Doing our bit

Good afternoon Stitchers!

I’ve had a busy few days at home, which has involved turning our study (full of husband junk) into a ‘studio’ where I can work (read full of yarn!)

Husband cleared out the junk, so we had a fairly blank canvas to work with. And then he dumped ALL of my craft related stuff in there….it happened something like this…

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Rather a lot isn’t there?! Most of it was yarn, bought a couple of years ago in the House of Fraser sale. A lot was also things I’d inherited from my nan when she passed away, some yarn I’d won, bits from the shop, and bits from when I used to work at Rowan, plus some small boxes of Really Nice Stuff. There is also a hefty amount of art related stuff plus my embellisher and a sewing machine currently borrowed from the shop. There was no way I could keep it all. I was going to have to have a clear out.

That afternoon, I randomly checked my junk email. My email address is published in a few random places from when I first set Stitch Solihull up. And I stumbled across an email from a lady called Kat who was looking for donations of craft materials, but particularly yarn, for a ladies group.

Kat works for Sandwell Women’s Aid. This is a regional charity which supports victims of domestic and sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and human trafficking. One of their key elements is to provide safe refuges for women and their children from across the West Midlands, giving an opportunity to escape violent homes and giving them the essential space and support to rebuild their lives. Their refuges are currently home to 31 women and 35 children.
Every Thursday in the main refuge, the women have a sewing and craft morning together in the lounge. Sewing together is a brilliant way to connect with others, particularly for women who have been abused and traumatised. Creating lovely things boosts self esteem, and a way of looking forward to the future, when they will use their new blankets, cushion covers, and bags etc in their new lives. Here’s an example of some of the work they do.

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This was the perfect opportunity. It meant I was stricter that I normally would have been when I was clearing out my stash and other craft materials. So far, I’ve filled almost four bin bags.

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Most of this would have gone to a run of the mill charity shop. I don’t mind that, but in my mind it isn’t always clear where the proceeds of funds from a charity shop ends up. How much of it will cover rent and admin fees, rather than directly helping people?

But this is direct support. These supplies will go straight to the hands of people who need them and will benefit from them. I know first hand that knitting is a therapy. I suffer from depression and knitting helps me to either spend time dealing with my thoughts, or it takes me off to a meditative place. Not only that, but knitting has also brought me some of the best friends I’ve ever had, who have helped me through some of the most difficult times of my life. Times I wouldn’t have got through without them. Not only this, but we also know that craft is a mostly female dominated hobby, and so it feels only right that we help other ladies.

So this is where I turn to you, fellow stitchers. We’d like you to do the same too. Have a little clearout, and drop off your unwanted craft items. Yarn, needles, hooks, pens, paints, pencils, fabrics, thread, haberdashery, anything! I’m not expecting you to clear out as many bin bags as I have, or enough yarn to make full garments. Even if you can just fill a carrier bag, then that would be enough. Sandwell Women’s Aid will also accept donations of ladies clothes, children’s clothes, and food. Please ensure clothes are clean and food is in date if you wish to do this.

We’re happy to act as a Donation Station for Sandwell Women’s Aid. We’d like to think that this is something we can continue with long term…especially in the run up to – dare I mention it – Christmas. Kat will be coming to collect donations from the shop in a couple of weeks, and we’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, please help these lovely ladies get their lives back on track through the magic of craft, knowing that you will be making a huge difference to their lives.

Thank you.

Vick x

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