Sunday, 2 December 2018

Making A Difference (Part 2)

The Creative Community Project at Yarndale, the annual festival of woolly wonderfulness that's held each September in Skipton, Yorkshire, raises money each year for charity with its worldwide themed appeal.  Two years ago I sent a sheep (I blogged about here) to join the flock on display which raised over £3000 for Martin House Children's Hospice, and last year I crocheted a heart to raise awareness for Mind, the mental health charity.
This year's appeal was for a kaleidoscope of butterflies with funds from sales going to Pioneer Projects which uses the creative arts to help those living with dementia.  Over £2300 was raised.  The butterflies were very quick to make and I used tiny amounts of my favourite yarns to make them.
It's fun scouring the Yarndale Facebook photos as the festival commences to see if you can spot any of your own ones amongst the 100's donated - I did!

Whilst some of the butterflies from Yarndale 2018 will be part of a permanent display at the Pioneer Project, others will go to Manchester University Hospital.  I followed this crochet pattern devised by Sharon who runs online yarn business Cottonpod and who supports the Comfort Bag initiative in the hospital to provide essentials for those staying with relatives nearing the end of their lives.  The butterflies are included as a keepsake and have special significance in many cultures.

So I crocheted some more butterflies and sent them off to Sharon at Cottonpod.

With thoughts of marking the end of life with meaningful crafts, there can hardly be a knitter or crocheter in Britain who didn't make a poppy for Remembrance Sunday this year.

As plans to commemorate the centenary of the end of The Great War took shape across the country, the nation's knitters were urged to make poppies in tribute.  The first appeal for knitted poppies I saw was way back in the spring when I spotted a poster in my village craft shop.  A Peterhead lady called Nancy Duncan was planning a large scale display outside the Baptist Church in the town's King Street.  I knitted up the simple pattern in spare moments between other projects and whilst waiting in the car on taxi duty.
After taking my sample poppy to Knitting Club at the school where I work, one of the pupils said she'd like to knit some poppies too.  On our return from the summer break, I was delighted to find the Emma had knitted six poppies so I parcelled them up with the ones I'd made and posted them off to Nancy.  We weren't alone - Nancy (pictured below and known locally as 'Mrs Poppy') received an astounding 24,000 handmade commemorative flowers enabling her to create this remarkable memorial.

As Remembrance Sunday approached, my own church, Meldrum & Bourtie Parish Church, in Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, was planning its own display of poppies made by the congregation.  The focal point in our church was the poppies in front of the communion table with one for each of the names on the war memorial which stands in the church grounds.

I volunteered to take the purple poppies and create a display in one of the church windows in memory of all the animals who lost their lives in battle.  It's estimated eight million horses died in World War 1, along with countless mules and donkeys, dogs and carrier pigeons.

It takes many hands to create displays like these but, as the Peterhead poppy project shows, it may only take one person to see that it happens in the first place.

Liz is another visionary lady using the clever hands of kindly crafters on Instagram to make her dream for others a reality.  Back in late October, Liz asked on this Instagram post for help from knitters.  She is working with a podiatrist local to her in the Borders and together they hope to give a foot treatment and a pair of socks to some homeless people this winter.  I've enjoyed following Liz's photos in the intervening weeks as cosy socks, hats and scarves have arrived at her home and the basket she hoped to fill has overflowed.
I knitted these socks on holiday back in 2014 as a shop sample when I was working occasionally as an extra pair of hands in my local yarn shop - a job I really loved.  When the store sadly closed, the socks were returned to me and never quite found feet to love them.  Now I've been able to pass them onto Liz for her heartwarming (and foot-warming) project #operationchristmasstocking

Finally, in this mammoth blogpost, I've also been needle felting for a good cause.  Last Saturday I facilitated two workshops enabling eleven ladies to make their own needle felted robin brooch as a fundraiser for Meldrum Church.  Though I've taught this before I needed a wee practice beforehand. 
It was a new craft to some of the ladies but they quickly picked up the necessary skills without injury!
Everyone produced a birdie to be proud of...
and I was delighted that so many of the ladies went home wearing their brooches - with over £200 being raised for church funds.

It's a joy to be able to share the hobbies I love with others.

It's also a pleasure to contribute my talents in small ways to craft initiatives creating a big impact - and I'll continue to seek out ways in which I can make a difference . 


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