Expertise exchange: Jan Plater, Pam Quilliam and Jaki Colmer develop their crocheting abilities while learning from one another. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

SOCIAL and creative initiative, Winter Woollies for Ballarat, has found a regular meeting place at Barkly Square. Established, new or prospective members of the craft group who knit, crochet, quilt, sew, or would like to learn, are invited to make and chat on Wednesdays between 1pm and 5pm. While exchanging patterns and practices in the centre’s communal area, attendees of all experiences and skill levels can collaborate, showcase their creations, or seek feedback from likeminded people. Sandra Knight founded the Winter Woollies for Ballarat Facebook group six years ago, which has united almost 500 volunteer woolworkers across the city, online and in-person. “I anticipate our group will grow a lot quicker at Barkly Square as we have so much more space,” she said. “The location is also a talking point. Some people know the site as the girls’ school, while I know it because two of my children went there for year 11 and 12.” Previously donating handmade woollies to The SoupBus, Pop-Up Shop for the Homeless, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, Eureka Mums, WRISC, and aged care facilities, Winter Woollies for Ballarat’s goal is to warm those in need. Their current project is seeing blankets crafted for Warrenheip’s Tabor House, which supports young people recovering from addiction. “We’ve given them blankets in the past, and the clients just love them. They like to have something of their own because a lot of them go there with absolutely nothing,” Ms Knight said. Visit or contact 0431 991 078 for more information.
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