Hi there, p/hoppers!

You may recall that a month or two ago, the call was put out to the community for someone to volunteer as the brand new volunteer p/hop co-ordinator.  Well, I heard the call, I sent in my application, and here I am, fresh in to the role.  Ta-da!

 

Larissa p:hop

 

My “real” name is Larissa, but I’m also known around knitterly places as travelknitter.  You might see me posting under either name from time to time.

I’ve known about p/hop for a long time now, ever since I first spoke with Clare at a knitting event several years ago.  Since then I’ve been quietly supporting p/hop in different ways, and looking back, the ways have been many and varied!  At various points I’ve helped out with the following:  helping set up the p/hop stall; knitting display samples; providing transport to shows; donating yarn to p/hop swaps (oh, and purchasing quite a bit of hopped yarn too!), and one time I even helped out with accommodation at Woolfest a couple of years ago when we were caught up in floods and landslides!  Good times.

The list of different ways I’ve been involved with p/hop over the years I think is a good reflection of just how much p/hop is really community-driven.   I love the way that people in the knitting and crochet community all pull together to make it happen.  The project is completely run on volunteer creativity and input, and as a community we’ve managed to raise nearly £50 000 for MSF.  Pretty amazing, huh?  That’s what makes p/hop so special, and why I’m so thrilled to be the new co-ordinator.

I’ve seen how Kate has done an amazing job over the last year-and-a-bit and I’ve very excited to be taking over where she left off.  I’m looking forward to getting to know lots of other p/hoppers, so please do say hello!

 

 

Goodbye and thank you Kate, hello (insert your name here?)

Kate, your excellent p/hop coordinator, has sadly got to step down from her role in September due to work commitments. I’ll be really sorry to see her go as she’s done sterling work and gone above and beyond to continue p/hop’s success.

On the bright side, this opens up a great opportunity for someone else to volunteer running the best knitting and crochet fundraiser in the world. Could this be you?

“What does running p/hop entail?” I hear you ask. You can  download the role description here which has all the details in:

To give you a more personal idea of what running a woolly fundraiser takes read on dear reader, read on.

What does this role involve?

1) Running this blog, sharing the latest news with p/hop fans worldwide though social media and raising awareness about MSF’s awesome life-saving work!

2) Light touch pattern editing (mostly formatting to add the p/hop blurb) photo editing and coming up with creative ways to get people involved.
3) Occasionally taking p/hop on the road, meeting lots of delightful fibre-folk…
Me (Kate) standing proudly in front of my first P/Hop stall

Kate standing proudly in front of the P/Hop stall at Fibre East 2013

… yes, there may be sheep …
Woolfest sheep
…and you will end up being surrounded by squishy knitware samples.

Where do you do this?

Ideally we’d like you to come into the MSF office in Clerkenwell, London, so we’d prefer someone who lives reasonably near. MSF will pay your travel expenses and you get a lunch allowance. When I ran p/hop I found it really interesting coming into the office and learnt a lot about how a humanitarian aid agency works. Plus there is often cake and the people who work there are really friendly. There are occasional language courses and interesting talks which you are welcome to attend. And tea, lots of tea (or hot beverage of choice).

Who will I work with?

Me, based in the communications team (stop press!) as well as our friendly fundraising team.

How will I know what to do?

Training will be provided. Once you are up and running a certain level of independence and self motivation is required. The team will always be on hand to help (though most people in the office don’t know anything about knitting. The philistines.)

Have any more questions?

Kate’s the best person to answer your questions as she’s been running p/hop for the last year. You can email her here p-hop@london.msf.org

TAKE ACTION: it’s really quick and easy

Take action, you say? Why yes of course, do you want me to do?

 

 

 

Want more info? Of course you do, read on dear knitter/crocheter, read on…

 

You may or may not know MSF does lots of work on tuberculosis, especially drug resistant tuberculosis (TB). While we thankfully don’t see much TB in the UK, it is sadly prevalent around the world, killing around 1.4 million people each year. TB does not discriminate, anyone can catch it, and drug resistance is increasing making the disease harder and harder to treat.

 

Last year I met a young South African woman, Phumeza Tisile, who overcame extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, a disease that kills the vast majority of people it touches. She survived, but lost her hearing as a result of her treatment. She’s blogged about her experience for me at MSF and is a personal hero. We spent a week at the Union Lung Conference together in November and I can confirm she rocks.

