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Our Review of 2019. The Year of the Tortie?!

As the  old year draws to an end, we love to pause and to reflect upon the Woolly year just gone and although we say this every time, it really has been an extraordinary year, full of extraordinary days! What a woolly journey we are all on together.


The Woolly Hug crew seem unstoppable, a true force of good, and we never take any of this for granted. We are filled with awe at the response and enthusiasm to all our projects, the spirit, compassion, generosity, love and care, truly it feels boundless. Crafters and donors what you do is incredibly special and precious, giving woolly warmth comfort to others. Incredible. Saying thank you just doesn’t seem enough, but the most enormous thanks to everyone.


2019 saw the continuation of our Ongoing projects with new ones added in. From here in the UK to as far away as Syria, Kurdistan, Belarus and Vietnam children and families feeling love, warmth, support and comfort through our Refugee Project, Billie’s Blankets, Little Hugs inc Hugs for Manchester, Kinship Hugs and Candy’s Hugs. Thinking too of all the families in Glasgow and the surrounds who have received our Angel Hugs and Teds incredibly bleak and devastating times. Love in every stitch we say and it really is true.


Again all hail the incredible Construction Crew who have really exceeded themselves in 2019, at times our requests (Chernobs, Snugs, Refugee blankets) are relentless and they never fail to support even when they must be on their knees! For this and several other projects, we could not function without you, the sheer joyful enthusiasm our calls for help is met with makes us so teary and thankful, what wonders you are. Thank you! Thanks too to the wonderful Square Squad who are utterly fabulous at quickly and beautifully making squares for special Little Hugs/Kinships etc. We put up our request and we are never surprised at the SPEED of the replies! Thank you everyone. If anyone would like more info about either group, just shout, we have separate Facebook groups so not to get lost on the main Page!







2019 will never be forgotten as the year we made it to Osipovichi , Belarus in April to meet our ‘Chernob’ children and families at home and school. This was a life changing trip for us, heartbreaking in many parts, uplifting and inspiring in others. Such a joy to meet again some of the children who had come to the UK (Bristol) in 2018 and see our Chernobyl blankets in their homes.We could see how treasured and loved they were and it renewed our energy and passion for this project. 

















Thanks to you all, we were able to take over so many beautiful Billie’s Blankets and Little Hugs for the Baby Home 1 in Minsk, these often forming part of palliative care, some for respite care and others for children for whom due to circumstances this is their home now. This was a truly wonderful thing to do for not only the children, but the wonderful staff team there. Folk had made wonderful Hearty Hearts which were loved by all we could give them to. Fantastic.


We blogged during the whole trip, although at times just couldn’t find the words, our Belarus Blog can be found here.. https://www.woollyhugs.org/category/blog/belarus-blog/page/3/  Then one afternoon we had a really joyous moment, we got to meet Alexey. 

Alexey is a very special person as he was the first ever ’Chernob child’ and he visited Surrey. He’s now 33, has his own family and works for the Chernobyl Children’s lifeline based in Minsk. Amazing. He had his own blanket from us on this day. It seemed the right thing and we were delighted we could. It was a special day to meet Alexey as that day was the 33rd anniversary of the devastating Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

We know we want to go back, there was never any doubt that we wanted to do more and reach more children and their families. Sadly 2020 is out because of family commitments, but 2021 could be something for us to work towards! Thank you to Andy at the Bristol link for letting us tag onto his trip, as we’ve already said, it was life changing.




Our Chernobyl project 2019 was wonderfully well supported, not all groups host every year but in 2019 but because of your generosity and love, we were delighted to send beautiful blankets, extras and ice cream funds to..

  • Aberdeen
  • Ayrshire
  • Bristol
  • Chet and Waveney (Norfolk)
  • Dublin
  • Fife
  • Gloucester/Glossop (children split their trip between these two)
  • Isle of Wight
  • Mid Glamorgan
  • Mid Suffolk
  • Northamptonshire (Helpston)
  • Shropshire
  • St Ives
  • Swindon
  • Yeovil and Sherborne

It was great to meet the Bristol children again and deliver their blankets in person, many of whom we had met in Belarus back in April. Thanks to everyone for their enthusiasm and wonderful support, this project really does draw upon the strength of everyone, and we know for sure it is so worthwhile, so a huge thank you again xxx

















Ooooo, and there was another film!! Guess who is happily using a DRONE??!! This of the blankets heading to our wonderful Helpston group.

