The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What Are You Thankful For?

For me this year, it's something different. It's you. I am so very thankful for all of you--whether or not you ever comment--for many reasons, but today because of this:

I know, it's hard to differentiate one from another. Turns out, it's hard to get that much love into one picture, or even two. But there are definitely six blankets there and it's all because of you. Even if you didn't knit or crochet a darned thing, I felt you believing in this project. I think all of our energy did this great thing, and I am thankful for it and for you.

I think you had the hard part. After all, it's a piece of cake to sit on the couch watching movies and joining squares (feline assistance aside), but it is a leap of faith to send your beautiful handiwork to someone you've never met, in the hope that she will do it justice. It is a leap of faith to assume that that same someone will be able to get all the ducks in a row and get the blankets where they're going. It is a huge leap of faith to give one or two or ten pieces of a huge creation, and just know that the rest will arrive. Thank you for taking that leap with me. One of my very favorite expressions is "When you take the leap and step off the edge, you must believe one of two things: either there will be someone to catch you, or you will be taught how to fly." I think you guys did both, and it makes me feel so very blessed.

I boxed up the blankets this morning and will be taking them to the Post Office tomorrow. They are going to the Mayor of Huntington, Hilary Gordon, because she is the one who has been distributing items to the miner's families. In order that she not think some crazy person had sent her three boxes of yarn (I put two in each box), I included a letter to explain the Miner's Blanket Project. I'll put an excerpt from it below:

Dear Mayer Gordon:

Enclosed please find 2 of 6 handmade blankets (there are a total of 3 packages), intended for the families of the 6 miners who were tragically killed in August. There is a story to this, as you might imagine.

In August, when I first began to see news coverage about the miners, I was tremendously moved and wanted with all my heart to be able to do something, anything. Of course, there was little anyone could do. Finally, after a week or so and as hope was beginning to dim for the men, I used my weblog to ask if anyone would be willing/interested in helping me to knit squares that I might put together into 6 blankets—one for each family. I thought I might get a few people saying they might be able to help; at that point, I admit that I had little hope that I could get the project off the ground. I was quickly proven wrong. Within 24 hours I had e-mails from all over the world, many of them stating that they had one square partially finished and wanted to know where to mail them. I was astounded.

Even with that outpouring of support, I still doubted that I would be able to get all the squares I needed. I had asked for 10-inch squares, with the intent of making each blanket 6 rows x 5 rows—meaning I would need a total of 180 squares. This seemed daunting to me, so I started making squares myself. At my most optimistic, I assumed I would end up making half of them. Again, the generosity of people in general and knitters in particular took me by surprise. I made the request in early September; by mid-October, I had 192 squares, as well as donations of money for postage, yarn for edging, and more yarn to give as gifts to people who donated squares. It was a phenomenal outpouring.

It took me until last weekend to finish assembling the squares into the incredible displays of hope, support, and unity that I have mailed to you. My goal was to have them done in time to be given for Christmas, as it seems that the first Christmas without a loved one would be a terribly painful and lonely time—a good time to hear the message that you are not alone, not forgotten. You will note that some of the squares have notes or tags or cards attached to them. Some knitters opted to send along messages of support and caring and so I left them with the squares for the recipients to read.

Thank you so very much for taking this project on the next step of its journey. It has been an experience both somber and joyous—somber in that it is rooted in such a horrific accident and so very much suffering and loss; joyous in that I have had the opportunity to be reminded quite graphically of the real goodness of people. There are squares in these blankets from as far away as the United Kingdom; as close as right there in Utah. People everywhere care about your town and its losses. I join them in offering our deepest sympathy for your pain.

I know it's been said....but I love you guys. There is no way to thank you enough--for the catching, and for the flight lessons. I want to be like all of you when I grow up.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. So far, this is my best one ever.


Ms. Knitingale


  • At 2:59 PM, Blogger Faren said…

    Thanks for putting this all together. That letter sounds wonderful.

  • At 3:02 PM, Blogger Dianne said…

    And I am thankful today for people like you Ms.K..I've heard many times from Marianne what an incredible person you "there's the proof the blankets."
    Thank you for the brainchild and carrying it through...
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Mr.K.~

  • At 6:15 PM, Blogger Tola said…

    oh arent they beautiful? thank you for posting this today.

  • At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Lilly said…

    Ms. K - You say it so well. Thanks for speaking for all of us.

  • At 10:00 PM, Blogger ~Tonia~ said…

    Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving.

  • At 3:41 AM, Blogger Lynn said…

    "Work is love made manifest". I looked in my "Bartlett's", and the closest that I came was this, from Kahlil Gibran.

    "Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate and take alms of those who work with joy."

    Thank you for lovingly assembling all our bits and fragments of joy into symbols of love and hope and comfort.

    May your own heart be filled with joy and peace as you enter this season of thanksgiving and contemplation.

  • At 5:29 AM, Blogger Sarah said…

    Thank you!

  • At 6:26 AM, Anonymous Em said…

    What an amazing thing to be thankful for. I am thankful for the wonderful caring and generosity of knitters everywhere! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving.

  • At 11:27 AM, Blogger Jo said…

    Look what you did, you are like us and we're like you, lots of love xoxox happy thanksgiving!

  • At 12:59 PM, Blogger Kim said…


    I can't say anything else.

  • At 1:08 PM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    A beautifully written letter! Thank you so much for putting this together for every one!

  • At 2:24 PM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Beautiful, sweetie. Thanks for letting us be a part of it!

    And I am thankful for you. {{{{{{{Flo}}}}}}}}

  • At 1:02 PM, Blogger Julie Koerber said…

    The fact that you took the initiative is what sparked this wonderful gift. Your letter literally made me cry. Thanks again for letting knitters far and wide be a part of this project!From Julie - The Yellowstone Unravelers!

  • At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Frequent Frogger said…

    I am late getting to read this, but so happy that the blankets are on their way. I do hope those families will feel the love you sent every time they wrap themselves in warmth. Thank you for inspiring all of us and for giving us a way to show that we care.


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