Tag Archives: charity

Woolery Weave-Off Winners

What an adventure! We are pleased to present the winners of the first Woolery Weave-Off! Inundated with over 75 amazingly beautiful, diverse towels, we struggled to keep judging deadlines, and are still working on washing and folding all the entries for delivery! Next week, we will be delivering them to The Simon House, where they’ll go into ‘starter baskets’ that provide basic household supplies to the ladies moving out into their own housing! Without further ado…


Third Place – Susan Hadden – Califon, NJ

Third Place - Beginner Category Woolery Weave-Off

Second Place – Susan Harrison – Plano, TX

Second Place - Beginner Category Woolery Weave-Off

First Place – Patti Grammatis – Easley, SC

First Place - Woolery Weave-Off Beginner Category

Rigid Heddle

Third Place – Mary Pat Nowakowski – Freeville, NY

Third Place - Rigid Heddle Woolery Weave-Off

Second Place – Mary Dean – Hackettstown, NJ

Second Place - Rigid Heddle Woolery Weave-Off

First Place – Ellyn Zinsmeister – Allen, TX

First Place - Rigid Heddle Woolery Weave-Off


Third Place – Cathy Kinzie – Owings, MD

Third Place - Color Woolery Weave Off

Second Place – Susan Kroll – Sequim, WA

Second Place - Color Woolery Weave-Off

First Place – Pat Bullen – Centerburg, OH

First Place - Color Woolery Weave-Off


Third Place – Sue Briney – Powell, OH

Third Place - Pattern Woolery Weave-Off

Second Place – Lynette Greenwald – Buckingham, PA

Second Place - Pattern Woolery Weave-Off

First Place – Katie Polemis – Indianapolis, IN

First Place - Pattern Woolery Weave-Off

Congratulations everyone, all of your towels are fantastic! We hope you all enjoy your prizes. As a reminder here are the prizes that the winners will receive:

Woolery Weave-Off Prizes

We cannot thank all of you enough – the response has been overwhelming, and the love shown and felt is profound. We look forward to sponsoring this contest again, and working other contests into our rotation! It feels good to give back, and we are delighted that you’re all on board to help out.

“We all do better when we all do better.” ~ Paul Wellstone


Share Your Crafts With Those In Need!

The holiday season is a wonderful time to use your fiber arts skills to help those in need. As temperatures drop in many parts of the country, warm winter woolens can be in high demand. Perhaps you have been accruing a pile of mittens, scarves, hats or even blankets that are looking for a good home, or you have finished all of your gift-making and are looking for a new project to start. Here are some tips for using your knitting, crocheting and weaving skills to help others this winter.


Tip #1: Do your research.

Most charitable organizations have a list of requirements for donations – for handmade items, they may stipulate that all items must be machine washable or contain a certain fiber content, for example. Some charities will only accept certain items or have other regulations that they must uphold, so it’s best to check their website or contact them via email to find out what they are most in need of.

Tip #2: Think Local.

Contact local homeless shelters, animal shelters, churches, and other community-based organizations to see if they need help – not only will your donations directly impact your community, but you will save money on shipping (which means you can buy more supplies for making more items to donate!). Allfreeknitting.com has a list of resources here and you can also check out Crochet.org’s resource list here to help get you started.

Tips for donating handmade items to charity this holiday season - click to read more on the Woolery blog.

Tip #3: Think Outside the Box.

In some areas, good samaritans have been placing scarves, hats and even coats in public areas with notes stating that they are intended for those in need. While many of these donations are store bought, there are many yarn crafters who are sharing their gifts (and there is even an official movement of called Chase the Chill which has locally-based chapters throughout the globe). Even if you don’t have a local chapter, you could just as easily employ this approach on your own!

Tip #4: Consider a Monetary Donation. 

Many organizations have limited space, and while the thought behind donating a handmade item is wonderful, it could have an adverse effect but straining other resources. Consider making a monetary donation instead; you could even sell your handmade goods and use the proceeds to fund your donation.

