Knitting for Hope and Aid Direct Jean Salter - 2019 I read an article in the Daily Telegraph last year that stated, “knitting should be prescribed on the NHS to lower blood pressure, reduce depression and slow dementia!”. It went on to explain that research had discovered that knitting is as relaxing as yoga, distracts from chronic pain, such as arthritis, boosts wellbeing, brings down blood pressure, and keeps the mind sharp. It also reduces loneliness and isolation and allows older people to feel as if they’re still useful to society! An interesting article to someone like me who runs a craft group and promotes knitting for charity! 10 years ago, I started a ‘Knit and Natter Group’ for our village WI. Initially there was a lot of natter and not a lot of knitting going on, but then I was asked if the ladies would be interested in knitting squares to be made up into blankets for a charity that took out Aid to refugee camps in Kosovo and our charity blanket knitting began. We meet up once a month in each other’s houses and the satisfaction gained from seeing the squares mounting up and the blankets completed ready for delivery to Hope & Aid Direct is matched by the pleasure we all get from the companionship and friendship we experience when meeting up for coffee and catching up with everyone’s news. Yes, we do feel useful and how pleased we all are to know that our evenings spent knitting are bringing such warmth and comfort to people in need. Hopefully some of the other benefits highlighted in the article are rubbing off too! Our knitting Group has considerably expanded over the years. With the help of my friend Jan, I opened up a Creative Group in the village 6 years ago and several more knitters joined in our Charity knitting. Details of our work spread amongst friends and family and never a week goes by without my taking delivery of a pile of squares or a completed blanket. So much enjoyment and satisfaction gained by knitting Over the years we have produced many blankets. We started by making large family sized blankets for the Kosovo Refugee Camps, but now we have responded to the request for large single blankets which are distributed to the numerous Camps in Greece. Knitting Wool can be expensive, and we have helped each other with the purchase of wool by holding Table Top Old Craft Material sales to raise money for wool. We also put requests for unwanted wool onto the village Social Media websites. It is surprising how much wool can be located at the back of a Crafter’s cupboard. An advert saying how it can be put to good use making these blankets can produce amazing results! A LARGE SINGLE BLANKET measures approx. 6ft x 5ft and is made up of 63 x 8-inch squares crocheted together and finished with a decorative crochet border. To aid packing and distribution wrap tightly in a clear plastic bag, extracting as much air as possible before sealing. Label clearly with size so that they can be given out without the need to unpack and check size! Happy knitting!!!