 

Phumeza-and-Xolelwa_530

 

Phumza (L) with fellow XDR-TB survivor Xolelwa Joni, whose twin sister Xoliswa Joni sadly died from XDR-TB at the start of this year. © Mara Kardas-Nelson November 2013

 

Phumeza co-wrote this petition with her TB doctor and is speaking in front of the World Health Assembly in Geneva next week to try and get them to invest in better drug resistant tuberculosis treatment and diagnosis. Pharma companies, government and leaders need to step up and work on a next generation of treatment that 1) works, 2) is bearable for patients.
What Phumeza is doing is brave and huge and daunting and I’m asking for you to sign it specifically to support her, so that she walks into that room with thousands of people standing behind her. You will also be supporting TB patients around the world.https://www.msfaccess.org/TBmanifesto/

 

The UK is really lagging behind in signatures, only 1,400 people have signed from the UK, out of over 40,00 petitions, and the USA isn’t doing much better, but I know what knitters are like when they get their teeth (and pointy sticks) into something. Please share this far and wide on twitter, facebook, ravelry, you name it.

 

Cheers my dears
Clare

Knit Now

We were delighted when the  fabulous Kate Heppel from Knit Now magazine rang to offer us a whole page in this excellent magazine.  Publicity is very much appreciated by MSF & P/hop.  The more people who know of P/Hop and our patterns, the more money and awareness we can raise for MSF and the more people we can help.

We are featured in issue 33 on page 77. 

Knit Now

I think the advert looks fantastic.  It’s great at creating awareness of MSF (Medecine sans Frontieres/Doctors withour borders) and shows off a couple of our lovely patterns.

Knit Now Issue 33 April 2014

The two patterns featured are The Diamond Dot Scarf by Kate Ellis (Katestiwrl) and the Rerto Baby… Buggy Blanket by Helen Westerman (thredHED).  You can down load them by clicking on the links below:

The Diamond Dot Scarf

Retro Baby… Buggy Blanket

Please don’t forget to make a donation.

THANK YOU KNIT NOW.

 

World TB Day – please help!

Squeaky bacteria by Dawn Finney

Knitted Squeaky Bacteria by Dawn Finney

For those of you wondering where your lovely money goes, here’s bit of information about the work MSF does in the fight against the ever spreading, drug resistant tuberuclosis (DR-TB).  World TB day is on Monday 24 March 2014.

Every year, around eight million people worldwide fall ill with TB and 1.3 million people die from the disease. Standard TB is a curable disease, but an inadequate global response has allowed the growing epidemic of drug-resistance to take hold.

Now these deadlier DR-TB strains are spreading from person to person – even to people who’ve never had TB before.  You can read more about the epidemic on the MSF website.

What does this have to do with knitting, I hear you say?  Well, more than you’d think.  Not only is it true that the more money P/Hop raise for MSF the better MSF will be equipped to tackle the problem, but P/Hop also has an evil TB namesake.  Our lovely Clare discovered, back in 2010, that there is a gene in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the TB bacteria, called PhoP. The PhoP gene plays a role in making TB more virulent.  This gene could be a good target for new drugs.  If the PhoP gene can be stopped from working, TB will spread less.  You can read Clare’s Blog, p/hop v PhoP here.

How can you help?

Please read and sign the “Test me, Treat me” DR-TB Manifesto and support the campaign for better DR-TB care.  Many thanks!

Bacteria by Erica McBride

Crocheted Bacteria by Toy Amigurumi


Thanks to Dawn Finey and Erica McBride for use of their photographs.  Patterns are avaialable to buy on Ravelry.  Sadly, they are not P/Hop patterns.

Lighting the Knit Signal – Philippines Appeal

Knit-Signal-Philippines

I am sure that you have all seen news of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan and are feeling as sad as I am about the inevitable suffering of the people caught in its path.  MSF are acting as quickly as they can to get medics and supplies to those in need.  This is hampered greatly, due to the country’s infrastucture having been destroyed by the typhoon.

MSF has set up a Philippines Typhoon Appeal for donations to fund their emergency response.  You can make a quick donation by text:

Text TYPHOON to 70099 to give £5 to MSF’s emergency response

or, for more information about the valuable work of MSF during this emergency and to make a donation to the appeal, please see the following articles:

Philippines Typhoon Appeal

MSF sends experts and tonnes of supplies

Interview with the emergency medical coordinator

If you would prefer to make a general donation to MSF which will provide much needed assistance to all their projects (not just the Philippines), then please donate to P/Hop using the JustGiving link.

When making a donation for a pattern, we really do not mind if you would prefer to donate to the Philippines appeal rather than to the P/Hop campaign.  All funds raised by P/Hoppers are greatly valued by MSF.

 

Looking for a new challenge?

Love knitting and crochet (and other fibre arts)? Adore social media? Admire life-saving humanitarian work and want to make a difference?

Can you donate eight hours a week of your time?

Then p/hop needs you!

What will this involve I hear you cry? You can download the job description here, which includes details on how to apply.
To give you a more personal idea of what running a woolly fundraiser takes read on dear reader, read on.

