One evening just two years ago this weekend, on a Friday like today, I stood in the car park of a supermarket with a woman who held my hand and asked me a few questions to see if I was still OK. Around me were the few possessions I had collected whilst living in a women’s refuge for the past half a year, and it was time for me to step back out into the world, scared and very worried, but supported. It helped that I was being taken somewhere that I would be safe, by someone who cared for me, and it was pretty amazing that I was standing there at all, as six months earlier I had been going to bed every night wishing, hoping, praying even that I might die in my sleep. I cried for hours every single day and just didn’t want to live on this earth any more.
The day that I got to the refuge was one of the strangest days that could possibly ever happen to me. Suddenly from being so alone and isolated I was thrown among 23 other women and lots of children, and everyone had their own path that had lead them to this building. I was perhaps the quietest of the residents there, and I was quickly made to feel very naive on top of my vulnerabilities. But I was given a safe space, with a locking door, and a few basic possessions and clothes as all I had was the change of clothes I stood up in. I was given very basic toiletries, a few packets of soup and my own plate, cutlery and a mug.
A mug of tea was the first thing I was given as I filled out the paperwork and was given my first interview. I was in shock and a calming hot cup of tea laced with sugar helped to steady my nerves.
Two years on and I can drink all the cups of tea I could ever fancy, and I have a whole kitchen full of mugs. But I still have the one that I brought home from the refuge (I grew so attached to it that the staff agreed to let me keep it when I left). With this in mind I wanted to write a pattern in support of the charity Refuge, and I thought what could be more fitting than something that would help keep you warm when you needed it most, to wrap around your favourite mug of tea? This is made to fit a standard sized mug rather than the giant one I keep now, and the design signifies the hope that a journey through the care of a charity like Refuge can provide.
When I lived in the women’s refuge it was almost like that time towards the end of a storm when the dark grey storm clouds lighten and look as if they are about to break apart to show the blue sky ahead. I was still very unhappy, but it gave me hope of the future being better.
This pattern for a mug cosy would make a perfect gift or show of support to a friend. The large grey rumbling grey clouds have made way to the fluffier white clouds and blue skies that are possible in the future.
The pattern uses a few interesting techniques for things such as bobbles and dipped stitches without a corresponding dropped stitch (both are explained in the pattern) to keep this quick and easy knit still interesting.
The pattern is free to download, but if possible I would like to collect donations, however small, for Refuge. I have started a JustGiving page, and all of the proceeds including any gift aid goes straight to the charity. So, if you can spare just £1, $1, £5, or a million please do put even just a tiny donation to this good cause, as I don’t know where I’d be today without their help. They accept loads of payment methods, including paypal.
If you’re not a knitter yourself I will be adding the names of all those that make whatever size donation into a draw to win the finished projects that have been designed, so please still think of making a small donation to the charity. If you happen to be a person I see in real life I’ll also make sure to make you a cup of tea next time I see you!
I plan to issue a couple more patterns in aid of raising money for Refuge, so if you make a donation now you’ll be able to download any of them as many times as you like.
If you absolutely cannot afford even a £1 donation (and that’s OK because I have been in that situation myself) then please, if you download the pattern, please knit one for someone who just needs the support of a friend. If that’s yourself, then I hope that there is a chance of blue skies ahead for you soon, too.
The pattern for A Chance Of Blue Skies is now available to download. There are no restrictions on use, so if you plan to knit loads and sell them then please feel free to do so, though if you are selling them for profit I would appeal to you to make even a small donation to Refuge using the JustGiving link.
As a side note, my skies are now the bluest that they have ever been, so always remember that there is hope. I am going to find it difficult to stop my emotions running into tears at my wedding next year because the song that I just can’t wait to hear on the day will be Mr Blue Sky by ELO. It makes my heart sing.