FARMINGTON — Along with teaching, University of Maine at Farmington professor Cathy Wimett loves to knit.

Facing a cold winter in Maine, Wimett brought 37 hand-knit wool hats to her K-3 Reading, Language Arts and Children’s Literature classes on the first day of this semester.

Students said they found the hats spread out on a table when they came to class. After answering a question, she told us we could take the one we liked, junior Jessica Meservey of Buxton said before class on Wednesday.

“It was really special and thoughtful,” junior Jordan Hohman of Farmington said. “It’s important for elementary teachers to have accommodations for their students … like winter hats.”

Each hat, depending on the pattern and style, can take from four to 10 hours to make, Wimett said. But that doesn’t matter. She knows the pattern and her hands move swiftly, without much thought.

“I like to knit and play with the colors and stitches,” she said. “If I don’t have the time, I don’t.”

For the past five years, she’s found the time to make hats for her students and anyone else on campus who wants or needs one. Some students have a second hat received from a previous class with Wimett.

“I knew it was going to be a really cold winter and I had lots of time,” she said about bringing 37 hats to the first class in January. Twenty-seven of the hats went to students in two literature classes, some faculty have also took hats and she still had a couple left.

The knitting is automatic. She’d rather sit, knit and chat at most social events rather than sit, eat and chat, she said.

“It keeps my hands busy and limber,” she said. Her fingers are slowly developing arthritis, she said.

Wimett has 44 years of experience as an educator. It started with teaching a fourth-grade class in Boston, then a class with special needs in Walpole, on to a college setting in Chicago and then 17 years at UMF, she said.

“As a teacher, it’s nice to be able to give my students something,” she said. “It’s cold here and I love to be able to share something that will keep them warm.”

One year, she knit scarves for her entire fourth-grade class. Another year, she tried mittens but that was a little too much, she said.

“I don’t always have time to knit for a large group,” Wimett said. “But when I do, it’s a labor of love.”

For senior Maks Pulsifer of Cape Elizabeth, the hat comes in handy under his ski helmet but it also started him thinking about what he could do for his future students. It probably won’t be knitting hats but something, he said. Other students agreed.

Most students raved about the hats.

“I love them,” Katie Emmons said. “I wear it all the time.”

Student Amy Hughes agreed. “I’m not a hat person. It’s the only one I’ll wear,” she said.

“I like the colors and design,” Christy Farr said. “And it’s warm.”

Farr, of Norway, showed the hat to her mother, Vickie, who sent Wimett a large skein of yarn she had spun herself. Although the family raise sheep, Farr said, the wool wasn’t from their animals. There’s some Alpaca in it, she said.

Wimett loved the yarn and thought maybe she’d make something for herself with it but soon started talking about making more hats for her students.

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