OTTAWA -- At 95 years old, Dorothy Warnock is using her passion for knitting to give back to the community. She is knitting hats and scarves for the Cornerstone Housing for Women, a local shelter in Ottawa.

Warnock says, "I think that in my life everything has been about creating things, making things. At the beginning, I had nothing but an idea: let’s make hats."

Warnock learned to knit when she was six years old, growing up in Ireland, in a country home outside the town of Kildare. 

“I was brought up during the economic war and material was quite cheap and so was yarn. You didn't have to buy clothes; you made them,” she says. 

This winter, Warnock wanted to help others, choosing the charity Cornerstone Housing for Women. Her goal is to make and sell 200 hats and scarves, with all the proceeds going to help the charity provide emergency shelter and supportive housing. 

“My legs couldn’t do anything because I am not that healthy. The only thing I have is my hands. So, I thought, 'What can I do to help humanity?' And I thought, 'I can still knit,'” she says. 

However, Warnock is facing a health challenge of her own. Her eyesight is deteriorating and there is a chance she could lose it all together, ending her knitting hobby. 

“If I am knitting colours, it is not a problem, but if I am using black or navy and I drop a stitch, I can’t see it.” 

Staff and residents at Governors Walk Retirement Residence have rallied behind Warnock, saying her eyesight has not stopped her from staying positive and helping others. 

Peter Gareau is the community relationship specialist with Governors Walk. He says, “Sometimes when a sense goes out, maybe your heart grows bigger.” 

“Dorothy is a force to be reckoned with. We really want to see this be successful. It was such a hard year and Cornerstone (Housing) really needs the support,” Gareau adds. 

Warnock will see a specialist in the new year and says she will keep knitting for as long as she can.

To purchase a scarf or hat you can email or visit the Governors Walk website.