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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 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 2020 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.


The Great Woolly Hugs’ Hugathon Event 3. Leeds. Saturday 29th February 2020

Blankets from our 2019 Chernobyl collection!


The Great Woolly Hugs’ Hugathon Event 3 all takes place on Saturday 29th February 2020! (yes it is a Leap Year!) between 11.00am and 3.30pm, at The Marriott Hotel, Leeds. Full address below. The venue is on the first floor of the hotel, but is fully accessible, with accessible facilities.  The venue is very central and close to Leeds Station. There is city centre parking available nearby.

The Leeds Marriott

During our Hugathon, we will be making squares and joining blankets for our Chernobyl Project, 2020.  We will provide SSDK and equipment for the session, but the palette is shown if you’d like to bring your own. If you are unfamiliar with the project, we have added the info about it below.


We will be running a rather fabulous Lucky Dip and our legendary Gin Raffle and will have yarn and gorgeous bits and pieces for sale from the lovely Alexsis at Seeded (tbc) If you have items for our DeStash table please do bring, remember one person’s destash is another person’s treasure!

Tickets cost £12. Tickets will include a special Event Bag and mystery goodies!

Tea and coffee will be available to purchase, and there is a bar downstairs! We suggest you bring a packed lunch/snacks/drinks etc. Do join us, we’d love to meet you or see you again. And if you are worried about not knowing anyone, let us know and we can get you seated and chatting with other lovelies!


The Marriott Hotel,
The Trevelyan Suite,
4 Trevelyan Square, Boar Lane. Leeds, LS1 6ET

Our Chernobyl 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.

It was an absolutely joy to us to meet some of the children who visited Bristol at their homes in Protosevichi, Belarus one year on and see them with their blankest again. We know how loved and cherished these are by children and families who really have very little. It has renewed our passion for this wonderful project.


The groups we send our blankets to….

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

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

We need YOU!!

Here’s how you can help….

Squares. We need twelve inch squares in the Stylecraft Special DK palette as in photo left 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.

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

We will confirm last posting, but please none to be posted until January 2020

The 2020 Palette

  • Aspen
  • Aster
  • Bluebell
  • Boysenberry
  • Bright pink
  • Candy floss
  • Citron
  • Claret
  • Cloud blue
  • Cornish Blue (new this year)
  • 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 (new this year)
  • Spice
  • Storm blue
  • Teal
  • Tomato
  • Turquoise
  • Violet

Thank you to lovely Viki for the peg pic – beautiful!

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. Please no posting of these until after Easter 2020!

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 this year 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 8 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!



Thank you so much everyone!


Spring/Summer 2019 Limited edition Woolly Hugs’ bag!

Well here they are!










Our cotton tote bags make perfect bags for those WIPS and general woolly essentials, ooh and indeed a multitude of non woolly things too! They measure approx 38.5 × 42.0 cm.

For this season (channelling Woolly Hugs’ fashion week…) we are using a cool as can be MINT and a super glorious RASPBERRY which would look good as a mojito. Both are divine, how on earth will you choose?!

Bags cost £6 each and this includes P&P. Click here for the Shop! Or click on one of the images to get you straight through.  Or just go through the Shop tab on the Homepage.


Raspberry bags here so beautifully modelled by our friend Tel’s gals, you can see how gorgeous they look, and the gals are just lovely too! 😀



The Woolly Hugger Challenge!

Welcome to an exciting new Challenge to take us through to the summer, and say hello to these adorable Woolly Huggers….

(We appreciate these are all crocheted but as soon as we get knit/fabric versions we will be updating this page)









Our plan is that Woolly Huggers will be given to children going through very difficult times due to illness, bereavement, trauma, family separation here and abroad with some going to wonderful children living in extreme poverty in Belarus as part of our Christmas Hug project. We are working in partnership with the Rebel Yarnstormers and Seeded which is wonderful.

We would love to receive as many Woolly Huggers as possible!


We will take all Huggers to Victorious Festival in August to promote our woolly work, and a few may be used to fundraise our projects. With regard to this, if anyone would like to make extra for us to sell at this time, please let us know, or make it clear in your note when you send.



Crafting Info

  • The Woolly Huggers can be knitted, crochet or sewn, please use bright cheerful colours.
  • No fixed  size, but we are thinking approx 6 to 8 inch bodies.
  • Eyes must be sewn on or use toy safety eyes please, no google eyes or buttons etc.
  • Arms need to be long enough to tie round a wrist securely or maybe you would like to add  a velcro fastening.
  • Please use toy/safe stuffing
  • The pictorial guide below might be helpful (Thank you Tina!) we see that two six inch squares would easily make the body if going doing the woolly path.
  • Last posting will be July 1st and it will be to the South Coast address.






So who is up for the Woolly Hugger Challenge??!!

Please do join us, all hands on deck! And let your imagination run wiiiiiiiiiiiiilllllld, this is a fun project that will really  help use up scraps in your stash.

*We can’t stop ourselves calling them Bijoux bad bois 😀

Ooooooooo and YARN BOMBING!

  • All yarn bombing at the Victorious Festival will help draw the attention of folk to the woolly cause!
  • If anyone would like to make knit or crochet six inch squares in bright and cheery colours, single colour, mixed colour, up to you  (any yarn) to go towards bunting garlands that would be marvellous. Peskies in please!
  • And POMPOMS!! We are a keen pom pom bunch we know, so are hopeful some folk would like to make us pompoms for yarn bombing at Victorious Festival. The bigger the better, bright colours and any yarn is fine. Please leave a long hanging loop. Pic below is from Mia’s Wood of a pom pom yarn bomb we undertook there. Beautiful.

Any questions do message us. Thank you so so much! xx