Recently one of the group experienced a personal tragedy. Her grown-up son suddenly and unexpectedly died. In a situation like that, friends want to do something to help, but there's nothing that can be done except to be there, even if it has to be as a source of love and concern from across the internet. As a group we sent flowers and a card, but we wanted to do more to show our friend how much we care, so we did what we do best. We knitted.
We made a blanket, just simple garter stitch squares, but 120 of them. 22 members of the group spanning three continents, worked together to get those 120 squares knitted in a rainbow of colours (although concentrating on pink, since that is the recipient's favourite colour). A spreadsheet was drawn up to ensure we had a good spread of colours and to get the numbers just right. Squares were posted to two friends, one in the UK and one in the US who then brought them with her to the UK to help to assemble the finished blanket. Yes, the friendship means so much that she was able and willing to fly across the Atlantic to help coordinate putting the massive project together.
A weekend of blanket assembly was to continue to complete the gift, but then another bump in the road. The friend who had kindly offered her house as sewing space for some and weekend accommodation for others was taken ill and had to go to hospital! No matter, we could use her dining table anyway to put this 5 foot by 6 foot woolly hug together. Fortified by snacks and drinks provided by her very tolerant husband and mother-in-law, a team of stitchers spent several days finalising the layout and then making 218 seams, weaving in 240 ends, and crocheting around 264 inches of the outside edge to form a border and finish off the blanket. Luckily she was well enough to make it home to help with finishing the blanket by the end of the weekend sewing bee.
I feel so lucky to have such a terrific group of knitting friends. It didn't matter how much any one individual contributed. The fact is that this was a group project, meant to bring comfort to a friend at a time of need. Every friend played her part whether it was knitting one or more squares, planning and organising squares or people, sewing seams, crocheting the border. I really felt the power of friendship that weekend and I'm so proud to have been able to play a part in it, even if I ended up seaming sitting in the middle of the dining table! (Don't worry, no tables were harmed during the making of this blanket!)