Hi, and Happy New Year to all of the awesomely clever crafters around New Zealand. I trust that you’ve all had a chance to get away and relax, and enjoy some sun and fun with family and friends.
Crafty Volunteers had a massive year in 2017 – and I wish that I could thank each and every one of you personally for your amazing contributions.
Many of you create beautiful things along with your crafty friends at the crafting groups that you belong to in your region – and you give your items to your local charities. Unfortunately we don’t get to see these lovely creations, so I’m hoping to be able to encourage all the crafters in the regions to post pics directly onto our Facebook page, or tag us in Instagram, or email them thru to us so we can post them for you – people do love to see the finished products, and they get inspiration from what everyone else is up to.
Before I get on to what we’ve got coming up for 2018, I thought we should review what a stellar year we had last year…
2017 was fantastic!
We kicked off fairly early following a request in early February for help from one of the nurses in Wellington NICU – and we were inundated with loads and loads of fantastic premie items – singlets, cardigans, beanies, booties and blankets… just amazing!! We received heaps of emails, or notes with items, from so many of you saying that you knew someone who had been a recipient of care from NICU, and that you wanted to pay back their special kind of support.
We then made plans for a 12 week promotion called Crafters Dozen, that ran from mid-May until mid-August, culminating in a 12 hour event on the 12th of August. Each week we produced a newsletter with a different theme, a different set of items to be made, with patterns and some info about the recipient charities. It was a huge effort for us as organisers, and you all responded in kind. We received many, many hundreds of items, or saw pics of items that you made to give to your local charities. It was truly humbling to see so many people get involved. And at our full day event we got to meet well over 120 new people and either teach them a new skill, or learn something from them. It was a simply superb day!
In June, not that we weren’t already busy enough with the Crafters Dozen… we co-hosted a World Wide Knit in Public Day at Wellington Central Library, and also at Lower Hutt Library, where we had in excess of 50 people in Wgtn and over 30 people at the Hutt. Again, many of these crafters were new to us – and it was fantastic to meet so many talented people.
In September, we entered a partnership with the InterContinental Hotel in Wellington, where we receive linen that has been ink or make up stained etc and no longer able to be used by the hotel. It’s all still great quality, and we have been providing this linen to various charities to either use in its current form (like the bath robes that have gone to Womens Refuge and several different Homeless charities), or to be cut up and repurposed into baby cot sheet sets etc, and given to Little Sprouts or Pregnancy Assist. This also led Crafty Volunteers to get involved with the amazing team at Vinnies ReSew, and an introduction to the team at the Remakery – watch this space for many more collaborations with these 2 amazing organisations.
In October, Wellington City Council ran a “Seniors Week” promotion, and invited us to co-host a crafting day at the Library, and help promote some of their other craft related events. It was a fantastic collaboration, and we were delighted to once again meet some new crafters.
Our final effort for the year saw us get involved with a sewing project. A company called The Formary (who work in the area of textile waste reduction) contacted us when Wellington City Council’s Parks and Recreation department were changing their life guard uniforms, to see if we would run a promotion to get the “Rash Shirts” repurposed, and given to charity. This project saw us utilising the space at Vinnies ReSew, where we received 137 shirts (weighing in at just on 22kg), and convert them into 112 shirts, that now had logos removed, and give them to Foster Hope and Kiwi Family Trust to distribute to children in need of some sun protection this summer. It ended up being a zero-waste project, as every last piece of trimming and thread will be used in some way, even down to stuffing for toys.
Congratulations to everyone who was involved in these projects – your contribution has made the world of difference to a person in need – thank you all so very much!
2017 also saw us jump into the world of Instagram, which has made it easier for us to share some pics from our events, and donations received in real time. Again, we encourage you to send thru pics of your crafting events, and/or donations, so we can share them with all our followers.
Finally – I wanted to offer a huge thanks to the people that have supported the work of running Crafty Volunteers during 2017. From the Board of Trustees, to the people that help with admin, delivering goods to charities, hosting and helping at our regular events, and generally keeping me sane and on track – my sincerest thanks. I may be the driving force, however every contribution that you make helps (to the organisation as well as to me personally) in so many ways – never forget, that this charity is truly a group effort.
Coming up in 2018
I’ve done a bit of planning and goal setting in the quiet time over the holiday break – and we’ve confirmed a few crafting promotions that we will be doing during the course of the year (you’ll have to wait and see what they are, as the year unfolds).
This year, I’m aiming to revamp our website – with one of the key pages being a “regional calendar of events”. Because we are a communications conduit, we are working slowly thru the ever increasing list of crafting groups to see if they would like to be included in our nationwide directory, and would like to have their regular meetings loaded into the calendar. The aim is so that when you are visiting a new town, or have shifted to a new location, you can take a look at Crafty Volunteers website and see what crafting groups are active in that location.
