Monday, 29 October 2007

Knitting for Charity, mate

Well, I am officially a total muppet. Not only do I have the Christmas knitting and crocheting to finish (and I just frogged the stocking stitch scarf, I hated it, so I have to start again) I've decided to do some charity knitting. The Mission to Seafarers have an ongoing drive for woolly items for sailors coming into ports all over the world, but particularly the chillier regions of the planet, i.e. the UK. Many of the seafarers who land here are from hotter climes, like India and the Philippines, and are unprepared for our lovely British weather. The Mission collect up hats, scarves, gloves and balaclavas in all colours and all fibres to distribute to visiting seafarers. If you have a nosey at their website, they have some patterns available, but they don't mind what kind of pattern you use, or what colour. Apparently, after speaking to a nice chap from their office, he says a lot of the sailors like nice bright colours, so I'm going to be doing a little stash diving later.

It's not just about woolly items either. The Mission (who are part of the Anglican Church, but I'm not holding that against them) provide drop-in centres for sailors to have a break from their ships, important when you're effectively a prisoner on it for months at a time, make telephone calls home, access email, provide help with any problems or information about the local area and provide a space for multi-faith worship. The Mission also make visits to vessels in port, and out at anchorage, and at Christmas distribute thousands of presents to sailors far from home. They also help with welfare and justice issues, for example taking food and warm clothing to the crew of a stricken vessel off Falmouth, declared dangerously unsafe by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

So what is it with me and sailors? I support the RNLI (see the bottom of the page) and now the Mission. Well, it's really simple. My Dad spent almost his entire working life at sea, so I know better than most people what its really like out there. It's hard, miserable, lonely and full of challenges that fortunately most of us never have to face. You've heard the expression "Worse things happen at sea"? Well, they do. Working conditions can be appalling on some ships, the weather can be fatal (anyone who watched Trawlermen on the BBC and saw the Force 9-10 storm should immediately know what I'm talking about) and you might not touch solid ground or see your family for literally months on end. If anything goes wrong, you have to rely on yourself and the rest of the crew to fix it - you can't call out the AA in the middle of the South China Sea. If you can't fix it - well, you'd better start praying.

If you would like to send them a woolly parcel, you can drop me an email at
knotty.artisan AT gmail DOT com (I think that's right, Google Mail seems to have a different address in my Thunderbird inbox to what's appearing in Blogger - if it doesn't work, try googlemail DOT com) and I'll give you the address for posting stuff. If you've just an item or two you'd like to send, you could post it to me first and I'll put together a big parcel. Either way make sure your name and address is included so receipt can be confirmed, or if you're sending it to me I can credit you for your hard work!

Anyway, here's a little picspam for your delectation. My apologies in advance for the crappy pictures, the main camera's batteries are dead, so I've resorted to the phone camera (and now the clocks have changed, there's no daylight when I get home *boo* )

This is a new take on the stocking stitch scarf. I frogged the original as I realised I totally hated it. It was curly and didn't drape nicely. I'm carrying two yarns together to make it thicker.

This yumminess is part of a shadecard from Jamieson and Smith on Shetland. Couldn't you just eat it? Or maybe roll around on it for a while? As soon as I have some money, I think an order will be winging it's way north...

There won't be much blogging over the next couple of days, it's my birthday on Wednesday so we're out visiting and stuff - suffice to say the knitting will be going with me!

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