What does this role involve?

1) Running this blog, tweeting social media awesomeness, sharing the latest news with p/hop fans worldwide and raising awareness about MSF’s awesome life-saving work!

2) Taking p/hop on the road, meeting lots of delightful fibre-folk…
… yes, there may be sheep …
…and you might end up being surrounded by squishy knitware samples.
3) Light touch pattern editing (mostly formatting to add the p/hop blurb) photo editing and coming up with creative ways to get people involved.

Where do you do this?

Ideally we’d like you to come into the MSF office in Clerkenwell, London, so we’d prefer someone who lives reasonably near. MSF will pay your travel expenses and you get a lunch allowance. When I ran p/hop I found it really interesting coming into the office and learnt a lot about how a humanitarian aid agency works. Plus there is often cake and the people who work there are really friendly. There are occasional language courses and interesting talks which you are welcome to attend. And tea, lots of tea (or hot beverage of choice).

Who will I work with?

Me, based in the communications team (stop press!) as well as our friendly fundraising team.

How will I know what to do?

Training will be provided. Once you are up and running a certain level of independence and self motivation is required. The team will always be on hand to help (though most people in the office don’t know anything about knitting. The philistines.)

Have any more questions?

Drop me a line at my work email. I’m happy to chat. clare.storry@london.msf.org

Knitting MSF

Hello, Clare here popping back as I spotted this and though of p/hop.

Emily Wise is a British doctor working with MSF in Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan for nine months treating multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. The disease itself is bad enough however the treatment is also pretty awful, taking at least nine months, with the drudgery of taking 20 tablets a day and potential side effects such as nausea,  complete, permanent hearing loss, and psychosis.

Emily is blogging about her work, with a nice mix of serious stories about the people MSF are helping and the lighter side of life overseas. In her most recent post she writes about what her and the team get up to in their time off and mentioned this scarf her mum made for her, complete with MSF logo. Fab, eh?

Hand knitted MSF scarf © Emily Wise

Hand knitted MSF scarf © Emily Wise

MSF are pushing for change for the treatment of tuberculosis. In 2011, MSF treated 30,700 people for tuberculosis and 1,060 for multidrug-resistant TB. Find out more…

Thank you 2012

Well, not quite Thank You 2012 as thanking a year is a somewhat abstract concept, but a big thank you to everyone who has helped make p/hop a success in 2012.

Jane Lithgow took the p/hop reins in July and while she’s having a well-deserved festive holiday I thought I’d pop back to reflect on 2012.

While I’ve had less time for p/hop I still appreciate all the free time or the hard-earned cash people give up to help people less fortunate have access to healthcare.

So, what’s happened this year?

January

December 2011 had been pretty busy with p/hop’s birthday competition so we had a fairly quiet month organising behind the scenes for upcoming yarn shows and preparing new patterns.

We did have a beautiful new pattern, Ermintrude Mitts donated by Helena Cullum, which I like so much I made a pair for my MIL this Christmas.

February

February

We reached our £32,012 target (see what we did there?) and upped the target to a whopping £40,ooo as MSF had just turned 40, we had 40 patterns and um, other 40 related reasons.

The versatile and intriguing  Minerva Cowl pattern, knitted in a moebius loop, was donated by Anna Richardson.

March

March

We had an unusual request for knitted items, premature baby hats for our maternity clinics. Within days of asking for them tiny hats arrived at the MSF office. MSF also released a report on Mother’s Day about reducing maternal mortality. It is incredible the difference a small amount of money can make to keeping women safe in pregnancy and childbirth.

The generous people behind Sheepfold donated their Felted Crochet Bowl pattern, a great beginners project if you’ve just taken up the hook or a quick and easy way to use up leftover yarn if you’re a more experienced crocheter.

Natalie, p-hop founder, and I went to the Just Giving Awards, this time as judges, where we rubbed shoulders with the likes of Joanna Lumley and Jane appeared on the big screen!

April

April

The cable-tastic Jacqueline Mitts pattern, designed and donated by Bronagh Miskelly aka La Purple Penguin, was published.

May

May

A piece of knitting history was donated to p/hop. The Sheep Sweater, designed by Muir and Osborne, worn by Princess Diana and other 80’s icons, arrived at p/hop!

We also launched the rugby themed Try Again Sock pattern donated by Sadie Slater. Scrummy! (groan)

Pete, who helped get p/hop up and running left MSF and tried on a tiny hat.

June

June

In June we went to Wimbledon, with Ros Clarke’s Wimbledon socks, perfect for the summer tennis season.


We were inundated with  over 500 tiny hats which have gone to MSF maternity clinics overseas.

The lovely Stitch London organised a World Wide Knit in Public day picnic on the South Bank in London which included a raffle for MSF which raised a whopping £301.

