Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Autumn already!

The cold weather is creeping up and the need for warm hats, scarves, socks and gloves in this part of the world is here. Just as well autumn is also a time when staying in and crafting in the evenings is a welcoming thought.  Here is an extract from Lily (Love in the Language of Yarn) 's Facebook page.

'Last Wednesday I packed up:
900 blankets,
5,000 hats,
4,000 cardigans/sweaters,
3,000 pairs of gloves/mittens.
3,000 scarves,
2,000 pairs slippers/booties,
and 8,000 pairs socks.
An amazing amount!
I wanted to send these to the Kurdish Syrians that have recently fled the fighting in Kobane, Syria. Many of the 170,000 have not as yet even got a tent to live in. The nights are getting colder and
it pains me to think of the conditions they are living in. 

  The figures show why they need every single blanket square they can get.  900 blankets is a lot but then try to imagine 170,000 people needing warmth - and that's just in this one district.

That is why we are so glad to have received two wonderful donations from friends and family of group members this month - the beautifully knitted stripey blanket squares and baby sweaters with matching hats (see the last two photos below).  Thank you for your kindness in helping families in real need.

What sort of craft things are needed for the charities we currently support?  Cosy clothes, hats, scarves, gloves, socks, soft toys, summer dresses and shorts and 20cm/8inch blanket squares.  Blanket squares are always needed. Here are some examples of items we have made to go in our October parcel to Lily (Love in the Language of Yarn)

Children's hats and hand puppets in jolly colours ...

 cosy joggers - so practical for boys and girls in the winter cold ...

some trendy baby and children's aviator hats with ear flaps to keep out cold winds ...

hats for adults too ...

a baby poncho made from just two simple rectangles - an easy project if you're looking for a change from squares ...

a practical and pretty wrap around baby dress in denim that will add warmth and glamour over a jumpsuit ...

and these beautiful donations of twelve baby sweaters with matching hats - cute, warm and just gorgeous ...
 as well as these beautifully knitted squares with super stripes.

 This is a case where every square and every item of clothing does help.  If you want to join us in Craft Tea for Charity, or just to pop in and say hello one week, contact us on or use the contact form on the top right of this page.  We meet every Wednesday afternoon from 2.30 - 4.30pm in Leo's Beanery and would love to welcome you. Can't make Wednesdays but want to craft something?  We'd love to hear from you. You can join us on Facebook too Craft Tea for Charity

Happy crafting this month, everyone!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Going to the Fair!

The sun shone, the band played, the ducks raced and the people were out and about for a fantastic afternoon at Portobello Village Show on Sunday. Thank you to everyone who came to see our stall, to buy, to make a donation and to find out more about crafting for charity. Your support will help us do so much more.

The calm before the storm ...
A photo finish for the duck race taking place  in the stream behind our pitch!
...and the band played on!

Remember to send your completed design competition entries to us by Monday 15th September.  You could be our winner!

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Contact us using the form at the top right of this page or email us on

If you would like to join us, or if you are a charity who would like to find out more about the items we make, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Keeping our enthusiasm in check!

In the approach to the Scottish referendum later this month a tartan and tweed theme seems somewhat appopriate. A couple of upcycling projects from the group this week showed how we can use our cast offs to keep people not just warm but stylishly warm too.

A red rectangle of tartan that can be used as a bright neck warmer, a hat or a ski headband.

Use up a bit of tweed to make a few teddies and what have you got?  Why, the Tweddies, of course!  The Tweddies are off on an adventure later this month to meet some children in a Syrian refugee camp and some orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa. (See our page of charities we support for more details)

And for anyone who was around in the 60's or who likes to indulge a passion for vintage, this fringed go-over for an older child or teenage girl has definite overtones of  a Mary Quant creation.  This was someone's discarded pashmina before becoming a really warm go-over that can be worn over trousers and a sweater in the cold months ahead in a Syrian refugee camp.

