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Old 07-13-2009, 01:28 PM   #11
Shandeh
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Thanks Nathalie!

I didn't mind doing it. I wanted to have a record of the journal forever. I'm not sure if the domestic violence center will be wanting to keep the journals or not.

Now, we ALL have a copy of the journals!

I just love reading through them, and remembering our wonderful project together.
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:12 PM   #12
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I have asked the organization for an extra day or two to reply to their questions, so if anyone else would like to add a response, please let me know by tomorrow morning,
Tuesday, July 14th.

Thank you all!
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:31 PM   #13
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Here are the answers I submitted for our press release:


*Can you tell me if you live in Monroe ?
I've been a Union County native since I was born in 1964. I currently live in Indian Trail. I went to Indian Trail Elementary as a child, then to Sun Valley Middle and High, graduating in 1982. Next, I went to Wingate College (now University), so I am a big fan of Union County!

*Can you tell me how you came up with the idea to design and create this small blanket for UFS?
I had some great friends in an online forum called "Knitting Help" (www.knittinghelp.com), and wanted us to work on a project together. I imagined that it would be similar to a quilting bee....with each of us knitting a section, then passing it to the next knitter. I decided that our blanket would be given to charity, since several of us were already charity knitters.

I posted a message in the forum about my idea, and several knitters all over the US signed up immediately. Pretty soon, I had enough knitters for five large blankets, as well as two smaller lapghans. (The two lapghans were the ones donated to your facility.)

I chose for us to use any washable worsted weight yarn in our stash, so it would be easy for anyone to participate. Each knitter could knit the design of their choice - either simple or complicated, depending on their knitting experience. This is why I named them "Oddball Blankets". I knew they would have lots of different colors and designs. "Oddball" was the perfect description.

Next, I chose for us to include a journal with the blanket as it traveled all over the country. I'm so glad we did! It is very interesting to read each person's entry in the journal while looking at the section they knitted. It brings you closer to that particular knitter, in a special way.

You can read some of the journals online here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/59646927@N00/sets/72157621251704187/

In addition, I set up a blog for each of our blankets, so our story could be read by anyone that took an interest in our project. Here is our main blog, with links to all the blankets: http://blanketfinder.blogspot.com/

*How did you learn about UFS? And what motivated you to create the blanket for our agency and our Rape Crisis Children’s Advocacy program?
While we were knitting our blankets, we were trying to decide where they should be donated. We talked about it often in the Knitting Help Forum. Several of the knitters requested that we give some blankets to a battered women's shelter. After searching online, I found your organization, and sent an email. I was so pleased to get a positive response from your group! When I told our knitters that you were receptive to our offer, they were ecstatic!

*Why was it important for you and the knitters to come together and make this special blanket for our agency?
The Knitting Help Forum is a very special place. Even though most of us have not met in person, we still care for each other. When someone has not posted a message recently in the forum, we begin to worry about them. We send private messages to see if they are okay, or post a message in the forum to see if anyone else has heard from them. We really are a family of sorts. We live far apart from each other, so we cannot all get together at the same time. Our Oddball blankets are a way of connecting in a wonderful way.

When we send our blankets from person to person, we usually include little gifts for the next knitter. Yarn, knitting patterns, candy, notecards, giftcards, etc. It's just a fun way of keeping in touch, and showing our affection for each other. Knowing that our blanket will be given to charity keeps the project close to our hearts.

Every package is sent with delivery confirmation, so we can trace it's travels from house to house. Whenever our blankets are in the mail, we are a nervous group! We don't want anything to happen to our precious blankets. We've been very lucky so far, sending our large blankets through the mail 160 times, only losing two of the packages. (I'm still hoping those blankets will turn up one day.)

As we have finished each section of our blankets, the participating knitters have voiced a virtual "Yippee", sharing in each step of our journey. When we got closer to completion, we got even more excited. On the day I finished the crochet border, and posted a photo of one of our completed blankets, we all felt a great sense of accomplishment. It is a joy to make our blankets for charity!

*Can you walk me through the process of how you were able to get all of the knitters to contribute to this blanket? Who started with the blanket? And how many women participated? Where do they live across the country (if you can provide a city and state for each participant that would be great).
Our project was popular in the forum, so it was easy to get knitters to participate. I would post a message saying, "We need 3 more knitters for our Oddball Blanket", and would usually get responses by the end of the day. We would post photos of the blanket in progress, telling the story of what stitches we used, which yarn we chose, etc. People were intrigued by our project, and wanted to be part of it.

Each blanket was started by me, here in Indian Trail. I kept a spreadsheet of all participating knitters, and would contact each knitter as it was time for them to participate. It was quite a lot of work, but I really enjoyed doing it. The two Oddball Lapghans were created by 24 knitters all over the US, and one knitter in Canada.

