Archive for the ‘Charity’ Category

Local Weavers “Help Our Kids”

Monday, April 14th, 2014
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January 30, 2014 -- Local weaver Vicki Patillo weaves the first of 5 blankets that will be donated to Help Our Kids, a local nonprofit organization for foster children. Patillo is one of several members of the Pioneer Valley Weavers Guild who are donating their time.

January 30, 2014 — Local weaver Vicki Patillo weaves the first of five blankets that will be donated to HelpOurKids, a local non-profit organization for foster children.  She is one of several guild members who donated their time.

Members of the Pioneer Valley Weavers guild recently completed a service project in which they handwove approximately 20 blankets for foster children and babies in the Western Massachusetts area.  Five of the blankets were woven right here at WEBS America’s Yarn Store and donated, along with over 15 other handwoven, knit and crocheted blankets to local non-profit organization HelpOurKids.  

WEBS founder Barbara Elkins began thinking about the project in October of last year and was pleased by the response from the guild and other customers at WEBS.  “There will be some children that will have something of their own and that’s very special.  When they are transferred to a new foster home, a (security) blanket can be very helpful,” Elkins said.

HelpOurKids director Noryn A. Resnick said that the focus of foster care is “too often limited to just being sure that they (foster children) have a place to sleep and enough food.  The part that is missing is athletic equipment to enable them to join a team, music lessons, a prom dress a backpack etc.”  Resnick decided to start HelpOurKids to help foster children fill in specific needs beyond the basics “that make every child feel like a ‘normal’ part of society.”

Guild weaver Pat Kapitzky of Florence, MA chose to participate in the project because she knows how special blankets can be for growing children.  She said, “the idea is that the foster children, when they move around, they have a pretty blanket they can take with them.  I remember my blankie and my two children’s blankies, and they were very important”.  They offered “comfort and security,” she said.

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February 17, 2014 — Dorothy Schimel of Florence, Massachusetts, measures the length of a blanket to donate to foster children at local non-profit, HelpOurKids. 

Elkins volunteered use of an 8-shaft Schacht loom on display in the store and all of the necessary materials for the project.  During the months of January and February weavers came into the store during normal shopping hours to work on their blankets.  Elkins said, “I volunteered the loom and materials because it is in line with WEBS’ values of contributing where we can.  We have a history of donating yarn to causes we support.”  Guild members who could not weave on the loom at WEBS chose to weave individual blankets at home.

March 3, 2014 -- WEBS founder Barbara Elkins, left, and Pioneer Valley Weavers Guild Representative, Deb Adamczyk, right, cut hand woven blankets from the loom.

March 3, 2014 — WEBS founder Barbara Elkins, left, and Pioneer Valley Weavers Guild Representative, Deb Adamczyk, right, cut handwoven blankets from the loom.

The loom was dressed with enough warp to weave up to five blankets.  Elkins and store manager Leslie Ann Bestor set up a striped 3/2 cotton warp with accenting stripes of variegated cotton flake.  All blankets needed to be machine washable and soft and have a finished size of 30 inches wide by about 36 inches long.  Elkins kept the terms and conditions of the project pretty loose allowing weavers to showcase their creativity and skill.

News of the project spread throughout the various social groups at WEBS, inspiring knitters and crocheters who were not connected to the guild to also participate.  Local customers in the weekly drop-in groups at WEBS donated another dozen knit and crocheted blankets.

Elkins said that the blanket project is one of several socially worthwhile projects the guild takes on every year.  “I can’t say the effort was a surprise; it wasn’t.  We have a history of concern for others and an interest in spreading the word about weaving.  I was very pleased by the amount of participation.  Weavers are a generous bunch of people,” she said.

According to Elkins, over WEBS’ 40 year history they have always tried to contribute where they could.  In the years since Kathy and Steve took over those efforts have only grown exponentially.  “It is important that we give back because we have received such overwhelming support from our customers,” she said.

March 3, 2014 -- WEBS founder Barbara Elkins, surges hand woven blankets.

March 3, 2014 — WEBS founder Barbara Elkins, prepares handwoven blankets to be cut and finished by weavers at home.

Blankets were hand delivered to HelpOurKids Director Noryn A. Resnick at the once a month guild meeting held at WEBS.  When she addressed the group, she thanked them for their donated time and effort.  According to Resnick, foster children are often moved around without any belongings.  “This will stay with them when they go to their emergency foster home and then when they go into their permanent foster home.  It provides them stability and some consistency.”

