Yarnbombing for Christmas in Beaudesert will go ahead this year even though the event’s inspirational long-standing coordinator is unavailable.
Beaudesert local Finella Loch is stepping back from community commitments in 2022 to care for a fellow yarnbomber living with cancer. Ms Loch has been ‘chief hook’ of the ‘Crochet Crew’ since 2016.
Ms Loch, who describes herself as ‘a Christmas tragic’, says that her priority this year was supporting her friend Katie Cleal. “I really wanted to participate, but I just couldn’t,” she said.
She knew the event would be in good hands. “Vicki made it very easy and so did all of that crew. They just stepped in and said ‘we’ll manage’.”
‘Vicki’ is Vicki McAteer, who has been involved since 2018. She said that it was an easy matter for her to take over, “so Finella didn’t have to worry about a thing”.
“This year there’s not been as many helpers as normal,” said Vicki said. “That’s simply because of Finella and Katie. Everyone’s really flat – that’s a good word for it. Everybody knows Katie would be devastated if we didn’t do it, though. So, you’ve got to do it. It’s as simple as that.”
The ‘Crochet Crew’ volunteers work all year to prepare the Christmas-coloured knitted and crocheted decorations then fix them to trees, benches, bollards and power poles in the centre of Beaudesert each December. They also take on side projects, such as poppy crocheting for ANZAC day, ‘Bravery Bees’ for children at Beaudesert Hospital, and knee-rugs for the elderly.
Sarah Grodecki, who started donating her time four years ago, said she enjoyed the projects and also the Tuesday meetings each week in Jubilee Park that the group uses to plan their activities.
“I started when I was still working, just making the odd piece to contribute,” she said. Retirement from her job as a schoolteacher was the perfect opportunity to increase her involvement. This year, Sarah is part of the assembly group which styles itself as the ‘Crochet Ninjas’. They are on the streets decorating trees and fences at 5.30 in the morning, and the task takes a full week.
Regardless of the sadness affecting the group, Vicki said that she was only temporarily in charge, and that the group of volunteers was still having fun. “Car drivers toot and wave all the time,” she said. “A truck driver once left $50 at a local coffee shop for us to get some drinks, and motorists have stopped to thank us, once in the middle of the street.”
No one measures how many tonnes of yarn are used, but almost all of it is recycled.
All of the decorations are taken down between Christmas and New Year.