Our Chernobyl project 2020 will be bigger than ever!  We REALLY need your help, do check it out here… Thank you so so much! Think we are initially aiming for 175 blankets. Say it quickly, it makes it EASIER!


So what about the Torties!

It  all started with a request from the amazing folk at the Children’s Family Trust (who receive our Snugs for looked after children) They were after a mascot, and had come up with the idea of a tortoise. 

Because of confidentiality and privacy the wonderful CFT can’t put pictures of the children and their activities on any social media platform, the idea was to have something the children could take with them to all their school trips, events etc and take pictures of them so they can them celebrate their achievements!! They even drew their ideas and the staff searched around and found Theresa’s pattern to match their work!

We are eternally grateful to the very lovely Theresa (from TheresasCrochetShop) because she has very kindly donated her pattern for our use to help these children, so altruistic, super kind and generous of her, and even more wonderful of her – she’s not from the UK, she’s from the USA! Her patterns are absolutely fabulous, totally gorgeous, very straightforward and can all be found over here…. on Etsy, please do check her out!

So our Tortie Sortie began, thank you to so many crafters for taking on the challenge, we had a lot of fun and games with the Torties, one even made it to New York, before  delivering a little Tortie army to the Children’s Family Trust in the summer, this was an emotional day, but they needed to go and work hard! Thanks to lovely Ali though we were not Tortie-less for long, so Tortie is now our mascot too, long may the adventures continue!



























Our Bee’s Blanket project is now just one year old and we love seeing our crafters creativity! This project has been inspired by not only Bee but by others who have children with autism and also by wonderful people who have either been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s or have had to support loved ones whilst often feeling helpless to know how to support them. These are sensory, tactile blankets which can be a soothing, stimulating  and comforting resource and the feedback we have had from those we have made has been very positive. Taking this forward we hope to help many more wonderful individuals. 


Making Christmas Cwtches was a new project for us in 2019, we even celebrated with a film!  We were asked to make special festive Little Hugs for very sick children stuck on ward 2 at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle over Christmas. We leapt to the challenge. All absolutely stunning, thank you so much everyone, we know these have been loved by families going through incredibly difficult times.. xx





























2019 saw our first Woolly Festival, and what an introduction! Victorious festival on the August Bank Holiuday. Glorious weather, fabulous people and the Torties acted like celebrities and got stuck into the glitter! Thanks to everyone we had an enormous number of Woolly Huggers to promote our work. And then we got to see Lewis Capaldi!


Thank you so much to the wonderful Rebel Yarnstormers and Seeded for all their love and hard work!










Our Ongoing projects continue and grow, our Little Hug project (blankets for very sick children at The Royal Hospital for Children,  Glasgow, the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle and Royal Manchester Hospital for Children) enters its eighth year, bigger than ever and we were truly delighted to be contacted by Great Ormond Street asking for blankets for some of their desperately ill teens and we were truly delighted to help and will continue to do so. Thank you so much to Catherine at GOSH. Love to all the families and children who have received this year. Our Angel Hug project continues too, helping support bereaved families in Glasgow maternity wards. Loved and looked after.






A Snug for Christmas 2019 was supporting children in the NE region of England. So many beautiful blankets, we hit our target of 54, thank you so so much. All going to wonderful looked after children – our aim is to give them something unique and permanent which they can take with them wherever they are. A Snug for Christmas 2020 will go ahead, region to be confirmed, thank you so much.

Our Candy’s Hugs are reaching out to even more wonderful women going through different stages of cancer treatment. Requests are coming in all the time and we need to work hard to ensure we can keep up with demand. The project started on Christmas Eve 2016 so we are entering our third year. We know Candy would have approved. We miss her. 





Our Refugee project is well supported and folk are adapting to our Posting window and requirements on sizing and colours. If in doubt, do have a read, we love our crafters who send such thoughtful beautiful items. Hundreds of items have already gone this year, truly love in every stitch for those who receive them. Thank you everyone, our posting window closes again on Easter Saturday 2020.







Christmas Hugs. Very recently we were able to send an enormous collection of cuddly toys off to Cecilia at the  Friends of Chernobyl Children who as well as bringing children over, work with families in remote areas in Belarus experiencing extreme poverty in very challenging conditions.They take them over as gifts for children who have next to nothing so you can imagine how much they are loved.





