitting newborn hats for Advocate BroMenn Medical Center’s Obstetrics Unit.

“It’s been a blessing — kind of a ministry for me,” Yost said.

On March 21, Yost presented her 500th handmade newborn hat to little Ian Tyler Webster, the firstborn son of Ginny and Tyler Webster of Chenoa.

Yost was first introduced to knitting newborn hats by a friend, on Yost and her husband, Craig’s, annual trip to Florida.

She was given the hat pattern and decided to give it a try.

Yost spends about 30-45 minutes per hat and will typically make six or seven hats in an evening.

“She goes through a lot of special care to make these hats,” Brenda Eames, a nurse from Advocate BroMenn’s Obstetrics Unit, said.

Each newborn hat is embellished to correlate with the current season: for example, the January hats had festive pom-poms and the February hats had embroidered hearts.

Yost uses her own money to buy the yarn.

“My husband and I always look for coupons,” she said. “But my husband is very supportive of what I do, and helps me pick out the yarn.”

Yost decided to donate the newborn hats to Advocate BroMenn because a friend’s daughter, Annette Grieder, works in the hospital’s Obstetrics Unit.

Yost brings large bags of newborn hats to Rock Creek Bible Church in Congerville, the church she and Grieder attend, and gives them to Grieder to take to the medical center.

Yost knew her 500th hat needed to be unique and special.

“I didn’t know quite what to do with it,” Yost said.

After a lot of thought, she chose a red, white, and blue pattern. The presentation to the Webster family was the first time Yost personally presented a hat to a family at the hospital.

Yost is one of several volunteers — both men and women — who hand-make hats for BroMenn’s newborns. There’s even a group of seniors in Normal who meet weekly at the Normal Township senior center to make baby hats.

“There’s this saying, if your hands are busy, it helps your mind,” Yost said.

Though she says making newborn hats is just for fun, the hats truly do have an impact on new mothers.

“They love the hats,” Eames said. “People in the community are aware of what she does, and they ask about her.”

Individuals who would like to volunteer to make items for newborns or other hospital patients may contact Sue Seibring at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, 268-5397, or Rhonda Payne at Advocate Eureka Hospital, 467-2371.