Amid the festivity and merriness of Christmas, the annual problem of what presents to buy certain friends and relatives always crops up. Eight-year old Eric Belanger, however, has taken the initiative and knitted a range of woollen hats for presents - for babies who haven't even been born yet.
A year ago Eric, who's from Greater Sudbury in Canada, watched his grandmother Carmen St Louis knitting and, having always been a fan of arts and crafts, found himself wanting to give it a go himself. Carmen bought him a child-friendly knitting kit for Christmas last year, and since then he has perfected the craft.
Using colourful yarns, Eric has knitted six woollen hats with pom-poms and plans to knit four more in time for Christmas. Due to the small child-friendly loom that he uses, the hats are the perfect size for newborn babies, which is why his mother suggested giving them away to a nearby hospital.
Eric's mother, Chantal, said: "He's actually proud when he finishes one. It's a sense of accomplishment for him.”
His teacher is equally supportive of Eric's creative endeavours. “When he first showed me, he was very shy about it,” she said. “He took me aside from the other students, and showed me. I was super proud of him. That's an amazing idea.”
Eric's not the only youngster to have discovered knitting at a young age, however. A group of seven pupils at Gympie South State School in Brisbane, Australia have been knitting together during lunch, supervised by the deputy principal and one of the mums.
The group knit together twice a week and enjoy spending time together as well as creating knitwear that they're proud of. The group are donating their colourful beanies to young cancer patients at Brisbane's Royal Children's Hospital.
"It's just fun and it never gets boring," Ebony, a faithful member of the group, said. "And it feels really good that we made all those beanies to help the children at Royal Brisbane Hospital."
The group are also planning to knit Christmas presents for their families, and also defend their 2013 Gympie Show champion knitted blanket title.