community blanket

Shortly before Christmas, I heard a story on NPR that made me weep. A high school teacher noticed a pair of sisters walking to school in the cold with one coat. When they were halfway to school, the one wearing the coat would take it off and give it to her sister. The teacher asked them quietly why they were sharing a coat, and the sisters admitted that their family couldn't afford for them each to have one. They shared the one so that neither would have to walk in the cold the entire way to school. The teacher then went out and bought a second coat, along with some gloves and hats for them because she thought it wasn't fair that any child should have to walk to school in the cold without a coat, especially right before Christmas. Now, I rarely cry, but for some reason this story hit me right in the gut and left me sobbing quietly in the kitchen while I peeled carrots for dinner that night.

Warmth is a most basic human need.

Also, there is nothing like hearing about people who are cold to get a knitter going.

For the last few months, a friend and I have been organizing a small knitting group from the church we attend (she regularly, I occasionally). When Afghans for Afghans announced their latest campaign, I printed out some information about it to share with the other knitters and try and drum up some interest in putting together a community blanket. If you've been reading for a while, you may remember I did something similar nearly two years ago. As it happens, knitters are a generous bunch, and thanks to the contributions of at least a half a dozen knitters (both financial and knitting), this one got done in about a month.



I went with the same basic design as the last community blanket - log cabin garter stitch squares - but I made a few changes. This time, we used bulky yarn instead of worsted, and this time we made 10" squares instead of 8". This made for faster knitting and fewer squares to sew up. Also, with the help of my mom, I did a single crochet border all around the edge; it helps pull the colors together and makes the edges more stable.



The finished size is 40"x50". It's very warm.



Choosing the yarn was fun. See all that dark orange? That's a whole bunch of Cascade 109 LE Bulky I ordered on clearance from WEBS two years ago to make a blanket for my brother's then-girlfriend-now-wife when she was diagnosed with Hodgkins and had to go through six months of chemo. When the yarn arrived, I decided the color wasn't right and ordered a bunch more in blue to use instead (see that FO here). So the orange yarn sat in the stash waiting to be used up or given away. When I saw how much enthusiasm there was for this blanket project, I decided it would be a good way to use up this yarn I didn't really want. We chose several complementary colors of Berocco Peruvia Quick, which is the same weight and fiber content, and every participant got a hank of orange and a hank of something else, plus instructions for knitting up the squares.

I quite like the result.



There was even some leftover for hats. I would say that making the hats out of leftovers meant that no yarn was wasted, but that would be a bit less than honest: I've got enough dark brown for one more, and even though a simple garter stitch hat on size 11 needles only takes about an hour, I have to admit that I've completely lost my mojo after doing these five! Still, another hat means another head kept warm, so maybe I'll just do it anyway.

Comments

Jessi said…
How wonderful! Love the blanket and the hats are so nice, too.
Karen said…
I volunteer for afghans for Afghans, opening packages, sorting socks, etc, packing up things to send. I can't wait to see your blanket in person. Thanks so much!
Caffeine Girl said…
That is a stunning blanket. It will be treasured! I've got to knit for Afgans. What a great organization.
Louise said…
I love the colours that you used for the afghan. Someone is going to be very grateful to you!

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