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Jannette Gordon proudly displaying one of her donated hats

Machias community member donates almost a hundred hats for UMM students

If you have been to the University of Maine at Machias (UMM) recently, you may have noticed many students wearing beautiful, colorful, homemade beanies. This is because of a kind act by Machias community member Janette Gordon, who made around 80 of these hats, which she then donated to the students.

“My whole family has always been giving… It’s just the way I was brought up.” Jannette remarked when discussing the enjoyment she gets from making the hats. Janette’s daughter and UMM’s dining hall general manager, Gail Gordon, informed me that this is the fourth year the beanies have been made. The yearly tradition started when it was noticed that many UMM students were coming from places like California and Florida, without any warm clothing. “We try to do it every year when the kids come back from their [Christmas] break… so they can have them for a snowier part of the year,” Gail added. Before moving to Machias and making beanies for the students, she made them for the American Legion and the Cherryfield Food Pantry.

Jannette described to me the process she uses to make all of the hats, “I use this big plastic ring (loom), and it has pegs all over it. I wind them around and I take a little pick, and just flip them (the yarn) over and make it look like knit.” This is using an efficient process called loom knitting, which is praised for its simplicity. “If I used a knitting needle, I would have made nowhere near 80 hats,” Janette mentioned. If you would like to make your own beanie, give this tutorial a look.

Jannette recommended that to care for your hat, have it inside-out when you wash it, and while you can wash it in hot or cold water, you should use a little detergent. After washing it, roll the hat up and stretch it gently as if you were ringing it out. This preserves the shape that the hat is meant to have.

Gail noted that color selection is very important to Janette as she hunts for yarn in colors she doesn’t have. She mentioned that she is looking for one yarn that matches the school’s signature blue.

When Janette isn’t making hats and knitting scarves, mittens, and decorations with her grandchildren, she enjoys gardening, crossword puzzles, and reading.

UMM students enjoying their beanies

Unintentionally, these lovely hats have become what some would call a “fashion staple” for students here at UMM. Everywhere you go in the winter months, you always see at least one student wearing one of them, all of whom, myself included, swear by their coziness. What better way for a community member to spread warmth to everyone around campus?

If you are a UMM student who would like your own hat, check by the dedicated table in the dining hall next January, where you’ll find a variety of colorful hats to choose from!

“I enjoy doing it and it’s something to do!” Janette said.

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