25 Jul 17

Our Tight Knit Community

1 challenge, 6 weeks, 49 blankets and 1,842 squares!

At the end of May 2017, Debbie O’Connor the CEO of our co-working space The Creative Fringe, sent out a challenge to the local Penrith community to “Think Outside the Square” for our knitting challenge. Participants simply had to knit a 20cm x 20cm square and donate it to us to sew into blankets.

What happened next was truly amazing!

The Creative Fringe was inundated with squares, bag loads full! People from Penrith to the Blue Mountains, Wagga Wagga to Darwin and everywhere in between heard what was happening and quickly started to knit or crochet. The connection and reach of this challenge has been heartwarming.

“After my husband passed last year, knitting became my solace,” commented participant Jan, “I saw the challenge in the paper. Now my knitting has a purpose which has given me something to focus on.”

Squares had to be in by 30 June, but then the challenge was sewing them together. The team at The Creative Fringe put another call out to the community and once again they weren’t disappointed. People came from all over to pick up bags of squares to help sew them into blankets.

“I have been astounded by the amount of people who have so readily put their hands up to either donate wool, supply squares or sew blankets together”, said Mrs O’Connor. “Most of them are strangers to me personally, but there was something about the challenge that resonated and connected our community. I can’t thank everyone enough.”

On Thursday 13th July, Debbie O’Connor and her team at The Creative Fringe proudly handed the most amazingly colourful, warm blankets to Lana Borg from Mama Lana’s Community Foundation.

An astounding 49 blankets were made with love by complete strangers who wanted to be a part of this special cause.

“The Creative Fringe and our community all did an amazing job,” commented Ms Borg aka Mama Lana. “I feel very blessed to be the “middle man” to make sure these gorgeous “works of heart” end up in their forever homes bringing much need colour and happiness.”

These blankets will now warm the bodies and souls of many of Penrith’s neediest residents from those with no-where to live to those escaping Domestic Violence along with their children. Thanks to you – the general public, The Creative Fringe and Mama Lana’s Community Foundation have been able to ease the lives of those most in need and hopefully brighten their day.


The Challenge has been such a success that we have already confirmed that we will run it again next year. We are going to add an additional challenge. One that has a social and environmental element to it. It will include knitting and crocheting with plastic bags to make waterproof mats. If you have plastic bags lying around please don’t throw them out. Drop them into The Creative Fringe at Unit 6, 51 York Road, Jamisontown. Our TCF team will announce when we will run a workshop on how to make matts from this otherwise challenging landfill.

Follow The Creative Fringe on Facebook to keep up to date with what’s happening with the challenge, or subscribe to our newsletter for more regular events and workshops.