Have you heard of a Woolly Hug?

Have you heard of a Woolly Hug?

Woolly Hug

A few days ago I stumbled across a thread on Mumsnet written by a lady who had suddenly lost her three-year-old daughter very recently. She detailed her heart-wrenching grief and the weeks following since it happened. Her agony was palpable through the screen and it made me want to do something for her – anything.

I then saw that someone mentioned a Woolly Hug was being made for her, and so I dug further to find out what it was. It turned out to be that a community of crafters have got together to make blankets for people who have been bereaved – usually having lost a child or a partner. First the person is asked whether they wish to receive one, and if they agree a list of specific colours, hobbies and interests are listed and each person knits or crochets a 6 inch square.

People with all different abilities take part, from complete beginners to those that have been doing it for years. Plain squares are just as wanted as someone who has painstakingly created a beautiful image of something from the theme. For those who want to help but aren’t crafty, there is also a way to donate either money or wool to those that can. The project is amazingly well coordinated by a few people who also receive all the squares and out of them create a beautiful blanket.

I believe the blankets are a perfect expression for those who have that same feeling of wanting to do something to help. You can’t take their pain away, but you can show you care. And then in time that blanket will become a lovely keepsake for the person that has lost someone and hopefully provides some measure of comfort.

The group also take part in other worthwhile causes such as Angel Hugs for the Brompton Hospital in London where they make white blankets for babies that have passed away; Billie’s Blanket Project to create blankets for children with cancer in low income countries; The Little Hug project which again makes blankets for children and babies who end up in hospital that the family can keep; Angel Teds which are two identical teddy bears, that enable a family to bury one with their baby and keep the other; the Chernobyl Children’s Project for children living closest to the radiation; as well as doing regular fundraisers for charities such as MIND, SANDS or Winston’s Wish.

I found the whole thing so inspiring that I’ve decided to give knitting a try.  I have so many things I want to learn and have a whole room full of craft stuff – but I’m hoping knitting won’t take up as much space as jewellery and card making and it can contribute to some really amazing causes.

Even better the Woolly Hugs has been picked as one of Mumsnet’s Giving Week organisations.  They have a Just Giving page here and they will match any funds given up to £25,000.

The wool that works well for the blankets costs anywhere between £3.50 – £5.50, plus it costs approx £2.80 to post a ball if it’s been donated.  Every penny helps them provide materials to members who can’t afford to supply their own.  If you miss the Just Giving Fundraiser, they always accept direct donations.

Woolly Hugs can be found on Facebook and their website is here and here.

Has anything ever inspired you to start a new craft? If you’re a knitter – what are your favourite resources?  Any tips for a beginner?

And if you’re inspired to make something for the Woolly Hugs projects, please let me know!

For anyone inspired to start knitting here are some resources I’ve found helpful so far:

How to Tie a Slip Knot

How to Cast On

How to Knit Stitch


Crafty Lady

Crafty Lady

I first got into crafting about two years ago, by making cards.  Someone had suggested to me as they’d found a good distraction from their pain.  I soon found I enjoyed it, but wasn’t very good at it.  I then gave jewellery go and loved it.  Eventually I started selling to friends and family, and sell extras at my website www.sparklyplace.co.uk.  I don’t make anything from it – just enough to let me replace beads and findings.

Over time I have found a lot of disabled people are also into crafting of different types.  It’s not surprising; it’s very relaxing and has other benefits.  It gives you pride in something you’ve accomplished, and most importantly – it does give a distraction from pain.  It doesn’t make it go away, but anything that concentrates your brain and means you aren’t therefore focusing on whatever is hurting.

At school my art teachers told me to my face I was terrible; my stick figures run screaming in terror, and I was always envious of my friend’s creations.  While I’ve always enjoyed writing, I didn’t feel I had a creative bone in my body.

I’ve since realised there are lots of ways to be creative, and my art teachers shouldn’t have been so narrow minded.  If I picked up a paintbrush, the results wouldn’t be pretty, but I can design and create a piece of jewellery.

There are some downsides.  Crafting is expensive and can be very addictive.  I, along with many others, find more time is spent buying pretty beads than actually making.  I spend lots of evenings on eBay and bead websites, and then gulp when it comes to paying the bill!  I have then spent a fortune on storage for all the bits and bobs I’ve purchased. 

There are lots of things I’d love to try, but starting a new hobby is a huge outlay, and it’s difficult to try something out without signing up to expensive classes.  I’d love to give pottery a go, glass etching and working with wood.  I’d like to make my own beads, stamp metal and learn how to work with polymer clay.  One day, I hope!  I have just purchased a photography class on Groupon – with the idea of learning how to take better photos of my jewellery.

One particular joy I have found is creating awareness jewellery for various rarer conditions/disabilities.  Anyone can find a pink stretchy bracelet for Breast Cancer, but when you have a condition not many people have heard of, then there is an appreciation for buying a handmade bracelet to spread awareness or to commemorate a diagnosis.  While I do charity auctions, I just don’t make enough to be able to donate to the charities each time which is a future aspiration.  I do supply the Charcot Marie Tooth Disease website with awareness bracelets, and I’d love to be able to do more of that.

If you haven’t crafted before, please do pick something that takes your fancy and give it go.  The cheapest craft I’ve found is a colouring in book.  Hey, it totally counts!

Credit to raymortim

Credit to raymortim