We mustn’t forget the Christmas Stocking project to help Father Frost! It feels AGES ago (last posting was May 31st!) as Elizabeth (Mid Suffolk Chernobyl Children’s Life line link) had to start transporting them over from the summer in readiness for the Orthodox Christmas in early January.


They personally take filled stockings to very sick children in hospitals and also to the homes of very disadvantaged children. No strings attached, just a gift for Christmas. 


It is clear that we all love doing this by the sheer numbers we send, folk are incredibly generous and fro experience it is great fun and a challenge to get the maximum in whilst keeping under the 650g weight restriction per stocking! Hopefully some photos to come in a few weeks, these from last Christmas. We won’t know if this project is running again until they return from their trip, so please do just wait before starting again. Thank you so much xx


We held two very successful craft sales this year, honestly folk are so generous, super talented and we are constantly amazed. We have enormous fun running them! It was an absolute pleasure to pay our donation of £1250 on behalf of us all to Shine Cancer charity in memory of and with love for the gorgeous Leslie a few weeks ago after the Christmas Sale. Sending so much love to her family. xx Our next Sale will be in the Spring, but we know folk like to get ahead, March 17th – 21st with a last posting of March 4th. Thank you! 












All of this and a Hugathon too! We revisited Portsmouth in September on possibly the wettest windiest Sunday of the year, but inside was merry and bright, lots of wonderful crafters chatting, making squares for our Snug project.




It is such a cheery occasion, very few know each other but we all have the common woolly core. Oh and there is a BAR! We love doing these, the Lucky Dip and Gin Raffle are now legendary!


We branch out in 2020! Leeds on February 29th ( yes it is a leap year!) and Gloucester in March. Tickets for Leeds are on sale, we’d love to see you there if poss. Gloucester tickets within a week or so.








All these beautiful MN Woolly Hug blankets have been made/delivered to families this year. All utterly stunning and so personal. We are so glad we can do this but how we wish there was ever any need. Several more are still in the construction phase. Thank you so much to the crew who work tirelessly and never seem to get fazed by requests <ahem> f – ing red trousers, Monty Python parrots, these folk can literally do anything!



















2019 proved to be yet another woolly whirlwind! Who knows where 2020 will take us!

Thank you again for every thought given to our projects, every piece of ours you have read, the likes, shares, every SINGLE stitch, ball of yarn, search for pattern or idea, every single penny spent, every choice from our Amazon wishlist, every penny donated or raised, every single moment, every BLOOMIN pesky end, every ounce of support, every resource, every Post office queue, everything!


We lost some of our wonderful crew this year, always loved, never forgotten, Ursula, Chrissie and TQ, we miss you so much, we were lucky to know each of you, sending love to their fabulous families xxx

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  2020, we are ready for you.


The Woolly Hug for AliceRR

The blanket is absolutely beautiful and is something we will treasure forever. It is so lovely. You are all so talented! The surprise frame that was in the middle of the blanket is gorgeous too and it is up on the wall. I’m just so touched that you all spent so much time doing something for us. The cards… I was so emotional unwrapping it all. The kindness of you all and to know so many people we don’t know were thinking of us and of precious Ruby, who we want everyone to remember.

Thank you so much. I really love the blanket and the framed picture. Please can you thank everyone for me or let me know if there is a way to get a message to you all. Needless to say, my husband felt the same way and just said “how do we say thank you for this?” I still don’t know.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and wish you all the best for 2020.

Our original thread is here…

Thank you so much everyone for all you do xxxx

The Great Spring/Easter Craft Sale and Auction 2020! March 18th – 21st.

Welcome to our Spring/Easter 2020 craft sale and Auction, thank you so much for joining us.  All funds raised will go directly into our own Woolly Hug project with a focus on the Chernobyl project. Every penny raised will go to help others, we hope you will support us, either by crafting, buying or even maybe both! Thank you so so much. x

Crafting info…

We would love our crafters to make small/lightweight Spring/Easter craft items, and to keep postage costs to a minimum we ask that ideally anything made can be sent on to a buyer in a large envelope. We are open to larger items too obviously, that is just a guide. We will then sell these beauties through the sale.


