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Thoughts from category: the big knit

Meet the Knitters: Eva and The Breakfast Club, Hoxton

If you live in London and have fancied something big and delicious after a heavy Friday night, you might’ve found yourself queuing with all the other bleary eyed folk outside one of the branches of The Breakfast Club (and if you haven’t you should definitely, definitely try it sometime). However, their breakfasts aren’t the only reason to pay a visit - the Hoxton branch also holds a fortnightly get-together for Age UK and, when they heard about the Big Knit, they jumped at the chance to support the cause (and make a highly representative poster advertising it, too):

 

They now hold a little knitting party in the back of their Hoxton restaurant which includes a multi-coloured table of wool, needles, nibbles and wine. Their group consists of knitters of all ages and expertise - most of them are first-timers who are eager to give it a go and learn a new skill whilst sipping wine and having a chat, others have done it a few times before at school and then there are the experienced; taught by the generations before them and can knit with their eyes closed.

 

The first evening most people managed to complete a hat (with the star-knitters managing a couple more). We spoke to Eva (the organiser and one of the first time knitters) who told us a bit about her knitting experience at The Breakfast Club:

 

“After five hours of hard graft and a few glasses of wine, I still hadn’t completed my hat. It looked rather sad, with a few holes in where I’d got confused as to whether I was supposed to be doing a ‘pearl’ or a ‘knit’ stitch. I was told that I was more of a ‘free-spirit’ than a knitter. Undeterred, I came back the next week to complete my hat. I’m now onto my second and I’m hoping to knit a patchwork blanket for the elderly to keep them warm this winter. So I guess you can be a free-spirit and a knitter after all.”

 

We’re sure you’ll agree that The Hoxton Breakfast Club knitting group looks like a pretty brilliant way to spend an evening (and, remember – the first rule of Knitting Club is: you do not talk about Knitting Club) and the great news is that the lovely Eva has now decided to set this up as a weekly event which will be open to the public. They’ll provide the needles and wool, have happy-hour prices and give donations for joining straight to Age UK (£3). 

So, head down and join them and have a bit of a knit and a natter (probably over a glass of something). To find out how (and salivate over pictures of amazing food) you can give them a follow on Instagram and Twitter.

Meet the Knitters: Molly

Last week, we heard word from Age UK Coventry that one lady had managed to knit a record 2,000 hats all by herself.

 

The amazing lady behind the 2000 little hats is called Molly who, over the past 16 years has been involved in lots of voluntary work with Age UK Coventry but now, as she can’t get out and about as easily as she used to, she has taken up her knitting needles for the Big Knit instead.

She’s participated for the past couple of years, but this year she wanted to beat the previous Age UK Coventry record of 1,200 hats knitted by one person. She was determined to reach the 2,000 before going into hospital for a knee replacement at the end of September (from which she is now recovering well).

Molly - you’re a true knitting sensation, and your contribution will make a massive difference to this year’s campaign. Thank you so much for all your hard work (and we hope you're back on your feet very soon).

Meet the Knitters: Julie's nan Jean

Last week, Julie got in touch to tell us about her 87 year old Grandma Jean, who she thinks is a true knitting hero.

 

Jean has been knitting since she was a young girl and, over the years, has knitted clothes and toys for her 6 children, 11 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

For the past 20 years she has also knitted coats, hats and mittens for the Premature Baby Unit at Derriford Hospital, along with mini Santas for their beds at Christmas. All this along with trauma teddies for the Ambulance Service and jumpers for orphans helped by Oxfam. 

After hearing about the Big Knit through Julie, Jean has now been knitting little hats since 2010 and doesn't look to be stopping any time soon.

 

Jean - you're Julie's hero and you're our hero. Thanks for all hats you've knitted for us over the years and for all the other charities you've helped along the way too - you've made a massive difference.

Meet the Knitters: Karen and the Chesterfield Knitting Group

Last week, we heard that a knitting group in Chesterfield had managed to tally up a whopping 4000 (yes there are three zeroes after that 4) hats and (after counting those zeroes a few more times) we tracked them down to find out how they’d managed to achieve such an incredible total.

 

It turns out that in 2013 a lady called Karen set up StraightCurves, an arts and crafts group which teaches all sorts of crafty bits and bobs to people of all ages in the local community. Alongside teaching, Karen also set up ‘social crafting’ sessions so that people with a passion for all things crafty could get together each week and have a bit of a laugh and a cuppa over their current projects. She called one of these sessions ‘Woolly Wednesday’ and, last year, some of the ladies of Woolly Wednesday decided to have a go at making some hats for the Big Knit.

 

They managed to knit themselves a grand total of 100 hats (which is a more than brilliant total), but Karen decided that they needed a slightly more ambitious target for 2014 and they thought 1000 hats would be all they could manage. 

 

 However, the hats just kept rolling in and they managed to reach that target by 12th July. So, they decided to keep going. They soon ran out of space in their studio for all those hats so Sue, who owns their local wool shop, The Knitting and Sewing Bee, kindly set up a drop off point so that they had somewhere to put them all.

 

There are currently 53 members of their group on Facebook (with a few more offline members too) made up of people of all different ages and knitting expertise – some only started to knit or crochet 2 weeks ago, and others have been knitting one, pearling one for over 65 years. They like to set each other little hat challenges – one of which was to recreate the Crooked Spire (a local Chesterfield landmark) in hat form (which, they're proud to say, they did manage). As they've enjoyed the Big Knit so much this year, and managed to collect and make so many little hats, they’ve now set up a year-round charity knitting group which will focus on knitting for different causes close to their hearts.

Their story really inspired us, and we want to say a massive thank you to Karen and all of the Chesterfield knitters. You’ve really got stuck in and used your crafting expertise to make a huge difference, and raise lots and lots of money for Age UK. So, thanks knitters of Chesterfield – you’re all brilliant.

Meet the Knitters: Ella

Last week, a lovely lady called Lesley got in touch to champion her friend Ella, who has been tirelessly knitting hats for the Big Knit all year.

 

Ella is 78 years old and, when she’s not knitting (or pom pom making), she's working at her local community centre cooking lunches with Age UK.

Ella has managed to tally up a stonking 1000 hats this year (to add to the 500 she made for us last year) and, after sending them in, is now helping her friend bulk up her donation too.

 

Thank you for the absolutely amazing effort Ella – you’re a true knitting champion and your hard work will make a massive difference to this year's campaign. We couldn't do it without you.