Meet the St. Louis County woman who knits tiny holiday hats for newborns


ST. LOUIS, Mo. – An 85-year-old south St. Louis County woman celebrates holidays with newborns and she puts smiles on faces throughout Mercy Hospital South.

“Babies make that hat. I mean, I make the hat but when you put it on a baby its beautiful,” said Evelyn Reker.

Evelyn Reker estimates she’s knitted thousands of caps for newborns over the decades. The hats are woven in softly colored yarn. Evelyn delivers at least two hats every month to Mercy Hospital South and dozens a month to the nurses for newborns organization.

“The penguin has really been done a lot,” said Evelyn. “The one that’s most popular is the Cardinals hat.”

New moms and families love the holiday touch on the hat.

Stacie Grohlman of New Athens Illinois gave birth to Milly at Mercy South three days before Valentine’s Day.

“I think it’s a super nice thing to do. Both of our boys were actually in the NICU when we were at our previous location. So, they ended up with little hats because they did something similar there too. It was kind of nice that she got one as well,” said Grohlman.

The labor and delivery staff at Mercy Hospital South love those caps about as much as the parents.

“The hats are wonderful. We look forward to receiving them every holiday. Obviously, for everybody, 2020 has been extremely challenging and it is really, really nice to continue to receive support from the community,” said Mercy Hospital South Nurse Manager Susan Jones.

Evelyn comes up with the designs and makes about two hats a day.

“So, it is eight knit pearl or knit and pearl here its real simple,” said Reker.

Evelyn doesn’t miss a holiday. She’s already making St. Patrick’s Day hats.

“You can see I get many compliments. I get so many thank yous it’s wonderful. Its beautiful it really is, and the world is good it is,” said Reker.

The tradition of dressing newborns in festive holiday caps brings much needed smiles this year.

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