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Helping Father Frost, our new style Christmas Stocking project for 2020

Help Father Frost! The Christmas Stocking Project 2020

Stocking are made very early as due to transporting them over to Belarus goes, they leave when the summer visitors go back and go into safe storage! They will be given to the children around the time of the orthodox Christmas early January 2021.

Please read carefully as things are different.

  • We have been given a list of children, names and ages as at the time they will receive their stocking. Initially we have 31.
  • If you would like to take part, message or email us and we will allocate a child to you. How lovely is this??!! You then make a stocking just for them!
  • Let’s say no more than 2 children per person, but if you are prepared to make for more, let us know and we can always come back to you. No extras needed this year, just personalised stockings for these children. If we have more donors than children we will take your names in case we get more.

So last posting is Friday 23rd May 2020.

Elizabeth Parker (Mid Suffolk Chernobyl Children’s Life line link)and her team personally take filled stockings to Belarus, to the homes/schools of very disadvantaged children. Their aim is to give the children a real Christmas present and those they give to have most likely never received a Christmas present before.  It is very important to note this is absolutely not one of those shoe box appeals, so these stockings do not include functional toothpaste/brush type items, and there are no strings attached. It is just a wonderful thing to be able to do for some of the most disavanted and sick children.

So message/email for a child’s details, then once you have these please read on! Should anything change and you can’t make the stocking PLEASE PLEASE let us know so that we can sort things out. This is so important, we don’t want any child to be left out.

Even if you took part last year, please do read the instructions, they are absolutely vital to making this work. We are grateful to you, this is a wonderful project. Thank you.

We are looking for home made fabric only please stockings, OR shop bought stockings, we found some  on Ebay and Amazon but PLEASE as close to the size below as possible.  Then fit it with age appropriate treasure and get it as close to the weight as possible!

Here’s how to help…

  1. Whether it is home made or shop bought, stockings need to be as close to 18cm by 40cm  (approx 7” x 16) which seems to be average standard size of shop bought ones.
  2. The stockings can contain anything that would be considered a Christmas present but for this project, no utility items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste
  3. A list of suggested items is below but these are by no means the only items to be included, feel free to add anything you want!
  4. The gifts inside the stockings must not be wrapped in Christmas paper as this makes it easier if they are stopped at customs.
  5. VERY IMPORTANT – Completed stockings must weigh no more than 650 grams please and need to be able to lie as flat as possible for travelling purposes.
  6. Reiterating the 650g weight limit!
  7. Please send any filled stockings to us wrapped in a carrier bag with a list of the contents jotted down on a bit of paper and the weight in grammes, PLUS THE CHILD”S NAME AND NUMBER

What to put in to a stocking…The items listed are only some suggestions, please feel free to add your own items

  1. Liquids may not be sent neither should toy guns, sharps, knives or other weapons etc be sent as some parents might object to these.
  2. No sweets (as the stockings will be in storage in Minsk for a good while, they go over in June, and they can’t guarantee they mightn’t get hot)
  3. A small soft toy
  4. Small ornaments (all children love dogs and cats)
  5. A “Barbie” or Action Man type Doll
  6. temporary tattoos
  7. lip balm
  8. flavoured chapsticks
  9. Magic Gloves
  10. Hair slides, bobble, elastics etc for girls, colourful, sparkly items are really liked.
  11. Girls love all things pink and “blingy” !
  12. Wrist bands for boys
  13. Fridge Magnets are a big favourite
  14. Small logic puzzles, i.e. the ones we use to get where you had to roll a few small balls around and get
    them in the right place.
  15. Spinner toys
  16. Bracelets and necklaces for girls
  17. Balsa wood models
  18. Polystyrene plane kits
  19. Small cars or other models
  20. Small windup toys
  21. Marbles – quite heavy but a few would be ok and the children really love them
  22. Stickers – all the children seem to collect these
  23. Yo yo
  24. Harmonica
  25. Funny socks and slipper socks are liked very much, particularly if they are “Character “ones.
  26. Warm tights for girls – they like bright colors
  27. Small notebook – pretty ones for girls
  28. Pens, pencils – biros should be blue not black please, this is for school use, highlighters
  29. colouring pencils
  30. Small coin purses
  31. Pretty notebooks
  32. Pencil case
  33. Any toys with LED lights – particularly the stretchy/squishy ones
  34. Folding shopping bags (older girls)
  35. Keyrings
  36. Slipper socks

We will have quite a bit of admin this end, so please send any filled stockings to us wrapped in a carrier bag with a list of the contents jotted down on a bit of paper and the weight in grammes. Do make sure you include your child’s name and number which will all help make sure the right stocking goes to the right child! All hail the folk who get these out in Belarus! 