This cutie will be Item 1! Thank you Vivienne R! xx

Some suggestions for you, but we are very open to others too…

  1. Spring and Easter decorations, bunting, garlands, Easter egg themes etc
  2. Anything sheep wise is always popular!
  3. Small gifts – Little bags, purses, brooches, hair accessories, key rings, gift bags, tags,
  4. Clothing – but lightweight please, we find heavier winter hats, scarves don’t sell well at this time. Please include a bag
  5. Lovely lovely things!
  6. Woolly, fabric, embroidered, beaded, all crafty crafts welcome!!


Last posting for crafts to be Wednesday 4th March please, earlier is beer for us if at all possible. It takes SO long to get ready for a sale!

Please PM for the posting information if you need, but it will be Teddington.

The Event itself…

Our Spring/Easter 2019 craft sale and Auction will take place ONLINE on a Facebook Event page as before, between Wednesday 18th and Saturday21st March.  Finishing on the Saturday as Sunday is Mothers’ Day!

Some items will be up for instant sale on this event wall during this time, others through auction on our Auction Site which will help folk not on Facebook, or those who prefer to take part in this way. Do message us if you have any questions. We are keeping it all crossed that this Sale will be a huge success, with your love and support we have every confidence, huge heartfelt thanks.


It’s our Chernobyl Project 2020!

It was beyond wonderful for us to visit Belarus in April 2019, meet again some of the children who had come to the UK (Bristol) in 2018 and see our Chernobyl blankets in their homes, just a few of these below. We could see how treasured and loved they were and it renewed our energy and passion for this project. And so we are delighted to say….

Welcome to our Chernobyl Project 2020!









A reminder of why we do what we do is at the bottom. We are launching early as 2020 is going to be even bigger than ever as we hope to reach even more children. Also our first group (Portsmouth arrive at the end of February this year!)

We are in the process of writing to all groups we have previously supported to get an idea of numbers and now have other groups contacting us asking to be on board, and obviously we’d all like to help as many as possible! Now then, this is early days to predict, but we are thinking it is going to be between 175 and 200! Can we do this?! <fret> As soon as we know which groups we will be supporting again we will let you know! Hopefully when we come back after Christmas.

The groups we have previously sent our blankets to….

Not all groups host every year, but these are the groups we have helped so far, and aim to continue to do so.

  • Aberdeen
  • Ayrshire
  • Bristol
  • Chet and Waveney (Norfolk)
  • Dublin
  • Fife
  • Gloucester/Glossop (children split their trip between these two)
  • Isle of Wight
  • Mid Glamorgan
  • Mid Suffolk
  • Northamptonshire (Helpston)
  • Portsmouth
  • Shropshire
  • St Ives
  • Swindon
  • Yeovil and Sherborne

Here’s how you can help for 2020….

Squares. We need SQUILLIONS of twelve inch squares in the Stylecraft Special DK palette as in photo and listed at the bottom of the page, if 12 is too much, 6 inch squares are fine too, just this yarn in these colours please, inc for embellishments so the blankets come together and are consistent for wash and wear. Knit and crochet equally welcome, beginner or expert, as simple or complex as you like, single colour, multi colour. Design of square up to you, but not too lacy, they need to be hardy. Please use a 4mm hook or needles. If sizing is a challenge with your pattern/tension, we prefer them just under sized rather than over!

SO IMPORTANT! Please ensure you knot off every end/colour change very very securely, leave approx a 6 inch tail end and use a needle to sew in. These blankets have to be super sturdy as there is no way back to fix them if squares collapse. All ends must be sewn in.



Whole blankets We know some crafters love to make their own whole blankets and this is wonderful! We ask you message us to let us know, so we have some idea of numbers of squares needed. Please use SSDK. Finished blanket size remains the same at 48inches by 60 inches, and please work within the colour palette as this makes it much easier when blankets are gifted. If circumstances change and you can no longer make a whole blanket, LET US KNOW! Thank you so so much x


Last posting to be April 12th, but earlier will be enormously helpful, thank you. 

The 2020 Palette

  • Aspen
  • Aster
  • Bluebell
  • Boysenberry
  • Bright pink
  • Candy floss
  • Citron
  • Claret
  • Cloud blue
  • Cornish Blue
  • Cypress
  • Denim
  • Duck egg
  • Emperor
  • Empire
  • Fondant
  • Fuchsia pink
  • Grape
  • Grass green
  • Kelly green
  • Lapis
  • Lavender
  • Lime
  • Lipstick
  • Lobelia
  • Magenta
  • Meadow
  • Mustard
  • Pale Rose
  • Parchment
  • Petrol
  • Pistachio
  • Plum
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberry
  • Saffron
  • Sage
  • Sherbert
  • Shrimp
  • Spearmint
  • Spice
  • Storm blue
  • Teal
  • Tomato
  • Turquoise
  • Violet


Ice Cream funds. If you would like to add 50p in when you post squares/blankets for ice creams that would be so kind, we will split any money we receive between the groups.


