A lovely new idea has been announced, to craft lap blankets for nursing homes and direct provision centres across Laois.
The general public as well as residents of the homes and centres are invited to take up a crochet needle, and make simple colourful ‘granny squares’.
Two Laois craftmakers have come up with the idea to keep us all busy this Autumn, while forging social connections across all communities.
They are offering to collect the squares from doorsteps of any home in Laois, and then knit them together as cosy gifts to remind people they are cared for this winter.
The two ladies are Teresa Heffernan in Borris-in-Ossory and Fionnuala O’Connell.
Teresa is a tutor at the Direct Provision Centres and Fionnuala is the well known potter behind Finn Ceramics.
They have formed a Facebook group called Creative Circles, to try and connect the many and varied people into craft all over Laois.
“We will be posting on social media some patterns and video tutorials over the next while.
“In the meantime, we would like to invite all you lovely exciting crocheters to start making some granny squares in your favorite patterns,” they have posted.
Teresa explains their idea.
“We are trying to connect the different communities together.
“In the current climate with Covid it’s a bit difficult but people can make a granny square without too much effort. I hope to do video tutorials online as well.
“It is all completely voluntary. We are getting lots of donations of yarn. Once people make them I will collect them, you can just leave the bag on your gate to keep social distances.
“If anyone from outside Laois wants to do them they can get in touch on our Facebook page to get my address,” Teresa said.
“We want them in any colours. Not just bright colours, someone suggested county colours might be nice for men. Yarnbombing Mountmellick are also going to donate yarn to us.
“People have been very positive about it,” Teresa said.
Among the earliest to sign up is Ruth Fitzgerald from Stradbally.
“She read about the Granny Square project on social media and signed up to help straight away.
“She is a very talented crocheter and we're delighted she will be crocheting with us,” said Teresa.
Teresa’s sister Mary down in Arklow is also busy crocheting the blankets.
“She is the one who taught me to crochet and as soon as I told her about the project, she said she was in.
“ Our father's parents were cared for in the nursing home in Mountmellick, so it means a lot to both of us that that is the nursing home we are launching the project with,” said Teresa.
They are getting further support from The Laois African Support Group, who are helping them to connect with residents of direct provision centres.
They are brewing lots more craft ideas, including for Fionnuala to make tile mosaics with the all male residents of the East End direct provision centre.
The wool must be double knitting and washable at 40 degrees. Squares must be made on a 4mm hook, size about 5.5inches (14cm). The lap blankets will be about 35" by 40" (89cm by 102cm). Call Teresa on 0831330331