Most of you know about the blanket - I wrote about it HERE when I first started to talk about the idea of making a blanket for him - the response was overwhelming - people posted on their blogs, printed flyers, shared the news by word of mouth to their local knitting family. It's difficult to accept the challenges Cancer has brought to our lives - I lost my father to Cancer - a coworker's mother is currently facing the battle... friends from all over spoke of their triumphs and tragedies relating to the disease - and all the while, we all wanted to do something for our friend, Jason, who is in his early thirties and has been told by his Doctors chances are he has less than the summer to complete his short life. We all are frustrated into action by this news - not knowing what to do, I made the decision to ask everyone to do what we do best... knit!
We carefully laid out each square - attempting to place them in an order that offered no defined pattern - paying close attention to the colors - trying not to put the same color next to itself - and not to put a similarly textured or patterned item near another... it took an hour or two of arranging but once it was finalized, the rows were stacked (1-9) and the squares in each row were joined - one by one - to each other - I did this with the help of Doug Laughlin (of West Hollywood, CA) and Ivar Asplund (visiting from Sweeden) - over the weekend we got most of the pieces assembled, then they took the blanket home to finish assembly, and create the crocheted border.
I washed, blocked, and photographed the blanket and it will be mailed, Federal Express to Holland tomorrow morning - to hopefully arrive at Jason's door on Wednesday, June 10, 2009. According to Jonathan, Jason's family is scheduled to arrive at the same time, and while I know there is a lot to think about, with any luck, there will be some time for everyone to read our cards and admire the hard work and love that has been poured into this project. maybe they'll all take turns reading the cards and letters aloud to Jason - letting him just hear the love that's coming at him and his family from all over the world... Again - the idea that everyone just banded together to help is what makes me the most proud - not that we were able to do it, but that we all dove in, head first - selflessly creating beautiful pieces - trying out new techniques, ripping out and re-doing - making the best squares we could to contribute to this offering of love.
It's there too - the love... the blanket just glows with the care and compassion we all have for not only Jason, but for everyone fighting their battles... I think we helped open avenues of communication for some knitters as well... and I know a few who are either fighting their own fights or supporting others who are... felt this was a good way to focus the love...
Keep tuned for more blankets - remember, you gave more than we could use for one blanket - so the next one(s) will be made smaller, and I'm looking for organizations to donate to or sell to benefit for... If you know of somewhere - a Cancer charity... or center that needs the money - an organization that has an annual auction or benefit... get in touch with me.
And if you have a loved one who you have lost to Cancer and wish to add their name to the comments, it'd be an honor to think of them as well while creating the next series of throws... I'm starting the list off with the memory of my father, William Franklin Kunnecke - who I lost to cancer just a few years ago - I know he would be proud of this blanket and to know that his son was able to organize what I believe is the first blanket knitted almost entirely by male knitters from around the world (with a few amazing women tossed in for good measure!)
I'll close this post with images from the creation/assembly of this blanket - I hope that the idea catches on and we all can use our craft to help comfort others - I will continue to make blankets like these - if you'd like to help by contributing more squares, please email me- and again, thank you for being an example to the world - showing that love and compassion still exist.