One of the most eagerly anticipated lots in the auction is a donation from an amazing group of ladies on Mumsnet.
Mumsnet has a bit of a reputation as a coven for "laptop weilding harpies", and whether you've heard of the website or not, you may be sceptical at the role that it, and other parenting websites/forums can play. A casual glance through the site can leave people shaked and shocked but amongst all the sleb twaddle*, AIBUs** and threads asking what your grandparents were called*** are some amazing stories told by amazing people, sound and sensible advice, and touching gestures of support and love. Noteably, tucked in a crafty little corner, are the Woolly Hug brigade.
A few years ago, a regular poster lost their husband, and her story was one that touched many Mumsnetters. It's difficult to know how to support even a close friend at such a time, but the anonymity and physical distance of members meant that dispite heartfelt desires to help in some way, there was little they could do. However, the very strength of the internet in general and Mumsnet specifically, is it's ability to overcome those things, and the ladies decided to make a blanket to send to their friend. All over the country, Mumsnetters knitted and crocheted 6 inch squares of various designs, which were sent to one person to assemble and send on. Those who couldn't knit or crochet but wanted to be involved, donated wool to the cause; and many have learnt these skills specifically so they could help. These blankets have become known as Woolly Hugs, and are a way of Mumsnetters wrapping a friend in a rather un-Mumsnetty hug.
Since then, other Mumsnetters have benefitted from the unique way this community has in supporting one another. The squares themselves range from the most basic to more complex and detailed - some are hard-pushed to even be described as square - but when they are combined, they create such beautiful and meaningful expressions of love, hope and support. Often featuring themes that are special and symbolic for the family, or opportunities to experiment with a new stitch or pattern, the squares are made with love and purpose which goes to making the final product so special and comforting.
The projects are now international and on average, over 100 Mumsnetters are involved in making each of the most recent blankets.
When we lost Benedict, we leant on our close friends and family for support, but we also felt love and strength from those we knew less well. My fab group of friends on Mumsnet were with me all the way, and those who knew about the Woolly Hugs thought we could benefit from receiving one. We were amazed at the kindness and generosity of some people, that they would spend their precious time and money sitting down and creating something in the hope of giving us some comfort. I am lucky that some of my 'real life' friends knit, and so our blanket will be made up of squares from people I'm very close to, as well as people I've never met, still, all my friends. For us, the most special element of the Hugs is the process of creating them; that people were focusing on our son whilst they knitted, purled and hooked is the ultimate comfort and reassurance.
The crafty ladies have set aside some squares for charity blankets. The one at the top of the post was made to raise money for the Anthony Nolan register in support of a Mumsnetter's daughter who was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Luekemia. Sadly, Aillidh lost her battle and died of complications from the treatment. Her family are to receive their own Woolly Hug soon.
As part of this auction, you have an opportunity to wrap yourself up in the love and good-wishes of people whom you have never met, but who, like you, are giving what they can to try and make the world a better place. We hope that you whenever you need a Hug, a Woolly one will help.
* Celebrity news and gossip; always worth a read.
** Am I Being Unreasonable? threads Usually the answer is yes.
*** With baby name trends being cyclical, members often seek inspiration from other' MN-ers family names.
An online auction of donated goods and services, to raise money for SANDS, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.
The auction goes live at 8pm on 10th April, to celebrate Benedict's first birthday. Once the auction has finished, please allow us some time to process all the bids and confirm the highest bidder on each lot. We ask that you then pay for your lot(s) within 48 hours using the lot number as a reference number. Once payment has been received, we will then contact the individual/company who donated your lot(s) with your contact details. Unless otherwise specified, postage will be second class recorded.
We hope you find something you like - happy bidding!