Tag Archives: Bridge for Blankets

Bridge for Blankets: It’s a wrap!

Remember these August beauties gracing the Broadway Bridge?

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The PDX Bridge Festival is now just a hazy summer memory. But as promised, this Bridge for Blankets banner and three others just like it have been broken down into 42 blankets, washed, dried (thank goodness for superwash wool), repaired, and de-fuzzed.

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Yes, de-fuzzed. This is the fuzz I picked off three blankets. It looks like a crazy clown wig for kitty. (I didn’t dare try to get a picture on Mookie.)

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The blankets are now ready to go back into the world, headed for homeless shelters and hospitals. Their colors aren’t quite as perky as they were at the beginning of August (hanging out in the sunshine for a month will do that), but the blankets are wooly and warm, and have a very interesting history. A very quirky Portland tale.

Just a reminder: The yarn was purchased at a discount from Cascade Yarns through Abundant Yarns, but the cost of the yarn was not even close to covered by donations ($2000 short). If you would like to donate to help cover the cost of the yarn for these blankets, checks can be made out to Tyler Mackie, the artist behind this project (write Bridge for Blankets in the memo field) and mailed to:

Bridge for Blankets
c/o ArtCraft Silversmiths
3111 SE 13th Ave Suite 500
Portland, Oregon 97202

or PayPal payment to tyler.mackie@gmail.com. Donations are tax deductible as a 501c3; Tyler will send you a receipt.

I enjoyed participating in this project, both as a knitter in a huge community art effort, and at the other end of the project, preparing blankets for sharing in the community. I’m glad that this knitting will live on in another form, bringing comfort to people who need it.

And after yesterday’s post about Portland’s statues getting some cheerful holiday knitwear, a little more sleuthing and connecting on twitter led me to discover that the deer statue used to have a hat. And the otters’ sweaters looked like this! Links are to pictures; they’re not mine so I can’t post them here on the blog. Go look; they’re cute. Also, the next wave of Monumental Attire isn’t due until Thursday this week, so I’ll try to see Kvinneakt then. She’s going to get a sparkly shawl and leg warmers.

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Wish me luck!

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Biking Portland’s bridges

My friend Karen and I rode our bikes down to the Broadway Bridge to see the rest of the Bridge for Blankets panels. In the process, I found a path along the west side of the river that was new to me. We picked it up at the Portland Police Department’s horse stables, and rode south, oohing and aahing over the four knit panels on the bridge. (Click any of the pictures for a larger view.)

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Portland is such a beautiful city, and the bridges over the Willamette River help make it so. My favorite? The Fremont Bridge. It’s a tied arch bridge, and I love its modern look. It’s the next bridge north of the Broadway.

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Our ride took us along Waterfront Park, back over the river on the Hawthorne Bridge (vertical lift), along the Eastside Esplanade, crossing the river again over the Steel Bridge (vertical lift) because I’d never crossed it on the bike/pedestrian path next to the train deck, and then back towards home over the Broadway (bascule). The sun came out and it was glorious.

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Steel Bridge (black, train deck lowered), Broadway (red), Fremont (green).

One more look at the lovely knitting:

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If you’re local to Portland, don’t forget the Block Party on Saturday, August 10, noon to 7 p.m. at NW Broadway and Hoyt. You can still buy raffle tickets for the Raffghan there; the drawing will be around 2 p.m. Proceeds go towards defraying costs for the Bridge for Blankets Project. Music, dancing, bridge tours, food, arts, crafts…what’s not to like?

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(Photo: Sharon Mackie)

And if you want to get your whole bike geek chic on, the Providence Bridge Pedal ride is on Sunday, August 11. The ride offers routes of 3 to 36 miles, and crosses up to 10 bridges, depending on route. This is the yearly opportunity to ride your bike on the top decks of the two freeway bridges, the Fremont and Marquam. The views are spectacular. Here’s an ancient picture of the family on the Fremont Bridge from 1997, the second Bridge Pedal. Yes, I hauled 4 year old kiddo on a Burley Piccolo trailer bike. The year before he had a toddler seat on my bike rack. We’ve grown up some since then…

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Have a great weekend!

ETA: Here’s a in-depth feature on Tyler Mackie and the Bridge for Blankets project.

Bridge for Blankets…live!

Remember these squares?

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I knit them as part of a huge knit art installation going up on Portland’s Broadway Bridge. I’m one of over 150 knitters involved in this project. The first panel went up last weekend.

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Pretty cool, huh? I didn’t anticipate that they’d be so poufy; I had envisioned a flat knitted banner. But knitting is very stretchy, as you know, so it’s going to drape. This panel has canvas strips basted to the back of some of the seams to help support the weight. When the breeze blows into the fabric, it billows like a spinnaker sail. Beautiful! I’m hoping that rain won’t stretch it beyond recognition; it’s superwash wool and sometimes superwash needs a trip through the dryer to bounce back to size. Here’s to sunny warm days!

I rode my bike down to the river (more maneuverable than a car) for a closer look.

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Look! My squares! A mitered square in the center of the very bottom row of the purple section (curled under), and in the row above it: stripe, miter, stripe.

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This adds a lot of fun and whimsy for traffic going by on the bridge, and on the river, too. Three more panels are going up on Friday, so there will be two on each side of the bridge. They’ll stay up through mid-August. After that, they’ll be disassembled into 42 blankets, cleaned, and given to local shelters and hospitals.

