It started two and a half years ago and it started with a mistake. My mistake, actually.
I had some yarn to give away and, rather than letting the random number generator chose the winner as we had always done before (and since), I asked people to enter by leaving a comment on the post telling me why they should win the yarn.
The stories people left on that post broke my damn heart. Stories of sudden unemployment and imminent foreclosure. Stories of loss and tragedy and loss of hope. I could scarcely read those stories because I didn’t have enough yarn to send to every single one of them and that killed me. Absolutely killed me.
Not because yarn would have solved any of their problems, but because- to a knitter and crocheter- yarn is hope. Yarn is several hours break from thinking about the lousy state of your finances, the lousy state of the world. Yarn is the opportunity to use your skills to make something both beautiful and practical, to remember that you are good at something and to be proud of what you can do.
Like I said, it killed me that I didn’t have enough yarn to send to each and every person who commented on that thread. And then I thought about my own enormous yarn stash, a stash so big that I wouldn’t have time to knit it all if quit working today and lived to be 100. And I thought about all my knitting friends, sitting on similarly huge stashed. And I got the germ of an idea.
I went to the women in our Ravelry group and asked them what they thought about collecting unwanted stash yarn from knitters and redistributing it to knitters in need. Everyone agreed that it was a great idea but one person, Nancy Pope, stepped up and said she would take the project on. See, I’m really good at having ideas, but executing them is another story. I was stretched so thin back then that, if Nancy hadn’t stepped up, Yarn Storming would never have happened. Nancy Pope is the hero of this story.
With an incredible logo designed by our friend Lisa, Yarn Storming was born.
To date, Nancy and her son Matt have sent out more than 370 Yarn Storming packages. Generous boxes of yarn have gone out to many, many individuals who are going through a hard time due to illness or the bad economy, or even divorce. But that’s just the beginning!
Hundreds of charity knitting groups have been Yarn Stormed. Retirement community groups, elementary schools, prison knitting circles, women who knit hats for the homeless, socks for soldiers, scarves for battered women. You can pretty much name a knitted garment and a need group and Yarn Storming has it covered. This project has reached thousands of people.
And where did Nancy Pope get literally thousands of pounds of yarn to send out in her magic boxes? From the other heroes of this story. From you. From my lovely blog readers and from other knitters who heard about Yarn Storming and wanted to help. Yarn Storming has it’s own Ravelry group these days, with 716 members as of this writing.
Nancy receives yarn in boxes large and small from all over the world. From individuals and yarn companies that have heard about what she is doing and want to contribute. Knitters and crocheters are generous people. You wouldn’t believe the quality of the yarn we receive- absolutely gorgeous skeins of sought-after yarns turn up fairly regularly.
If you would like to contribute to Yarn Storming, there are two way you can help. First of all, postage is always a need. I fear that Nancy has absorbed far more of the cost of shipping these packages than she would ever let on (she’s that kind of person). If you would like to make a small contribution to the Yarn Storming shipping fund, it will be gratefully received. A buck or two is absolutely fine. You can send the money via Paypal to: firstname.lastname@example.org but please send it “Personal” so that we don’t loose most of it to Paypal fees.
If you have some stash yarn that is languishing in plastic bins in your closet and you’d like to find a home for it, please send it to:
2091 Sydney Drive
North Merrick NY 11566
But most importantly, if you know a knitter in need, please email Nancy with their name and mailing address so that we can send a little Yarn Storming love their way. You can send your nominations to: email@example.com .
And don’t worry, all Yarn Storming packages are sent anonymously, so you needn’t fear embarrassing your nominee..
Thank you, Nancy and Matt, for all that you do. You are two of the best people I know, and you’ve brought comfort, joy and warmth into the lives of thousands of people with Yarn Storming.