B.C. yarn shop reimbursing locals knitting items for injured Australian animals

A yarn shop in Kamloops is trying to encourage knitters and crocheters in the community to help make items needed for animals injured by the devastating fires in Australia, by offering to cover the cost of their yarn.

Nicole Link, owner of That Darn Yarn Shop and Fibre Mill, said that anyone who buys yarn from her shop to make something that is needed and brings it back to her completed, ready to be shipped, she will reimburse them the cost of their yarn. 

"This was a perfect way that we thought that we could help," she said.

A group called the Animal Rescue Craft Guild, based in Australia, regularly posts on their Facebook page which types of craft items are needed by animals the most. They also post patterns and information on the best materials for making each item.

The group, which has more than 155,000 members worldwide, has hubs set up in different cities around the world where craft items are collected and then organized to be sent to Australian organizations helping injured animals. 

Canadians have banded together to crochet and knit items such as pouches for kangaroos and possums, wraps for bats, animal beds and even nests.

Link has reached out to the craft guild in Australia, as well as the Canadian Animal Rescue Craft Guild, to become a local hub for collecting craft items.

People travelling to Australia have commented on posts put out by the guilds, volunteering to transport items. 

One of the most needed items is pouches for joeys, which are handmade pouches that young kangaroos can nestle in, instead of their parents' pouches, which helps them feel safe.

Photo by Geoff Loehr

"It's really cute. The joeys will be in the pouches and they will cuddle in there," said Link. "Unfortunately, these animals have been orphaned or their parents are unable to care for them anymore, so they are put into these pouches."

These pouches in particular need to be made from 100 per cent wool yarn, as opposed to a synthetic material, so that the animal doesn't suffocate.

"I decided I can do something about that. I can help out and I have 100 per cent wool yarn," Link told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce.

Sumitted by Nicole Link

She gets all of her wool from ranchers in the southern Interior and then makes it into yarn right at the mill at her shop. 

"It looks like the pouches are very easy to knit. It's great for beginner knitters, it's great for beginner crocheters," added Link.

Since making Facebook posts about her offer to reimburse the cost of the yarn, she has received a lot of interest.

"It's just been growing," said Link. "By the minute, I'll get messages."