OUR 2018 IN REVIEW
The last 12 months have been crazy for seriously.hooked.up! This time last year our first social group in Kirkham was beginning to pick up, we had just launched our second social group in Lytham and we had arranged to trial our sessions in Poulton-le-Fylde. We had held brief conversations with the guys from Park View 4U about helping out with a project raising awareness of the importance of bees and wildflowers and we were not prepared for how the bees were going to more or less take over our lives! We had our first group outing to Black Sheep Wools in Warrington and many other adventures that we were not expecting at all!
At the beginning of the year I designed this simple little bee, got the pattern written down and the craziness began! In March Park View 4U launched their #pollencounts campaign in association with Grow Wild UK and Kew Gardens, I posted a picture asking for help which has been viewed on Facebook over 12,000 times to date!
Interest in what we were doing sky rocketed and before we knew it we were being invited to all sorts of events! It all became a little overwhelming really! The bees came in thick and fast from ALL OVER THE WORLD! Park View 4U ended up securing a world record with them and my ugly mug made it in to the local newspapers a couple of times! The bees left the hive and ended up at an art installation on Carnaby Street in London as part of an installation for Bees Needs Week (#carnabeestreet) some flew to Leeds and the offices of Grow Wild UK and others landed in the Outer Hebrides to kick start a new project! We were invited to schools, nursing homes, local festivals and a museum to promote the campaign alongside Park View 4U and Grow Wild UK. We had a thoroughly enjoyable experience! Here are just a few of the bees that were made by those who took part, we can’t thank people enough for getting involved, making bees, sharing our posts and supporting us in general. The bees WILL be back again in 2019, but we’ll share more information on that when we know more…..
Other charity highlights were our support and contributions towards Blackpool Teaching Hospitals’ Great BTH Knit poppy appeal and Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s annual volunteer conference where we contributed to their knitted hedgehog appeal.
In spring we held our first crowd funding exercise in a bid to be able to purchase branded mugs for use at our social events. We managed to smash our target within 24 hours and now we use our mugs at every session and event. We’ll be running a small crowd funding campaign again in 2019 (we don’t aim high so don’t worry, you won’t be asked to dig deep) so please keep your eyes peeled for that.
In the summer we were invited to take part in Revoe Park’s first flower festival to make a yarn bombing installation - something we have never done before - and also bring our pom pom making prowess to Blackpool, teaching children (and adults) how to make pom pom flowers. The weather let us down a little, however local families turned up and took part in all the activities on offer and Revoe Park Community Garden continues to go from strength to strength!
In August a number of us decided to join the Scheepjes official crochet along and we sold and held competitions for a number of Ubuntu kits. This was the first CAL (crochet along) that most of us had taken part in and over 12 weeks, myself, Angela, Jo, Lisa, Meghan and Melanie each completed our beautiful Ubuntu blankets! It spurred us on and now EVEN MORE of us are embarking on Sophie’s Universe as part of our Sophie’s Universe Revisited project along with around 50 others from around the world ( and I have it on VERY good authority that Ubuntu and Sophie’s Universe designer Dedri Uys is well aware of our project and interested to see how everyone progresses with her pattern!)
We kicked off our Autumn with our first large group trip to Yarndale! 21 of us hired a coach and off we went! It was a big step for some in our group who had never been to anything quite as daunting as a huge yarn festival before, but the day was a brilliant success and those of us who attended the meal at Oakleys Bar & Grill were very happy with the food and service we received! The highlight of the day for me was seeing the completed Ubuntu (which literally became my summer obsession) and meeting Dedri Uys (I am a total fan boy). I even bought myself a second Ubuntu from the Scheepjes stand despite stocking them in my little pop up shop! It was whilst at Yarndale that my Husband Paul came to understand my love affair with Scheepjes yarns. He is not a crafter but was blown away by the quality of their yarns and the friendliness of all who were there representing them.
It was during one of our Poulton-le-Fylde sessions that our friend Kerry suggested that it would be lovely to spend some time with Alpacas and asked if it was something that we might be able to arrange. So we did! I contacted the lovely Judy who runs The Alpaca Experience at Ivy Dene Alpacas and in October 16 of us descended on her smallholding and had one of the highlight experiences of our year. Learning about, meeting and walking with the Alpaca was such a lovely experience and the welcome Judy, her husband and friends showed us was very warm and friendly. This is something that (if Judy agrees) we will try to do regularly throughout the year if possible.
To round off our year we arranged a sit down meal at Lorenzo’s restaurant in Freckleton as a way of bringing people from all our groups together. All 35 of us were absolutely astonished at the ease with which the staff at Lorenzo’s appeared to tend to our party. The food was absolutely amazing and the service was literally second to none. The realisation that all these people were enjoying an evening together because of one of my harebrained ideas a couple of years before hit me like a tonne of bricks, I felt incredibly humbled and still do.
So many people have come in to and enriched our lives so generously this year, and it is with very great sadness that we learned that one of those integral to the growth of our groups passed away suddenly in November. Without Joan we would not have met the wonderful people who now regularly attend our Poulton sessions. I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say that we all miss Joan terribly and send our deepest sympathies to Tamara, Milly and the rest of Joan’s family and friends.
Everything we do is for the benefit of those who attend our sessions in the hope that we are able to make a positive contribution in whatever way that is. And we have no intentions of giving that up any time soon!
So what is to come in 2019?
WELL……. The bees will be making another appearance, that’s for sure! Once again we’ll be teaming up with Park View 4U and others in making a global push for people to contribute to a charity project centred around the bees, we even plan to smash the current world record that we helped to set earlier in the year!
We will absolutely be visiting Yarndale again, it was a brilliant day! We had hoped to plan a trip to Edinburgh Yarn Festival, but unfortunately the logistics of trying to organise a group trip so late in the day have put an end to it this year, we will however revisit this idea earlier in 2019 so that we are able to plan for a visit to Edinburgh yarn festival in 2020.
We are in talks to hold our FIRST official seriously.hooked.up relaxing weekend getaway! It will be a UK based holiday and will only be open to those who attend our sessions. If it is a success (which we think it will be) we MAY roll it out again to those outside of our local groups in the future.
There are other things in the pipeline that we will keep to ourselves just now and if 2018 has been anything to go by, there is potentially a lot coming up that we aren’t even aware of yet!
If I could personally thank every single person that has contributed to the ongoing success of our sessions I would, but there are so many that I would literally not know where to start!
Have a VERY happy and prosperous new year.