Extras for the children. 

There are a few extras which we will be collecting too alongside squares, items which really help, if you would like to add in any of these we would love to receive them for the children, thank you, bless you. We have spoken with all groups receiving this year about what they would like and have an adapted list of extras, please note, no shampoo, shower gel this year. We will be adding some of these things to our Amazon wish-list if that helps.

  • New underwear, pants/socks boys and girls, age 8-12
  • Children’s Gloves
  • High factor suncream
  • Toothbrushes, single packed please
  • Toothpaste
  • Hairbrushes
  • Bars of soap, wrapped as singles.
  • Sanitary towels
  • Plasters
  • Insect bite pens
  • Cold sore cream
  • Lip balms
  • Small tubes or tubs of Sudacrem
  • Children’s vitamins
  • Vegetable seeds (tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, beetroot, gherkins)
  • Menthol type cough lozenges
  • Big and strong long life shopping bags
  • Tea and instant coffee, packets please
  • Any little luxuries that 8-12 year olds might love, eg nail varnish, fun stationery, temporary tattoos, little toys with LEDs, mini torches,  , hair clips, make up bits, mini lego kits, fun/brightly coloured sunglasses, stickers  etc.


Donating funds

We are always very grateful to anyone who would like to donate funds for this project. Please do inc your name so we can thank you properly.

Our Paypal is admin@woollyhugs.com

Bank transfer

  • We are a Cooperative account in the name of Woolly Hugs
  • • Account number: 65579631
  • • Sort code: 089299

Any funds raised from our Spring/Easter sale 2020 will be used to support this project.

Hugs for Heads 2020

After the success last year, we thought how lovely it would be to send all children a cosy hat to take home with their blanket this year, so introduced Hugs for Heads, if you would like to knit or crochet a cosy child’s hat size age 12 to adult in machine washable yarn, we would love to receive it for them. The pattern is up to you., we do have yarn available, please message us.  Posting any time from January 2020!


For anyone who needs, just a quick reminder about the project!

For the last few years we have been making warm, comforting Little Hugs for Belarusian and Ukrainian teenagers and children visiting the UK for recuperative holidays during the summer with the fabulous charity the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, Chernobyl Children’s Project and the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children. Each year these marvellous charities bring children who live in the most contaminated area near the Chernobyl reactor over to the UK. In summer, when the dust causes radiation levels to rise, it becomes even more important for as many children as possible to leave their homeland for a few weeks of fresh air and clean food. The rates of childhood cancer are incredibly high and often visiting children are in remission. Sadly though there is a high chance of these children falling ill again. They all suffer living in such difficult conditions and with very little. It is a lovely thing for us to do to make these children a special cuddly blanket to take home. One child last year said to his interpreter it was like having a big hug from his Gran. Beautiful.

Thank you so much everyone!


Our Hearty Heart Project


Hearty Hearts

‘A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees’
Amelia Earhart

We recently sent out handcrafted Hearts to nominated folk who needed a little boost. These were sent anonymously (for free )and with our love. ❤️  It was a wonderful to be able to undertake a random act of kindness like this and it is one we’d like to repeat.  It was only made possible by wonderful crafters making and sending hearts, and we now have none left. We’d love to be able to collect more so are making this an ongoing project.


We would like to collect crochet, knitted or stitched 3D hearts (so not single sided) these to be no bigger than 20cm MAX and to have a hanging loop. They can be padded or just double sided. Other than this the style is very much up to you. !

Have put some links below, you may well have your own ideas!


Crafting suggestions

Crochet Heart Applique Pattern

Twenty six free crochet heart patterns! Including granny hearts, swirls and crocodile stitch. 

Bella Coco YouTube crochet heart tutorial, bear with the ads

Bella Coco Heart crochet pops – just leave out the stick and add a loop!

Cute Knitted heart design on Ravelry

Knitted heart design

Love stitches heart design – in photo


The most enormous thanks!