Newsletter 8

Woolsack Newsletter 8  - 16 June 2012


1.  Not perhaps exciting but essential. If you haven't yet contacted with the number of cushions you have, could you please do so as a matter of urgency.
Now that requests for cushions are coming in and cushions are already going to athletes we must know how many cushions are finished or coming to the final few stuffing events or being posted for stuffing.

2.  Remaining stuffing events are on the website.
The two large events still to come are Woolfest next weekend and Fibre-East, probably the last stuffing event, which is 14-15 July.

Please can you try to finish cushions by the end of June if posting for stuffing.

We have a small number of free passes available for people who can help on the Woolsack stand for at least half a day at Woolfest.  Contact asap.

3.  Now that there is so much happening, often on a daily basis, the website is the place to keep up with the latest news if you don't follow Twitter, Facebook or Ravelry.
This page also has the new 'Cushion of the Day' feature where we're showcasing a small selection of your amazing cushions.
I'm also adding photographs of as many cushions as possible to this new page:
Please send photos of individual cushions to to be added to the website.

4.  Woolsack in the media.  Many of you will have seen Woolsack on BBC national and regional television or heard the Radio 4 PM programme.  There were also a couple of articles in national newspapers and more articles in local newspapers.
Following some confusion when the national newspapers used headlines that could be misleading if you didn't spot the creative use of the word MAY, we've added information to the website.
You may wish to read this page:  and read the statement we have added:

Our attitude towards LOCOG  is that we have moved on. As an Inspire project we have been inspired by the athletes and how they persevere and overcome setbacks.  We have found another way within the rules to get the cushions to athletes  and this is working very well.

The most recent statement from LOCOG is dated 9 June:

"We think the Woolsack cushions are great and are happy that they are available to athletes from around the world on request".

We took the decision earlier in the year to do no more than quietly present the facts on the website.  The two most important things are your cushions and the athletes, so we've put all our efforts and energy into getting your cushions to all the athletes who are so keen to receive them.  And it's working!

5.   Leaving the best news until last!
The BBC publicity in particular has been incredibly helpful in getting the news about Woolsack to new groups of athletes, in addition to those who follow us on Twitter and others we had established contact with.
Groups of UK and overseas athletes that have already received their cushions can be found on
along with photographs.  Can you spot your cushion?

UK athletes are spreading the word to overseas competitors in their sports.
The entire Irish Paralympic team will be able to have cushions.
Groups from GB that will be receiving their cushions in the next few days include Wheelchair Fencers, Olympic fencers, Rhythmic Gymnasts, Olympic and Paralympic rowers.

All the international athletes training in Bedford will be able to have cushions and the Maldives Olympic team will be visiting Fibre-East on the Saturday and meeting some of the Woolsack Local Contacts.

There are some further plans under discussion for getting cushions to athletes, one of which involves a large number of overseas Olympic and Paralympic athletes. (just confirmed late Friday, although exact numbers not known yet)  If we need a 'call to needles' and more cushions being made urgently then this will be posted on the news page of the website and our social media.  We do still have some of the free donated yarn that could be used if necessary.

The Bedford group is over half way to their total of 220 cushions, but around 100 more are needed.   Please contact Jan,, putting Woolsack in the subject heading, if you can make another cushion for these overseas athletes.
Can you have your own final 'Olympic' effort and help ensure no athlete who wants a cushion will be disappointed?

Free yarn can be obtained for just the cost of postage from Irene,
and dyed yarn for postage and cost price of dyeing from Sue,
Alison has some natural coloured DK yarns still available.  Please contact her,, if you would like some.  It can be posted or taken to Woolfest next week for collection (postage to pay please).  She also has some dyed 4-ply yarn which can be used double to make a light Aran weight.

Thank you for your ongoing support for the project and, of course, your wonderful cushions.

Jane Cooper

Breaking news! Nicky Butler (North East Local Contact) obtained official permission to be in the South Shields Torch Relay enclosure this morning, 16 June) and to present cushions to Haile Gebrselassie and Brendan Foster. Haile received a cushion made by Alison Castle, who has been contributing so much to Woolsack over many months. As Nicky approached Brendan to give him his cushion (made by Jenny Hunt, a local maker) he said,
"Is this an Olympic cushion. Oh Good!"
A short interview with Nicky was filmed by BBC Look North and press photos were taken. Brendan also took one of Nicky's cushions to give to Paula Radcliffe.