Putting your old stash of yarn to good use

Knitters Lisa Stirling and Kerie Egan put their crafty skills to work creating woollen items for those in need in the community.

There’s nothing like pulling on a woollen beanie or slippers in winter to keep warm, but not everyone has access to them or the crafty people who can whip them up on their knitting needles.

Enter Charity Yarn Stash - a nationwide project set up by Crafty Volunteers that collects donations of unwanted yarn and gives it to volunteers to turn into items such as slippers, beanies, scarves and baby clothing to donate to charity.

Lisa Stirling is the Tauranga coordinator of the project and says while there are plenty of people in the community who can knit and crochet, they can’t always afford to buy the raw materials to work with.

“Our aim is to coordinate getting wool and other yarns from people who might have a stash in their back cupboard,” says Lisa, “and match that with people who have got the time to knit things for people in need in the community.”

In Tauranga there is a core of about 10 knitters, including Lisa who fits it in around her full-time job and contributes by buying her own wool. They recently knitted 50 pairs of woollen slippers to donate to new entrants children at low-decile Greerton Village School.

Other work includes knitting items for Little Sprouts, an organisation that creates baby packs to babies in need, neo-natal units at hospitals, the homeless, and an organisation called ‘Wrap Up Our Schools’, which knits scarves, beanies and slippers for school children in need.

“We don’t dictate what people have to knit, but the wool we provide must be used to knit for New Zealand charities,” she adds.

Lisa says there is a lot of need in the community and for someone like herself who enjoys knitting, doing it for other people makes it all the more enjoyable.

“I’m not someone with a lot of time,” says Lisa, “but I like knitting the slippers or baby beanies because they don’t take long and you feel like you’ve achieved something. It helps me switch off at night too.”

People with unwanted yarn to donate can drop it off to Lisa at Staples Rodway, Level 1, 274 Cameron Road or at Shape & Spray Automotive, 10 Glenlyon Avenue, Greerton.

If you’re interested in joining the group as a knitter, or would like some knitting done for your charitable organisation, you can join the Facebook page Charity Yarn Stash NZ or call Lisa on: 021 951 909.