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!
SO - we joined together - and around 50 packages arrived in the mail to me - each containing 8" x 8" squares made of the specified yarn - in whatever pattern the knitter wanted... I also received squares delivered by hand in NY at the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat, in my home by knitters who were visiting and responded to the call, and at work by men who were close enough to come visit... in all, we received well over 200 squares!
Where did they come from? based on the mailing labels and what I know about those who contributed - Arizona, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, California, Illinois, the United Kingdon (Wales), Ontario, Canada, Maine, North Carolina, Oregon, New York, Minnesota, New Zealand, New Jersey, Quebec, Canada, Colorado, Spain, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Utah, Tennessee, London (United Kingdom), Wyoming, Washington, Louisiana, and Kansas - (if I didn't include a location, email me and I'll revise as necessary) :) - but in short, all over the world!
Of those squares, we selected the best from each contributor. If there were 4 squares and one contributor, the best square was selected and used in the blanket. The balance of the squares were set aside to be used for future throws that will be sold/auctioned/donated to raise money for Cancer research in Jason's honor - but that's a different posting -- If there were 2 contributors in a mailing, we selected the best two squares... if 3 contributors, then 3 of the squares were put in the blanket, and so on- In the end, we lacked 7 squares to complete the blanket, so we went back through the surplus and picked the 7 best to complete the piece.
You spent $219.48 in shipping (that we could count) to mail the squares and notes to me for this blanket - and donated $182.00 to help with the costs of getting our blanket and cards/letters to Jason in Holland. We were able to gather 49 letters, notes and cards for Jason and I can't wait to get those to him!
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.