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Crochet for Kidney Research UK has come and gone. It feels surreal that the blogging about the event since September, the tweeting, newspaper articles, photographing hundreds of your lovingly made crocheted squares, shopping for coffee, tea, milk and anything purple, planning, decorating the Vera Fletcher Hall, writing speeches and so much more, was for a 3 hour event on a Saturday afternoon.  But you know what, it was all worth it!

I think the day was a success. There were a few empty tables, but so what. Those that were there helped to make blankets for dialysis patients, we made new friends, we crocheted, we learned more about the work that Kidney Research UK does and by buying raffle tickets, hot drinks and cakes, we raised £254.10. But that’s not all. The law firm where I’m a PA, will give £250 for the charity if an employee raises at least £250, so that means I will be sending £504.10 to Kidney Research UK! (We JUST made the £250 minimum, so whoever spent £4.10 on cake and coffee – God bless you!).

You know what got me the most exited about yesterday?: seeing all the crocheters together and knowing that you all have such good hearts and compassion for others. I know I’m supposed to say that it’s good to have raised the money, but for me, it’s more about being able to give – at the last count – 7 blankets to 7 people on dialysis and showing them that there are people out there who care about them. Care enough to have gone through the trouble of finding a pattern, buying yarn and taken the time to crochet them a blanket. That’s what it’s all about for me.

Here’s how the day went:

I did my welcome speech,

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followed by Jan Czaja who demonstrated the slip stitch method for crocheting squares together. John connected our camcorder to the projector so that Jane would be displayed nice and big for all to see.

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Jane did a great job of showing us the method and explaining what to do when you have to join two donated squares made by two different people, using different yarn, with different tension and different patterns. The answer: wiggle your squares. Thanks again Jane for being there and doing such a great job.

After Jane’s demonstration I introduced John and Pieter and they then shared their stories with everyone. It was very touching to hear their emotional stories. (If you want to read their story, visit twoguysonekidney.blogspot.com)

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Now that everyone knew why we wanted to raise awareness and money for Kidney Research UK, it was time to start crocheting. My favourite part of the whole day.

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Ian, Liz, Mary, Brenda and Lesley

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Ian, Liz, Mary, Brenda and Lesley

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Tammy, me and Cecilia

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Jane, Alissa and Sara with her beautiful daughter

As you can see we were all hard at work and there were so many squares! I will do a separate blog post about the squares and the lovely ladies who offered to take squares home to make up the blankets. 

While we were crocheting, Pieter and John sold the raffle tickets.

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By this time it was around 12:45, which meant time to do the crochet quiz and draw the raffle prize winners. I tried to read out the quiz questions, but my voice just wasn’t loud enough, so John took over. He was a great quiz master. Congratulations to team Crochet Queens – Tammy, Cecilia, Dave (Cecilia’s carer and husband) and Jane – who got 10 out of the 12 questions correct and won the Sublime Baby Cotton Kapok yarn and gift vouchers from Black Sheep Wools. I hope you all enjoy using the super soft yarn and spending your gift vouchers! Dave very kindly gave his wooly winnings and gift vouchers to Cecilia. Nice guy, that Dave.

The raffle prizes were drawn by John, Pieter, Jane and myself. Handing out the prizes was the second best part of the day for me. I loved seeing the winners faces!

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The prizes were sponsored by Jane Czaja who donated a crocheted basket and a place in one of her crochet workshops, I gave one of my crochet clocks, Stylecraft Yarns gave two prizes, The Crochet Chain from Waltham Abbey in Essex gave, amongst other things, three balls of Noro yarn, three books, three bamboo crochet needles and loads more yarn (!), two books were donated by Cico Books and a Sharp Crochet Hook. Thank you to each and every one of you for being so generous, it really means a lot to us. We also received a last minute raffle prize donation from Loveknitting.com. I was so surprised when Helen arrived at 10:30 with the bag of three balls of purple yarn – thank you so much Loveknitting.com! That last minute prize was won by Cecilia.

Throughout the day an old school friend of mine, Helena, and Pieter’s lovely wife Lizelle, sold hot drinks and the cakes that everyone had brought. They did an amazing job and I was really glad they were there to help out.

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Lizelle and Helena

I would like to mention that Nice Buns Bakery from 48 High Street Thames Ditton, donated a dozen cupcakes for us. Not only did they do it for free, they delivered it to us at the Vera Fletcher Hall and even said that if we ran out of coffee, tea etc. to just call the shop and they’ll bring us more. Aren’t they lovely?! Their blueberry and lavender cupcakes were really something special – so special that I didn’t even get a chance to take a proper photo.

I would also like to thank Tammy, who works for Kidney Research UK, who drove all the way from Peterborough to attend our event and brought with her pamphlets and Kidney Research UK merchandise. Tammy has been a great help and support to me.

Thank you to each and every one of you who sent me a square and to those of you who travelled all the way to Thames Ditton yesterday to attend the event. It means so, so, so, much to John and I. 

In case you’re wondering, yes, there will be more of these type of crochet events. I learned what worked and what didn’t, so the next one will be bigger and better.

For now, I’m going to take a break from organising crochet events and finish all the blankets so that we can give them to the dialysis patients before Christmas. I’m really excited about this part of the project – can’t wait to start arranging the squares, crocheting the borders and then giving those blankets away! You can expect a lot of purple and white blanket photographs in the coming weeks 🙂

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