Charity arts project with a focus on intergenerational skills transfer
‘Knitted Together’ an art project launched in 2020 by Kilkenny Arts Office, which sees 100’s volunteers crocheting and knitting, will take place for the very first time in person this year.
The past two years of the project saw over 180 volunteers knit and crochet at home during lockdowns each year. Nearly 4,000 crochet and knit squares were collected from each of the annual projects, which resulted in over 100 blankets being stitched together and sold raising thousands of euros for charity.
The project aims to foster community spirit and connection across the county, to mitigate against the effects of social isolation caused during the pandemic, whilst creating some beautiful handmade blankets to donate to the local charities. In 2022 the ambition to foster community spirit has been elevated as it is the first year of the project where groups and individuals can gather together to knit and crochet without restriction.
This year the project team are encouraging individuals and community groups of all ages to come together to crochet and knit and to share and learn new skills as they produce handmade blankets for charity and which will also be displayed during an exhibition planned for Culture Night 2022.
Between now and August participants are asked to register their interest in participating online at www.kilkennyartsoffice.ieand are to knit or crochet using double knitting yarn and 4mm crochet hooks or needles. Participants with the skills and time to create full blankets are invited to take part along with participants who can also create 8-inch squares the result of which will be the stitching together of the squares to create community blankets.
In-person ‘Knitted Together Hubs’ will be popping up across Kilkenny. The project is also aiming to identify ‘Knitted Together Ambassadors’ who would like to take a lead role in teaching and hosting the community knitting hours. These ambassadors are people who hold skills in knitting and crochet, they don’t have to be experts the organisers say but “they do need to have a passion for it.”
Commenting on the launch Mary Butler says, “We are delighted to launch ‘Knitted Together 3’ and a first in that we will be able to host community events and bring people together without restrictions. We are especially excited to be working with the ‘Education Centre in Kilkenny which will help us to bring an intergenerational aspect to the project by bringing this learning into the classroom and enable young children who have never knitted or crocheted before to learn how to do so.
This project is hugely supportive of positive ageing by creating social connections, skill exchanges, positive reinforcements and friendships. Thus, mitigating the negative impact of the pandemic social isolation and loneliness everyone endured.
Covid-19 has very much highlighted what we have missed including our friends and intergenerational connections; it is for certain that the life skills of crochet and knitting will be activities that would rarely have been shared between grandparents and grandchildren during Covid.”
The ‘Knitted Together Ambassadors’ will be supplied with free knitting and crochet kits to help them encourage new knitters and crocheters to join and learn new skills and new connections.
The charities that will benefit from the project this year include The Jack and Jill Foundation, Enable Ireland, Irish Cancer Society, National Council for the Blind Ireland, The Samaritans and St. Vincent De Paul.
‘Knitted Together’ is funded by Creative Ireland. Those who wish to participate can register online and for further details see www.kilkennyartsoffice.ie