If you have any suggestions you don’t see here or favorite charity where you donate your handmade items, we’d love to hear about it – leave a comment on your post to share your thoughts with us!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team


Charity Spotlight: True Vineyard Ministries

As many of you know, we proudly support True Vineyard Ministries’ mission of providing economic based and sustainable solutions to see poverty diminished in the lives of marginalized Rwandan women living post-genocide. On today’s blog, the executive director of the foundation, Diana Wiley, shares stories, photos, and even a video from her recent trip to the region. We hope it inspires you to give back in your own special way!

The Handspun Hope initiative focuses on widows and abandoned women who are living post-genocide in Northern Rwanda; the women learn to spin wool of fleeces produced from their own flock of Merino sheep, creating beautiful yarn which is then dyed organically utilizing local plants. The yarn and their products are then marketed to social business partners; Indego Africa is the newest partner for Handspun Hope and the first to promote the finished products created by the women of True Vineyard.

Gathering Dyestuffs

Gathering Dyestuffs

Dyeing Skeins

Dyeing Process

The women are also provided with literacy training and healthcare for themselves and their children. Group and individual counseling from staff counselors is available to help them heal from their traumatic pasts. Additionally, the women collectively participate in a savings cooperative and have the opportunity to apply for microfinance loans for individual businesses. The ministry also covers school fees and related expenses for all school-aged children under the care of the women.

Carding Fiber

Carding Fiber

Spinning Yarn

Spinning Yarn

This past July, our stateside team traveled to Rwanda to work with the women of True Vineyard as they have continued transitioning from drop spindles to spinning wheels donated by The Woolery. Several of the newest women had not had the opportunity to use a wheel before the new ones were delivered. They were ecstatic to learn a new and much faster way of creating their beautiful yarn. – but especially thrilled to have their very own wheels! Names were quickly written on the new wheels to stake their claims; in the video below you can see them spinning away on their new wheels:

As the ladies continue to improve and strive to learn new skills, the team works with those who can knit and crochet to develop new products. The ladies who have the greatest natural abilities are taught new patterns, allowing them to then work with the others to teach these new skills. While there never seems to be enough time, this seems to be the most effective method for sharing these skills.

Handspun, hand-dyed yarn ready to go!

Handspun, hand-dyed yarn ready to go!

Throughout 2015, True Vineyard continued to build a new work center for the women; this new center is built on land purchased in 2008, and it is complete with washing and dyeing stations, with the capacity to serve even more marginalized women. Located in a government-established community, it is designed for widows and orphan-headed households. The goal is to benefit more women by providing steady employment in this facility. 

New Facility in Progress

New Facility in Progress

We greatly value the continued support provided by our partners at The Woolery as we seek to eradicate poverty for marginalized women in Northern Rwanda; to learn more, please visit us at www.truevineyard.org.

Charity Spotlight: True Vineyard Ministries

At the Woolery, we believe in giving back to our community year-round, but during this time of year our hearts and minds are especially focused on ways to help those in need. On today’s blog, we’d like to spotlight one of the charities we proudly support by sharing the story behind True Vineyard Ministries, as told to us by the executive director of the foundation, Diana Wiley. We hope it inspires you to give back in your own special way! 

handspunhopeheaderTrue Vineyard Ministries is using the trade of yarn-making to offer hope to marginalized women in Rwanda.

True Vineyard Ministries, Inc. was established in 2004 with the mission of providing economic based and sustainable solutions to see poverty diminished in the lives of marginalized Rwandan women living post-genocide. If you remember in 1994, Rwanda suffered horrific acts of violence due to civil war. In one hundred days, a reported one million Rwandans lost their lives. Those that managed to avoid death lost their families, their homes, and any opportunity for employment. Today, Rwandans still work to restore their country.

