Since the MRI Maakers started in May, it really has been one thing after another. Every time we think things will be starting to slow down a bit, something else comes along to give us a boost.
On Thursday night we were contacted by Rozain in Switzerland, pictured here wearing one of the Harriet’s Hats that have already been sent there. What the MRI Maakers have been doing, and why, has captured their hearts and they wanted to buy 50 finished hats, some headbands, and a few mittens.
We did have enough before Island Medics aired, but sold out within hours of it being broadcast. Since then everything we’ve added to the store has sold almost instantly, so we literally have none left.
Rozain explained though that these are only needed for a party in February, so Billy came home from work yesterday and began making up yarn balls until the early hours. We’re a little short on the Clyde Blue/FC47Mix, so don’t quite have the 50 kits made up yet but we do have enough to be getting started with. Billy O Middle Toon offered to go and get the other yarn we need but we’ve had to explain the shops are shut for Christmas.
Some volunteers have already stepped up, despite being on a xmas break, to start knitting them. So less than 48 hours after hearing of it first, our biggest ever single order is already underway. We’ve even been approached by someone who hasn’t knitted for us before offering to help which is fantastic.
If you’re local to us and could help out by making a hat or two, please do get in touch. We can arrange getting the yarn to you and collecting the finished hat/headband when it’s done. It’s a great way to help us raise a significant amount for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal, particularly if like Fiona you’ve already knit one or two for yourself so are familiar with the patterns.
Grateful as always for all the support we’ve had throughout the year, but especially so for those who have set the intended break aside when we ran out of finished stock. #wecandothis
Within minutes of today’s Island Medics episode (Series 3 Episode 7) airing on the BBC, we completely sold out of all official hand knitted Harriet’s Hats. We also ran out of the alternatives which were very similar to them. Since then, our complete range of patterns continue to sell with us already having had our biggest ever day of sales online.
There is a huge range of other items made by the now 64 MRI Maakers volunteers and we’ll add them to the site as soon as Billy finishes work today.
We continue to be incredibly grateful for all the support we’ve recieved, in particular today to everyone at Red Sky Productions who produce the series which has raised awareness in such a huge way. Thank you.
Despite the large number of orders received today, we’ll endeavour to ship them all first thing as usual.
We had hoped to begin restocking our online store this week now that the larger craft events are behind us. However, with the franking machine at the Gilbert Bain Hospital beyond repair, we are delaying this until the replacement machine arrives and is fully operational.
The hospital reception staff shipping our products has been the difference between making physical products available online practical or not. We’re extremely grateful for the additional workload they’ve been willing to undertake, without even the slightest quibble. However with the usual efficient mechanisms not being available to them, they are already having to cope with much more arduous contingency arrangements keeping up with the day to day NHS mail. It wouldn’t be fair to expect them to contend with our packages as well, and on top of this the franking machine reduces the cost of shipping considerably for us too.
The new machine, we understand, is en route from Belgium and should be here in the coming days whereby it will need programmed and set up before it can be used. We’ll wait until this has been completed and tested before adding products back into stock online.
Sorry for the delay, but we’re still hopeful we’ll be able to begin shipping again in time to meet your Christmas needs and will organise products in readiness for making them available as quickly as possible for you.
Having looked at the overall Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal totaliser, we knew once the weekends funds had been added it would break through the half a million pound mark. We also knew there was much more than what we’d raised at the craft fair ourselves being put into the pot too. The most recent surge in fundraising means it didn’t just tiptoe over the line but went over by several thousand pounds.
It’s no one big donation by a wealthy philanthropist, it’s a great many people all putting in what they can. What this means is, not only has the appeal raised well over £500,000, but the community as a whole has conclusively demonstrated just how much it wants and needs a scanner here in Shetland.
No one now is sitting back thinking they can pass the baton on to someone else. The MRI Maakers meet again this Thursday as normal, plans to attend various other craft fairs are being made, and stock will be added once again to this site’s online store. The Fernlea Maakers have been in touch, they’ve yet another box of finished items to send down and need more yarn. They’ll make fantastic Christmas presents. Talking of Christmas presents, we hear that a great many have been sending knitted baubles to Jamieson’s of Shetland rallying to their call, so we’ll have those to sell in due course when they’re finished with them. And those are just the efforts being made/organised locally in connection with the MRI Maakers. Billy O’ Middle Toon will continue to share news of any MRI Scanner Appeal fundraising he comes across, he’s no where near tired yet. He’ll also share the link to our GoFundMe page periodically too.
