Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New ideas from tricky times

It's been a tricky few days for half of Treacle. Some of you may have noticed the shop was closed on Friday (something we rarely do!). My 5 year old daughter fell down a flight of stairs and fractured her skull. She's home now and well on the mend but it was a strange few days entering the world of children's hospitals and medicine.

We started our journey at the Children's A&E in the Wansbeck General in Ashington. I am so impressed at the level of care we were all shown, the calmness of the (rather cute!) doctors, the compassion and chirpiness of the nurses. One in particular struck a chord with Connie (the patient) – he gave her a drink of water with a black straw, now forever known as a nightclub straw (his words, reckon he must be a party boy in his other world).

Mother and daughter were transferred by ambulance to the North Tyneside Hospital near Whitley Bay by ambulance (another thrill) by two fantastic paramedics, one of whom came by two days later to see how she was doing. We stayed in Ward 10, the Children's Ward, for 3 days and are bowled over by how well we were both looked after (not least being made the most amazing cup of tea I have had since having Connie all those years ago).

So of course, whilst I was sitting, worrying, feeling anxious about what was happening inside her tiny head, I was knitting (beautiful Araucania Azapa if you need to know). This, as ever, proved an ice breaker with various people. And I got to thinking, we must be able to help the Ward via Treacle Cares.

So as well as needing mens socks for the homeless in Newcastle, we now would also like jerkins for babies – from newborn upwards – little buttonless, sleeveless waistcoats the nurses can put on the poor little mites whilst they have cannulas in and need to be warm.

We have a pattern – please help if you can. Usual set up applies – knit the items, get them to Treacle and we will ensure they get to where they need to be. Get in touch if you need more information.

So we are home, Connie is sparky again, Mother's anxiety levels are getting less by the day and calm is returning. Thank goodness. And Treacle is open 10-4, Mon to Fri, 9-5 Sat. See you soon, lots of gorgeous new things in store!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A way to help people in need?

Earlier this year we launched Treacle Cares.  The project came about after wondering what the heck to do with the ever-growing amount of stash we have (from shop samples, donations, commission knits).  We are thrilled about how this has turned out.  No money changing hands at any point.  The idea is we provide the yarn and a simple pattern for our customers to knit an item.  They return it to us and we pass it on to whoever needs it.  We are supporting the homeless charities in Newcastle with hats and gloves - they have since asked for socks too - the local hospitals with preemie baby things and beautiful chemotherapy hats, a local Care Home with leg blankets and fingerless mitts and more.  We'd love to be able to support Women's Shelters, perhaps with toys or sweaters for kids - basically anyone who can use our knitted items, take when they need, for free and without fuss.

As someone who lived in London for 8 years (very near to the Croydon troubles), I wish I could help in some way.  I thought perhaps by sharing our success project, some of the other yarn shops who are feeling the troubles at first/second hand, might be able to get something similar to Treacle Cares running in their area.

If we at Treacle can help, or you want more information, please get in touch.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Treacle Cares ...

We had been wondering how to put our growing yarn stash to good use. What could be done with half balls of this and quarter balls of that? Then the greatest idea was born – launch a new branch to the Treacle business called Treacle Cares and support local North East charities by asking our customers to knit the stash into items people will actually use.

I felt passionate about helping people undergoing chemotherapy after watching my wonderful mum go through 3 cycles of chemotherapy and all that entails - having her hair shaved off, losing what little was left and then struggling to find good headwear that made her feel feminine that didn't involve learning how to tie scarves or put up with just whatever she could get hold of. I wanted a selection of beautiful beanie hats made in gorgeous yarns – it seems such a simple thing that can make a real difference to how someone feels about themselves.

I visualised a wicker basket in chemotherapy units, for patients to take whatever hat took their fancy, to lift their hearts a little in what must be a frightening and difficult time. For them to choose something without cost or embarrassment – just a simple “Oh I love that” and its theirs.

Packs were made with the loveliest, natural fibre yarns we had in the stash and a simple pattern for our customers to take home to knit. The results have been amazing – our knitters have made some of the most divine beanies. We ran out of the huge amount of stash we had within 2 weeks but that wasn't the end – our customers were coming into Treacle to buy yarn to knit and using their own stash to produce items, really excited to be helping people in their local area.

From start to finish, with all the people who helped along the way, no money changing hands and everyone wanting to contribute something, it has been a humbling and heartwarming project. It goes to show that in our fast-paced world, there are many people living their lives in a kind, thoughtful, giving way.

We now have over 200 items (ranging from wristwarmers for the homeless, preemie baby hats as well as chemotherapy beanies). We have met interesting people along the way such as a lady who has a craft trolley in the Freeman Hospital selling to the patients raising money for the hospital, and the inspiring lady who works at the East Riding Care Home, supporting the elderly and entertaining them by hosting Italian and Chinese nights (getting the food from local restaurants!) amongst other things.

A big thank you to all involved – this is certainly not the end of Treacle Cares, just the start of a simple way to not waste yarn and help someone in need too. The People's Kitchen have asked for mens socks for the winter - if you can help, get in touch.