Thanks for the blankets


To the Editor: 

Back in the late spring, Fr. Chip Seadale, the rector at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown, called a meeting to brainstorm some ideas that would be useful to the Ukrainians in their time of need. 

As ideas were being bounced around the table, I thought about all those pregnant young moms with one or two youngsters on each hand, as seen on the various TV news programs, leaving their beloved homes for who knows­ where. One could see the worry in their faces as they wandered to refugee camps and other towns near the Polish border for safety from the exploding bombs in the Ukraine. I thought about the cold weather there, and the need for warm blankets! 

I put out a poster asking those interested in helping out to either sew, knit, crochet, or quilt baby and toddler-size blankets over the summer, to be collected by the project’s end on September 30. I was amazed at what followed over the weeks to come! 

Word spread quickly via Facebook and Twitter, and I received a call from Hermine Hull asking if I would like her to mention this project in her MV Times weekly column (Yes!). I also sent Kathy Case an email with all the details for her Gazette column. 

The Blanket Project took on a life of its own from there. Women from all over the U.S. started sending boxes of lovely, hand-knitted blankets in sizes that would keep a small family warm! The blankets featured monochromatic colors, fancy stitches, and delicate knitting patterns. Others had bold stripes and tassels. One box of quilts featured cute dog motifs. 

The final tally was mind-boggling — 74 knit blankets, 19 quilts, 8 hats, 3 toddler sweaters, and one beautiful pair of knitted handwarmers! 

Thanks to everyone for their efforts and willingness to help with this project. These are the ladies on the Vineyard who contributed: Sheila Baird, Beth Green, Carole Early, Mardi Moran, Patti Dean, Judy Mueller, Kristi Straler, Ellie Bates, Kathy Malmquist, Amy Custis, Susan Wilson, and Juleann Van Bell. 

The following ladies contributed from all over the U.S.: Linda Adorno, New York; Joyce Silberling, California; Pei-loh Lo and Mindy Annis from Minnesota; Robin Ford, Pennsylvania; Rachel Bell, Massachusetts; Sandra Enser, Virginia; and Renee Riddle, Indiana. (Just a quick note here about Renee: She is in her late 90s, and she filled seven large boxes with the lovely knitted blankets that her daughter, Susan Moran, generously paid to mail to me.) Pam Montorrosso deserves thanks for assisting me with the packing of all 18 boxes too! 

Whether these ladies made one or many blankets, I have to send you all a warm and hearty thank-you for your handicraft talents and generosity. 

While I’m at it, I can’t forget to thank all of you who contributed money for postage to this project through St. Andrew’s Church, or by other means. The blankets were mailed, for $1,860, to an orphanage and refugee shelter in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, near the country’s western border. Finally I have to thank the two young ladies at the Edgartown Post Office window for their help and good humor, as well as the patient folks who stood in line behind me! 

Donna M Blackburn