A butterfly in the forest.


A couple of weeks ago I was at a yarn show in Edinburgh and one of my customers came to squish the yarn. Her husband was with her, and while she and I chatted, he took a small square of paper from a handmade fabric wallet, and began to fold it.

Less than five minutes later, he presented me with this butterfly.

In Autumn 2008, at my kitchen table, I set up a Just Giving page for p/hop and set my own personal butterfly off on a journey. I never dreamed that two years later we would have raised more than £20,000.

TWENTY THOUSAND POUNDS. Just stop for a minute and say that out loud.

If you google “butterfly wing in the forest” (which is what I remember of the analogy), Wikipedia with tell you that …

In 1961, Edward Lorenz was using a numerical computer model to rerun a weather prediction, when, as a shortcut on a number in the sequence, he entered the decimal .506 instead of entering the full .506127 the computer would hold. The result was a completely different weather scenario. According to Lorenz, upon failing to provide a title for a talk he was to present in 1972, Philip Merilees concocted “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” as a title.

The phrase refers to the idea that a butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in a certain location. The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale alterations of events. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different. While the butterfly does not “cause” the tornado in the sense of providing the energy for the tornado, it does “cause” it in the sense that the flap of its wings is an essential part of the initial conditions resulting in a tornado, and without that flap that particular tornado would not have existed.

I live in an ordinary family. There is no way I could ever conceive of being able to give £20,000 to a charity, but somehow my small idea, this butterfly, has grown and flapped its wings and knitters all over the world have raised this amazing amount.

Every time something happens in p/hop, it is as though a new butterfly has flapped its wings. Every donation, every pattern designed and given, every stitch knitted, every show attended, every friend told, every ball of yarn offered for a donation on trust, every single thing has a positive effect.

You – the knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, pattern designers, web experts, show volunteers, show organisers, bloggers, and yarnies – have done this.

p/hop keeps growing, I wonder where we will be on our third birthday?

n
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Thank you Natalie. You can read more from Natalie aka TheYarnYard here.

The blog-a-long officially finished last week but like all the best parties is going on into the small hours. You can read all the guest blogger posts here.

You can help spread the p/hop word by following us on twitter @msf_phop and by joining in the fun in our friendly Ravelry group with yarn swaps, knit-a-longs plus all the latest p/hop news.

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