Yarn Forwards - Positive crafting for mental health
Yarn Forwards is a 'pay it forwards' campaign to help support our key workers whilst they support us.
Here at Ewe Felty Thing we know the positive impact that crafting can have on mental health. We see it every day in ourselves and our customers.
So many times we are told 'my knitting has really helped me get through some tough times' or 'I am so glad I have my crochet!' During our knitting natter and crochet chatter groups, our members (some of whom work for the NHS) are sharing the difference that crafting is making to their lives during the pandemic.
Tactile wool crafts such as knitting, crochet, spinning and felting are very grounding and mindful. They help us to breathe deeply and process calmly what has been happening to and around us. They enable us to unwind ourselves from the stresses and traumas that we have been dealing with in our lives.
At the moment, nobody has more stress and worry than our key workers. They are keeping us going by treating our medical needs, making sure we have food, cleaning hospitals and collecting refuse, keeping our water and electricity flowing, teaching our children and many other very important things in the fight against the pandemic. This is why we have come up with the Yarn Forwards campaign.
How does Yarn Forwards work?
At Ewe Felty Thing, we want to be able to pay something forwards to all those people who are doing so much for us. We can't think of a better present to give than the gift of peaceful crafting. As such, we have come up with the Yarn Forwards scheme. We are inviting donations of £20 to pay for a gift which will be picked, wrapped and posted by us to a nominated key worker. These gifts will be chosen to match as closely as possible the details given to us in the nomination form below.
We have a wide variety of yarns, fibres and accessories in the shop to choose from, so we are sure that we will find something that will appeal to each nominee.
You can nominate any key worker, whatever their role. If you think they would appreciate some wool-related downtime, then simply fill in the form below and send it to us.
Is there any small-print?
You, as the person donating to this campaign, will not receive anything for your donation to Yarn Forwards. All of the money we receive will go towards the gifts for nominated key workers.
In the unlikely situation that we do not receive enough nominations to use up the donations we have been kindly given, we will donate any surplus donations to charities supporting key workers or the fight against the coronavirus. There are several we may choose to support, for example the Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund, or the NHS Charities Appeal.
As yet there is no closing date on this campaign. We will continue to run the Yarn Forwards campaign until it is no longer needed. It is entirely possible that we may continue for many months because key workers will need support in coming to terms with what they have experienced once we have passed the worst of the pandemic. As such, this listing will remain open indefinitely for the time being.
How can knitting and other fibre crafts help key workers?
Did you know that knitting, crochet, spinning and felting have huge health benefits? There have been a number of studies done over the years about the benefits of knitting (and other crafts) on different aspects of health. It has been shown to lower your pulse rate, lower blood pressure, reduce depression and anxiety, increase well-being and help fight feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Knit for Peace released a paper in 2017 which included a peer review of studies to date, as well as an in-depth survey of their members. Betsan Corkhill, a knitter and physiotherapist, has founded Stitchlinks, a site dedicated to the impact of knitting on mental and physical wellness. Knit Om, a page devoted to the benefits of knitting and meditation, wrote up about some of their work and says that they found that knitting can reduce stress, help manage chronic pain, help fight depression and even benefit those with post traumatic stress syndrome. You can read this here.
We know anecdotally from our own experience and that of our customers that knitting, crochet, spinning and felting can help with chronic illness, bereavement, stress, anxiety and depression. A lot of us could do with this extra help at the moment, but nobody more than our keyworkers who are trying so hard to hold it together whilst looking after the rest of us. Anything we can do to help them to cope during this time is more than worth it.
Do I need to both nominate for and donate to the Yarn Forwards campaign?
No, you don't have to both nominate and donate.
If you know someone who would really benefit from one of our Yarn Forwards gifts, then please fill in the form. Do not feel that you also need to donate unless you are in a financial position to do so.
Similarly, if you are in a position to be able to make a donation, but do not know who to nominate, then please donate anyway. We will be able to match your donation to a nomination placed by someone else.
Gifts will be chosen by us and contain yarn or fibre, and sometimes also accessories. These will be wrapped and a thank you note attached stating the reason they have been nominated, as well as who nominated them unless you choose to remain anonymous.
Who should I nominate for Yarn Forwards?
Any key worker can be nominated to receive a Yarn Forwards gift. This includes but is not limited to: NHS workers, those in health and social care, support staff, those in education, social workers, emergency services, those in the justice system, charity workers, distribution workers, farm workers, undertakers, factory workers, and electricity and water personnel. For a full list, please see the government page.
We have been asked why we have chosen to open this up to all key workers, rather than just those in the NHS, so I thought I would explain. Our key workers still need to work and are putting themselves at risk by carrying out their jobs. The job that they do may not have changed in it's fundamentals, but the safety of it and stress and worry of doing it on a daily basis certainly has. You might think that a delivery driver isn't under that much extra stress, but when you think about how the items they are delivering may be contaminated through contact with those in the supply chain who may be carrying the virus, and the process of delivering it can cause them to become infected through knocking on doors or touching forklift truck controls, then you can see how much extra worry they are carrying.
Stress and trauma are not quantitative, you can't measure them. You can't say that one person's experience is going to affect them more than another person's, as it depends entirely on the individual person. It is very subjective. That is why we decided to open Yarn Forwards up to all key workers, because everyone's individual abilities to cope through this are important.
Whilst we would like to think that anyone would be delighted to receive the gift of yarn or fibre, this is not necessarily true. Everyone has their own hobbies and interests. We would suggest that you nominate those who you know to have an interest in wool crafts, either because they already do these crafts, or because they have expressed a wish to learn. Sadly, it is probably not appropriate to send wool or fibre to someone who's only interest is glass blowing for example.
Why are Yarn Forwards donations set to £20?
We have chosen £20 as the value for Yarn Forwards gifts for a few reasons. The idea was sparked after one of our amazing customers donated £20, quite out of the blue, for us to pay forwards to a regular customer of our choice that is also a key worker. We loved the idea and could instantly see all the good that we could do, so decided to run with it.
£20 is also the amount we have as our lowest yarn club amount, because it is enough to cover a standard skein of hand dyed yarn and (pretty much) the postage. This means that we know that we can get something worthwhile which the recipient will really appreciate into a parcel for £20.
What are we doing to help support the Yarn Forwards campaign?
Ewe Felty Thing will be topping up a proportion of the postage for each Yarn Forwards gift, as well as supplying the gift wrapping and thank you notes for each one. We are also donating our time towards running the campaign, managing the nominations and picking and packing all the gifts.
Ewe Felty Thing has also teamed up with Nikki's partner, Glyn Davidson of Glyn Davidson 3D and ClimbWales to help create PPE visors for our local hospital, Glan Clwyd after being asked for assistance by some of our shop friends. We think that it is really important that we all do anything that we can to help in the fight against the coronavirus and in keeping everyone healthy both mentally and physically throughout.
We really hope that together we will be able to make a big difference to how our key workers cope during these horrible times. Thank you for choosing to help us.