And off I p/hop…. 2

I am leaving MSF to be a carpenter. This is my goodbye post to p/hop really. I am not going anywhere far, but MSF has been a complete life-changer for me and p/hop remains one of the things I am most proud of.

Four years ago I emailed Natalie Fergie to thank her for running a competition where entrants had to come to the MSF UK website to answer questions and win a prize. She emailed back and said she had an idea.

That idea bore fruit. A lot of fruit.

Skip forward to now and I am trying to work out what would be the best indicator of p/hop’s success. I have access to all sorts of stats, but p/hop’s pretty vast and so much has happened…

Would it be the obvious? The £40,000 (in pounds, dollars and euros) that knitters have raised? This is the equivalent to paying for a doctor to be in the field for more than two years!

Or would it be the more than 200,000 people who have visited the blog and read about p/hop and/or MSF. They’ve come from 180 countries, including 61 of the 70 countries MSF has worked in in the same period (no fans yet in Turkmenistan, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Somalia, Liberia, Cameroon, Chad, Djibuti or Guinea unfortunately, but they’ll come).

Or would it be the ravelry and twitter numbers? Over 1,300 members between them, including an Olympic team! The hundreds (or is it thousands?) of threads on the ravelry discussion board?

Maybe it’s the numbers I can only hazard guesses at? The hundreds of events, swaps and competitions that have been organised? The tens of thousands of patterns that have been downloaded and knitted? The thousands of minutes of thinking and planning and talking and doing that made them all of it possible? Could it be, and excuse me for getting a little soppy, the millions of (what unit do I use?) of love and compassion and generosity that p/hop is built on?

Difficult to choose, right? It has to be something that ties this all together, the common thread that runs through everything ‘p/hop’….

How about metres of yarn?

‘But it is impossible to know the answer’ I hear you cry.

Not so. I have had seventeen volunteers working twelve hours a day for a month counting patterns downloaded, stitch and bitch meet ups, ravelry projects, yarn swaps and thousands of other bits of data. This has all been fed into a complex algorhythm which has given us the answer.

To date p/hop yarn metrage is exactly 17,980,641 metres

And whether that is accurate or not, I am proud to have contributed my few metres to the total.

On a personal note I’d like to say that p/hop has inspired me, taught me and taken me to places I never expected to go.

Highlights have got to be knitting on a mountain in Lesotho, making a music video in Ghana, watching RooKnits on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, watching Natalie get teary at the justgiving fundraising awards and meeting all the knitters at the various festivals across the country (who knew there were so many knitting festivals?)

I have also learnt more about online community and fundraising and engagement and empowerment from you guys than from any of the conferences or seminars I have been to or the articles I have read.

Last of all, a few thanks…

A big one to Natalie of course. p/hop’s mum, visionary and legend.

Then to Louise, my first intern (now works for RedR in Australia), who looked after p/hop through it’s tender toddler year, bravely taking p/hop on its first tour of the UK despite knowing next to nothing about knitting.

Then to Clare (who is actually taking over from me as international blogging editor at MSF). Under Clare’s care p/hop has really gone to a whole new level in the last couple of years, both online and on the road. Can’t thank her enough for her time, enthusiasm and commitment! Good luck to her filling my boots in the MSF comms department. I know she’ll be great.

Lastly, and most importantly, to all of you. Because you are p/hop. The knitters sans frontiers. A group of people I barely knew existed that have had a huge impact on me, on the MSF UK office and on our work in the field. Total inspirations. Thank you.

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