Here are those that participated:
Dottie - Murrieta, California
Jeremy - Norwich, Connecticut
Gail - Stratford, Connecticut
Debi - Osawatomie, Kansas
Amy - Belchertown, Massachusetts
Becky - Ann Arbor, Michigan
Tracie - Champlin, Minnesota
Karen - Joplin, Missouri
Sue - Kansas City, Missouri
Michele - Hendersonville, North Carolina
Sandy (me) - Indian Trail, North Carolina
Angela - Cicero, New York
Stacia - Gloversville, New York
Elizabeth - Columbus, Ohio
Phyllis - Newark, Ohio
Deb - Salem, Oregon
Tiana - McKeesport, Pennsylvania
Erin - Penn Valley, Pennsylvania
Courtney - Crossroads, Texas
Danielle - Jefferson, Texas
Jennifer - The Woodlands, Texas
Julianne - Gloucester, Virginia
Rochelle - Bellingham, Washington
Becky - Oak Harbor, Washington
Diane - London, Ontario (Canada)

*How many people worked on this blanket and how many hours did you think it took to complete it? When did you start the project and when was it completed?
16 knitters worked on the first lapghan, and 13 on the second.

I cast on our first lapghan on July 11, 2007.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/59646927@N00/773928425/
I cast it off, and finished the crochet border on July 5, 2009.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/59646927@N00/3695116175/

I cast on our second lapghan on September 22, 2007.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/59646927@N00/1424199593/
It was bound off and completed on July 4, 2009.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/59646927@N00/3695925002/

So, each blanket took about two years to complete. I don't know how many hours of knitting were involved, because each knitter was working on their own projects as well, while they had the blanket in their homes.

*What do you feel each knitter was able to add to this blanket?
(from Danielle in Texas) - "For me, I joined to knit for charity because we don't have a lot of money to give to charity. In my eyes, knitting is sharing my talent with someone else. I'm able to give back by simply using what God gave me, my two hands, time, love and patience. I think it just goes to show you don't have to have money to find a way to give back."
*Describe the symbolic meaning behind this blanket and what message you hope it conveys?
I've always believed that our Oddball Blankets symbolize beauty and unity in the midst of chaos. Everyone uses different yarns, various stitches, and has their own idea of how our blanket will look when it's complete. Really, none of us knows exactly how it will end up. But somehow, even with all the changes in color and texture, something beautiful emerges.

One of our knitters also shared her answer to that question:
(from Nathalie in Florida) - "I think the blanket is symbolic because just as it took many hands to complete it, it takes everyone pitching in...helping each other...in a world filled with sorrow."

*How do you hope this blanket will touch a child’s life?
(from Danielle in Texas): "I hope the blanket will encase someone and make them feel all the love, warmth, prayers and security they might not have. I'm hoping it will change the life of a young person for the better. It's amazing to me what just the gift of love and friendship can do for someone that has had it so hard. Maybe it will inspire them to "pay it forward" when the time is right for them!"
*How do you hope this blanket will provide comfort to a child who receives assistance from our Monroe office?
(from Nathalie in Florida): "I know that as I worked on one of the blankets, I remember thinking how safe and warm I felt beneath it. It's my hope that the recipient will feel a sense of security as well and know that there are people who care."

*What message would you like the public to know about this endeavor and why it’s important to give back to the community and help non profits like UFS?
I think we should all keep in mind that money and comfort should not be taken for granted. We could each very easily fall into difficult times, needing the help of someone else. I also believe that when we give to others, we are actually giving to ourselves as well - by experiencing the joy of giving.

(from Nathalie in Florida): I think the message that knitting for charity sends to the community is that we all have talents. Put them together, and we can have an impact on the world. Sure, our few blankets might not seem to make a huge difference in the world at large, but to touch even one life means that our efforts accomplished something.

*Is this the first time you’ve done a project of this kind?
Yes - this is my first group charity project, and I've had a BLAST working on it! We're still making blankets now, and adding new projects as well....all for charity. When our project started growing to over 100 knitters, I realized that it was impossible for me to continue handling everything. So, I delegated the project to 8 wonderful ladies in the Knitting Help Forum. They are doing an awesome job of continuing my dream.

*Is there anything you’d like to add?
Our Oddball Blanket project has grown incredibly from when it first began
as one blanket in February of 2007. We started making Oddball Baby Blankets in June of 2007. Now, our baby blankets are being handknit by more than 200 knitters all over the United States, Canada, and England. The baby blankets are given to hospitals, including the Carolinas Medical Center Union right here in Monroe, North Carolina.
http://babyoddball.blogspot.com/

We are also making Oddball Care Shawls for members of the Knitting Help Forum that need our encouragement. Some of the recipients have lost a family member, or are dealing with difficult health issues such as cancer.
http://oddballshawls.blogspot.com/

In addition, we are knitting Oddball Pet Snuggles for animal shelters all over the US. We use cotton or acrylic yarn to create comfortable thick rugs that cover the floor of their cages.
http://oddballsnuggles.blogspot.com/

If anyone would like to help us knit any of our projects, they can join the Knitting Help Forum at http://www.knittinghelp.com/forum/. After joining the forum, send me a private message (I'm "Shandeh" in the forum), and I'll get you started!

If someone would like to help us pay for postage on our projects, they can make a Paypal donation by clicking the "Donate" button on our main blog: http://blanketfinder.blogspot.com/
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:20 PM   #14
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Today, I received another email from United Family Services.

They would like a couple more questions answered. If you'd like to help answer them, please post a response by tomorrow morning (Thursday, July 30th).

WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU AND THE GROUP TO EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF GIVING?

WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT FOR THE GROUP TO SHARE TWO OF THE BLANKETS WITH UFS’ TREE HOUSE CENTER AND HOW DOES IT TOUCH YOU WHEN YOU THINK OF THE CHILDREN WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS GIFT?
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