Threadworks is Warming Hearts and Bodies


The Background Context:
As a club, we recognized that with a changing climate, the winters in Ottawa are getting more severe and less predictable, with harsh storms coming seemingly from nowhere. In an effort to help the more vulnerable members of our community who have no option but to face those harsh conditions on a regular basis without much shelter, our club decided to knit and crochet as many toques, scarves, and other knitwear items as we could to donate them to various shelters throughout the city. Last winter, I dropped off 179 knitwear items at 4 different organizations in the city, and while they have slightly different mandates, they all serve the more vulnerable of our community. These organizations are: The Young Women’s Emergency Shelter, Operation Come Home, The Debra Dynes Family House, and the local food bank.

As you can imagine, this requires a great deal of yarn, and as more people heard about this project, more students wanted to join Threadworks. In order to pay for the yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, stitch markers, tapestry needles, etc. that were needed to continue this project, we were (and still are) in desperate need of funding. The yarn, in particular, is a challenge since it is a consumable resource and disappears alarmingly quickly. However, the students and I felt that our project was worth pursuing, so we started looking for avenues of funding to help us with our work.

Our interest in this project began with a thought from a student that then snowballed. She had just finished making a scarf, but she had already made herself a scarf that she was quite pleased with, so she asked me if I knew of someone in need of a scarf. We then got chatting with others in the club about who might need a scarf, why that might be, what we could do to help, etc. From there, it seemed obvious that we had both the ability and the motivation to help others in our community, so we decided to change the mandate of our club. We put the word out to the rest of the school about what we were up to, and the student uptake of the club was heartwarming to see.


Funding is Approved:
Once we applied to and received a grant through LSF, we purchased a great deal of yarn, to be made into toques, scarves, mitts, headbands, socks, cowls, and anything else that the lovely members of the Threadworks club (often known as knitwits) could dream up. We then got busy knitting and crocheting up a storm in order to make as many items as possible with the yarn that was purchased. These items will then be donated to the organizations mentioned above, who can then distribute them to the members of our local community who have a need for them. As of the moment of writing this (May 10th), we have so far made 63 items out of the yarn purchased, and many more will be made between now and the arrival of winter in December. This means that we will likely have a larger number of items to donate this winter than were donated last winter, hopefully pushing up and over the 200-mark.

Reflection & Celebration

It’s nice to know that when the winter storms, cold snaps, etc. – exacerbated by increasing climate change – start arriving several months from now, roughly 200 people will be able to directly benefit from the efforts of the Threadworks club, protecting themselves at least slightly from the more severe winter conditions. But it’s not just those who receive mittens, toques, or scarves who benefit; all of the members of Threadworks benefit as well, through the knowledge that they have helped others in their community by using a skill that they possess. And they needed to first learn that skill, which they now have the ability to use for the rest of their lives.

3. Good Health and Well-Being
10. Reduced Inequalities
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Consumption and Production
13. Climate Action
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