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Contact us using the form at the top right of this page.
Join us in person any Wednesday afternoon 2.30 - 4.30. (Use the form or email to find out where we'll be)

AND ...  on Sunday 7th September 2014 visit our fundraising stall at Portobello Village Show, 2-5pm in Rosefield Park, Portobello .  We'll have lots of hand crafted goodies for sale to raise money for charity and lots of  helpful info on how you too can get started in crafting for charity. Hope to see you there!

Monday, 18 August 2014

A square squared

Summer is great for crochet commuting. At the bus stop, on the bus/train/tram, in the car (as a passenger only!). Often someone will watch for a bit, then say he/she cannot knit/crochet ... well only a wee bit, like a beginner's square or something. That's brilliant and all the skill you need to help someone in need. Plain or fancy, knit or crochet, every warm and comforting square is so, so useful and needed.

Your warm square joins other people's warm squares ...

as you can see from this photo of last week's sorting day at Knit a Square in South Africa.  Knit a Square receives squares knitted by people all over the world ...

 ... and local volunteers sew each square into a warm blanket that can bring comfort to a child or adult living in desperate circumstances. See more blankets KAS has made from donated squares in 2014 on KAS Blanket Room
Every square helps.  Follow us on Facebook.   Contact us using the form at the top right of this page. If you are in or near Edinburgh and want to join us or pop in to see us, a warm welcome awaits you.  If you are a local charity and think we can help you, we'd love to hear from you too.

Friday, 8 August 2014

A Festival of Craft!

It's Festival Time here in Edinburgh again.  The streets are alive with tourists, buskers and a wealth of shows and exhibitions to see and hear.  Our weekly get together turned into an exciting event in itself, with a riot of colour, ideas and  craft tips to show and share.

Ever had some rainbow or self-pattern yarn left at the end of a project?  Knit a doll for a child to love.  This glamorous girl is going to Knit a Square in South Africa  to help with their work with millions of orphaned and vulnerable children.

Hand Puppets in progress ... and hand puppets all ready to play. These have been knitted in pairs so they can double as gloves in cold weather.  Hand puppets are great as props for a child's imagination as well as being a friend to cuddle when feeling sad, lonely or afraid. Pattern link for knit and crochet version here.

Of course up here in Edinburgh we know people need hats and hand warmers in a rainbow of colour and shapes to keep heads and hands warm when the weather turns cold.

And there can never be too many squares. It takes 35 squares at 20cm or 8 inches each to make even a child sized blanket. A blanket can mean warmth, comfort, survival and perhaps hopefully even send a vulnerable person the message that someone cares. Squares are a great project for beginner and expert alike.

If you would like to join us at our weekly Wednesday afternoon get togethers, or are passing through Edinburgh and want to drop in, please use the contact form on the right.  All crafts welcome. We'd love to meet you.

Follow us on Facebook too.  We'd love to hear your comments and suggestions either here on the blog or on our Facebook page.

If you are a local charity and think we can help you through our craft, please contact us.  We'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

July Parcel Safely Delivered.

Super-speedy DHL uplifted our July parcel last thing on Tuesday afternoon - and had delivered it to Love in the Language of Yarn in Turkey before 10.00 am this morning (Thursday)! What's in our July parcel? A range of things for the hot weather now and the cold weather to come to help Syrian refugee families living in camps:

sun dresses, hats, scarves, slippers, hand warmers, sweater and our first ever rag rug to brighten a tent or container home. 


Service with their usual smile from our sponsors DHL!  It's great to know that things are getting to where they are needed so quickly.

Follow us on Facebook Craft Tea for Charity - Edinburgh
 Come and join us or drop in if you are in or near Edinburgh on Wednesday afternoons - whatever your craft, a warm welcome awaits you.
  Contact us using the form on the right.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Keep Cycling - Good for your Wallet, Great for Helping Others!

