Heads up on a helpful hobby
Harris Shoemaker wasn't planning to knit custom headwear for charity when he took up knitting.
But after the 10-year-old Ecole Crescent Park School student produced his first wool cap, a colourful green and red toque, his friend Brede Kidd admired the results and wondered whether he could get Harris to make him one, too.
"It just took off from there," Harris said.
After giving it some thought, he decided he didn't want to turn his new hobby into a business.
"What if I did it for charity?" he asked his mother, Jodi Beazley.
"He's a pretty generous kid," Beazley told Peace Arch News this week.
"He's always wanting to do things for other people."
Harris chose Right To Play, the international charity that seeks, in the words of its mission statement, to apply "the transformative power of sport and play to build essential skills in children and thereby drive social change in communities affected by war, poverty and disease."
It was a fitting selection for Harris, a goalie who trains at the Magic Hockey Training Centre in Langley.
"He said he was very privileged to do the sports that he's able to do, and he wanted other kids to have that opportunity," his mother said.
So far, he's made 14 hats at $10 apiece.
As Harris posed for a PAN photo in his South Surrey living room, he explained he only took up the craft recently during a New Year's ski vacation.
"There was a girl when we were up at Big White and we had come home from a ski day and they were knitting," he said.
"Her name was Tatum Webster and she taught me how to make the hats and stuff."
Tatum markets her own creations as "Tatum's Tuques," while Harris has named his work "Hats by Harris."
A small number of his creations will soon be on sale at the Magic Hockey Training Centre located at Unit 103, 9770 196A St. in Langley.
Harris isn't the first goalie to take up knitting.
The legendary Jacque Plante, who led the Montreal Canadiens to five straight Stanley Cups from 1956 through 1960, was taught by his mother how to knit his own tuques to protect him from the cold.
Plante reportedly said his hobby was good for his nerves.
According to one story, Plante used to wear one of his handmade tuques on the ice until one game, when it fell off while he was wandering from his goal (something he was known for).
When Plante bent down to retrieve it, the other team scored.
Another outstanding athlete, American football star Rosey Grier, a member of the Los Angeles Rams defensive line known as the "Fearsome Foursome", is known for his knitting and needlework, and even published a book about needlepoint for men.
Other notable knitters are said to include actors David Arquette, Russell Crowe and Laurence Fishburne (though there is some dispute in some online knitting forums about whether Crowe really knits or just posed for a faked publicity photo) as well as actresses Julia Roberts and Dakota Fanning and as singer Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell.
Interested in a "Hat by Harris?" email firstname.lastname@example.org