We have grown in strength/following here in Greater Wellington, and I’m very keen to connect with people in the other regions, to help with yarn/fabric distribution, drop off points and other initiatives that we have planned for the coming few years. It’s lots of fun working for a common cause with like-minded people, and we need your help to get the reach out into other regions. While I’m working full time, I really need your support to help connect crafters and charities in other regions.
Following on from the success of the Rash Shirt promotion, and from the Intercontinental donations, we will be commencing a monthly “cutting day” here in Wellington. We will be inviting sewers to take home pre-cut kits, to sew up and return to us to get out to the charities. Because I’m away overseas for March and April, this will be organised to commence in May/June.
So what’s our first project for 2018??
The “Justice Green” project.
During the course of last year, Crafty Volunteers was fortunate enough to have received a huge amount of “Justice Green” yarn from the Dept of Corrections. This beautiful wool was previously used for the Corrections Officers uniforms, and became obsolete when they changed their uniforms some years ago. Fortunately for us, the team at Rimutaka has kept the wool in storage, and when they heard about Crafty Volunteers, they made the very generous offer to us.
Because it came to us as a 1 ply yarn, we talked to the team at Wool Yarns in Lower Hutt, and they agreed not only to process it into a 4 ply for us, but they sponsored doing this too. Wow, what a hugely generous gift from both Corrections, and Wool Yarns! In total we have received 143 kgs of fabulously soft yarn that we are winding into smaller balls to make it easy to get distributed to crafters around the country.
I can tell you that 143kgs of yarn, only just fits into a Suzuki Swift – there was barely enough room for me to be able to change gear as I drove away from collecting it from Wool Yarns, just prior to Christmas.
So, we are now putting a call out to crafting groups around the country, who have a team of knitters and crocheters that would like to make some nice items for charities in your area. Because of its colour, we have pondered over what the best used would be, and have come up with a few ideas –
- Jumpers and hoodies for ages 4 thru 16 (particularly boys) to give to Foster Hope and low decile schools, as this is age group often miss out.
- Really stretchy rib slouch socks, or footless tube socks, we will be given to District Health Nurses to give to patients who have very swollen feet and legs, and therefore unable to wear socks and slippers (the footless tube socks mean that the nurses can easily check circulation in the patients toes).
- Warm shawls and wraps, to be given to patients receiving chemo or dialysis treatments, as these folk can often get chilly while sitting, and can’t wear a sleeve as they have tubes and things attached to them.
If you’re involved in a crafting group somewhere in New Zealand, please drop us an email, letting us know which group you’re representing, and a courier address, and we will send a few kg’s of yarn your way. We will be loading a page on the website with some suggested patterns, but do feel free to come up with your own. If you need assistance finding the appropriate charity in your area, please let us know and we’ll find a contact point for you.
Our only request is that you email us loads of photos of your people crafting with this yarn, and of the finished products, so we can share this with the social media world (please don’t send photos of people unless they have agreed to us posting them on Instagram and Facebook).
Because of the logistics of getting this much yarn out to people, we would prefer it if a representative of a crafting group contacted us to send a larger amount, as sending small amount to loads of individuals all around the country is going to be way too difficult, costly and time consuming – I hope you understand.
With regards the cost of the couriers – please note, that pretty much all of the costs of running this charity come out of my pocket, therefore I would sincerely appreciate any donations from crafting groups to cover any courier costs – thanks so much (it’s on my plan for the year to apply for some funding to cover this sort of thing…).
Calendar of Crafting Sessions
As mentioned, one of my intentions for this year is to revamp the website and particularly the Events Page – and I’d love your help with populating this information. Please let us know the name of any crafting groups you’re involved with, who the contact person is, and a contact phone number, as well as where and when you meet. This applies to sewing, quilting, knitting and crochet groups. We’d love to know if your group has members only working on charity work, or if you mix it up with personal projects.
Now that we are a few weeks into the year, there are a number of the crafting groups starting to meet up again after the holiday break. Check out the list of crafting groups/events that we have so far.
Getting out of Greater Wellington
It’s hard for me to be able to get out to the rest of the country, as much as I love jumping on my motorcycle and going for a ride… I do have this commitment called a job that I have to hang around for (oh, and a husband that I do enjoy spending time with…). Therefore I’d love your help in spreading the word about Crafty Volunteers.
If you’ve got crafty friends and family, who would like to go on our email list, please do invite them to join. I promise I won’t send too many emails (maybe one or two per month, unless there is some particular urgent request for help in your area).
There will come a time, hopefully soon, that I’ll be able to get around the country and meet you all – and to be able to connect with the charities in your region.
In the meantime – keep up the great work that you all do.
I look forward to hearing from lots of groups to get Justice Green yarn, and to seeing lots of pics coming thru.
Yours – with love, compassion and hope.