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!
We’re gearing up for the 4th Annual Maine’s Fastest Knitter Race on Wednesday July 29, 2015 at the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland, Maine. Hence, we have speed knitting on the mind. Can you imagine knitting 80, 90, 100 stitches a minute? With the increase in popularity of knitting races around the world, some knitters are polishing their needles, doing their warm up exercises and keeping training schedules. There are classes popping up with titles like Knitting For Speed and Efficiency or Need For Speed and YouTube and the blogosphere are filled with tutorials on how to use the science of ergonomics to increase your knitting speed. There has been a good-natured rivalry between the two fastest knitters in the world, Hazel Tindell and Miriam Tegels, for at least 10 years. Hazel Tindell has been knitting for as long as she can remember. As a teen, she knit and sold Fair Isle yokes. In 2002, Tindell qualified to participate in the World’s Fastest Knitter competition. She beat out her three other competitors by stitching 255 stitches in three minutes. https://youtu.be/GfRZnN2rL4Y Miriam Tegels always knew she was a quick knitter, and knit all through high school and continually since then. She practices her speed knitting frequently to keep her pace up, and won the record on August 26, 2006. Clocking 118 stitches in one minute, she holds the Guinness World Record for fastest knitter. https://youtu.be/aFi0nhA1uHU The two finally faced off in 2008 at a Minneapolis, Minnesota Knit Out event where Hazel handily beat Miriam, 262 to 243 over three minutes. There are good reasons to learn more efficient hand positions that ease fatigue and relaxation techniques that get you to unclench your pinkies (you pinky clenchers know who you are!). We should all take an interest in our hand health, but most people knit for relaxation or as a hobby and don’t think about ergonomics or efficiency. When we invite folks to join us at the race, they usually answer with a variation on, “Oh, no. I couldn’t. I’m not fast enough. I could never win. If you had a race for the world’s slowest knitter, I would probably win that.” So what does all this have to do with you, you ask? Well let me ask you something in return. Is there any other place in your knitting world where you can sit on a stage in front of a cheering, adoring crowd and ply your craft to thunderous applause? I thought not. Fast or slow, win or lose, the knitters on the stage at The Maine’s Fastest Knitter Race know that they are doing something special, something enviable, something admirable. Many of them come back year after year because it is fun to meet other knitter in a public place and collectively raise the profile of knitting for every one. Check out some photos from last year’s event here. If you live locally or are visiting Rockland, you can come and watch and cheer on your favorites, but arrive early if you want a seat, as there is usually standing room only. If you are ready to compete, drop by 18 School Street or call us at the shop 207-594-6060 to reserve you seat. You can also register online here or even show up by 4 p.m. on race day to join! I promise you that even if you think you are the worlds slowest knitter (and seriously you can’t all be the slowest!) your place is on that stage with us – the swift, the proud, the elite – who know that knitting is a superpower unlike any other. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. On your mark, get set… GO!