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Here’s the view from the other side, looking south towards the Steel Bridge. It’s like a stained glass window with the light coming through it.

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I spent a lovely afternoon on Sunday helping to sew one of the panels together. We finished the last two panels, but the reinforcing with canvas is still underway this week.

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Tyler Mackie is the fiber artist behind this project. She’s sitting on a finished panel. It looks a lot bigger at home than on the bridge! Each of the four panels panel weighs about 45 pounds, measures 18 feet by 21 feet, and uses 210 skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash. That’s a lot of yarn.

Contrary to what you may have heard or read, the yarn was not donated. Tyler purchased it at a substantial discount from Abundant Yarn, with an additional discount from Cascade Yarn. (Thank you!) She is still fundraising to cover the cost of the yarn. You can donate to this project at the PDX Bridge Festival website.

Other fundraising is also happening. There’s a silent art auction at SoHiTek Gallery, 625 NW Everett # 102, this Thursday, 6-9 p.m. Prices begin at $30, and all proceeds go to support Bridge for Blankets. You can purchase raffghan tickets there, too.

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Sharon Mackie knit this “raffghan” (raffle afghan) representation of the panel color scheme. Gorgeous! The winner will be chosen at the August 10 Block Party.

The Block Party is a birthday party for the Broadway Bridge on Saturday, August 10, noon to 7 p.m. at NW Broadway and Hoyt. Happy 100th birthday to this lovely and functional bascule bridge! (I’m going to make you look that one up…)

Bridge for Blankets update

Here’s my contribution for the Bridge for Blankets project. This project requires a total of 1512 12 inch squares, so my four are just a drop in the bucket. But every little bit counts!

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I’ve been knitting like crazy on other secret projects, most of which involve beads. A simple garter stitch project is a godsend for knit nites and travel.

This is a huge project, but it will be so cool to see knit banners on the Broadway Bridge in August, and to have those banners become 42 usable blankets afterwards. This re-use aspect is what hooked me on the project. So many times yarnbombing just becomes junk, eventually fraying to nothing. I love that this project will have a life after the show.

Tyler Mackie, the creator of this project, could really use donations to help pay for the yarn. I’m donating today, how about you? You can do it here. If you’re not comfortable donating online, you can write a check out to PDX Bridge Festival/ Bridge for Blankets and mail it to :
Tyler Mackie
%Art Craft Silversmiths
3111 SE 13th Ave.
Suite 500
Portland, OR 97202

Your check will be deposited directly to the nonprofit 501c3 account for PDX Bridge Festival, INC.

I posted the instructions for the mitered square over on my Mitered Square pattern page. Enjoy!

Have you ever yarnbombed, or done any kind of public knitting installation? What made you want to do it?

Yarn winners, catching up

I used random.org to choose winners for the two blog anniversary yarns: Leah Robertson is the winner of the Knitted Wit Silky ‘n’ Single, and Laura K is the winner of the Three Fates Eponymous Sock. Congratulations, ladies! I’ve emailed them both, and will be sending out yarn this week. Happy fifth anniversary to me!

I finished a third hat for Jackapalooza at knit nite last week. Cathy brought a bunch to knit nite; Jack’s logo is being added to each hat. Jackapalooza is this coming Friday, and Cathy has 74 hats for the event so far. More are still coming in. I hope all the hats sell, both to support the family, and to let them know that they are embraced by the love of knitters, even knitters that they don’t know. Knitters are the nicest people…

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I popped in to see the Cooperative Press trunk show at Pearl Fiber Arts last Tuesday. I re-met Shannon Okey of Cooperative Press, saw some Theressa Silver’s lovely hats from her new book Hat Couture, and saw a trunk full of goodies from Alex Tinsley’s upcoming Doomsday Knits. Alex was in town for the book’s photoshoot, and was serendipitously available for the trunk show party. I’m so excited about Doomsday; I have a design in it, and seeing the rest of the collection was awe-inspiring. I want to knit it all!

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Alex, me, Daniel Yuhas, Lee Meredith. Fun to hang out with local designers! There were many more that evening, but I was actually out with a birthday group, so I couldn’t stay long.

Busy, busy, busy! But it’s all good.

What are you knitting?

Knitting a blanket…for a bridge

I’m knitting part of a blanket…for a bridge.

Wait, I can explain! Portland’s Broadway Bridge turns 100 this year, and Tyler Mackie wants to celebrate by installing four handknit banners on the bridge in August. Each banner will be 18 x 21 feet. When the celebration is over, the banners will be deconstructed into 6 x 6 foot blankets for Portland’s homeless. The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash, a practical easy care choice.

I’m knitting several 12 inch squares for this project. Check the Facebook page if you’d like to help knit. Check out the indiegogo funding page for more information on the project. And I’m especially happy the finished project will be made into something useful. Recycling is so very Portland!

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I knit my way across the country this weekend. This is Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, Daytona Beach, Florida, and my first stripey blanket square.

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203 steps to the top! I love circular staircases.

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The Fresnel lenses themselves are a thing of beauty, created to magnify the beam out to sea.

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We had a great visit with Kiddo! A little cool at the beach, but a lovely day.