The countdown to this year’s 24-Hour Community Blanket Knitting Marathon has begun! The yarn (donated by Berroco) is being wound, the roster is all filled up, and the non-profits are busy decorating beautiful boxes in which you can place your non-perishable-food-item votes! This event is one of my favorite Over The Rainbow Yarn community outreach projects, because it feeds the hungry, benefits a local charity, and is just plain fun. The blanket is always beautiful, too. (Have I mentioned lately how much I love knitting with Vintage?) This year, all of the spots filled up really quickly. If you missed out on a chance to sign up, bring a non-perishable food item over to the event to vote, and while you’re there, offer to give someone a little break. When you’re knitting for two hours straight, it’s healthy to stand up and stretch every so often, and the opportunity for a coffee or bathroom break is much appreciated.
We have seven non-profits on board this year, and I don’t know how I’m going to choose who to vote for — I may have to bring enough food items to vote for each one! Let me tell you a little bit about each of the groups:
Area Interfaith Outreach: AIO runs our local food pantry and offers emergency assistance. They try to make sure that no one goes cold or hungry, which is a tough job in our community where more than a quarter of the schoolchildren don’t know where their next meal will come from. AIO sends backpacks of food home with kids on the weekends, distributes the lovely mittens that you all knit for our annual mitten tree, and makes sure that when things get tough, families have enough food on the table. http://www.aiofoodpantry.org/index.html
Midcoast Habitat for Humanity: This local chapter of Habitat for Humanity International works to build homes for low-income families in Knox County. Their vision is “A world where everyone has a decent place to live”, and they get the community involved in making it happen. Finding decent, affordable housing in the midcoast can be a big challenge, and Habitat for Humanity is stepping in to help provide a safe roof over the heads of families in need. http://www.midcoasthabitat.org/
OUT Maine: OUT Maine/Out As I Want to Be works to support LGBTQ teens and youth in the community. They offer a safe space and educational services, and are “passionately committed to creating a welcoming and affirming Midcoast Maine”. One of their main goals is reducing harassment and bullying in schools, which can make a huge difference in a teen’s life. http://outmaine.org/
Pope Memorial Humane Society: Pope Memorial is a fantastic humane society that goes the extra mile for the animals that come through their doors. They’re a no-kill shelter, and they often are able to reconnect lost animals with their humans. The folks who work there really care, and are great at promoting responsible pet ownership. They give homeless animals a chance at a forever home. https://www.humanesocietyofknoxcounty.org/
Rockland District Nursing Association: RDNA provides “in-home nursing and community health services” to people in our community who might not otherwise have access to medical care. They offer financial assistance to those who can’t afford the services they need, and work to assist the elderly to live at home for as long as possible. http://rocklanddistrictnursing.com/
Trekkers: Trekkers is a mentoring program with an emphasis on outdoor adventure. They connect students with caring adults and take them on trips to expand their horizons. Trekkers emphasizes the importance of a providing a steady presence in their students’ lives, working with them from 7th grade through graduation. Local teens are given wonderful opportunities to learn about cultural diversity and community service. http://trekkers.org/
Please come out with a non-perishable food item (or several!) this Friday or Saturday to vote for one of these incredible non-profits! Help make this year’s Blanket Marathon a success!
I sometimes think that my spirit animal is a labrador retriever. I just want to help, whether it’s by fetching the ball, rescuing Timmy from the well, or getting you through a tough spot in your latest project. If I can’t help you, if I have to send you away disappointed or frustrated, I often feel disappointed and frustrated as well. That’s why this post is called “Help Me Help You”: I want you to feel happy, so that I can feel happy. Don’t you want me to feel happy?
Photo by Brooks Winner
Here at the shop, we offer drop-in help times (Monday and Thursday evenings from 5-7 pm for $15) as well as the option to book your own 15-Minute Mini Class (also $15) whenever it works with your schedule. I know that life is busy, so here are three tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of your help session with us:
Bring your yarn and needles. If you’re already underway, bring your half-finished item. While I have occasionally helped a knitter over the phone, it is so much easier for both of us if we have the item in question in our hands. That way, we can see where you’re getting stuck, and set you on the right path before you leave the shop. If you’re anything like me, it’s better to try a new skill right away, rather than trying to hold it in your head the whole drive home.
Bring your pattern. If your dog ate your pattern, please make a note of the name of the pattern (and the designer, if possible) so that we can try to find a copy of it. Sometimes, the problem isn’t that you’re doing something wrong — sometimes the pattern has an error! Wouldn’t you rather know that right away, instead of beating yourself up over something that isn’t even your fault? If we can examine your pattern, we can also try to decipher the problem in context. Perhaps the designer just used an unusual turn of phrase, or perhaps we can veer slightly from what they wrote in order to find a more elegant solution.
Bring an open mind. This is just as important as tips 1 and 2. Whether it’s learning a new skill or fixing a mistake, you will have much better luck if you approach it with a positive, can-do attitude. The more worked up you get, telling us that you “can’t” do something, the harder it is for us to help you, because your brain doesn’t function as well when you’re in panic-mode. (Trust me, I learned this the hard way with my taxes.) Be kind to yourself, take a deep breath, and be willing to learn.
I really want you be happy with your project, and I certainly don’t want your knitting to cause you high blood pressure or depression. We all have moments where we need to consult a more qualified knitter, or just have another pair of eyes take a fresh look at a problem. It warms my little people-pleasing, labrador retriever heart to see a knitter overcome a challenge and complete a project that seemed out of reach. Here at Over The Rainbow Yarn, we want to see you succeed — help us help you!
But seriously, this yarn is divine. I fell in love at first touch, and I encourage all of you to come in and feel it for yourselves. Each skein is 98 glorious yards of 98% extrafine merino/2% nylon. Noble is the ultimate in cozy, the companion you want to have with you through brisk fall days and icy winter nights. (Noble never has freezing-cold feet in bed, you guys.) With a gauge of 2 stitches per inch on a #17 needle, this is instant-gratification, quick-knit yarn at its best. It’s light, lofty, and just plain lovely.
It’s no secret that Over The Rainbow Yarn loves Berroco. There’s good reason for that: they consistently create quality products, and they have excellent pattern support. They’ve brought out a pattern booklet to go with Noble, and because they love us back, they have also made each of the patterns available online through your local yarn shop (Hey, that’s us!). They even sent us a sample garment, which I kidnapped borrowed yesterday in order to survive the frigid air conditioning.
I think the first item I want to make for myself is Coffeehouse. Yummmm….