The woman shook her head and furrowed her brow. She put her hands over my hands and tried to guide the coconut leaves I was unsuccessfully trying to weave into a basket.
I tried again to manipulate the thick, stiff fronds into a basket shape but they sprang out straight the minute I put it down. She laughed, throwing her hands in the air to indicate that she was giving up. To be honest, I was quite gutted. Not that she laughed, but because I couldn’t make a freaking basket. I’m a very crafty person and I’m also good at following instructions but her lightning fast, methodical hands moved far too quickly for me and we spoke different languages. She tried her best but years of practice, her smooth muscle memory and the fact that we had no idea what the other one was saying made for a very funny teaching experience.
I was in a tiny village in central Indonesia, visiting a community that was run by women. Employment opportunities are practically non-existence in this area but the women I met that day were all ‘Fuck that!’ and they started their own businesses. Many women in the village made coconut frond baskets to sell. Others made sculpted flowers from soap to sell for festivals. In Indonesia, many children don’t attend school because their parents can’t afford a uniform for them. These women were inventing sustainable craft businesses so they could send their kids to school. Growing up in Australia where public education is free and mandatory and having spent several years as a teacher myself, seeing kids not attending school because they can’t afford it makes me so angry. Especially when the price of ‘affording it’ in Indonesia is often pretty similar to a cheap dinner out in Australia. It’s so incredibly unfair.
When I got back to Australia, I thought about ways I could help. I have two wonderful communities through Smaggle and Crochet Coach and I wanted to do something that included everyone. So I started the Vision In Blue Blanket Project you can read all about it here.
It took a year (seriously, a full year) to get this blanket completed but it’s finally done. There is so much work, love and wonderful squishy-ness in this blanket, I can’t wait to find it a new home.
There are two ways you can help.
This blanket was made by over 30 different crocheters from around the world to raise funds for the livelihood sector of World Vision Australia. The money raised through this project will go to fund sustainable income projects for women who live in rural Indonesia so they can earn a regular income to send their children to school and buy uniforms for them.
1 x $5 donation = 1 x opportunity for the Vision in Blue Blanket to be yours
1 x $15 donation = 3 x opportunities for the Vision in Blue Blanket to be yours
1 x $25 donation = 5 x opportunities for the Vision in Blue Blanket to be yours
and so on!
If you want this blanket in your home, simply donate any amount that’s divisible by 5.
If you simply wish to donate but would rather the blanket live with someone else, donate an amount that’s NOT divisible by 5. So $4, $9, $21.
If you already support other charities or your budget can’t stretch to a donation if you could share this with your family, friends or work colleagues that would be an amazing help.
So what exactly happens?
Everyone who donates in an amount divisible by 5 gets a chance to give this blanket a forever home. It’s a gorgeous 100% cotton crochet blanket, made by over 30 sets of the most wonderful, beautiful and generous hands around the world. Seriously, money can’t buy stuff like this. Thousands of hours went into making this blanket and it would look gorgeous on the end of a bed or as a throw blanket on a couch. I made myself a similar blanket and I have to keep a close eye on my friends when they visit to make sure they don’t take off with it when they leave.
Where is this money actually going?
It goes to the Livelihood Sector of World Vision Australia. That’s my favourite sector as they focus on creating sustainable solutions through their programs so eventually, they can withdraw their monetary support and the communities can function independently. Programs like organic farming and the women’s crafting communities are supported by this sector.
How do I know this is legit?
Because I’ve done it before! I raised money for a special needs school I worked at by doing silly things, recording them and putting them online. I raised over $6000 for that project and the school received every single cent. Plus my job is the internet so it would be PRETTY stupid of me to run dodgy a competition.
Where did this blanket even come from?
It was made by the hands of brilliant crocheters from all over the world. I put a shout out for crocheters to send blue, cream and white squares to be sewn into a blanket. I was completely overwhelmed by the response and receiving them in the post was just a delight. I kept a list of every package I received and here’s the list of all the wonderful crocheters who contributed squares (please let me know if I missed you and I’ll add you to the list!).
Lila from Florida
Emma from Macarthur
Nicole from Flemington – @champagneandchips
Jessica from Balgownie
Michelle from Port Lincoln
Carmen from Glenmore Park – @crochetbycarms
Lisa from Bathurst
Michelle from Carindale
Janet from Whangarei
Emily from Queensland – @ekfurlong15
Nina from Melbourne
Tonya from Toowoomba
Ellie from Berowra – @ellimakesstuff
Susan from Drummoyne
Susan from Bracken Ridge – @susanc62
Liz from Noosa – @lizborham
J from Palmerston
V from Woodstock
Paula from Ferny Hills
R from Darling Downs
Pippa from Altona Meadows
Karen from Coffs Harbour
Jenny from Canberra
Carla from Newcastle
Nina from Brunswick
Ruth from Surrey
Sally from New Acton
How did it end up sewn together?
I had a Sew It Up Party at the very wonderful Maker Maker Store in Brunswick. I had the loveliest group of crocheters come along to help – Jessica, Sophia, Hayley, Nicole, Nina S and Nina M.
It turns out I SEVERELY underestimated how long it would take a group of people to sew up a blanket and we only got about halfway there.
I ran a second Sew It Up Party and my gorgeous friend Nina recruited her friends Heather and Jane to whack out the second session.
Again, it didn’t get finished. So I made Nina come over to my house and help me finish it.
So firstly I’d like to thank Nina – she was there for literally every step of the way and this blanket would not have been completed without her.
A very special thank to Emily at
To my beautiful Crochette
That’s it! I’d really love your support in any way on this project and if you have any questions at all just give me a yell. Here’s the link one more time – www.youcaring.com/crochetblanket