Crouch End knitter organises 'stitchathon' in memory of her sister

PUBLISHED: 12:43 16 June 2016 | UPDATED: 09:56 17 June 2016

Gen West pictured with her children Oliver 10 yrs,Max 16 & Tilly aged 17. Photo: Nigel Sutton

Gen West pictured with her children Oliver 10 yrs,Max 16 & Tilly aged 17. Photo: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email

A keen knitter made 50 dresses in 12-hours, with help from friends and customers, on what would have been her sister's 50th birthday.

Genevieve West, who owns Nest knitting shop in Weston Park, succeeded in sewing 50 dresses between 10am and 10pm, with the help of her family, friends, and customers.

Genevieve’s sister, Rebecca, died from liver cancer five years ago, but rather than sit around and mourn, the 47-year-old decided to make dresses for charity around the date of her birthday.

Each year she makes the same number of dresses as the age her sister would have turned.

The dresses, made for children and teenagers, are then sent to charity Dress A Girl Around the World, which believes every girl, no matter how impoverished, should own one dress.

Genevieve’s sister, Rebecca, was a vet, but she also fundraised through her arts and crafts, and the two would make dresses together when they were growing up.

Rebecca had cancer since she was 16, and she was very active, knowing her life would be short.

Genevieve said: “When I was clearing out Beck’s flat, I came across this photo of little cotton dresses lying on her lawn. These were dresses we’d made together in the evening with a bottle of wine.

“On the back of the photo, it said she’d sent the dresses to Dress a Girl.”

“For us [the stitchathon] it’s about remembering her and putting our energy into doing something good.”

Each dress made at the stitchathon is hand-sewn and includes a knitted doll.

Genevieve’s children, Tilly, 17, Max, 16, and Oliver, 10, joined in the stitching marathon.

Friends and customers drifted in and out – some taking part who have never knitted before.

“It was amazing – it was so supportive,” she said.

“My friend came in just to bring cake because she got an O in Textiles, but by the end of the day, she had made two dresses.”

– The 50 dresses will be in the window of Nest on Weston Park all this week. Visit for information about the charity.

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