If you are a regular reader of my blog or/and follow me on social media, you will know that this year, as last year, I have joined an amazing charity knitting project being run by knitter and doctor Sarah Holmes in the UK.
I had been following Sarah on Instagram (@sherlock_knits) and I think I had purchased some yarn from her when she did a destash. And then one day last year, I saw a post from her on IG talking about a dream, a bonkers idea as she called it, that she wanted to make come true.
Sarah is a doctor in one of the Marie Curie hospices in the UK. Those are hospices for the terminally ill and unfortunately there are always patients that spend their Christmas in the hospice. Sarah wanted to knit and gift sock to those patients on Christmas Day.
I like so many others, immediately wanted to join in this beautiful project.
The idea was to use yarn from UK yarn company West Yorkshire Spinners that creates a special Marie Curie colorway each year (I believe) that is then sold in this one yarn shop in the UK called City Knits. Part of the proceeds for each ball of yarn are then donated to Marie Curie. So by knitting socks with their special edition yarn, one not only participates by knitting a pair of socks but you are also offering financial support.
Last year I knit 4 pairs of socks and I’m planning to knit 6 pairs this year.
At the moment I have finished 2 pairs and am working on my third. This year I’m trying to change and do something different for each pair so as to break up the monotony of using the same yarn for all the pairs.
My first pair was simple vanilla
My second had a textured pattern on the front only
And for pair number three I’m doing Hermione socks
I’m just past the heel on sock number one.
The next three pairs will have yellow heel/toes and cuffs. By using contrasting yarn I am able to knit 2 pairs from one ball of yarn.
I think this project is so amazing and it really brings me joy to participate.
I would like for a lot of people to join forces this year for an even bigger result than last year and I so I asked Sarah if I could share the story here on my blog and if she would accept to answer a few questions. Luckily she said YES!
I do hope you will enjoy the interview that follows.
Could you tell us a little bit about you as a knitter. When you learned and what knitting means to you today. What your favorite projects are etc
I learned to knit as a child – I can’t actually remember who taught me, but I think it was a combination of my grandma, my mother and a family friend. I tried every sort of crafting under the sun as a child, including crochet, lacemaking, cake decorating, knitting, tapestry, cross-stitch and never really settled on one thing, but when I left university I took up knitting again when I discovered Rowan. I subscribed to the magazine and looked forward to each issue popping through the door – I’d then head off to the local department store to buy the yarn for a garment. I was a truly monogamous knitter at that time – I’d have been horrified by the stash I seem to have built up now, and couldn’t have imagined working on more than one project at a time. My years as a junior doctor meant I didn’t have that much time to knit, so I grew out of the habit, but about 11 years ago a colleague was having a baby and I decided I wanted to make her a present, and I became hooked again. I discovered my local yarn store, Baa Ram Ewe in Leeds, who introduced me to Ravelry and my knitting life hasn’t been the same since! I discovered knitting in the round, sock knitting, colourwork and the joys of hand-dyed yarns. Now I usually have lots of different projects on the go (which can mean I am slower to finish things) which means I always have something I enjoy working on even if I get tired of one particular project. At this time of year I’m usually busy knitting socks and shawls for Christmas presents (and this year and last it has been the Marie Curie socks of course) but at the start of the year I enjoy cosying up with blanket knitting or making garments.
And now on this amazing project you are organising for the second consecutive year. Could you tell us a little about the Marie Curie hospices in the UK – their work, the number of patients (just a general idea) for example.
Marie Curie is a UK charity that has been around for 70 years. Every day of your life matters, from the first to the last and we believe everyone living with a terminal illness should be able to get the most from the time they have left, however hard that may sometimes feel. We aim to be there for people, and their families, when they may feel like no-one else is, to help them cope when they don’t know how. Marie Curie Nurses care for people in their own homes, when they need them most, day or night. The charity also has 9 hospices around the UK, at the heart of their communities offering specialist round-the-clock care, either as inpatients in the hospice wards or coming to our outpatient units for support or treatment, We also have trained volunteers and advisers who are there for people with practical information and support when they don’t know what to do. Every day matters when you’re living with a terminal illness.
Last year more than 50,000 people were helped by our services. 7,711 people were cared for by our hospices, and 33543 by Marie Curie nurses.
How are you linked to the Marie Curie hospices yourself and how was this project born?
I am a doctor and I am one of the consultants working in the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford. When I heard about the Marie Curie yarn last year, I decided I would like to knit a pair of socks from the yarn for each of the patients in the hospice on Christmas Day – 16 people in total. We always give the patients a little gift on Christmas Day, usually soap or toiletries, and I just thought it would be nice to give something a little bit different. When I posted about my idea on Instagram, lots of people offered to help, and I realised I was going to end up with more than 16 pairs of socks. So I decided to try to aim for 229 pairs instead – enough for every patient in every Marie Curie Hospice around the country. Socks came in from all around the world in the end!
What is this years objective and what are the deadlines?
This year I’m aiming to do the same and knit a pair of socks for every patient in every Marie Curie Hospice on Christmas Day, so 229 pairs in total. But it would be great to go even bigger! I’d love to be able to give a pair to everyone who comes up to see us as an outpatient , or perhaps we might have enough to give a pair to the family members visiting on Christmas day too.
I believe last year the socks were to be simple vanilla socks, is that also the case this year? And what sizes(stitch numbers) are you looking for ?
No, any pattern is fine – it’s great seeing all the different pairs come in and how individual they all are. The only requirement is that they need to use the Marie Curie yarn please. We need a variety of sizes as we don’t yet know who will be in the hospices on Christmas Day, or what size feet they have, so we just need a good mix of sizes. As it gets closer, I should have an idea of any sizes that we might be short of, and I’ll keep everyone updated through my Instagram feed or through the FlowerPowerFund Instagram feed.
Once we have knit our socks, where should we send them?
If you could send them to me at my work address please, that would be great. Just let me know what size they are, and also who has made them and where they’re from as it’s nice for the recipient to know where they’ve come from. Samdrawsthings on Instagram has come up with a lovely sock wrapper that people can download for free from her blog, and a matching card if people would like to write a personalised note.
The address to send them to is:
Dr Sarah Holmes
Marie Curie Hospice Bradford
Thank you so much to Sarah for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions and for allowing all to join in her amazing project.
As those are meant for Christmas Day I think Sarah would appreciate having them the first week of December so they can dispatch the pairs to all the different hospices all over the UK. I do hope you will join the fun if you have the time and if so do share pictures of your socks. It is such fun to see all the socks that are being knit for this project on social media.
That’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week and plenty of time to enjoy your knitting.
Next week I’ll share pictures of the best birthday gift ever!