Friday, 29 January 2016

Getting to know Dame Hilary Blume

I was in Hyderabad in India this time last year when an email popped into my inbox from a lady called Dame Hilary Blume – the mastermind behind the charity Knit For Peace. Dame Hilary had just returned from a 12 day long knitting workshop at The Green Hotel in Mysore India and was looking for a tutor to teach at a duplicate workshop in 2016. As you will know (if you read any of my blog posts from my trip last year) I am a major fan of India and loved the amazing tour I took with my mum, so the chance to return with a group of knitters was an opportunity I found too hard to resist and so here I am writing my blog sat in the beautiful gardens of the Green Hotel surrounded by a fabulous group of wonderful knitters!

Over the past year since my first email encounter with Dame Hilary I have become a real fan of the Knit For Peace charity and where possible have tried to support them as much as I can. In an ideal world I would love to spend far more time as a volunteer at the charity head office in Hampstead where all the wonderful knitting arrives on a daily basis ready for sorting to be sent off to those in need around the world. However, having told Dame Hilary that I would like to spend a day in the office on a regular basis, I very quickly let her down because finding spare days is now so hard amongst the madness of our lives in the wake of the Lily Pond and Persian Tiles blankets and all that has gone on over the last 9 months at Janie Crow.

After a few months of worrying about the lack of support I had given Dame Hilary and her charity I realized that realistically the best way for me to help them was to give them monetary donations rather than my time as a volunteer or by donating them specific designs, so we decided to build a donation amount into the price of the Mystical Lanterns kits, which meant that between us as a company and each person that bought a kit we could donate £5 for each kit sold. Making this decision meant we couldn’t be sure just how much we could donate to the charity (who need monetary donations as well as knit/crochet contributions to fund their work). If the kits sold poorly we may only have been able to give the charity a small amount, but thankfully we have already been able to donate over £1000 thanks to all of you guys who have bought a Mystical Lanterns kit.

Dame Hilary told me yesterday that for every £5 donation she is able to send as many as 100 things to Kurdistan, so that means that you lovely crocheters have done a fantastic job in supporting a really worthwhile charity whose main aim is to help those most in need by sending items of knitting and crochet or by giving people the means to knit and therefore create for themselves, whether it be the homeless or the premature babies in the UK, those living well below the poverty line in places like India and Africa or helping the Syrian refugees.