The Story of Clem’s Gumboot Socks

charity knit knitting

Being connected

If this pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s the importance of being and staying connected.  And also to appreciate that many people are juggling far more than just the pandemic; did you know two of Crumbz Crafts’ gorgeous teachers, Alison and Anneke, welcomed premature grandchildren into the world, born within 2 months of one another?!  Their story, full of connections and connectedness is a lovely reminder of just how beneficial it is to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and how staying connected, supporting one another and ‘giving back’ in turn gives us a sense of purpose too. 

Knitting for newborns
Let’s go back a bit.  Have you met Barbara Churcher?  Barbara is one of our lovely customers here at Crumbz Craft and her daughter is married to Anneke’s son.  She lived in a tiny community in North Otago, New Zealand where she was friends with Clem Williams - a shy, quiet, elderly farmer, who had lived his whole life in the same house, and carried on living there alone when his brother died.  

Clem knew all his neighbours really well and was a well-loved local character, who spent his spare time knitting vests for new babies born in the community, and gumboot socks for the toddlers and kids.  Do you remember that feeling from childhood when your sock would creep down under your foot in your gumboot and end up in a lump?  Well Clem’s gumboot socks famously don’t do that and they are easy to pull on and up, which is perfect for children! 

Clem’s legacy
Clem would have passed away 35 years ago or more and Barbara recently came across his gumboot sock pattern, written on an old worn piece of paper in his lovely handwriting, and she sent it to Kay incase anyone was interested and could understand the pattern. 

hand written gumboot sock pattern

Alison our knitting teacher, also from New Zealand, has written the pattern up and recommends it to beginner knitters or those who’ve never braved a sock project.  If you know how to K1 P1 (knit one purl one) then this is the perfect first sock pattern for you to try. 

Knitting it forward
And this got us thinking – with this lovely story of Clem and him knitting for newborns in his community, and Alison and Anneke both becoming grandmothers to prem babies – we thought it would be a lovely connection to make this our fundraiser for the month of October, where we invite people to knit Clem’s gumboot sock pattern, and for every pattern sold, Crumbz will donate $5 to the charity WalkforPrems

Here’s Anneke our sewing teacher with her precious prem granddaughter, Sienna.

Anneke with her prem granddaughter Sienna 

Alison’s daughter Ash, and son-in-law Tory, will be walking to raise funds for the charity WalkforPrems to honour Rocky their gorgeous little boy who was born at 32 weeks. Here's Alison with Rocky.

 Alison Crumbz Craft knitting teacher with prem grandson Rocky

We’re here to support you

If you have any questions about how to knit Clem’s gumboot socks pattern or need any knitting support, you can always hop into our facebook knitworking group where you can get free advice from the team. 

Barbara hopes that if you decide to knit theses socks, that you'll think of Clem and his kindness, the pleasure of good neighbours and the importance of community. 

Crumbz Sockathon Competition - #crumbzsockathon2021

And we’ve decided to take it one step further and make it into a competition!!  The person who knits the most socks in the month of October, will win a set of KnitPro sock blockers in their chosen size (Small, Medium, Large) and a Crumbz Crowd Project Bag.  Simply upload pictures of your completed socks to social media using the hashtag #crumbzsockathon2021.

And you can knit any sock pattern, not just Clem’s – dig out that sock pattern at home you’ve been meaning to try for years, buy the Jack’s Socks pattern which has video support or download Shara’s sock patterns using some of the new sock yarns we’ve got in store, join one of our workshops in October or challenge a friend and knit a pair of socks together!  You can always book a private lesson to get you started if you just need some help getting started.

All thanks to Barbara

We’d like to thank Barbara for giving us the unique opportunity to keep Clem’s work alive and for Alison’s support and knowledge in reworking the pattern for the Crumbz Crowd to enjoy and share with their family and friends for years to come.  

 Photo of Barbara Churcher

Remember, a simple gesture of a hand-knitted pair of socks can let a neighbour, friend, family, or colleague know that you care about them.

Norfolk Socks by SharaMade 

Take care and stay safe,

Kay and the Crumbz Team

P.S. Crumbz Craft will run a sockathon for charity every Oct. 

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