August 22nd, 2008
Knitting and crochet are wonderful ways to reach out to others, whether you teach your craft to someone or you give handmade items to charity.
Last winter I was contacted by Debra Riesenberg (pictured left), the owner of the Labors of Love yarn shop in Fallbrook, Southern California. The area was devastated by forest fires last fall. Deb’s home, as well as the homes of her mother and aunt who also work at her store were fine, but there were so many people who had been left homeless. She decided to give handmade blankets to those who had lost so much, and she recruited people from the community to help. Deb took the money her store had made the month before and bought almost 400 skeins of Vanna’s Choice to give to volunteers to knit and crochet into squares for afghans. She also contacted me, and Lion Brand was happy to help such a worthy cause.
Over 200 knitters and crocheters, including new stitchers, blind stitchers, and a group of stitchers at a nursing home, worked on these “blankets of love.” Deb, her mother Jean Trygstad, and her aunt Anne Klentz worked to assemble them. The recipients of these blankets, including the local firehouse, were extremely touched by the beautiful blankets.
As an added bonus, several publishers were at Deb’s “blanket reception” and she now has a book of patterns out, inspired by the blankets of love, called Knit-A-Block: Quilts and Afghans.