Christmas Toys ‘Knit’ a Problem for Seasoned Stitcher

by Katie Hogg

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Irene Bishop has knitted over 15 teddies for the festive season

Charity PR Bield tenant Christmas knits

A 69-YEAR-OLD Midlothian woman who has knitted every day for the last 30 years has created a variety of Christmas teddies ahead of the festive season.

Irene Bishop, who lives at Bield’s Whitehill Lodge in Dalkeith, has completed over 15 intricately designed knits, including penguins, logs, snowmen and Santa Clauses.

The teddies, which were all completed over a two-month period, have been donated to raffles or given to charities to help make a difference over the winter months.

Irene said: “I have been knitting for over 30 years non-stop. It keeps my hands busy and my mind off of a lot of things.

“I started when I moved to Malta in the 70s, and would create and sell Christian display crafts out of lace and wool. I used patterns out of magazines and was even part of a knitting circle to begin with.

“I have made some more traditional-style toys, but I also knit scarves, cardigans, hats and socks.

“Earlier this year, I also completed quite a few Trauma Teddies for the Children 1st campaign, which are kept in police cars and given to children who are in troubled circumstances.

“I have also knitted dog coats for the RSPCA and over 200 hats for premature babies in Africa.

“It’s all just second nature to me. I knit most of the day and only put my pins down for a tea break. It just keeps me occupied.”

Although active with her pins and needles, Irene hasn’t always been able to undertake her much-loved hobby. Since moving back to Scotland with her Maltese husband Tony, she has unfortunately suffered three strokes.

Irene added: “It hasn’t been easy but I think that it is important to keep yourself mentally and physically active when you can. Knitting is my way of concentrating and staying on the ball with the patterns.

“I have tried tapestry and crochet, which I never really got into. However, these are things I would like to try again in the New Year – it’s nice to learn new things.

“I have just finished a variety of Christmas teddies, which I have donated to raffles, charity and given as gifts. I enjoy knitting more at this time of year.

“There is nothing better than seeing the joy on the face of a child receiving one of your knits. It makes it all worthwhile.”

Whitehill Lodge is a Bield development for those aged 60 and over who want to be able to retain their independence while having help on hand when needed.

Bield has been providing high quality housing and related services for older people in Scotland for more than 40 years.

To find out more about Bield and its developments, visit

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Katie Hogg is part of the PR team at Holyrood PR in Scotland

Katie Hogg

Katie Hogg is part of the award-winning PR team at Holyrood PR. She is also a former journalist, most notably with luxury lifestyle magazine, Scottish Field

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