Sunday, May 14, 2017

Three Stories

In April, we had an amazing 10th anniversary dinner at my place - noshing, giggling, catching up - the things we do on every packing day, but this time we were doing it without the whirlwind of sorting, shrinking, packing and repacking (there's always some of that).

I wanted to let you know that we did a couple of things this month with the items that you have sent us.  Everything photographed in this post and the. last one have been shipped:

1. We have a contact in Iqaluit who happens to come south every once in awhile - I love her, and she and her hubby met me for a coffee in April.  She took 45 pounds of your lovely things and provided them to Nakasuk school.  Here is what she said "They are having a land trip today where they take the kids out for the day sliding and doing things on the land.  Just a note that it is about 0 degrees at the moment and things are slushy and wet.  Ptarmigan have returned and I did see the classic V formation that geese are HERE.  I also saw a falcon overhead so SPRING is here in this part of the Arctic.".

2. We also sent 80 pounds up to Iqaluit for our contact to distribute on.  She will move the knitting on to Rankin Inlet, Cambridge Bay and she is looking at sending some things to a school in Pond Inlet.

People are kind!

I dropped off your blankets and furs to Larga Baffin and had the chance to sit and chat with the social worker there, who I happen to love but honestly, I'm usually in such a rush, that I race into the front door, drop off your stuff, and race out to my next errand.  This time, we talked.  He told me stories of Larga Baffin, but also of the North, as that is where he lived for 20 years.  I asked him for some advice about communicating across cultures, and that part was fascinating and changed the way that I think.  He told me that using words sparingly is not a sign of annoyance and sitting quietly, just sitting, in a group, works in the North.

Just another quick note - He did mention to me that Larga is a scent-free building.  I did drop off all of the little soaps and shampoos that everyone kindly provided, but I think we should take a break from them for now.

I also took a tour of the sewing/crafts room - love it!  The sewing machines are set up, and all of the crafting materials that we provided at Christmas are long gone.

Here are my 3 stories:

1.  Blanket:  I want you to know what your blankets mean to the patients at Larga.  The SW told me a story about a lap blanket/quilt that was given to a women who came South for a longer-term treatment.  When she was returning home, she called from the airport because she had forgotten her blanket on her bed and really wanted to take it home with her.  It was her comfort thing.  Larga managed to drive the blanket out to the airport.  So, you did that, WHNers.

2.  Yarn and crafting materials:  Sometimes you send me yarn, which either goes to WHN knitters or to Larga or up north - the goal is always to get it into someone's hands fast.  The social worker told me that he puts the balls of yarn aside.  As you can imagine, sometimes folks are having a rough day. When he meets a woman who is having a tough day, and he knows that she is a crafter (which is pretty much most people), he will give her 3 or 4 balls of the yarn.  In his words, you can see the change on the woman's face - and I can imagine it:  its kind of like the way I see the WHN packing night executive get when they look at yarn that has been dropped off - they get a gleam in their eyes.

3.  Seeing is believing:  So as the social worker was walking me out, he said, "I know you don't get to see what it means to people when they get the blankets.  The women will actually look closely at them, and then they turn them upside down, and inspect the edges to see how they are made.  Let me show you.".    Then he asked me to wait at the door.  He grabbed a bag of the blankets that I had just dropped off, and went to a group of women who were sitting quietly together, and said "Hi ladies, we just got these blankets.".  I swear, the energy changed.  They started pulling them out, talking to each-other, laughing, and scrutinizing them.  And by that, I do mean scrutinizing.  Again it reminded me of packing night.  The packers really LOOK at your stuff, the same way.  Its this, turning inside out, touching, talking thing they do: they look at colour, yarn thickness, stitches and then TALK about it.  Of course it was all in Inuktitut, but it was just like Carlene, Suzanne, Jeanine and Catriona: "Did you see how she joined this up?  She was knitting with 2 strands here.  Oh, I've seen this pattern before - loved it.  Amazing colour combinations.".  I swear that is what they were saying.