Upcycling again with another low or no cost project from one of our group who made eight of these pretty sun dresses out of unwanted pillow cases and duvet cover, bits of  ribbon and recycled buttons. You could make up to eleven or so of these dresses from a large double duvet cover. They will be in our next parcel to Love in the Language of Yarn in Turkey to distribute to Syrian girls who are refugees from the war. They can be worn alone now while it is still hot then over T shirts when the weather begins to cool down. The pattern is based on the 'pillow slip' dress on the Sew Scrumptious website listed on our 'charities seeking crafted items' page.  Happy sewing if you want to give it a go!  Just remember to check that your duvet cover fabric is not see through before you begin  - it sounds obvious, but duvet cover fabric can often be semi-transparent.  Warning:  making these dresses is seriously addictive and can result in you begging for unwanted duvet covers from your friends and family!

Follow us on Facebook Craft Tea for Charity  In or near Edinburgh and want to join us? We'd love to welcome you at one of our weekly get togethers. All crafts welcome, as long as you want to craft for charity and can do your craft safely in a cafe!  Do you have a suggestion for a project we are not doing yet? Are you a local charity who would like our help?
Contact us using the form on the right of this page. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Upcycling and proud of it!

It's been a great week for upcycling in our group with a range of no or low cost projects converting the unwanted into the delectable and desirable.  For starters, Leo's Beanery cafe gave us a coffee sack.  Old T shirts and pilled fleecy jumpers (all too worn out to recycle as anything wearable)  transformed the sack into this cosy and colourful rag rug.  We are sending it to Love in the Language of Yarn in Turkey in the hope that it will bring cosiness and cheer into the lives of a Syrian refugee family.

The sack makes an ideal base as it is double sided, has an inner waterproof lining to discourage any damp seeping through from the floor and comes already seamed to prevent fraying around the borders. The double layer means you can work through the top layer only, leaving the bottom layer as a protective base.

This was our first attempt at a rag rug and a useful learning curve. It uses the knotted method. Fleece is probably better than T shirt fabric because it is lighter, shrugs off moisture better and will be easier to wash and dry. Experimenting with design, drawing a pattern on the sack and then infilling it, rather than just having a random pattern will be the  creative challenge for our next one. Rag rugging is a great project to leave lying around.  Sort of like jigsaws used to be - family members tend to add a few strips in passing.

Contact us via the box on the right.  Follow us on Facebook Craft Tea for Charity - Edinburgh Join us on Wednesday afternoons if you are in or near Edinburgh.  We'd love to see you or hear from you!

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Here in Edinburgh, even in the midst of the beautifully hot summer weather we are enjoying at the moment, we know that winters can be chilly things requiring cosy accessories.  The sun shone brightly and warmly on us this week, but the latest newsletter from KAS (Knit a Square) in South Africa reports that temperatures there have recently dropped below freezing during the evenings in many parts of the country and there have been reports of snow on the mountains.  In the Syrian refugee camps in Turkey the weather will start to cool down by November, which is not long when items have to be shipped to Turkey, sorted, then distributed to the camps. We are lucky to have sponsor our overseas postage to these charities which means we can do so much more to help. So we hoisted up our needles and hooks and turned out our stash cupboards to make loads of hats, hand warmers, scarves and slippers to help people beat the cold ...

children's size. If you would like to make soft slippers there are several versions on our patterns page ...

hand warmers are so easy and quick and use up those odds and ends of yarn, but they can make a real difference to a child trying to hold a pencil in an unheated classroom. See our patterns page if you fancy making some ...

adult size hats in unisex colours plus a soft heathery scarf ...

a super slouch beanie for teenagers ...

and of course we can never get enough squares, so had to have some world cup inspired stripy ones ...

and lovely textured ones for their comforting feel  as well as warmth and colour.

Follow us on Facebook  Craft Tea for Charity for more news and updates.