Stitch London WWKIP picnic

July

July

Long term p/hop supporter, designer of Cranford Mitts, Karenina Socks and Spiral Socks, talented Jane Lithgow took on p/hop.

A huge refugee crisis was hitting South Sudan but wasn’t getting much media coverage. Knitters, however, are beyond just responding to mainstream news and on hearing water shortages were affecting people in refugee camps, knitter (and designer) Ros Clarke came up with the brilliant idea of p/H2O. Pennies per sip of water.

Family in flooded refugee camp, South Sudan © Ruby Siddique/MSF

Back in the UK we took p/hop on the road to Woolfest and Fibre East festivals, both of which were soggy (by soggy I mean landslides, floods, and mud, lots of mud) but loads of fun. As always our patterns were a hit and generous fibre fans donated over £1,200 over the two shows. We’re still finding mud in places it shouldn’t be! Nothing compared with living in a refugee camp though.

We also launched the beautifully twisted Oscillating socks pattern donated by Rachel Gibbs.

August

August

You may have noticed there was a rather large sporting event in the summer of 2012. The Ravellenic Games. From Sock Put to WIP wrestling to Shawl Sailing our team knitted their, ahem, socks off, including some knitters who were volunteering as Gamesmakers in that other event.
Even Teeny Tiny Teddy took a trip to the Olympic park.

P1060044

September

September

We had a rest after the Olympics.

October

October

Jane took p/hop on the road again, this time to the thankfully dry and mud-free Glasgow School of Yarn. The event is held in the beautiful Rennie Mackintosh church where super knitters – including artisan dyers who came up with the excellent  idea of lucky dip bags for p/hop – raised a fantastic £770.

November

November

Rachel Atkinson aka Knittingtastic donated her clever, quick to knit and delightful to wear Riviera Scarf pattern to p/hop. I’ve seen several of these being sported in Nice where I am currently moored with my yacht around that London. Tres de rigeur, n’est pas?

Riviera Scarf

December

December

The fabulous people at The Yarn Cake in Glasgow held a yarn swap raising £394.63 for p/hop. Marvellous!

We rounded off the year with a festive pattern. Rudolph proved to be a hit, there are already 19 on Ravelry and I’m sure there are more out in the wild, maybe pulling a certain sleigh?

p/hop

p/hopping

Let’s not forget the ongoing yarn ‘hopping’ that happens on Ravelry. Do you have some unwanted stash? Just offer it up in our Ravelry group and another fibre-fan is likely to claim it in return for a donation to p/hop. Simples!

There’s also a yarn-swap being set up on Ravelry to reinvigorate your stash for the New Year.

So as you can see, loads of people made p/hop happen in 2012. A big thank you to all of you.

Sadly poverty wasn’t eradicated in 2012 so there is still a great need to fundraise for MSF’s life-saving work. As always if you have enjoyed our patterns or you are inspired by MSF’s work it is easy to make a donation using the links on the right.

2013

So what will 2013 bring?

Well, we’re only £2,500 away from reaching our £40,000 target and there are more patterns in the pipeline.

Thanks again and here’s to a happy 2013!

Please let us know what you enjoyed with p/hop in 2012, be it a pattern, meeting us at a show or something completely different, in the comments below.

p/h2O

Have you heard about the current crisis in South Sudan? You may well not have done, because it’s hardly been mentioned on the mainstream media. MSF have been keeping their website up to date with what’s happening here. Thousands and thousands of people are stranded without access to shelter, food, or clean water.

This is how one of the refugees described their situation:

Some days, the water truck does not come and we do not get any water. The children cry and cry as they are thirsty. Sometimes we spend two days without water. The water is so close, but we cannot have it, as there is not enough for everybody.

I cannot imagine spending two days without water. I can’t imagine what it’s like to hear your child cry from thirst and be unable to help them. Malnutrition in the camps is way above emergency levels.

Here at p/hop we normally raise money by donating our pennies for the pleasure we get from knitting or crocheting. But when I read about what was happening in South Sudan, I wanted to do a bit more. Every day, I drink as much as I want without being afraid that the water I drink might kill me. That’s something I take for granted. The people in the refugee camps don’t get that pleasure.

So I’m going to be p/’h2o’pping for a bit. I’m putting a few pennies aside every time I drink a bottle of water, a cup of tea, a can of fizzy pop, or a glass of wine, and I’ll be donating the money to MSF for as long as the South Sudan crisis continues. Why don’t you join me?

Other people have suggested p/’h2o’pping for every litre of water you drink, or for every time you use fresh water (in the washing machine, in the bathroom, in the garden…). If you have other ideas, please share them in the comments.

Family in flooded refugee camp, South Sudan © Ruby Siddique/MSF