And here is the moment - again I am not part of this montage - I'm standing way far away.  There is a young girl who approached the ladies.  One of the women grabs a bright orange stripy (like really bright) blanket and throws it over the girls legs, and turns around to look at more blankets.  The young girl's face lit up in a smile that I won't forget.   Its not like she was smiling for someone, or smiling in response to someone talking her - everyone was doing their own thing, and she was just grinning.  You know what?  We live far away from our community partners.  In 10 years, we've sent maybe 15,000 of your hand-knits North.  Maybe more, because Jeanine has started to keep track of the pounds and I was amazed by the number - a box here and there adds up.  I'm sure we'll do close to 1,000 pounds in a year.   What if the orange blanket grin has also happened in Rankin Inlet, or Gjoa Haven or Iqaluit, or at Jimmy Hikok School or....?  What if there has been more than one orange blanket grin?  Just seeing that one smile made the last 10 years worth so much for me (as if it wasn't already!).  And maybe that's what this is about: we don't see the orange blanket smiles with our own eyes, but they exist, my lovely WHN co-conspirators.

Okay so I've been typing away, and Mother's Day is racing by.  I'm going to just list the creds on the photos below, but know that I loved everything.  All are boxed and shipped.  Thank you!

There was no label on these ones.  Rita are these yours?

Krisine Krupp of Toronto

Suzanne's mittens!

Wendy George of Smoky Lake, AB created 33 items from the B&L Regal sent by Suzanne

Not sure who sent these in, but all were labelled "Stay Warm".

Lynn Walma of Toronto

Rita of Ottawa

Mary Ballantyne of Elgin ON

More socks!  Please let me know the name so I can give you cred (Lynn they look like your work)

Anna Bing of Morrisburg ON

Jeanine, AKA Douceaubergine


Catriona "Blucanoe"

Claire Sheen

Wen the Knitter



No name on these but I love them.

Beverly Stevens, Quilter28  who also kindly contributed some beautiful needles for the 10th anniversary draw.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wentheknitter and the Schools of Iqaluit & North Dundas High School

Wen the Knitter dropped by tonight and got me chatting, which was fun - she reminded me (without actually reminding me) that I hadn't posted in a long long time.  So here we are!  I have to mention that about 90% of the items below are sitting boxed and shrink-wrapped at my front door.  They are going to Iqaluit this weekend to be distributed through a contact there at the four schools.  I know what you're thinking: 50 pounds between 4 schools?  I'm thinking we might do another box soon.

In between: I think we are sending a box up in early May that will go Ottawa to Iqaluit and Iqaluit to Cambridge Bay - it will be kind of an intro box to see if there is any interest in a little community partnership.

Have I mentioned that we have doctors going up to Iqaluit in June?  Please keep that in the back of your mind - how about a deadline of June 1st?  Please don't worry if you can't make that deadline - we'll do something for September as well.

If I haven't said it lately, you guys are the absolute best.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of you all, and thank my lucky stars that we found each-other.



Janet Wright of Fredricton is a great friend of WHN and contributor.  Thanks as usual!

Thank you, Nicole Sweeting of Toronto

Joanne Lacroix of Taylor's, SC - those mittens are peachy!

Dr Peg of Oakville Ontario, your items are always beautiful and thanks for the needles - I will give them to Larga.

Dr Peg also made the buzzy neck warmer above.

Lisa Bablor of Madison Wisconsin is excellent at hats!

Deborah Hajzak of Cleveland Ohio, thank you - we always love socks.

S Thompson (Knitphomaniac) of Mississauga, Ontario.  Thank you for your contributions.

Jackie Lambert of West Richland Washington is the sock queen.  We love her for many reasons, one of which is that she knits thick. 

Lori Mahar (nannylor) of Kensington, PE, thank you!

A. Saint of Victoria Harbour, ON sent a massive box of stuff.  My picture does not do justice to these sweaters - truly lovely.

