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Kamloops yarn shop looking for knitters to create garments for Aussie animals

Local business hopes to send a package of knitted goods by month's end

Sweaters for birds, pouches for kangaroos, mittens for koalas, wraps for bats.

These may sound like terrible trends from California, but they're actually ways people can help the animals of Australia.

Nicole Link of That Darn Yarn Shop and Fibre Mill in Kamloops is offering locals wool free of charge, to knit the animal garments. She's currently looking for local crafters to help.

"You feel so helpless; there's really nothing you can for except money," she tells KamloopsMatters. "Maybe you can donate money to the cause, but here is where you actually feel like you're doing something. You're creating something that you can send and help these poor animals."

As bushfires kill millions of animals and leave millions more injured, orphaned and without their home, knitted gear is being used in different ways. For kangaroos, joey pouches provide an alternative to a mother's pouch (if the young 'roo is orphaned or if the mother is not well enough to care for it). For birds, the sweaters keep them warm (if they've lost all their feathers) and keep them from picking at scars or scabs.

"It's pretty cute. It looks like a cowl-neck sweater on a bird," Link says.

"They put the joeys in there and then they pack them around to make them feel secure like they're in the momma's pouch," she adds.

Anyone who is able to take on a knitting project is invited to do so.

"If you come in and purchase the yarn from us, what we'll do is once you bring in the finished item, we'll reimburse you. We'll return your money to you for the item created," Link explains.

She's planning on sending a care package of pouches and sweaters and other knitted gear to the Animal Rescue Craft Guild, which is redistributing the homemade items to animal rescue groups across fire-ravaged Australia.

NeededItemsThe list of what is needed. (via Animal Rescue Craft Guild/Facebook)

Initially, Link saw a call-out for koala mittens, but that need has been filled. Right now, the guild is looking for the aforementioned sweaters and pouches along with some other items, including wool nests. Their Facebook page is full of patterns for different items (click HERE). Link is also providing patterns if need be.

The local resident quickly realized she had an opportunity to help. The group is asking for 100 per cent wool items and, as the only fibre mill on continental B.C., she makes 100 per cent wool yarn; most store-bought yarn will have some percentage of other materials, she says. A lot of her wool comes from Kamloops or neighbouring regions.

"I talked to my husband about it and we thought it'd be a good idea to donate the yarn because they're looking for 100 per cent wool and that's pretty hard to find," she says. "So, we're donating the wool and any crafters out there that can knit or crochet can make the pouches for the kangaroos."

Ideally, Like would like to send the package of knitted goods to Australia before January is over. 

"The pouches are a pretty simple design so hopefully it'll take people only a couple of weeks," she says. "I know time is of the essence, but it doesn't look like these fires are ending anytime soon."

"This is our little way we can help."

That Darn Yarn Shop and Fibre Mill can be found at 2812 Bowers Pl., just off Lac Le Jeune Road.

You can reach Link by Facebook, Instagram or by phone (250-319-0445).