Nova Scotia

This centenarian knit 100 caps for babies to mark her milestone birthday

Etta Jamieson of Truro, N.S., just turned 100 years old. She celebrated by knitting 100 caps for babies in need.

Etta Jamieson of Truro, N.S., says the secret to aging gracefully is helping others

Etta Jamieson of Truro, N.S., turned 100 years old last Thursday. She celebrated with cake, and by reaching her goal of knitting 100 caps for babies during the last year. (Submitted by Bonnie Sutherland)

The secret to aging gracefully? Helping others, according to 100-year-old Etta Jamieson.

Last week, the Truro, N.S., woman celebrated her milestone birthday by eating lots of cake — and completing her project to knit 100 caps for babies in need over the past year.

"Well, I was kind of happy I could do that," Jamieson told CBC Radio's Mainstreet on Monday. 

"It makes you feel good to do something for somebody and I think while you have the health and you're that well, that you should be doing things like this."

Jamieson turned 100 on Sept. 8, but it was two years earlier that she decided to challenge herself to knit 100 caps within one year.

"Well, I have no arthritis in my hands and I said, 'Well, I might as well put them to some good use,' " she said.

She said the caps are quite simple and each one takes about a day to complete, as long as she doesn't have any other chores to do around the house.

"I had to hurry a bit to get them done on my birthday," she said.

Knitting caps for 30 years

Jamieson said she's been knitting caps — and pneumonia vests — for children in need for 30 years. 

She started knitting them when the St. James Presbyterian Church in Truro asked for donations in order to send clothing for newborn babies to developing countries.

Many of her knitted caps have since been sent to Nicaragua and Malawi.

This latest batch, however, will be donated to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax and the Colchester East Hants Health Centre in Truro. 

Etta Jamieson of Truro celebrated a big birthday last week. She turned 100 on Thursday. To mark the occasion, she knit a children's cap for every year of her life and she's donating them to children's hospitals. Guest host Carolyn Ray spoke with Etta about her efforts.

The rest will go on a Christmas tree at the St. James Presbyterian Church later this year, for people who need them.

Jamieson said she's already planning to knit 101 caps for her birthday next year.

"I have three more started since my birthday, so I'm going to see how many I can make by the end of the year."

'Keep happy and keep laughing'

Jamieson said her helping people is important — and something everyone should do if they can.

Before she started knitting, she said she and her late husband and a group of friends would go to nursing homes to play music to entertain the residents. 

She said they would sing and dance, and get the residents to join in.

"We always felt better when we did those things. We got as much enjoyment out of it as they did and I think it makes you feel better and I like to feel positive about things," she said.

"Don't dwell on sad things or hard times. Keep happy and keep laughing. Get lots of rest."

With files from CBC Radio's Mainstreet

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