And more from A. Saint!

Nicole Sweeting of Toronto ON, sent a separate package.  Thank you!

OK, I am not sure who sent this in, but the label on the box was from Scotland.   Our first Scottish contribution - yay!

Atopbing of Merrickville, ON dropped off these beautiful socks.  Thank you!

Beverley of Toronto, ON sent in these items.

These came from Andrea (aclark4) of Ottawa, ON contributed these items.

Kathy Kihle of Sarnia, ON, thank you!

Khamc sent in these hats and booties.  Thanks!

Okay this is pretty neat - This blanket came from the kids of North Dundas High School.  A teacher at the school had her kids knit the squares, which were later assembled by Audrey Green of Ogdensburg NY.  We always love it when kids contribute, and this blanket was truly beautiful and will be very loved at Larga Baffin.

These pictures came from some items that I picked up at Yarn Forward - no names but much appreciated.

Nancy Martel of Beaconsfield dropped off these items - I particularly love the hat that you see on the bottom left.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Tenth Anniversary Virtual Celebrations

So packing night was big fun for lots of reasons.  One of them, though, was we filmed a "one-minute movie" which we will post, as a tenth anniversary present to all of you.  Often, we get messages from you lovely contributors saying that you wish you could be at packing night - so guess what?  You all came last Friday!  I won't say much more - suspense.

So we have two other tenth anniversary virtual celebrations:

1. We are going to keep a rav thread for contributors to the project this year, and have a draw later this year for some knitting-related prizes.  More on that soon!

2. This winter, we are challenging all of you fab knitters and crocheters to incorporate a sky-blue (WHN logo colour) stripe in one of the items you make - doesn't matter what it is, doesn't matter how big the stripe is.  A cool and cheery way to create some unity in what we ship!

Of course we packed and packed and packed on Friday.  6 HEAVY boxes ready for Cape Dorset.  In addition I dropped off 5 MASSIVE bags of your stuff to Baffin Larga this weekend.  I will let you know when I hear back.

So our next shipping dates:  Unfortunately the doctors are not going up again until very early may so our next shipping deadline will be about mid-April.  Can we agree on April 15th?  The good news is that they will go up again in June so we'll be able to get a bunch done at that time.

Here are some pics of your beautiful stuff (given the sheer volume, I'm just going to say thank you all you amazing people, up front, and provide creds below.  BTW, if you dropped off at Yarn Forward recently, I will get to your photos soon, but I'm thanking you in advance):

Marie Paul, Burnaby Public Library Knitters, Burnaby, BC

Janet Wright, Fredricton, NB

Veronica MacDonald, Thunder Bay, ON

Olive Wade (OmaW on rav), Moncton, NB

Tobin (Barb and Kathy) in Montreal, QC

Jackie Lambert, West Richland, WA

Orlena Gilmore, Belton, MO

Deborah of Ottawa

Veronica MacDonald, Thunder Bay, ON

Margaret Bradford, Ottawa ON

More from Margaret Bradford!

Atopbing (Anna Bing) of Morrisburg, ON

Jennifer Hayden (rav name pedestrianwolf), Hebron, IL

Janet Smith, Gravenhurst, ON (the Huntsville gang).

Purls of Wisdom - the Innovation Science queens

wentheknitter of Ottawa

more from the lovely ladies of Purls of Wisdom

Mary Liechty of Goshen, IN

Christine Ellam of Ottawa

Wentheknitter of Ottawa

Rebecca of Ottawa

the amazing Carlene of Ottawa

Anne Saint of Victoria Harbour, ON

the amazing Claudette's blankets

The wonderfully prolific Claudette of Ottawa

More by Claudette of Ottawa

Rita, who also provided a fur coat.  Thanks, Rita for this and the packing help!

My darling Suzanne Atkinson

Claire Sheen

Thanks Kathy!

Catriona blucanoe of Ottawa