Dates for your diary 2011

First up is this fantastic event this Thursday in London:

What? Cholera treatment exhibition

When? Thursday 19th May, 5-9pm

Where? West Bank London, 133-137 Westbourne Grove, W11 2RS, LONDON

What is it?

MSF are taking a unique and interactive exhibition to Glastonbury festival this year. They are previewing it this Thursday and will feature installations including a cholera treatment centre as used in Haiti, live music, photo exhibitions and live graffiti. There is more information about this on the MSF UK website.

MSF treating cholera in Haiti

MSF teams treating cholera patients in Saint-Marc, Artibonite region, Haiti. 10 October 2010 Photo by Eliza Currando (Image from msf.org.uk)

It would be great if lots of p/hoppers could go as it will be a fun evening as well as a great opportunity to learn more about the work MSF does with your fundraising money and a chance to chat to some MSF staff.

To attend please email rsvp@london.msf.org

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What? Affinity Yarns Open Studio

When? Sunday 12th June, 2-6pm

Where? AffinityYarns, Whittlesford, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

What is it?

Affinity Yarns are hosting an Open Studio event with proceeds going to to p/hop. You can chat to other knitters while enjoying tea, cake and yarn browsing. Ravelry members can get details here.

Image from Affinity Yarns Open Day in April

Please contact Affinity Yarns for further details.

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We will have a stand at the following knitting festivals:

What? Woolfest 2011

When? Friday 24 and Saturday 25 June

Where? Mitchell’s Lakeland Livestock Centre, Cockermouth, Cumbria

For more information please visit the Woolfest 2011 website.

What? KnitNation

When? 15th-17th July 2011

Where? Imperial College, South Kensington, London

For more information please visit the KnitNation2011 website.

What? Fibre East

When? Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th July

Where? Scald End Farm, Mill Road, Thurleigh, Bedfordshire

For more information please visit the Fibre East website.

What? Fibre Flurry

When? Friday 28th & Saturday 29th October

Where? Kings Norton, Birmingham

For more information please visit the Fibre Flurry website.

As always there will be the opporunity to help out on the p/hop stand for half a day. Please keep an eye on our Ravelry group for requests for volunteers.

If you are holding an event for p/hop we would love to hear about it. If you would like to host an event, eg a yarn swap event or tea party for MSF, but are unsure on how to get started please get in touch, we are more than happy to help.

Knitting interrupted

So, sometimes at MSF, something comes along and takes your week apart. This happens fairly regularly, to a greater and lesser extent. This week that has happened and it has been cholera in Haiti that we have been working flat out on…..

A relative holds a child's hand who is suffering from symptoms of cholera at a Haitian government hospital where MSF is treating people. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The situation in Haiti is dire enough that we have launched an appeal from the London office to ask for funds specifically to help us up our game there. More than one thousand staff are working round the clock to treat the thousands of patients we are seeing and to build cholera treatment centres so we have somewhere to treat them and providing safe water to communities and community education and and and…..

There is no doubt in my mind that this work merits a donation from me, from you, from anyone…. But…

But, one of the things that makes MSF special for me is the fact that we don’t often ask for money for specific projects – only when we need to act fast and on a very large scale. And why? Because we prefer to have a fund of money that we can use wherever we see fit – wherever the needs are greatest. Basically, we ask our supporters to trust us.

I was a fundraiser before I worked at MSF and was an MSF supporter before I was MSF staff and one of my proudest moments as a supporter was following the tsunami in early 2005. MSF ran an appeal for funds, to which I donated. Then, once they realised they could not spend it in a meaningful way, that they had done what they could, they offered to give it back. As a fundraiser, this seemed crazy, but as a supporter, it confirmed in my mind that I had made the right choice with my donation.

P/hop is based on an honesty box, and on trust, and this is one of the reasons it fits so well with MSF. The money that knitters raise through this weird and wonderful knitting project goes directly to MSF’s general fund. You are trusting us to spend it where the needs are greatest.

I think a donation to the Haiti appeal is a donation well made, but you guys should be proud that your donations are already at work battling cholera in Chad, malaria in Niger, treating victims of a cyclone in Myanmar, helping victims of domestic and sexual abuse in Papua New Guinea and doing life-saving work in another fifty odd countries.

By the way, this work has interrupted my knitting, but, before you say anything, this post is not an over elaborate excuse for not having done my rows….

What happened in York??!

I tell you what, you take your eye off p/hop for five minutes and suddenly you are sitting there stunned again. Woolly Wormhead donated half her pattern sales, the tragic events in Haiti have inspired massive generosity and something strange happened in York!

All we know is that Jane (probablyjane on Rav) was last seen boarding a train heading that way… Suspicious.

You see, I checked the p/hop total just now and there has a been a torrent of donations from our friends in the north, lots of them mentioning York… Has Jane been hypnotising Yorkshire-based knitters? If you woke up in York after the weekend, covered in wool, with a very generous, donation sized hole in your wallet or purse, this may explain it. Could be worse though – you could do an Elvis impersonation every time your phone rings or howl like a wolf whenever you hear the word ‘cake’….

In all seriousness, it is amazing. I remember not more than two weeks ago talking to Natalie about putting up the fundraising target from £10k to £12k and now we’re nearly there…. You all continue to humble and inspire me.

In other news, I have completely failed in my 100days promise. Basically I promised to do two rows a day on the scarf for 100 days starting on the 1st December. Til new year, I was probably doing ok; not every day, but making up for it when missing a day or two. Now, however, I am seriously lagging. Work was crazy in the immediate aftermath of the Haiti earthquake and, although still busy, we are not working every evening and weekend now (unlike our colleagues in the field). On top of this, I have started learning French (brilliant course) once a week and Saturday football with Les Mavericks started up again after the winter break. But enough with the excuses. I shall start again and I shall try to finish by the time the 100days project is over.