How knitters and crocheters can help the Grenfell Tower fire survivors

The Grenfell Tower fire in west London last week has been dominating a lot of people’s thoughts and we know that knitters have been asking if there is anything they can do to help the Grenfell survivors.

We have checked with some of the charities involved in collecting and distributing the initial donations to the families left homeless by the disaster and they tell us that immediate needs have been met.

However, they also say that there will be more long term needs for these families as they are housed and start to rebuild their homes. They will need things that they won’t be thinking about right now – blankets to personalise kids’ bedrooms when they get them again, bobble hats for those same kids going to school next winter and warm socks for elderly people, for example.

Colourful crocheted or knitted blankets could add personality and comfort to a rehoused child’s room

There is plenty that knitters and crocheters can do.

So we were very pleased to see our friends at Knit for Peace announce that they will be a collection point for knitted items for Grenfell survivors. Click on the link here to find out where to send your items and how else you might be able to help.

Hopefully, some of you can use your talents to help the Grenfell families. This story serves as a good reminder that charity knits are needed all year round not just in the an immediate time of crisis, or in Commit To Knit month.

Why knit in public

This Saturday, 10 June 2017, is World Wide Knit in Public Day. Pretty much as it says on the tin, this is when knitters of all abilities, styles and nationalities take their needles and yarn out and about.

For some people this means going to an organised Knit in Public Day event. A number of these around the UK have been organised as part of Commit To Knit (C2K) month so will be focusing on charity knitting in public – you can find details of 70 C2K events here.

Other people might just get together with friends in a café or have a special local knitting group outing.

And some people will do pretty much what they do anyway, that is knit everywhere – on park benches, on public transport, in waiting rooms and hospital wards, and anywhere else they might have an opportunity.

world wide knit in public

If you haven’t knitted in public before, why not give it a go this Saturday? It is a great way to reduce your stress in waiting rooms or lose yourself on a crowded train. You just need a small project that you can pull out of a bag (or even a pocket in the case of a crochet square for example) when you have the opportunity.

And it may not be just you that benefits. When you knit in public, you will notice people who seem to relax by watching your needles. Other people will chat or ask you what you are making. This can range from the chirpy “Will you do me a hat, love” to people asking where they can learn or who really want to tell you about the lovely sweaters their Nan made. Whatever the conversation, a little friendly chat can’t be a bad thing.

Finally, you might meet a fellow knitter. Knitters round the world seem to be happy to greet another person with their yarn out. So you never know, you could make a new friend this Saturday.

Click here for the full worldwide list of events.

Three reasons to Commit To Knit for charity this June

June is Commit to Knit month, when we ask you to commit to knit or crochet at least one item for charity.

So why should you get involved?

  1. Stashbusting
    A lot of the patterns in the special charity knitting supplement we have put together with the lovely folk at Simply Knitting (look out for it in your newsagent in the next few days) and the ones on the charity section of our website use small amounts of yarn. Why not make some space in your yarn cupboard by rustling up a few twiddlemuffs, blanket squares or preemie hats.

    Commit to knit month

  2. Knowing that what you make will be really appreciated
    We receive lots of feedback from charity projects we support, thanking knitters for their time and skill. If you have run out of people to knit for, why not make something that will really help someone?
  3. Meet like-minded makers
    We will be putting together a list of libraries, knitting groups and shops that will be hosting Commit To Knit events and sessions, where you can join other knitters and crocheters to simply make together or work on a joint project. Keep an eye on the Commit to Knit area of our website.

 

New year yarn clear out

When we asked on social media if you were planning to make any yarn or crafting-related resolutions for 2017, a number of people mentioned having a stash clear out or tidy.

For me that would produce a lot of orphaned single skeins or balls of yarn left over from projects and a great many more half balls. Usually once I have cleared these into a box or bag, I find myself wondering what to do with them – and I’m sure that other people have had the same problem.

It is easy for your stash to become disorganised over time

To help, UK Hand Knitting will sometimes collect your left over yarn for a charity when we are at a big event, but because we have other things coming up in the next few months we haven’t any plans to do that for while. However, we do have some other ideas for you.

  • Charity knitting groups – you may find that a knitting group near you has a charity project to produce preemie baby hats or squares for blankets and would happily take some yarn off your hands. My last box went to a hospital knitting group making Twiddlemuffs for dementia patients. Check our knitting group directory as a starting point.
  • Schools and Craft Clubs may be interested in receiving yarn to teach kids knitting and other skills. One place to start to find a school or club is via the Craft Council’s Craft Club initiative.
  • Care homes – some care homes have craft activities for residents. Why not contact local homes to see if they are interested in your yarn.
  • Freecycle – I’ve advertised yarn oddments to giveaway in my local freecycle group. Mine went to an art project.
  • Scrapstore – this is an initiative that collects unwanted craft materials from indviduals and businesses and makes them available to schools and voluntary organisations at a fraction of normal costs. Many Scrapstores also have shops open to the public selling high quality art and craft materials from glue to paintbrushes to complement the scrap. There are Scrapstores all over the UK and you can use the organisation’s directory to find your nearest branch.