Tomorrow night in Oppdal, Norway, the knitting event organised by Margaret Langø will get underway at 7pm. At the same time the Harriet’s Cowl pattern will be released in Norwegian, which she’s kindly translated for us as she has several other patterns. The Norwegian translations have already raised hundreds of pounds for us and we really hope their event is as much of a success given how much work they’ve all been doing to organise it.
Meanwhile, across the water in the complete opposite direction the Morehouse Farm knit along, featuring the opportunity to knit any of the 6 patterns continues. The focus this time is on the gloves, mittens and cowl, but everyone is welcome to knit along with the hat or headband if they haven’t yet. The Unit hints, tips and tutorials remain available on the facebook group regardless how long it takes you. Only this morning Erin Pirro posted a video clip highlighting why we need the MRI Scanner here as she took a ferry home herself, from Washington State!
This isn’t an exhaustive list of MRI Maaker related things happening either, and nor does it include the many, many, other things, being done by the many other people who all desperately want to see the target reached as soon as possible.
Today is a big day, and marks a big milestone, but tomorrow we carry on. As always, ever grateful for the help and support we’re getting from everyone wherever in the world you may be. Thank you.
Back in May when the MRI Maakers first started meeting and the Harriet’s Hat pattern had just been launched, just 6 months ago, we thought gathering enough finished items together in time for the Shetland Craft Fair was just about doable. It was ultimately our initial goal.
Since then, we’ve been overwhelmed with support both in terms of the regular MRI Maaker volunteers knitting and one of donations of things for us to sell. All hand made by people keen to support our cause and for there to be an MRI Scanner here in Shetland. So much so, we’ve managed to sell online worldwide, survive Shetland Wool Week, manage a smaller scale display at Loch Ness Knit Fest and still have more than enough for the Craft Fair we set out to attend in the first place.
The weekend got off to a great start on Friday night after setting up during the afternoon and early evening. We didn’t expect too much of the opening, being just two hours, but were kept pretty busy. We also got the chance to check out the stalls around about us a bit. Immediately behind the display pictured here was WidWark, who were raffling a yarn bowl, donating the money to the Scanner Appeal too. They’d invited one of us to draw the raffle later so we signed up Billy O’ Middle Toon for that.
On Saturday, which was even busier, Gemma Graham, who was just across from us with her incredibly detailed artwork came over. She’d made lovely Christmas Cards with intricate gold designs on white card and seeing what we were raising money for generously decided to donate the full price of each one sold to us.
Gemma’s cards weren’t the only cards raising funds for the Scanner Appeal either. Throughout the weekend we were joined by various people from the volunteers group who were selling packs of cards which were being sold from our table too. That’s a separate fundraising venture for the overall scanner appeal but it was great to see them doing so well too.
Meanwhile, up in the Bowls Hall, Sophie Whitehead from Shetland Jewellery, was there selling amongst their entire range, the Fara Pendant in the MRI Colours launched during Shetland Wool Week. They donate 20% of each on sold to the appeal too.
With all of that going on, we’re sure the Shetland Craft Fair has given the scanner appeal a great boost over the weekend. Our stall certainly did well and we’re glad so many of our MRI Maakers were able to share out stints at manning it so everyone could get a break now and then. I’m sure it’s also good for them to see their efforts over several months coming to fruition and see first hand how much interest and support they have first hand. Without them there would be nothing to sell at these events and while sometimes it’s easy to see how much the patterns have raised, the knitted items account for a considerable portion of what the MRI Maakers have contributed to the overall fund so far.
Sunday was a little quieter, and more relaxed overall with a busy period here and there but still very much worthwhile. Billy O’ Middle Toon drew the raffle for WidWark, having been quite mischievous over the rest of the weekend. He’s attracting a bit of a following it seems and has revelled in the photo requests. There’s definitely more to come from him but for now he’s having a well earned rest.
Ontop of the full range of patterns we were selling there was an abundance of knitwear being sold, so much so that despite how well we’ve done it hardly seems like we’ve put a dent in it carting the boxes back into the house. We’ll be adding the remaining stock to the website over the next couple of weeks for all those who have been asking. They’ll make great Christmas presents wherever in the world you are so we’re keen to make it available in plenty of time to allow for shipping. There are Harriet’s Hats, Harriet’s Headbands and a scarf available now, with the rest to follow shortly.
We also had a small raffle of our own going on throughout the event, and along with that, the patterns and finished items we raised £2552 which is absolutely incredible. That includes the £70 raised by Gemma’s cards but not the WidWark Raffle or the MRI Scanner Appeal Christmas Card packs which are both separate.
Over the course of the weekend, we also had a lot of support from the Sheltie Knitters who were on another neighbouring stall. They donated a couple of garments for us to sell, along with one for a raffle prize and bought half of the hats which weren’t nailed down. So we invited them, along with Gemma and Kathleen Carolan (Director of Nursing and Acute Services NHS Shetland) to help draw the raffle. The pictures I’m afraid didn’t come too great being done quite hurriedly before tidying up, but we’ve added them here in a gallery below for prosperity anyway. We’ll be contacting the lucky winners through the week to arrange delivery of their prizes.
Those who visited the stall to support us raising over £2500 now puts the total raised by the MRI Maakers for the appeal at £66230. Once again we can’t thank everyone enough for their support. Whether they’re a knitter, one of the many who buy from us, a supporting store/vendor or play any part at all in making what we’ve achieved so far possible, it truly is appreciated. Thank you all.
You know, no matter where we go, no matter what the event, we’re always hearing yet more, often emotional, reasons why people support us. Whether it’s people from all over the world at Shetland Wool Week/Loch Ness Knit Fest, mostly local people at local craft fairs like Shetland Craft Fair 2019 – Shetland Arts & Crafts or even people regular or visiting coming to our regular MRI Maakers nights, there’s never a shortage of people with a personal connection.
Everyone either has themselves, or knows someone close who has needed to, have MRI scans. For those living elsewhere, where MRI scanners are readily accessible they can’t imagine having to travel as we do for something so vital and routinely used. For those living here, they know all too well what it’s like.
Only the other day we heard of a young girl/ lady who is of an age she should be out and about exploring what the world has to offer. Her only experience of people deprived of every day medical equipment should be on the news as she watches in sympathy a story about a country less developed than our own. Yet instead, she lives here in Shetland.
She has lots of support certainly, Shetlanders are good at that. And on ‘good’ days she might feel able to travel a couple of miles by car and see friends/family but that’s far from often. Because of ongoing treatment she is often so drained and so low she can’t even muster the energy to see what’s going on in the world on Facebook. And also because of her ongoing treatment she needs to make regular trips for MRI scans, including on the days she wouldn’t feel able to take a 2 minute car trip.
For scan trips, she must drag herself out of bed and get washed and ready, having likely spent the day before packing whether it was one of the better days or not. On days where she can’t face the world from behind a screen she must check in for the plane or ferry amongst other passengers. All before enduring the 200 mile trip on a day she doesn’t feel able to make it to the front door. And of course she has to make it back too, whether it’s one of the better days or not. Family take time off work to travel with her because she’s just not up to it on her own, at their own expense. Her scan most likely takes less than an hour. On a good day, she might feel able for that, but not the rest.
It doesn’t have to be like that, we could have a scanner here. We will have a scanner here!
That’s why so many people, from all over the world have got behind us and the many other people raising money for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal. People on the other side of the world, some with 15 scanners less than 5 miles away understand why 200 mile plane and ferry trips is too much, they struggle travelling the short distances by road themselves already. And people here know first hand.
We’ll get a scanner here someday, hopefully soon. But for the patients here today, it won’t come soon enough.
Thanks as always for everyone’s support, the volunteer knitters, and everyone who helps in any way at all. You’re all stars.
It’s been a while since I’ve had the luxury of having enough time to post I’m afraid, yet there’s been and still is much going on. I would have preferred to say more about this sooner, but it simply hasn’t been possible until now. That said, with things in full swing, it’s perhaps now easier to give a better picture of what’s coming up in just over a week.
Most of you will remember our much earlier posts about Margaret Langø from Norway, her connection through the Shetland Bus, and how she’s been translating Harriet’s patterns into Norwegian. She also committed early on to organising a knitting event in support of our efforts to raise funds for the Shetland MRI Scanner Appeal. In the meantime, we’ve had plenty going on ourselves as you know. However Margaret along with some very supportive friends have been beavering away in the background too. Last week Margaret asked if she could get a picture of Harriet and Billy, or maybe perhaps Billy O’ Middle Toon, to promote the event. So we went one better and took one of all three, alongside the Shetland Bus Memorial in Scalloway to reflect the ties which bind us so strongly together.
Before I try to explain what’s being arranged, I’d like to share this link to the event page on facebook – Strikkekafe med moteoppvisning. It gives the times and dates for anyone in Norway who might want to attend but also can be used to ask any questions you might have. Whether you’re able to go or live too far away for that to be possible, if you’re on facebook it would be good if you could follow it and support what they’re doing. They really are putting in a huge amount of effort on our behalf, so please do leave a comment of appreciation if you can. You’ll understand why later I’m sure.
Some of you will maybe remember seeing a short clip of Billy weighing up quantities of yarn, just enough for a hat or headband, as kits were made up ready to be made into finished items. Margaret and her friends have been doing exactly that ahead of the event, making up kits from wool donated by a local yarn store, Husfliden Oppdal. The kit contains a printed copy of the patterns in Norwegian, along with enough yarn (in a variety of colourways) to make it and details of why we need to raise the money.
But this event, hosted by the Oppdal Revmatikerforening, is more than simply an opportunity for knitters to buy a kit. Their members have become very enthusiastic about supporting us and have been knitting finished items ahead of time to feature in a fashion show. Oppdal Revmatikerforening has a motto – sammer er vi sterke – which means Together we are stronger. Certainly a philosophy they remain true to as they extend their support of a good cause, as in history, across the North Sea.
They all seem to be enjoying what they’re doing, and have fallen in love with the patterns. So much so in fact that they’ve asked Margaret if she thinks it’s at all possible to translate the new Harriet’s Cowl pattern into Norwegian in time to launch it at the event! I can tell you she’s been working hard on that, and we’re confident it’ll be ready by the 13th both online, and in print outs on the day.
Ester Hektoen is travelling to Oppdal to support the event, and will be showcasing fashions and offering a discount to event guests which can be used at the Hektoen Womens clothing shop at Tynset later.
Teas, coffees and home bakes will be served throughout the event and anyone who attends also an opportunity to take a bus trip to Ester Hektoen’s shop on Tynset, for everyone who participates in the knitting cafe. There, you can even visit Santa’s house!
It really sounds like an incredible event and we can’t thank Margaret along with everyone else involved enough for setting it all up. Can’t wait to see the pictures, especially of the fashion show. The Harriet’s Collection is getting around this month – more on that later 😉
As the dust from Shetland Wool Week began to settle, when we found ourselves frantically getting ready for the Loch Ness Knit Fest. The organisers had very kindly covered the cost of Billy going there and provided a stall for Friday and Saturday. Their price? A half hour Q&A session on the main stage at 3:30 on Saturday.
Hazel Tindal and Elizabeth Johnston, who were tutors at the event, weren’t so lucky. Billly arrived there only a little later than planned with Billy O’ Middle Toon in tow. They however had their Wednesday flight cancelled due to weather, had to take the overnight ferry instead and get a taxi to Inverness from Aberdeen in order to make it there in time. It was this massively expensive for them. However, it was a poignant reminder that in the case of an MRI patient, their scan appointment would often be set back several weeks in similar situations.
Loch Ness Knit Fest had everything ready for us, including our delivery of the new Harriet’s Cowl patterns. We’d arranged for the printers to deliver to them directly since it was still being finished during Shetland Wool Week leaving only a few days to ready the pattern itself. Really they couldn’t have been more helpful, and their support both prior to and during is trully appreciated.
The benefits the event brought began before their market place even opened. We’d proposed releasing the Harriet’s Cowl pattern at their event, in part as a thank you for all they’d done. So when on Thursday we shipped 2 stockists bundles of them to the Morehouse Farm in America, it’s fair to say they wouldn’t have been anywhere near ready without a hard to meet deadline. We’d had another pre order of a mixed bundle for Travelling Yarns including the Cowl pattern too. It also meant that on Friday morning as we set up our stall, the online download became available, and the first sales came within minutes of automatically publishing at 8am.
Nancy Hunter had kindly taken some of the MRI Maakers’ finished items, (actually quite a lot) with her earlier, Billy had maxed out his luggage on his flight, so on Friday there was plenty on sale. Here it is all set up and ready to go, thanks to Anne Frost for helping lay it all out before her classes started. With the exception of a much appreciated break Nancy provided between classes, and the half hour slot on the main stage where someone from the Loch Ness Knit fest team covered the stall, this is where Billy spent his 2 days being kept busy. In all, £1220 was raised at the table alone.
