Saturday, 24 October 2015

Crafters Against Cuts - keep going guys!

Hi there knitters, crocheters, friends and anti-austerity fans. I haven't done anything for a few weeks as I sort of floundered after the success of the knitted banner and all the work everyone did. The banner went out again on Friday to protest the meeting and nefarious dealings of David Cameron and President Xi in the town hall, by the way. She (she is a she, I've decided) is still fighting away. Good old banner.

At the protest someone secretly attached a crochet poppy to her, I love this! The banner got yarn-bombed!

So. Although the momentum of crafting against cuts might have slowed a bit, I want to keep on going and I hope you do too, a bit.

I started making a blanket out of the leftover squares, here it is so far.

I went for a nice checkerboard pattern.

The blanket is about 110cm square at the moment so I need to make it a bit bigger. I still have a lot of red and white squares left over:

I can probably get 1.5 to two decent sized blankets out of these squares. I also have a few squares in other colours, that I made with the purpose of making blankets:

The original idea was to send the finished blankets to Calais for the refugee camp, and later on I also wanted to donate some stuff to the homeless camps in town. Now. 1.5 blankets isn't going to do anyone much good and I can't do this alone. The thing is that blankets take a fair bit of time to make, and while they are desperately needed, it seems slightly futile to spend ages hand-making blankets which will get ruined fairly quickly and quite likely discarded. So first, I thought maybe hats, scarves, woolly socks would be appreciated and quicker to make - depending on your level of knitting expertise, you could choose what to make. 

Secondly, if we do make blankets, or other things, I thought we could sell them and donate the money for whatever supplies the organisers of Calais trips, or homeless provision, need the most. That way we are making something beautiful that people can use, but aren't spending loads of time and energy when really things are needed fast, and cheap. The money made from a beautiful handmade blanket could buy several like this, or this. Yes, buying fast and cheap carries its own ethical burden... but I'm trying to think practically and do things that can help. I reckon we could set up an auction or something and all the money made will be donated.

So to sum up: I need knitters and crocheters. Again.

You can make whatever you want: hats, scarves, gloves, warm things... which we can send directly to Calais and whoever needs them.

Baby things are needed too and even quicker to make. Blankets, little hats, maybe even toys.

Or, if you're still into squares we can make a load of blankets to sell. Or you could make something else to sell. 

I admit I am not sure what I'm doing here so please, please get in touch if you disagree with my ideas, or if you've got better ones. I want to do the best thing I can, and all I can really do is knit :) I will set up a meeting for Manchester types so we can knit together again, that was nice. But do join in if you're somewhere else too. I will get in touch with other organisations like Knit For Peace that do great work and have a wide reach. I just feel so helpless in the face of all this unfairness and I want to do something, even a little thing xxx

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Crafters Against Cuts goes on the road - Manchester Tory conference protest!

Hey guys!

Argh! what a weekend. I'm just in love with Manchester at the moment. You guys are all amazing.

So obviously the Tory conference is going on now and the banner, the beautiful giant banner, the culmination of all our efforts for the past two months, made its debut this weekend.

First of all it went to Piccadilly Station to welcome the Tory delegates to the city. It was ace: the Open Voice women's choir sang Bread and Roses, an old trade union anthem; someone handed out pig-shaped sweets; a brill lady called Sue dressed as a fat cat and gave out fake fifties with lefty slogans printed on them; and we hung the banner over the balcony to a great cheer from the concourse below. Exciting :)

Here's a pic from Real Media

I'm not in the photo because I was being interviewed at the time *hair swish*

We were supposed to be the signal for the choir to start singing, but I had no idea what my signal was, or where we were supposed to be or anything. Plus I only had Tim with me. The banner is seven metres long. So we set off to Piccadilly Gardens to recruit some of the ravers who'd been up all night to come and hold it with us. In the event, loads of passersby at the station helped out too - no one likes the Tories here.

PS, re. the rave: the Telegraph or someone was moaning that it was keeping delegates awake all night. well boo hoo, I was kept awake all Saturday night by a police helicopter which I assume was something to do with the conference, we all got problems BUBZ. Anyway they've all been moved on now so the little tories can sleep soundly in their beds, knowing that they've done a great job.

Here's some more press coverage!

and here's a Real Media video of the event, featuring me with a horrible voice and face.

So there was that. On Sunday was the giant massive march, and my first proper protest march ever, AND the moment of truth for banner-pole-things.

We went into town real early to sit in Sidney St LGBT centre and drink brews and panic quietly. But I needn't have worried: it could NOT have gone better. It was smooth as silk, a lean mean protestin' machine, beautiful. The lefty gods were smiling on us, the sun was shining, and everyone was upbeat and positive. Apart from the over-reported spitting/egg-throwing incidents, which by the way I think were planted, everyone was cool.

This is the BEST picture of the banner in action, taken by Ruth Kerfoot... how amazing does it look!


Here's some coverage from the march - obviously there wasn't much, but we DID come in at number 5 of the MEN's top 7 banners, so THAT'S amazing.

If you have any more, please do let me know as I'm collecting them. There are a lot of pics on social media as well which is amazing. I could not have done this project without the help of so many awesome crafters and craftivists and I am so thrilled. I'm taking the banner to the conference tomorrow morning for Cameron's final speech, come along if you can and look out for me :)

It's a shame they had to get all peevish with the whole 'Castlefield Arena is full' nonsense, but it just proves they're scared. If that's what they have to do to stop us congregating, then shit, try harder bozos. 10,000 people turned out last night to hear Jeremy Corbyn, Owen Jones, Natalie Bennett and the rest of them at the cathedral. That is truly something. We are on the rise, don't DARE stitch us up, we're coming for you and some of us got knitting needles.