Sewing the knitting

Peering over the squares!

Contacted recently by Sandra Lanigan to start sewing up knitted squares to make blankets again, I thought back to the start of the St Mary’s church knitting group we wrote about first in 2016. All had been very quiet over the Covid-19 months and years, but suddenly I was the recipient of a very large pile of bright, well knitted squares.

This pile makes one large blanket,

When I first started to sew up the blankets (I don’t knit), they were all destined for Samara’s Aid Appeal, for refugees in the mountains of Syria. Now convoys can no longer go, for various health and political reasons, money is being raised to build Grace hospital, so the knitters are raising money through the sale of knitted toys, like teeny tiny bears and penguins. The original pink pussy hats are now a great seller in all sorts of colours, Christmas Santas are ready, too, carefully crafted by Pam Peters and with a chocolate éclair sweet in every little pocket.

Sale of the products hasn’t been through the usual fairs and sales of work, because all of that stopped with Covid-19, so Vanessa Savia stepped in, and sells them at her shop at 5 Lion Street, called “Savia Gifts and Framing”. The money can then be sent straight to Samara’s Aid Appeal for Grace hospital.

The group can no longer meet in the church, it’s much too cold, but lots of people continue to knit the squares at home and in Magdala House in Ferry Road, whilst the ladies of St Bartholomew’s Court at the top of Rye Hill produce children’s sweaters as well. Runners are made from the squares for one of the wards at the Conquest Hospital, too.

The blankets and sweaters themselves wing their way to charities all over Great Britain and Northern Ireland listed in “Knit for Peace” and local charities as well.

One done,, three to go!

So there I was with enough squares for three large blankets and here are the pictures of the descending piles. Each seven square line takes about half an hour to sew properly, so each one has been hand knitted, sent to Sandra, brought to me and sewn by hand.

Thank you so much to the knitting group ladies, though producing in a different way, and to all the lovely people, known and unknown, who are still dropping off squares into the church vestry, or pop them into members’ letter boxes. A special thanks to Vanessa for selling the toys.

Image Credits: Gillian Roder .


  1. Gillian, so your sowing up squares again after a break. Reading the article brought back to mind that I helped the knitting group then too, and got to know you when I was sewing up squares my own and others of the group and a dear friend Nadia who knitted gorgeous colour wool squares in her Rye home right up until her death. You also kitted up some of her squares for me. I met you as you volunteered to help st Mary’s church shop…and you very kindly gave me a suitable needle to sew up the squares. It does take time patience and effort to do. Even more than knitting the squares. A TEAM EFFORT. You volunteering again to do it is to be praised and congratulated..
    And reading that Vanessa Savia sells the Hats to raise money for the charity I recall Sandra Lanigan asked me to go and ask Vanessa about it.. Vanessa had/has a family from that area and so definitely wanted to help..and offered to sell them with 100% going to the charity…I use to collect the money to give to Sandra Lanigan at the beginning.. Vanessa is a very kind and thoughtful person.A big thank you to her.

  2. For Sharon: we use double knitting wool, size 8 (4mm) needles, and we knit them as diamonds, starting with two stitches and casting on until we get to about 50, then decreasing back down again. If you want to deliver squares, or need advice about how to knit them, call and see Joy Cartmale at 9 Magdala House. I am sure she will encourage you to come and join us on Monday mornings.


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