Angel Hugs for Bereaved Families ( updated for 2020)

2020. Very much an ongoing project, collection dates to aim for are at the bottom of the Home page. Thank you x

 

Our Angel Hug project began back in 2012 with a request to make blankets for newborn or very young babies who devastatingly have not survived. At an intensely bleak and dark time there is still something very positive that we can do for the baby and their family. Our blankets are always handmade with love and compassion and so are perfect. We can help care for the whole family at this time by making the baby comfortable and snuggled up whilst sending love and a hug to the parents and wider family. We have been supporting Glasgow Maternity wards and are able to support SANDS if needed.

We have recently had a request from the wonderful Haven House Children’s Hospice in Woodford Green, Essex to support their bereaved families too. With your love and support we will be so glad to help more families going through absolute hell.

We know that we have many crafters and donors who have first hand experience of such devastating loss. We understand that this is a very difficult request, but if you can join with us, and are able to help, then we would love to have you on board. From speaking to some of you, we know how incredibly important blankets like these are to those who receive them.

Angel Hugs is as always an ongoing project. Traditionally we have sent plain white Angel Hugs to Glasgow and will continue with this.  Haven House would like us to use the palette below which will tie in with the big Billie’s Butterfly blankets we have made for their post bereavement room and may well be in use for families at this incredibly difficult time.

 

If making an Angel Hug for Haven House Hospice

  • Single colours only please, using Stylecraft Special DK in these colours only…Duck egg, grape, sage, pale rose, cloud blue
  • Minimum size : 24 inches square, going up to a maximum of approx. 30 inches square.
  • At the bottom of this page is a copy of the SANDS knitted pattern if this helps you

 

If making an Angel Hug for Glasgow Maternity

  • Angel Hugs are to be all white and can be knitted or crocheted in any wool suitable for a baby blanket, so 4ply, DK, just as long as it feels soft and cosy. The design is up to you, but it should be kept simple. Angel Hugs can also be sewn using pure cotton and good quality fleece, again white please and in a simple design.
  • Minimum size : 24 inches square, going up to a maximum of approx. 30 inches square.
  • At the bottom of this page is a copy of the SANDS knitted pattern if this helps you.
  • Please make sure when you post that you label your blanket as an Angel Hug, we don’t want to get them muddled with Little Hugs.

 

If you need help to be able to take part

  • If you would like to take part in this project but feel you can’t due to the costs involved, please message us and we’ll try to help you with materials

 

If you’d like to donate funds for others to craft on this project

  • We would be very grateful for support from anyone who would like to donate funds to help with this. You can either donate via Paypal admin@woollyhugs.com but please add a message so we know who to thank and which project it is for. If you don’t have Paypal, please message us as we have other ways that you can donate. We are so grateful to all our donors, without you, these projects could not function.

It is a very sad request we are making, and yet there is something very positive here too, and we know the Blanketeers have big hearts. Sometimes thank you doesn’t seem enough, but thank you once again.

 

 

 

The SANDS pattern

Please note this is only a suggestion.

If you are intending to make a blanket with the lace edging, then please knit the basic blanket no larger than a 20 inch square.

Easy Baby Blanket with Lace Option This lace border makes the easy blanket very special but we are happy for you to knit to the basic pattern. (You can use any white wool and needles to suit, to give a soft drape). The basic pattern knit to approx a 24” square. It will always come square.

BASIC BLANKET 200gm of Double Knit Wool and 4mm needles.

Cast on 1 stitch Next row:- Make the one stitch into two stitches.

Next row:- Knit 1, into the next stitch make another, 3 stitches on needle.

Continue to knit, ALWAYS knit the first stitch and into the 2 nd stitch make another. Only increase this way at the BEGINNING of a row. Continue until you have almost come to the end of the 100gm ball. Knit 1 row plain.

Next row:- Knit 1, Knit 2 together, Knit to end of row.

Continue this way, always knit the 1 st stitch then decrease into the next stitch by knitting 2 together until 1 stitch remains.

You should now have a neat square.

LACE EDGING

Using Double Knit and size 8 (UK) needles Cast on 8 stitches

Row 1 (Wrong side) Slip 1, Knit 1, (Yarn fwd knit 2 tog) twice, Yarn fwd, Knit 2 (9 sts)

Rows 2, 3, and 6. Slip 1 Knit to the end.

Row 3. Slip 1, knit 2 (yarn fwd knit 1 tog) twice. Yarn fwd Knit 1 (10 sts)

Row 5. Slip 1, knt 3 (yarn fwd knit 2 tog) twice. Yarn fwd Knit 2 (11 sts)

Row 7. Slip 1, knit 4 (yarn fwd kni t 2 tog) twice. Yarn fwd Knit 2 (12 sts)

Row 8. Slip 1, Knit 11 sts Row 9. Cast off 4 sts. Knit to the end (8 sts)

Row 10. Slip 1, knit to the end (8 sts)

These 10 rows form the pattern.

Continue in pattern until it is long enough to fit all around. Sew o nto the blanket. Thank you so much.

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

https://www.woollyhugs.org/2019/10/20/the-great-woolly-hugs-hugathon-event-3-leeds/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

THANK YOU!!!!