13 Aug 2022

New project launched to recognise Derry's many frontline workers in a special way

Local knitters asked to create angels

Margaret Crabtree

Margaret Crabtree with one of the angels she has created.

A Derry community arts programme has launched a new project to say 'thank you' to frontline workers.

Bluebell Arts Derry's 'Angels Amongst Us' challenge is a way for crocheters and knitters to stay busy over autumn and pay tribute to the people who have helped them through lockdown.

Frank Rafferty of Bluebell Arts said the project is aimed at local crafters who are missing the social side of attending classes.

"We want to get people involved so they have something to keep themselves going, but it's also a great way to say thanks to all of those people who are putting all of our needs ahead of their own.

"So, whether your angel is  a health worker, someone in your local shop, a volunteer in your local community or someone else who has acted as a life saver for you and yours during this pandemic you can knit an angel for them."

It is hoped the angels will be completed before Christmas and put on display in the city centre.

The project is the brainchild of Margaret Crabtree, of 'Keep her Knit,' who has been teaching crochet for over 25 years.

Margaret, who worked in training in shirt factories across the city, before setting up her own business 12 years ago has designed three angel patterns for three different skill levels.

She has made three instructional videos for the different designs and the Bluebell Arts Project has put together kits with the patterns, a hook and yarn.

"Each angel will be around eight inches tall and they will come with a tag for the crocheter's name and on the reverse they can write about the person who is their angel," Margaret explained.

"If you can crochet a chain and hold a hook and yarn then you will be able to make the easiest angel."

Margaret's detailed videos which have been made using an overhead camera can be watched again and again to get the design right.

"The videos are really detailed and if someone is having a problem they can contact me on the Keep Her Knit page for advice."

Before lockdown Margaret was teaching up to 12 classes a week for between 240 and 300 women.

"People are really missing the social aspect but we have been able to meet up online on Zoom and Whats App.

"Some of them will say 'how are people who don't crochet getting through this?' because it keeps their minds and hands busy."

The Angels Amongst us videos are available on the Bluebell Arts Derry Youtube channel.

If you need a DVD copy, angel patterns, wool or any other assistance  contact Bluebell Arts  on 02871 262812 or bluebellarts

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