Knitting group makes an Olympian effort

RIGHT STUFF ... Esen Kaya, left, and knitters taking part in the Woolsack Project at the Customs House.
RIGHT STUFF ... Esen Kaya, left, and knitters taking part in the Woolsack Project at the Customs House.

OLYMPIANS will hopefully have a comfortable stay in Britain thanks to crafty South Tynesiders making them soft cushions to rest on.

Members of the Materialistics knitting group have been among those taking part in the Woolsack Project at the Customs House.

STUFFED ...Esen Kaya and Knitting group stuff cushions to give to Olympians.

STUFFED ...Esen Kaya and Knitting group stuff cushions to give to Olympians.

The initiative has seen scores of people across the UK making cushions they plan to give to the Olympic and Paralympic athletes attending the London 2012 Games – although a red-tape row is now overshadowing their efforts.

The borough’s nimble-fingered artisans made more than 50 beautiful covers and it’s understood they will be offered as souvenirs to the archery teams competing in London from across the globe.

Last week, the ladies brought their covers to the arts venue, in Mill Dam, South Shields, and spent more than three hours stuffing them with British Wool – to make them extra comfy.

Esen Kaya, visual arts curator, said: “It’s fantastic the Customs House was able to be a part of the national Woolsack Project and host one of the many regional stuffing events.

“A lot of our knitters have been busy making cushions for the project, so it was only right, we held our own Stuffing Event so we could all see the finished cushions – and what an amazing result!”

The cushions, which have now all been collected and sent down south, will be given to competitors to make them feel more at home.

Then after the games, which start next month, they will be able to take them back to their own countries as keepsakes.

Those participating in the project included schools, colleges, community and craft groups, smallholders, farmers, breed societies and many others.

Miss Kaya added: “We had over 50 cushions completed, and how lovely that the athletes will be given such an array of beautifully hand-crafted cushions as a keepsake for London 2012, from the North East and elsewhere in the country.”

The Woolsack Project is part of the Cultural Olympiad and enables anyone to contribute to making a cushion from British wool, to be given as a personal welcome gift to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

Those participating in the project include schools, colleges, community groups, individuals, craft groups, smallholders and farmers.

For more information, visit www.woolsack.org.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvez