Knitting Communities Together is an exciting new project brought together by the Leeds-based creative social enterprise OWL Industries and Little Fingy, a local company selling cute finger puppets to raise funds for great causes both in the UK and in Peru where the puppets are made. This project aimed to bring members of the waterfront community together with people across Leeds, Yorkshire and as far away as France, who have been working together to create a permanent knitted and crocheted cover for an old ice-cream van!
The Little Fingy Fun
Founded by Dale Woodcock 7 years ago, Little Fingy is a fun little locally based business selling knitted finger puppets. Inspired by his journey to South America where he first encountered the hand knitted puppets of Peru, Dale brought the idea back to Leeds.
Their finger puppets are sold individually, attached to greeting cards, placed in gift packs, used as wedding favours and there are miniature versions attached to pencil tops too. Today Little Fingy has around 60 knitters based in a number of villages in the Andean regions of South America. These Peruvian knitters are either in full time employment through Little Fingy or work part time along with tending to their crops and cattle. All knitters work from or near their homes so that they can continue to bring up their families.
While Little Fingy aims to be fun and creative they also use the finger puppets as a way to raise money for good causes. 10% of profits from the sale of the puppets are given to projects that help the communities who knit the puppets, OXFAM and the Little Fingy FUNd which donates finger puppets to disadvantaged children in hospitals and orphanages in the UK and abroad, with the idea of bringing a smile to the faces of less fortunate people.
As a next stage to the Little Fingy’s big journey they bought an old ice cream van to tour around festivals and events in the UK and sell puppets and raise more money for their good causes. They then appealed to knitters far and wide to get involved in the Knitting Communities Together project by helping them cover the van in a knitted and crocheted cover.
The ice cream van was measured and drawn up into a jigsaw of different shapes which relate to the panel sizes of the van. Knitters were asked to work alone or in groups and indicate what size of an area they were willing to knit. They were then given a pack based on their request with materials and specifications to complete their section of the knitted dress for the van!
OWL Creative Collective, a voluntary community organisation in Leeds, has been an eager partner in this fun and creative project, bringing so many people young and old together, busy knitting and holding workshops. They say the oldest knitter is 88 and the farthest all the way in France! They’ve been working to add to the van and help sew it all together bringing loads of fun and laughter!
This unique ice cream van was finally launched at the Leeds Waterfront festival. Dressed in all its colourful knitted attire along with giant 5ft knitted puppets fixed to its roof, the van sure attracted a lot of attention. People were seen gathering around the colourful spectacle and they also had a silent disco to dance around and make fun finger puppet movies too!
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