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Crafty... Volunteers get to work at Biddy's Barn crocheting peggy squares together to make hug rugs under the umbrella of the Nattering Knitter.PHOTOS: MARGARET PHILLIPS

The demand for hug rugs produced by an international band of knitters under the umbrella of the Nattering Knitter has increased to the point where it was decided to apply for charitable trust status.

Knitters have produced 1493 rugs made from 36,000 knitted squares donated by knitters in nine countries and from 40 towns throughout New Zealand.

The knitting project started by Gore woman Caroline Dore has gone global.

She launched the venture to produce hug rugs to help the community and refugees being housed in Dunedin, and it captured the imagination of kind-hearted people worldwide.

Not only did the refugees in Dunedin receive the hug rugs but organisations such as Plunket in Gore and Invercargill, St Vincent De Paul, Salvation Army Gore Corps, Gore Hospital, house fire victims, Happy to Help and Gore Women’s Refuge were among other recipients.

This year, refugees who settled in Invercargill also received hug rugs, she said.

It was when Mrs Dore was named 2017 Soroptimist Woman Achiever of the Year she came in contact with fellow members of the global women’s organisation, Deborah Wood and Gill Blakeborough, who encouraged her to apply for charitable trust status.

The trust members are Mrs Wood, Mrs Blakeborough, Mrs Dore and Angela Christie.

Since setting up the project in early 2016, Mrs Dore and husband Gary have funded the project themselves.

Now the financial responsibility had diminished and the trust is able to apply for funding.

The project also needed the goodwill of people who donated wool and knitted or crocheted squares, she said.

Craft people meet at Biddy’s Barn in Gore on Thursdays to sew the squares together and put an edging on them.

“The need has not diminished,” Mrs Dore said.

Mrs Wood said not only did Mrs Dore co-ordinate the project distribute rugs, she also talked to groups about the project and promoted its work.

“She is the Nattering Knitter,” Mrs Wood said.

Last week Janene McLean, of Christchurch, visited Gore and donated squares made during a girls’ weekend.

Anyone wishing to donate wool or squares to the project can send them to PO Box 193 Gore.

Knit one… These knitted squares of typical of the thousands donated to the Nattering Knitter project.MARGARET.PHILLIPS

Knitters like contributing 


While the group of craftswomen gathering at Biddy’s Barn to crochet together and edge hug rugs is just the tip of the volunteer iceberg, they are typical of the worldwide army of helpers.

The Nattering Knitter project was started in Gore by Caroline Dore.

For Daphne Proctor, the project provides a way she can do some charity work.

Gwen Burrows enjoys the weekly sessions because they provide companionship.

Sharron Sleeman said when they gathered there were a lot of laughs.

Avis Smith enjoys the sessions.

“I feel I can do something to help people in need,” she said.

Lynn Greer said it was the first time she had done any volunteer work.

“I look forward to every Thursday.”

Mrs Dore praised Russell Kerr for allowing the group to use Biddy’s Barn, which was set up by his late wife.