True Vineyard believes that solutions to poverty should be entrepreneurial, innovative and holistic. Through an initiative called Handspun Hope, True Vineyard employs 44 Rwandan widows. The widows are learning the skill of yarn making in order to earn an income and to provide for the basic needs of their families. The women receive an above average fair wage, healthcare, a stipend to send their children to public school, and are receiving counseling services to overcome traumas experienced during the genocide.


On a small farm near Musanzi, Rwanda, True Vineyard has a flock of 150 Merino sheep. True Vineyard employs a shepherd to keep the sheep clean, safe and healthy so that they produce the best possible Merino wool. The sheep are sheared and the wool is brought to the women’s cooperative, whose job it is to clean the wool and create the highest quality, hand spun organic Merino yarn. The hand spun organic yarn is then dyed using natural dyes from cosmos petals, eucalyptus leaves, indigo and cochineal to achieve various colors. The organic 100% Merino handspun yarn is available at www.truevineyard.org.


True Vineyard is further developing the Handspun Hope line of products. This winter True Vineyard released Handspun Hope Jr.’s, handmade knitted baby hats. These knitted baby hats are handmade in Rwanda with the wool yarn produced through the True Vineyard widows cooperative. The widows are then knitting the yarn into adorable soft handmade baby hats.

Handspun Hope baby hats are available at The Vineyard Marketplace located at 317 W. San Antonio Street in San Marcos, Texas 78666 (adorable baby not included).


True Vineyard is grateful to The Woolery for making the Handspun Hope initiative possible through the gift of spinning wheels. With the donated spinning wheels from the Woolery, True Vineyard was able to provide ongoing work to widows through the procurement of corporate yarn orders. Most recently, True Vineyard is thrilled to become a yarn supplier to on purposeKate Spade & Company’s trade initiative in Rwanda which is supplying ethically made products to all Kate Spade & Company stores. Using True Vineyard’s signature handmade Merino yarn, Jack Spade’s collections of high-end Merino wool products went on sale in U.S. retail stores last month.

2014 Fiber Toys of Christmas


Our annual holiday promotion, the 12 Fiber Toys of Christmas, is in full swing! Each Friday, we feature a favorite fiber toy with a special deal and a chance to win that particular toy (tool). Weekly specials and giveaways will be posted on our Facebook pageTwitter feed, and it will also be included in our newsletter.

These are weekly specials which expire every Friday (when the new one starts), so be sure to check the links above so you don’t miss out!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team

The Season of Giving

Our crafting talents can help those less fortunate year-round, but the holiday season is an especially wonderful time to donate your talents to a charitable cause.  Perhaps your local guild or crafting group already has a charity for which they collect donations, or you may wish to craft for national charities such as Halos of Hope, Project Linus, and Warm Up America.


The Woolery is proud to support many fiber festivals and charities throughout the year, but our main charity which we support is Handspun Hope from True Vineyard Ministries. Handspun Hope provides a collaborative approach to help vulnerable and impoverished people in Rwanda achieve sustainable employment and build community.

A flock of Merino sheep in Rwanda is cared for by the folks at True Vineyard Ministries and provides jobs and training opportunities to local members of the community. The wool from the sheep is taken to a cooperative of Rwandan widows,  whose job it is to clean the wool and create beautiful organic Merino yarn which is available in a variety of gauges and colors. You can visit the marketplace to support these efforts, or watch the video below for more information.

We’re excited to announce something new for 2014: the Woolery Guild Reward Program!  It is part of our mission to support guilds and their members, all of whom work so hard to keep crafting alive for future generations.  We will be offering a yearly cash reward for guilds based on purchases made by its members as well as offering grants which participating guilds can apply for through the Woolery Humanitarian Grant Fund.

If your guild is interested in signing up, stay tuned for more details as we announce them. You can also email us at info@woolery.com for more information!Wooleryxmas

We’d like to wish our friends and fans a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks for including us on your fiber journey!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team