Guest Post | Festival Volunteering

Mikal (left) & Katie (right)

What has astonished me about the knitting and crochet community (since my first tentative attendance at a knit and natter night in the Royal Oak Oxford way back in early 2013) is the ceaseless, insightful and warm support that is offered freely and in abundance. You can feel its presence even online without ever having to venture out in person. There are so many skilled individuals willing to help and impart their wisdom. Goodness knows I wouldn’t be finishing garments with Kitchener stitch if it had not been for YouTube.

I guess what I am saying, in a roundabout way, is that I was not surprised by the existence of P-Hop and the fact that so many crafters give their time to volunteer on the P-Hop stand, at festivals they may have travelled far for and anticipated for some time. I am not surprised at the kindness of the designers for donating their patterns and the generosity with which people purchase them. I am however impressed and grateful (and I think always will be).

When Heidi asked for volunteers for the stand at Woolfest 2016 I jumped at the chance, a little apprehensive that I may not yet have the credentials to advise on the patterns themselves, I was sure that box lugging, coffee fetching, table setting and general dogsbodyness would be of some help. I shouldn’t have been apprehensive. I knew more than I knew and the time on the stand flew by in a happy haze of knitting and crochet chat, admiration of home made garments and accessories, frenzied speculation of what will next be purchased and the eating of cake. So much delicious cake. Oh and icecream.

Later that year P-Hop would be exhibiting at Fibre-East and the weekend landed right on Heidi’s due date. I volunteered to take the reins, to some extent, for the weekend. I vacillated between arrogant certainty that it would be a doddle and absolute panic that I would fudge the whole thing. My standard approach to most things! I collected the P-Hop stand from Heidi and immediately felt relieved, it was packed and organised so methodically that I could see exactly what needed doing. Stand set up completed! Thank you wonderful Heidi!

I was on the stand for the Saturday of the festival and much like Woolfest the day slipped by in a light speed blur. It was fabulous. At the end of the second day I joined the Sunday volunteer team to pack up and I felt a great sensation of satisfaction. The satisfaction of a job done at least acceptably if not brilliantly, the satisfaction of raising money for Medicine San Frontier who undertake such exceptional work but most of all and completely selfishly the satisfaction of being amongst the crafting community I adore in a position where I felt a sense of belonging.

Given the opportunity again I would volunteer for P-Hop in a heartbeat. Possibly even half a heartbeat.

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