Central Otago knitters and crocheters are creating squares to show they care.
Among them is Alexandra woman Jennifer Brass, who has spent many hours contributing to the initiative called Knit a Square to Show You Care.
The project is the brain-child of Caroline Dore, of Gore, who welcomes people to send their squares to her team to be stitched together to create ‘‘hug rugs’’.
Mrs Brass learned about the project during one of Mrs Dore’s visits to Alexandra and has been involved ever since.
‘‘I don’t watch a lot of TV . . . so I sit and crochet or read.’’
Mrs Dore started the project four years ago and has since received 39,000 squares, which have formed more than 2630 hug rugs.
The hug rugs, crafted by people from around New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Europe, United States and beyond, are distributed to anyone in need, from cancer patients to elderly people needing warmth.
Mrs Dore said the response was ‘‘mind-blowing’’.
The project, which was developed under the name The Nattering Knitter, was established after realising there was a need in Southland.
It has since been expanded to benefit people further afield, including Central Otago residents.
Mrs Dore, who received a local hero award for her work, said the support she had received from around the world was amazing, and included people who wanted to create the squares, or give wool.
‘‘I have an army of volunteers working for me [stitching the squares together], but we get help from all over the world,’’ she said.
‘‘Everyone that’s involved in it loves doing it.
‘‘It’s a pleasure, not a chore,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s the most incredible project.’’
The Nattering Knitter group, which is now a charitable trust, also produces items for the Baby Box in Queenstown and various branches of Plunket, among other people in need.
No-one is off limits, Mrs Dore said.
She said anyone who wanted to contribute to the project was welcome to do so, either by knitting or crocheting squares, or by donating wool.
‘‘If people want to join the project they cast on 40 and knit 80 rows. If you are crocheting, do 10 rounds for a crochet square.’’
★ The finished squares can be posted to Caroline Dore, PO Box 193, Gore, or dropped off at 32 Williams St, Gore.