Like so many Fort Macleod residents and people around the world, Trish Hoskin watched in horror as the Russian military attacked Ukraine.
The death and destruction suffered by the Ukrainian people prompted the Fort Macleod artist to undertake fundraising to support humanitarian relief.
“My first thoughts looking at the cover were disbelief, outrage, sadness,” Hoskin said. “I keep feeling these things day by day.”
Hoskin, who runs a crochet business from home, created a pattern for a bear dressed in blue and gold, the colors of Ukraine.
Hoskin is selling the models for $5 on various online sites with the intention of donating the money to the Canadian Red Cross for its work in Ukraine.
The federal government will match all donations made to the Red Cross.
The war in Ukraine provoked an emotional reaction and strong feelings towards Russian President Vladimir Putin from Hoskin and other Canadians.
“First, it makes me so angry and outraged that this is happening,” Hoskin said in an interview Friday. “It is sickening to witness this war and Putin’s depraved actions. Which is another layer to consider – the fact that civilians in Russia do not support the war and put themselves in danger by protesting.
“Secondly, I feel inspired by the people of Ukraine. In the face of all this, the violence, the relentless shelling, the killing of children, they remain so strong and focused on defending their home. It blows my mind. They will not be not broken.
“Third, I feel something far beyond gratitude to live in Canada, to live in my safe and warm home, knowing that my peaceful husband has not gone off to fight a war.”
Almost as soon as the invasion began, Hoskin started thinking about fundraising to support humanitarian aid in Ukraine.
She learned that the Canadian government would donate up to $10 million to match funds raised by the Canadian Red Cross, which raised nearly $30 million.
Hoskin knew that any money she could raise would double, thanks to the Canadian government’s support of the Red Cross.
“I’ve used my pattern-writing skills and crochet pieces to raise money for several charities over the years, so I knew what I had to do,” Hoskin said. “Being so far from Ukraine, it felt like it was something I could do, no matter how small that contribution was.”
One of the people who follow Hoskin’s Facebook page for his crochet business lives in Sumy, an area of Ukraine hard hit by the Russian attack.
Hoskin attempted to contact the woman, without success, but she “liked” some Facebook posts.
“I’m praying she’s out and is okay,” Hoskin said. “I wish I could do more to help.”
By creating a crochet pattern, Hoskin gives people the opportunity to make the bears and use them as fundraisers if they choose.
“And second, while I’d love to do a bunch of cubs, I don’t have time,” Hoskin added.
Hoskin chose a bear for her motif because of its universal appeal and, she pointed out, teddy bears are meant to be comforting.
Hoskin has been writing crochet patterns for several years, learning the complicated language, terms and abbreviations. Crocheting involves math and counting a stitch can mess up the pattern, so it’s essential that the designer is precise and writes clearly.
The feedback Hoskin has received is that the template is quick and easy.
Hoskin set a goal of raising $100, which she has already surpassed. She has sold around 50 models and now hopes to sell another 50.
“Some people even bought multiple models, just so they could contribute more,” Hoskin said. “But we creative people do good things with our skills and big hearts. There are quite a few great fundraisers by all kinds of creators out there.
People who don’t crochet can purchase the patterns as gifts for those who do, or they can simply contribute money to the fundraising effort.
You can contact Trish Hoskin through her Facebook page Trish Fatladycrochet or find the pattern at https://www.ravelry.com/…/library/fundraiser-for-ukraine and https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/ 1172445706/pdf-pattern-fundraiser-for-ukraine.
“I hope this has inspired others to do the same, to help and contribute creatively,” Hoskin said of her crochet fundraiser. “It’s so much better to be able to do something, no matter how small, than to feel helpless.”