Our local newspaper publishes a column of volunteer opportunities. In the past, I’ve volunteered for a variety of things, including picking up shot put balls for a track and field event (I found myself wishing the participants didn’t take so many practice shots!). Recently, I saw a notice inviting knitters and crocheters to participate in a fund raiser for Middle Way House (a shelter for women and children fleeing violence at home). I emailed the coordinator immediately.
As I soon learned, the project involved knitting blankets for trees around the town square. Some might call it “yarn bombing” or “guerilla knitting” but the idea of a tree blanket sounds more peaceful and loving, in keeping with Middle Way House’s philosophy. Local businesses and organizations sponsor a tree, and then volunteers design its blanket.
My knitting partner, Kathy, and I volunteered for a tree co-sponsored by the Irish Lion and Crazy Horse restaurants. The tree in front of their restaurants is too small, so we were given a larger one in front of J. L. Waters, across from the court house. For her half, Kathy knitted beautiful Irish cables, while I made crazy-colored squares. We stretched our blanket around the tree, which was about 72 inches in circumference, and stitched it together. Our blanket is 7 feet long, topped by two “sleeves” wrapped around the branches. We hope they help hold it up, especially when the yarn gets wet during a storm.
You can see the sleeves in this picture,as well as the Irish flag Kathy knitted. Many thanks to Deb for the use of her truck and ladder, and for stitching together the taller portion of our tree blanket. It does take a village!
On Friday, there will be a special yarn-cutting ceremony, and members of the public can vote for their favorite trees ($1 per vote, with the proceeds going to Middle Way House).
More tree blankets will appear in the next few days. (In case you are wondering, we’ve been assured that the blankets do not harm the trees.)
I have to confess, I enjoyed this project much more than toting shot put balls at the track and field event. It was great fun working with the other knitters and crocheters, the project supports a worthy cause, and it’s fun to decorate a tree. I’m already planning my next project, but it’s a surprise…stay tuned.