Yarn Bomb!

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When I was planning our move out of London to Hitchin, one of the things I looked forward to the most was the better sense of community. So when a friend told me about the local Time Bank scheme, I joined up before we’d even packed!

The Time Bank is a community skills exchange which operates across North Herts and recently launched in Stevenage and Buntingford too. The scheme enables members to give time to help local people, then ‘bank’ the hours they’ve given so you can exchange them for support when you might need help or want to learn a new skill. So for example, I might do an hour’s sewing for another member, then I get to bank that hour to use later, say when I need some DIY done around the house. I love the concept, as it so effectively brings the community together, helping you meet new people and share your skills. There are all kinds of people involved from all walks of life and at all ages….there are people who offer help with form-filling, crafts, gardening, IT skills, shopping and all sorts.

The Time Bank also has two very popular knitting groups, who meet every week to work on projects, share tips and just have a good chat. So, when Time Banker Carmen got in touch with an idea to get everyone involved in a big project to help promote awareness of the group, I was super excited!

Carmen’s idea was to stage a yarn bombing somewhere in Letchworth, to show how the Time Bank brings people together and benefits the local area. ‘Guerrilla knitting’ or ‘yarn bombing’ is a form of street art, whereby colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn are used to cover and transform trees, community sculptures and street furniture.

After speaking to the council and Heritage Foundation, we managed to get permission to cover the ‘Paradise Is’ sculpture in knitting and crochet. Carmen then rallied around, as well as lots of other Time Bankers and local knitters, together giving a whopping 300 hours to get the knitted and crocheted panels and details ready for the big day.

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We were so delighted with how many people wanted to take part, with people learning to knit for the first time and also members giving up their time and sharing their other crafty skills to help sew it all together. On the morning of the ‘bombing’ hours were spent carefully attaching the panels and other decorations to the sculpture  to ensure it wasn’t damaged and that it was all secure. I couldn’t believe how intricately designed it all was, with beautiful little details to represent all the elements of Time Banking and volunteering, such as the gardening project, photography and baking.

Here are a few of my favourite bits….

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The Time Bank scheme, run by North Herts CVS, has been growing and growing, and the popular knitting group made up of fellow members takes place every Friday morning at the Community Coffee Bar held at the Brotherhood Hall on Gernon Road. The group is always looking to find new members to help take on new projects, and have recently raised money for Guide Dogs for the Blind by selling knitted clothing and gifts they have made. If you are interested in joining or learning how to knit just come along to the Brotherhood Hall on a Friday morning between 10:00am and 11.30am and join in the fun. It’s free to join in, and members of all ages are welcome.

The yarn bomb will remain in place until the end of the month, opposite the Broadway Cinema (which is currently showing Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s ‘The World’s End’ which was filmed in Letchworth and features the cinema as one of the pubs!)  and once removed the knitted panels will be re-sewn into blankets to be donated to local charities. The art form is unique in this way, as no public property is damaged and nothing is wasted.

The Time Bank is free and easy to join:  visit www.mytimebank.org.uk, call 01462 689405 or email timebank@nhcvs.org.uk to join.

You can also find out more about the Time Bank on the NHCVS Blog, which I also write for!

Ems x

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Blog Every Day in May

I’ve been feeling for a while now that my blog has been a little lacking. I suppose I’m in a bit of a rut with it, as I’ve not really been giving it much of my time, so I’m just posting my regular weekly ‘standards’ and not much else. There’s loads I want to blog about, but I never quite pull my finger out to do it, so I’m very glad to have been given a little push….

I have long since loved the wonderful Rosalilium blog, hosted by the gorgeous Elizabeth. We have stacks in common and I really enjoy her writing. So, when Elizabeth announced she’d be hosting a blog-every-day-challenge for May, I thought that was just the perfect thing to get me back into the swing of things!

Blog Every Day in May  is just what you’d expect from the name….Elizabeth challenges fellow bloggers to post every day for the entire month of May, and has thoughtfully come up with a new topic for every one. It’s super easy to sign up on her blog and then you can just download the scheduled topics from her special Google calendar. I love the idea that the project will build a little community as we all encourage each other and get to know each other through our posts. My fiance Adam is also taking part on his blog, and I look forward to finding lots of new blogs to delve into too!

So, why not take on the challenge yourself?

Ems x

 

 

 

For the weekend……

So I’m tres busy this week getting ready for the craft market on Saturday, which is why I’ve not managed as many weekend ideas as usual. But here are a few things I would recommend to do……

Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam

British Museum, £12, until 15th April

I can’t believe this exhibition is nearly over. I went to one of the members’ nights to see it, just after it opened, and I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since! As usual though, things have conspired against me and it closes this Sunday. There are still tickets left though (I recommend you book in advance, or if you become a member you can get in for free with no queueing!) for what is a very inspiring exhibition. Charting the history of Hajj, the exhibition conveys a real insight into how the pilgrimage to Mecca is both core to the Muslim faith and a spiritually enhancing experience. It’s a lot wordier than most of the British Museum exhibitions, although there are some wonderful artefacts, photos and documents on show and it’s curated well enough that I didn’t get bored of taking everything in! Towards the end of the exhibition there are some stunning pieces of art created specially for the exhibition, which wonderfully symbolise the experience of Hajj and its impact.

Animal Inside Out

Natural History Museum, £9, until 16th September

I can’t wait to see this exhibition which has just opened (check me out giving you more notice this time!). Created by the team behind Gunther von Hagens’s ‘Body Worlds’, this time it’s animals under the spotlight. Featuring over 100 specimens, the exhibition examines the biology, anatomy and physiology of animals, illustrating how anatomy is crucial to learning more about evolution and the natural world.

The F.U.S.S Craft Market

Lochaber Hall, Hither Green, £1, 14th April

I’m so excited to be hosting my first ever table at a craft fair this weekend and have been working hard to make lots to sell and showcase. It’s a new fair too, although F.U.S.S have been holding a wonderful Christmas Fair in Hither Green for a few years. I love the concept of F.U.S.S, a local group whose objective is to build a real community in the area, planting flowers and arranging clean up days to make the area so lovely.

The Craft Fair will see local designers, makers and sellers coming together to showcase jewellery, artwork, vintage clothing and all kinds….plus F.U.S.S will be hosting a refreshment stall with tea and cakes made by the wonderful Never Eat Wobbly Jelly amongst others! Do come along!



Oh and it’s set to be sunny (if a little chill) so enjoy your weekend!

Ems x

A week in Instagram

It’s been a busy week of baking, shopping, walking and lazing about. Here’s how some of it looked……

Spring Risotto for supper

Birthday banana bread for Adam's mum

Hedges. And her tongue.

Piper enjoys a chin tickle

Taking the dogs for a walk at sunset

Walking on Ickleford Common

Snow drops by the river

Early blossom on the Bullace

The moon

Cola cupcake

Hope you’ve had a week of pretty things to see!

Ems x