Sunday, 24 March 2013

Heartsease stand at Sewing for Pleasure March 2013

I had been approached by the UK Hand Knitters Association to help on their stand at Birmingham NEC, and Friday was the day I had chosen at the time when I could not have thought that we would be having snow.....

The main reason of my visit was to help teach knitting on the UKHKA stand. I had put my coat, handbag, and belongings in store with my camera so had not taken any pictures.

I was asked by Denise the organiser to help on an adjacent stand which they were sponsoring. This has been set up by Ruth & Belinda, who were campaigning to have small heart shaped bags and simple heart shaped bags knitted up to help Children in England who are cared for by Kids Company
There are 1.5 million children suffering from neglect and abuse in the UK (statistic from Action for Children) - sadly these are hidden across the country. Kids Company (the London based charity) works with 36,000 of these young people - 6,000 of them are small children.
The Campaign is asking people to knit, sew or crochet one small heart bag for one of these little people. We had so many visitors to the stand, including two gentlemen knitters, one of whom stayed and knitted a great little blue bag for a little boy. There were many examples pinned up on the wall for people to look at for inspiration, and we were brainstorming ideas for little boys too. I knit the simple two oblong 'purse' using white and green double knitting which I thought would look like grass, with the intention of sewing on some little football buttons.
The Kids Company team will use the heart bags in therapy session with the young people they are working with. The bags will contain messages of hope and the ‘pockets’ can hold small keep-sakes and treasures.
We had spinners and quilters, who went away with details, who were looking forward to creating bags using their particular skills and talents. Some ladies went away with plans to bring this idea to their knitting groups. If you read this and are interested do go to this site which gives the pattern and address to send your knits to.
In addition to encouraging people to knit some bags, I also helped people with their knitting.  In addition, I taught three people who had never knitted...they went away having done their own small piece, with cast on stitches, garter and stocking stitch and cast off.  I feel that all three are going to become competent knitters if they keep on, their standard for a first time was very good, and the look of wonderful achievement on their faces said everything.  We found a nice pair of bamboo needles and yarn for one of the ladies, and I think she has already joined Ravelry.
Inside the huge halls, it was easy to forget what was going on outside.  For a couple of hours after my arrival, I walked around the halls admiring the many exhibitions from contemporary embroidery from the West Country Embroiderers

to a collection a superb Victorian traditional men's smocks

It was great to meet up with an old friend Michala Gyetvai.  She has some of her very big works on view which are just fabulous.  Having been on one of her workshops, and chatted with her in Kenilworth, I understand the skills and the hours which their works take.

and see the projects from recent workshops at the Warwick WI

After a long day, I made my way home by train, calling Mr S as I clambered on the train.  On the other side, I stood in what seemed like blizzard conditions, at a station with nowhere to shelter, and was colder and colder as the snow stuck to to me, and was just about to be swept away by the Ice Queen when my knight in shining car arrived!

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