I don’t think the half hour Q&A on the main stage went terribly, at the very least people seemed interested and it was a great opportunity to share with new people why we’re doing what we do. It seemed to create a final boost in sales at least, with some who had already bought coming back for more.
John Glen (BeardyChiel Designs) was there too, we’d met him at Shetland Wool Week in the Hub and before the end of the two market days he came over. He wanted to donate some of his yarn to the MRI Maakers, so obviously we had to get a pic. It’s a lovely soft yarn, 50:50 Alpaca:Shetland wool.
Loch Ness Knit Fest lay on a feast on the Friday night, and a concert on the Saturday night when it’s all over bar the singing. It really was a great event, not only for the fundraising opportunity, but the experience as a whole. As with Shetland Wool Week I met people who have been supportive already but in person instead of online, and new people hearing of the scanner appeal for the first time. Like a Nancy from Orkney Tweeds, we’d never met before but she’s been doing a lot for us already.
All in all, when Billy left Shetland the MRI Maakers fundraising total was at a little over £59,000, but now sits at just over £62,000 including the sales at Inverness and the Cowl pattern sales which wouldn’t be happening without it. We’re very pleased and grateful for the benefits Loch Ness Knit Fest has brought, along with the experience the organisers provided. Thank you.
Oh, and Billy O’ Middle Toon found Nessie on day 1, they seemed to get on 🙂
I was hoping to get something posted about this while I was at the Loch Ness Knit Fest(more on that later), however I simply never had chance and internet at the same time.
Many of you will have heard through Jamieson’s of Shetland social media accounts that they’re appealing for knitted baubles for their seasonal window display, they always come up with something eyecatching for their shop front. This one promises to be just as special, and one you can all be a part of. They’re appealing for knitters of the world to send knitted baubles which they’ll craft their masterpiece with, and in January they’ll hand them over to us to sell in aid of the Scanner appeal. We think it’s an idea that truly captures the spirit of Christmas and if the likes and shares are anything to go by, so do many others.
Likes and shares however do not a window make, so it’s important these lovely baubles get made and sent too. Who makes just one bauble anyway? They’re perfect for using up all your spare yarns that aren’t much use for anything else 😉.
I’m including a copy of their Facebook post below because it includes a free pattern you can use for shaping. Please do send in as many as you can. Who knows, if they get too many for their window we might even be able to start selling any duplicates before January for anyone who wants to add a little MRI Christmas to their tree this year!
EDIT: free patterns on https://www.maryannstephens.com/free-patterns
🎄🎄Would you like to knit or crochet us a Christmas Bauble?? Would you like to be part of our Christmas Window while helping the @mrimaakers appeal? We are looking for kind donations of knitted Christmas baubles to put in our festive windows over November & December. In January we will hand them over to the @mrimaakers to sell online. We are looking for as many different designs and creations of baubles from as many different places as possible. We’d love to receive baubles by mid November so there isn’t much time!! All baubles to be sent to our shop; Jamieson’s of Shetland, Commercial St, Lerwick. Please repost, share and tweet. Thank you! 🎄🎄#jamiesonsofshetland
It’s been an intense and busy few weeks for the MRI Maakers, with Shetland Wool Week, along with the build up to it, and then of course Loch Ness Knit Fest right on the back of it. For SWW we launched the Harriet’s Mitten Pattern, and despite the Cowl still being finished during it, we managed, somehow, to get hard copies of the Harriet’s Cowl Pattern printed and sent directly to Loch Ness Knit Fest just in time.
Chart B Correction
While checking over the pattern file before sending it to print, it was noticed that the diamonds created with Chart B wouldn’t line up with elements of Charts C and D as intended. So we had to quickly shift all the columns across by one. Unfortunately, the dot you see in the middle of each diamond in the finished cowl didn’t copy across properly. Column 1 of Row 6 should be Yarn B as shown in this corrected chart.
We have been correcting hard copies as they’re sold by hand since the mistake was noticed, and have updated the pdf file for all future downloads. Anyone who has bought the pattern as a download, should in theory be able to use the link provided in the confirmation email to download an updated copy. However, anyone who purchased a hard copy before the correction was made should correct their Chart B as shown above. You could always miss the Yarn B dot in the diamond’s centre if you wish, but this would leave a 7 stitch float with isn’t ideal.
Obviously we’re sorry for the inconvenience but hope this update finds you before you reach that point in your knit.
Thanks as always for your continued support, we’re delighted there’s so much interest in this pattern despite this slight initial error.