Tag Archives: charity knitting

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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Holiday yarn bombing

There’s another wave of knitterly (and crocheted) public art in Portland. Downtown Portland is featuring holiday sweaters for some of the statues downtown. Here’s the schedule for Monumental Attire. I went to check out the first wave of sweaters, but unfortunately someone has made off with most of it.

This deer still has her sweater and leg warmers:

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But I think someone stole the sweaters off the otters:

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Someone definitely stole most of the cardigan off “Allow Me” leaving one sleeve behind (because they couldn’t get it past the umbrella?), but the sleeve is gone now, too.

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The next wave begins Thursday, November 21, and you may need to hurry if you want to see it before vandals make off with it! “Kvinneakt” is scheduled for a sweater this week, and she looks like she could use it. A bit chilly out there. (Do you remember this statue from the”Expose Yourself to Art” poster, which featured future Portland mayor Bud Clark?)

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As part of the festivities, there is also an ugly sweater contest, a party to celebrate it, and a request for donations for Transitions Project, an organization that helps people transitioning from homelessness to housing. You can read all the details here.

Portland: It’s a quirky town and I love it. I’m especially loving the desire to share knitting and do something good at the same time. That’s Portland in a nutshell! Now if only vandals would stop making off with the art.

Knit on…

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…)

Knitting for the troops

I recently received an email from Barbara Jennings, who took my class on circular hats in the round at Twisted last year. Since taking the class, she’s made over 40 hats for family and friends. Excellent! Now she wants to do more. She’s involved in an effort to knit caps for soldiers being deployed to Iraq in September, and she’d like more knitters to get involved with this project. Here’s what she has to say:

We need knitters! We recently became aware of a need for 2700 100% wool caps for soldiers being deployed to Iraq in September. If you can make even one cap before the end of August it would be a great help. Please read on to get the cap pattern and pictures and check out the videos of the Idaho organizer – Bea is a Rosie the Riveter from WWII and not deterred by seemingly insurmountable odds. We want to help her reach her goal and get a knitted cap into each soldier’s pack. A huge thank you to our area knit shops for supporting this project! The participating shops are listed on the pattern. Check out the yarn discounts. Barbara Jennings and Carla Harwood – Portland knitters

You can download the pattern here.

And here’s a link to the news story carried on Idaho news station KTVB.

No matter how you feel about the war in Iraq, you may want to knit to provide this bit of comfort to American soldiers. And now I think I know what I’m knitting at Stitch & Pitch on Wednesday night.

Off to find yarn in the stash…

ETA: Well, I really don’t have much stash. There wasn’t enough leftover earth-toned worsted wool to knit the hat, so I popped in at Twisted, and found this:

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Lamb’s Pride Superwash 100% wool, colorway lichen. Soft, pretty/handsome, and washable, too. Wool is the requested fiber, so it’s perfect! And it also fixes my formerly picture-less post.

Knit on…