If you would like to craft for charity our page of charities who welcome craft work (above) might have something that appeals to you.  Many of the projects are  simple, so you don't need to be an 'expert' - 20cm/8 inch squares for example are always in demand. There are also projects for crafters who like to challenge themselves.

If you are in or near Edinburgh and want to join us at one of our Wednesday afternoon craft meetings, contact us via the box on the right.  We would love to welcome you. If you have always wanted to learn how to knit or crochet we can show you how.  Sewers and quilters also welcome.
We are keen to expand our range of crafts and items we make so if you have a different craft that could help others, for example if you can make toys or educational items using other materials, then please do get in touch. 

If you are a local charity who would like our help please email us on or use the contact form on the right. 

Friday, 11 July 2014

Zing and Bling!

Colours and patterns rushed out to play in yesterday's warm Edinburgh sun.

A riot of pattern and warmth  in our blanket squares. We always need squares (plain or patterned) as there as so many children around the world desperately needing warm blankets. 

 Pink and cheerful sweater to brighten a child's cold day ...

wonderful African colours in this 'go-over' top for Knit-a-Square (see our patterns page for a knit and a crochet version if you would like to make one) ...

and  a sequin or two in our hats to reflect the sunlight!

 Find out more and follow us on our Facebook page  Craft Tea for Charity

If you would like to comment, make a suggestion or join us on our Wednesday afternoon get togethers, please use the contact form on the right.

Happy crafting everyone!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Another parcel on its way

Another wonderfully cheerful and helpful DHL man arrived with his van this morning to uplift our parcel for Knit a Square (KAS) in Soweto. Thank you DHL for your generous sponsorship of our monthly overseas shipment which makes a huge difference to what we can achieve and thank you also for having such lovely employees. One of our group spotted this  DHL plane at Basel airport last week - wonder if it's full of knitting for charity and Swiss chocolate - what a great combination that would be!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Squares and hats ready to go

We enjoy our weekly chat, tea and craft (mostly crochet and knitting, but other crafts welcome)


and knowing that all of the items we make will be going to help people in need keep warm adds an extra sense of satisfaction.  The squares will be sent to KAS to be made into blankets for AIDS orphans in South Africa. The hats are for LILY who sends them to Syrian refugees.


If you would like to join us on a Wednesday afternoon in Edinburgh to enjoy a tea or coffee, friendly chat and make items for charity then just fill in the contact form on the right.  We can provide you with patterns and help with crochet and knitting.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Handwarmers in the shade


Such a sunny day that we sat outside is some welcome shade to knit and crochet and sew while we enjoyed our tea and coffee and chat.  Despite our sunshine we know that cold is a problem for the AIDS orphans and refugees who are served by the charities we send our stuff to.  We are building up a good pile of handwarmers and hats ready to be sent off soon.


Also busy sewing and crocheting items for a stall at a fair at the end of summer and adding to the blanket squares we will send off at the end of June.


If you enjoying crafting and would like to join us in making items for charity over a friendly cuppa and chat then use the contact form on the right and we’ll let you know where you can find us.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Sunshine on Leo's

Hurrah, the sun was shining brightly for our Wednesday get together to knit, crochet, sew and chat this week.  The warm sunshine theme was reflected in the items produced . . .

 bright hats with pretty detail to keep Syrian refugee children warm in Turkey this winter

and cheerful stripes going to Knit a Square in Soweto to make cosy blankets for Aids orphans.

If you would like to join us on our Wednesday cafe afternoons, please contact us using the form on the right.  We would love to welcome you. You can follow us and leave your comments and suggestions on our Facebook page Craft Tea for Charity - Edinburgh too.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

sewing for charity too

We don’t only knit and crochet for charity, we sew items for charities too.  Pillowcase dresses and shorts are delivered to children in developing countries by Dress a Girl Around the World and their UK partner Sew Scrumptious.  These lovely shorts are the start of our sewing pile.

sew shorts for charity

If you would like to join us and sew (or knit or crochet) for charity then fill in the contact box on the right.