Blood doesn’t grow on trees…

A couple of weeks ago I came across a trend that has been gathering pace, when I spotted news that my local branch of the Women’s Institute in West London had “yarnstormed” the site of the Ealing Empire Cinema with knitted graffiti.

yarnNHSThen today I discovered the striking image on this page @GiveBloodNHS showing Sheffield station, here in the UK, which has been yarn bombed.

What is graffiti knitting?

Having searched online, I’ve discovered this website by Deadly Knitshade, @deadlyknitshade, and description of what it is. Looks like the idea has been around for a few years, but is starting to be used more now:

“Graffiti knitting or yarnstorming or yarnbombing or guerrilla knitting, is the art of using items handmade from yarn to create street art. The artist creates an item using knitting or crochet, they take the item into a public place, they install the piece in that public place, they run away giggling. It’s really as simple as that.”

So we know what it is, but what’s this particular campaign about?

Why blood drops?

The wooly street art is appearing on trees in city centres and outside train stations as part of a media campaign being run by Give Blood, the blood service for England and North Wales, called Blood doesn’t grow on trees to raise awareness of the need for people to give blood.

The idea behind it is to be urban art that makes people smile and wonder why. Works for me!

Their website says: “A stitch in time really can save lives. In the last couple of months, our supporters all over the country have been knitting more than 8,000 red, woollen blood drops and wondering what on earth we planned to do with them.”

The blood drops represent the continued need for new donors. Each year around 200,000 new donors are needed just to keep numbers stable.

To date, over 15km of wool has been used to provoke conversations about blood donation. Over the past 10 years there has been a 23% decrease in the number of active donors and an appeal is underway for more donors and also people to knit and join in the yarnbombing.


The science bit – if you’re in the UK, here’s how you can help

Anyone aged between 17 – 65, weighing more than 50 kg (7 stone 12lbs) and in general good health could potentially start saving lives by becoming a blood donor. There is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years.

Blood doesnt grow on trees - screenRegister online and search for your nearest donation session. Once you have registered you can book an appointment online or call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23.

Platelets are small cells in the blood concerned with clotting. It is possible to donate platelets at a special centre. For more information about becoming a platelet donor visit the Platelets site.

This campaign has made me think today and I will be looking up my local centre as it’s been a few years since I donated, as I did so via an old workplace.

Well done to everyone involved in the initiative and I wish you continued success and coverage, and more importantly, for people to take action.

The crafty bit – how you can help

If you’re handy with a pair of knitting needles, here are some instructions of how to make blood drops (- not a sentence I thought I’d ever write on my blog!).

See the Give Blood website for more information or download the instructions: 2D large blood drop PDF2D medium blood drop PDF2D small blood drop PDF3D large blood drop PDF3D medium blood drop PDF3D small blood drop PDF

What do you think of knitted graffiti or yarnbombing?

Would or could you use it in your organisation as another way of communicating your message? As ever, you’re welcome to Tweet me @AllthingsIC or comment below.

Post author: Rachel Miller.

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