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.