Saturday, January 19, 2013

Memory Blankets for Newtown

As a parent with a school-age child, and Kathy have bothing a daughter and grandchildren in school, we were deeply affected by the Newtown tragedy that occured at Sandy Hook Elementary School prior to Christmas.  We immediately knew that we wanted to do something but didn't know what to do or how to do it.  After some talking with some fellow crocheters, we were put in contact with Heather Bowling and Stacy Blass of Crazy Hookers Crochet Creations.  They had created a group on Facebook for the Memory Blanket Project.  After chatting back and forth, the four of us joined forces with Ashley Couturier of Good Lookin' Hookin' to really jump into this project.

To explain the project to those who don't know, the project is being completed in phases:  
PHASE 1:  We have been collecting 6" granny squares from anyone who wanted to help.  The only rules were that the squares be 6x6" in size, be made of worsted weight yarn, and be shipped out by January 31st.  Yes, we are still receiving squares regularly - actually, almost daily!  Whenever someone has their squares ready to ship out, they contact one of the 5 of us and are provided with shipping information.  To date, Kathy and I have received over 1000 squares between the two of us... it's amazing to see how many people have jumped in to help with this project!

These are all of the squares we had received as of last weekend - we've received more since this shot was snapped.  Keep in mind that many of those stacks you see are at least 10-15 squares high, if not more than that!!  

PHASE 2:  Heather, Stacy, Ashley, Kathy, and I are all going to have to edge and assemble the squares we've received..  After much discussion, we decided it would be best to assemble them in school color.  Kathy and I have opted to edge everything in white yarn first, then we will assemble them into blankets with the green yarn.  In an attempt to simplify the assembly process, we have started to sort the squares randomly into separate boxes, with each box representing one blanket.  We are starting with 11 blankets worth since we already have enough to technically complete 10 blankets but have many more squares coming.  Because we want each blanket to represent people from all around the country (and even the world in a few instances), none of the boxes has a full blanket worth of squares in it yet.  We are adding to each as the squares come in.  I'll have pictures of this process in the coming days.

PHASE 3:  We will be working with the Memory Blanket Group to host "Adopt-a-box".  This will help cover the cost of shipping the blankets to our distribution point.  The great part is that Heather and Stacy, both living in Pennsylvania, will be making the trip up to Newtown to personally deliver and distribute the blankets within the town.  Our original goal was to make 26 blankets, one for the family of each victim.  As we had more and more squares pledged, we branched out and decided to try to make enough blankets to distribute 1 to each of the classrooms.  We want all of the students and faculty to know that we realize that those who lost their lives are not the only victims of this horrible tragedy!  If we have more blankets on top of that to donate, then so be it - not a single blanket will go undelivered.  

To those who may be wondering, yes, we realize that a press release came out several weeks ago that the school and town that no more gifts be sent.  We did contact "Assist Newtown", the group that was set up after the tragedy to assist with all donations.  We have received confirmation from them that our project was approved for distribution.  That was the greatest thing we could have hoped for.

If you crochet and are interested in joining up with us, you still have time.  You can request admittance to the group here - all requests are being approved and you can find all of the information you'll need to participate in the files section on the document titled "Please Read!"  

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