St Briavels Knitting group holding Barney's blanket.

The Story of Barney’s Blanket

The St Briavels Knitting group was set up in March 2017. Our aim is to bring people together across our rural community to knit over a cuppa whilst supporting local charities.

We’re a friendly, informal group, some knitting for the first time, who have been industriously clicking away over the past year. We’ve made clothing to support bereaved parents to hold and cuddle their baby for the Stillborn and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS) as well as scarves, hats and fingerless gloves for Age UK Gloucestershire. Last year Age UK also requested lap blankets. This was our first large project and we were able to provide them with 46 individually designed blankets in time to help keep people cosy in their homes over the cold winter months. Then, hot off our first ‘blanket fest’, we were delighted to receive the request from Barnwood Trust for a blanket for Barney, their VW camper van. We had a blank canvas which was great news as the benefit of many willing fingers and active imaginations is that everyone can get stuck into what they enjoy doing most!

We had many discussions as to what design to use and initially we wanted to include various images that reflected Barnwood’s work across the community. But we decided the same effect would be achieved by focusing on the Trust’s new branding and Barney’s distinctive ‘connections’ livery. We found a camper van motif which we changed to Barney’s colours and plotted the Barnwood logo on to graph paper so it could be knitted into the blanket. Barney’s eye catching multi coloured roundels were created by overlaying crocheted rings on top of the squares. As always with these things, the blanket had a life of its own and grew to twice its original intended size. It was a bit of a challenge stitching it all together but, fortunately, we are blessed with someone who is as adept at sewing as knitting who was able to transform the huge piles of knitted squares into the design for the finished blanket. We then couldn’t resist providing a matching ‘Barney’ cushion to complete the effect!

It was great to hear about the work of the Trust from Penny, Kat and Dede when they kindly came over to meet us and collect the blanket. It was an exciting project for us which we thoroughly enjoyed. We are very proud of the result and hope our blanket enjoys its travels on Barney and keeps lots of people warm for many years to come.

by St Briavels Knitters 

About Small Sparks grants

The Small Sparks fund has been created to help small groups of people throughout Gloucestershire to get together to do something they enjoy and make a difference to where they live.

You might need gardening equipment to grow vegetables together, books or wool to get a club going, or wool and knitting needles for a group you are already a part of.

You can apply for a grant of up to £250 if you can show us that:

  • At least one of you wanting to enjoy the activity has a disability or is an older person who would like to make more friends
  • There are at least four people involved in total
  • Everyone is prepared to contribute their time, energy and talents.

For more information about Small Sparks, visit our grants page or contact