Wherever you choose to find a home for your excess yarn, it will feel good that it will be used and appreciated by someone else.

 

 

12 days of Christmas decorations

As you have probably seen, we’ve been encouraging people to make mini Christmas stockings that we’ve been turning into bunting for care homes, hospices and other worthy recipients. It has been huge success with close to 800 stocking collected – that’s a lot of bunting.

Not only is this spreading cheer across the country, but chatting to some of the knitters and crocheters who made stockings for the appeal, we’ve realised that making Christmas decorations like the socks or baubles are a great way to try out different techniques.

Once knitters and crocheters got hold of our mini stocking patterns, lots were inspired to add motifs, stripes, lace, etc to personalise their work.

knitted christmas decorations

Some of your mini stockings

This made us think that December might be a good time for a mini-making challenge that can double as a stash buster. Why not download one of our mini-stocking patterns or a basic bauble pattern (knitted or crocheted) and choose 12 patterns or techniques you want to try, delve into your stash and get creative.

You’ll end up with a set of unique tree ornaments designed by you and have increased your knitting and crochet skills.

Please share your results – we’d love to see your ideas,

Join our Christmas Appeal and hone your sock skills

Over the past few weeks on the blog we’ve looked at baby knits being a great way to learn new skills with out the commitment of an adult garment.We’ve also had tips on making socks for the first time.

UK Hand KNitting stocking appeal

If those two ideas interested to you, the UK Hand Knitting  Christmas appeal is just the thing for you. We are asking knitters and crocheters across the country to join our Christmas appeal and spread some festive cheer by making mini stockings which will be made into bunting. We want to bring a little Christmas spirit to care homes and lunch clubs by getting as many people involved as possible to make some festive bunting.

Anyone can get involved simply by making a mini Christmas stocking from left over yarn. We have created two special knit patterns and Raveler RhonddaM has kindly donated a crochet pattern, all of which can be found on the UK Hand Knitting website.

One of the patterns, mini Christmas sock, is worked in the round and has all the components of a full adult sock in minature. Perfect for learning sock construction while using up the odds and ends in your stash.

We are keen to make as many metres of bunting as possible. Knitters and crocheters can drop off their bunting at the UK Hand Knitting stand at the Knitting and Stitching Shows at Alexandra Palace and Harrogate, or by sending them to
Christmas Stocking Appeal
60 Bridge Road East
Welwyn Garden City
Herts AL7 1JU
Please join with UK Hand Knitting to spread some cheer this Christmas

Join or organise a Commit to Knit event

There is still time to join in or even organise your own Commit to Knit month event.

We have suggested that knitting groups could hold charity knitting events on Worldwide Knit in Public Day, 18 June. This could be by linking up with your local library or arranging to knit at a picnic, in a café or in any other public space. One of our team will be on a ferry that day so she plans to knit an item from our charity pattern collection and have spare yarn and needles if anyone else wants to join in.

Commit to Knit month

Why not talk your charity knitting on an outing and share your love of yarn crafts with others

More than 90 libraries from across the country have offered to host Commit to Knit events. You can find the one closest to you and a list of the knitting groups already planning activities here.

If there isn’t anything happening near you, why not organise you own charity knitting in public event. It doesn’t have to be anything very formal, you just need the following:

  • Some knitting friends to meet up with
  • A venue – café, library, pub, park. Remember if you go for an outdoor event, have a back-up plan.
  • A willingness to talk about knitting and crochet to anyone who is interested
  • Be welcoming to new (to you) knitters
  • Your yarn and needles.

Once you’ve decided on your plan please use this link to let us know what you are doing and if it is on Saturday 18 June list your event on the WWKIPDay website as well. You can find more ideas here.

If you don’t think you can manage a special Commit to Knit event why not persuade your knitting group to give a regular session to charity knitting. We’ve heard of one group that are planning to make Twiddlemuffs for dementia sufferers and then have a finishing session at their regular meeting where they’ll share buttons, beads and trimmings.

Click here to find out more about this year's Commit to Knit patterns including the Twiddlemuff

Click here to find out more about this year’s Commit to Knit patterns including the Twiddlemuff

Whatever you decide, don’t forget to let us know how you plan to Commit to Knit this month.