Catherine Elizabeth Boudreau couldn’t resist the sight of a ball of yarn and knitting needles left on a table by another resident.
Although she hadn’t knitted for years, this 99-year-old at the Nakile Home for Special Care decided to take it up again… in a big way.
Knitting needles clacking, she now greets visitors in her “office.” She even has her own business cards.
Her products are soft, absorbent, dishcloths, knitted in a rainbow of colours; coasters and bookmark crosses.
She giggles when referred to as an entrepreneur and explains why she founded her business, which serves as a fundraiser for the Nakile Resident Council (the club).
The organization is composed of residents who propose and work towards the purchase of items not provided through the Health Department. They do this in partnership with the recreation staff.
“I was doing it (knitting) for myself to pass the time and Natalie (Natalie Surette d’Entremont – Nakile’s recreation manager)said I wonder if we couldn’t do something for the club?” said Boudreau.
“They’re going to buy something with the money,” she added.
In the past, the club has purchased a PA system for the main lounge, an awning shelter for the deck, patio furniture, and CD players, as well as a computer and printer.
The dishcloths, selling for $3/each, were hot items at a preserve, bake and craft sale held at the facility this fall. Most of her clients are staff or visitors. Some of the dishcloths have been shipped as far away as Moncton.
Typically she’ll knit one a day. More than that causes pins and needles sensations in her hands. She’s had operations on both for carpal tunnel syndrome.
She says at her age it’s important for her to keep productive.
“It makes me feel good. I think they appreciate it.”
She laughs at the suggestion of a website for her business.
Since August, she has sold 277 dishcloths.
“When it reached 100 I thought it was good,” she said.
Years ago, she was well known in her former community of Wedgeport for her knitting and generosity in giving away gloves, mittens, and sweaters.
She married young and became a widow at 42, raising her seven children while working at a furniture store, then a post office in Wedgeport.
She’s an avid Blue Jays baseball fan and can recite the stats and names of players. It wasn’t uncommon for her to sit down to watch a ball game after returning from bingo at 11 p.m. in past years.
Shortly after moving to Nakile last December she convinced management to add TSN2 to the channel selections so she could watch the games.
She appreciates the view from Nakile, at the top of the hill.
“I’ll stay here for as long as they want me,” she said.
Those interested in purchasing her dishcloths can contact the Nakile Home for Special Care at (902) 643-2707.