It is COLD in Vermont-especially on days where the wind chill falls well below zero. Of course my first reaction to winter in Vermont is to pull out my warm and wooly hand knit sweaters, brew some hot coffee, and curl up under a blanket on the couch with my knitting. But I grew up in the Midwest and I am intimately familiar with negative wind chills. I know what it takes to keep myself warm and in good spirits through a long, cold winter season.
Not so long ago I took note of a call for blanket donations and it was a poignant reminder that not everyone who lives in our community is ready (or equipped!) for a Vermont winter. This, paired with a comment by one of our customers about donating knitted items, and a discussion with Jill and Barb recently about ideas for 2009 charitable projects, sparked an idea.
What if Kaleidoscope Yarns knitters took up the challenge of making blankets that are needed by new families arriving in our community? If everyone were to do just a little bit of knitting we would have some fabulously individualized and creative pieces that would help keep people warm in Vermont winters! So the idea for the Kaleidoscope Yarns Blanket Project was born. I’ve since done my research and spoken to staff and volunteers at the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP) who are immensely excited about the possibility or having knitters take up their needles for this project.
The Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP) helps refugees and immigrants gain personal independence and economic self-sufficiency, become contributing members of their new communities, and able participants in all aspects of American life through a full range of services and programs.
So How Can YOU Help?
We are asking all interested Kaleidoscope Yarns knitters (both local and online) to knit up 13”x13” (blocked) squares and send them to us or drop them off at the shop.
PLEASE READ FURTHER, as there are a couple of things you need to know before you get started!
- The finished blankets will be machine washed and dried so we are asking people to use Encore worsted weight yarn for their blocks. You don't HAVE to use Encore, but we're in Vermont and just that little bit of wool makes Encore a much warmer choice than 100% acrylic.
- We have posted several free afghan block patterns on our website, but these are just suggestions! You may use any pattern you like, but help us out by adhering to the following guidelines: Please keep the first and last two stitches of each row in stockinette (for seaming purposes). Also, please knit the first and last two rows of each square (garter stitch). This will be a big help to all those who volunteer to seam the blankets together.
- Don't weave in your ends! Please leave a one yard tail at the beginning of each block and a one yard tail at the end. This will also help in seaming!
- Please attach your name and address to each block that you submit. We would like to list the first names, states, and number of blocks contributed for the recipients and recognition of our donors.
- Mail all finished blocks to our shop (Kaleidoscope Yarns Blanket Project, 15 Pearl St, Essex Junction, VT 05452) by April 15th (tax day).
- We will be seaming the blocks together into finished blankets locally. If you are interested in taking part in this aspect of the project please indicate this and include your email address on your name & address card, or stay tuned as we will post information about this on our blog.
- As a fun way to thank everyone for her/his participation, we're going to have a raffle once the blocks are completed. Each block will get you an entry, and over the next few months we'll put together some fun prizes, gift cards, etc to be included in the raffle.