DELTA, Ohio — JoHanna Schwind has absolutely no idea how many hats she has crocheted over the years. She never bothered to keep track.
“Hundreds. Thousands,” the Delta woman said. “I don’t need to know that. It’s not important to me.”
Mrs. Schwind, who recently turned 90 years old, has crocheted and donated hats for newborns and children in area hospitals and homeless people for the past 10 to 15 years. She said she has soft spots for the little ones and the homeless.
“I’m a very caring woman,” she said. “When I just see the world, I think I’ve been blessed.”
She donates infant hats to Fulton County Health Center in Wauseon and to Bellevue Hospital. Hats for children who have lost their hair for medical reasons are donated to ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital. She sends adult hats for the homeless to Cherry Street Mission Ministries in Toledo.
Ms. Schwind fills practically all of her down time with crocheting. She learned the craft from her mother when she was 15 years old and found it addictive.
“I could sit here and feel like I was intoxicated,” she said. “I didn’t want to stop.”
The hobby has helped fill the time after her husband and friends have passed away one by one.
“I gotta keep busy doing something, otherwise I’ll start to cry,” she said. “I knew there was something I had to do. I wasn’t gonna look for a man, that’s for sure.”
She obtains the yarn from yard sales, auctions, thrift stores, and other low-cost places. Her family and a few others also help find material for her. Once they are finished, she prays over the hats.
“They have my blessing,” Mrs. Schwind said. “Anybody that touches and wears them will be blessed. That’s what I believe.”
She doesn’t often hear from the people who have received the hats. But she doesn’t mind the lack of recognition.
“I’m not doing this for that, you know,” she said. “I’m doing it because I love it.”
Mrs. Schwind hopes her daughter Theresa Reckner will take over crocheting the hats for her eventually. Ms. Reckner has been working to learn the craft for about three months and is crocheting dishcloths and other simple items.
“It’s a slow process with me, but I’m catching on,” she said. “I told mom, ‘Mom, I’m gonna get this. It’s just gonna take me a while.’”
Ms. Reckner said the hobby has been good for her mother.
“Mom has to be busy,” she said. “After my dad died, she just tried to get out and do things because she was alone. When she had eight kids and a husband to care for all those years and then she didn’t, she needed something.”
And for Mrs. Schwind, crochet did the trick. She jokes that she doesn’t know where all the time has gone since she began crocheting hats.
“Time just went fast,” she said. “I don’t know how I got this old.”
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