Bears and Squares


… well actually it’s really toys and blankets…

This promotion will run from mid September to mid November 2018, and we will be holding a number of events around the country on the 3rd of November to bring people together and hear about the great work that our charity partners are doing.




We are keen to build up stocks of toys between now and the beginning of November, so that we can distribute them to our charity partners by mid November, for issuing with their Christmas packs.

Bears 3Many of the charities that we support provide toys to people in need – for loads of different reasons. The obvious one is toys for babes and young children, and these go out to the likes of Little Sprouts, Plunket, Pregnancy Help, Foster Hope, Birthright, Kiwi Family Trust, plus of course the Neo Natal and Childrens wards at hospitals.

We also give toys to other charities who use them as a comfort for people going through a difficult time – the likes of the various emergency services, hospice, and dementia units. Really there is no end to the need for toys.

For tiny babies and toddlers – please do be careful of things like ribbons and buttons that can come off and cause a choke hazard, as many of our charity partners are unable to accept them. If you are making a scarf on a bear (for example), please ensure it is very firmly stitched on.

Please feel free to use your own favourite patterns, and make any style of toy that you enjoy making. Because bears are a favourite toy – here are a couple of patterns for you.

  • Knitted Bear – HERE – courtesy of Bevs Country Cottage
  • Crocheted Bear – HERE – courtesy of Blumenbunt
  • Warren Bear (sewn) – HERE – courtesy of Shiny Happy People

Other toys:

  • Knitted Hippos – HERE – courtesy of WEBS (Americas Yarn Store)


If you’re making toys, but don’t have stuffing, you’re welcome to send them in to us (partially sewn together), and we will arrange the filling and final sewing up.


Squares and Blankets/Quilts


We are also wanting to gather up squares early, so there is time to sew them in to blankets before the autumn rolls around again. A few years ago we did a big Peggy Square promotion in September, and we had squares still coming in (in substantial volume) for months… and we were still sewing them together in March and April.

15cm squareIf you’re making a few squares – please can you make them 15x15cm squares, which is about the same size as the label of a 2 litre ice cream container lid (there is a little bit of space between the label and the rim – see the pic for reference). If you are keen to make enough squares to create a whole blanket, then the size of the square isn’t so important, just as long as they are all the same size.

Please leave enough yarn on the squares, that will stitch up 2 sides – this makes it easier for the people sewing up.

However, if you’re like me, and would prefer to make a full blanket in one piece (and that’s mainly because sewing squares together is one of my least favourite things to do, crafting wise), most of our charity partners are looking for either single bed size blankets (approx. 90-110cms wide by 150-180cms long), or cuddly/bassinet size (approx 45 cm wide by 90 cm long). And if you find that your blanket ends up a size somewhere in between this, our charity partners will find a worthy recipient who will love it as a lap blanket, comforter or snuggly.

If you are making the smaller sized blankets for babies – there are 2 important requirements.

  1. The blanket must be made in 100% wool (or other natural fibres), to help with temperature regulation for baby
  2. No holes – babies can get fingers caught in the holes and break them (please take special note if you’re a crocheter).

Please ensure that you use one of our SWING TAGS, and identify if your squares/blankets are wool/natural fibre, so we can get them to the correct charity. Because there is so much need for baby items, we try an utilise every woollen square we can.

mitre square blanketThis is a blanket that I have just finished knitting (I’ve still got a LOT of ends to darn in, and a border to do) that was made out of 8 ply acrylic that I had in my stash. It’s been a work in progress for around 8-9 months. Because I didn’t want to have colour changes in my squares, I chose to do smaller squares (these are around 10 cm), and because I don’t like sewing together, I used this Mitre Square pattern. It was getting pretty heavy by the end of it (and kept me warm over the last couple of months).

Some knitters/crocheters will make strips instead of squares (like a scarf), which means less sewing up. Sometimes a few strips can be used as the basis for a cool looking blanket, with squares patched around the strips. Let your creativity go wild…

Those that sew, might be able to make some gorgeous patchwork quilts or blanket covers out of your fabric stash. If you see a woollen blanket or duvet inner at an op shop that’s looking a bit worn, maybe (after a good clean) it could be used as the base of a funky looking blanket. I know that you clever people who sew, are awesome at making fantastic creations… I think I’m going to have to learn to sew…


Events on 3 November


In Wellington, we invite all crafters to come and join us for the day (from 10am til 6pm – at Newlands Community Centre, 9 Batchelor St, Newlands), where we will be sewing squares, stuffing toys, chatting, making new friends, and enjoying some of the yummy treats that crafters will be bringing to share.

imageWe will be putting our needles and hooks down for a short while (at 11.00am, 2.00pm and 4.30pm), as we have guest speakers from numerous of our charity partners there to talk to us about the great work that they do, and how much they appreciate the fantastic items that charity crafters make. Each session will have speakers from different charities, so if you want to hear from all of them, I’m afraid you’ll just have to spend the whole day with us… hmmm, an entire day crafting, chatting and having fun – sounds terrible doesn’t it??


In Christchuch, Barbara from Kiwi Family Trust will host an event, with the other Coordinators assisting her. The event is at the Kiwi Family Trust office, 420 St Asaph St, Phillipstown, from 10am til 2pm.

In Tauranga, local Charity Yarn Stash Coordinator – Lisa, is hosting an event at Wapuna Park Pavillion, 25 Kaitemako Rd, Welcome Bay – from 10am til 2pm.

All events have an entry fee – either a gold coin donation or an item of food to share.

I’m hoping that some of our Charity Yarn Stash Coordinators out in the regions, might be able to arrange a get together on the same day (even if it’s just for an hour or two), and I’ll keep you posted of this as we get closer to the 3rd of November.

If you’d like to help the Yarn Stash coordinators in your region by being an Event Coordinator, Event Host or Event Support person, please do feel free to get in touch with your nearest coordinator. Crafty Volunteers is about connecting people who have a common interest, to do what they can to help others in their community. Anything that you’re happy to assist with is always most appreciated,


Where to deliver your bears and squares to?


Feel free to contact your local Charity Yarn Stash Coordinator, who will connect with local crafters to finalise sewing squares and stuffing toys, before distributing to local charities.

If you’re in one of the regions that doesn’t yet have a local Coordinator, do feel free to send them to Crafty Volunteers, c/- Nancys Stitch Studio, 261 Thorndon Quay, Thorndon, Wellington.

I can’t wait to see the wonderful creations start coming in.