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March 11, 2014 — Director of local non-profit, Help Our Kids, Noryn A. Resnick, (center), received over 20 handmade blankets from weavers, knitters and crocheters at the once a month guild meeting held at WEBS America’s Yarn Store.

Acknowledging the amount of care and skill woven into these blankets, Resnick said that these pieces will likely be heirlooms for the children as they grow older.  “I said to Barbara, you’re not only warming their bodies, but you’re warming their minds because they’re afraid, they’re frightened and just to have something that’s their own and that they can depend on and cuddle, it’s just really wonderful.  Someday when they’re in a stable environment, they’ll get to keep this and know that someone really did care about them and that they were not forgotten.”

For more information about HelpOurKids or to make a donation, please visit http://www.helpourkidsinc.org/.

Boston Strong Hat

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
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Boston Strong Hat designed by Lisa McFetridgeWe were recently contacted by Lisa McFetridge, who designed the Boston Strong Hat. She asked if we would be interested in offering the pattern for sale on our website and donating the proceeds to OneFundBoston (which continues to offer support to the families effected). We didn’t have to consider our answer for very long.

Many of us on the WEBS staff are runners, and even more of us grew up in Massachusetts. Having grown up in Massachusetts myself, my family and I spent a lot of time visiting Boston while growing up and loved it (so much that I considered going to school there and moving to that side of the state). Many of us recall last April 15th and watching the frightening events. Several of us even knew people who were running or in Boston to support their runner. Even more, we recall the victims and the incredible strength that the survivors and first responders showed, and continue to show.

The hat includes instruction on making a close fitting skull cap or a taller ski cap style. It features the Boston skyline, the phrase “Boston Strong,” and four stars to commemorate the victims of that day. The suggested yarn is Cascade 220 in Blue Velvet and Goldenrod.

With this year’s Boston Marathon approaching in a couple months, we hope you’ll consider purchasing the pattern and supporting OneFundBoston.

Ready, Set, Knit #274: Kathy Talks with Pam Heschke

Saturday, July 28th, 2012
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Guest: Pam Heschke, Founder and President of Halos of Hope and 8 year cancer survivor, talks with Kathy about her organization and her mission to comfort patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Our own Valley Yarns Valley Superwash would be a great yarn to use for hats to donate to Halos of Hope. 

They also talk about the incredible volunteers who have made and donated over 72,000 handmade hats and the ongoing fundraiser that will culminate at Stitches East in October.

Steve’s Yarn Picks:

Upcoming Events
Listen close, Steve mentions a brand new Valley Yarn that will debut at Stitches Midwest!

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

Charity Knitting All-Star

Monday, January 9th, 2012
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Susan is a familiar face in our store and our weekly drop-in sessions, and she is a graduate of our Expert Knitters Program. You could say she’s an all-around WEBS girl! We have seen her progress on a long-term charity knitting project and have finally gotten some much needed details of this enormous undertaking! Be inspired!! What is your New Year’s resolution?

Here’s what she has to say….

Appalachian Sweater Project

Question: What happens when you combine a large yarn stash with a career retirement and an insightful story about Appalachian children?

Answer: A most unexpected project that took me on a two-year journey.

In 2009, Diane Sawyer of ABC News presented a special entitled A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains. I found this special to be an extraordinary story of Appalachian children and the challenges they face each day. The stories of these children lingered with me for a long time as their poverty is something I cannot imagine. I wondered what I could do to help.

Months before, I retired from a near thirty-year career with a health services organization. The retirement came earlier than planned due to long-term medical conditions and admittedly, I was a bit lost going from a ten-to-twelve hour workday to a non-structured day. My focus was to do what was needed to improve my health, but there was still something missing — I kept thinking about the children of Appalachia and what I could do to help them.

Late one Saturday night, I had an idea. What if I used the large yarn stash I had built to help those children? What if I were to knit sweaters for these children to help keep them warm? I searched the internet for an organization in Appalachia and found many. I focused on an organization that services 30,000 in Appalachia and was established since 1952. I wrote them a note on their website asking if they would accept and distribute 100 hand-knit children’s sweaters. My goal was to send the sweaters in groups of twenty-five over the course of two years. I received a response from Sister Robbie who was excited and grateful for the offer. Thus, a project was born.

I began knitting, accumulating patterns, and was excited to see my yarn stash slowly decrease. The first group of 25 sweaters were sent to Appalachia early in 2010 with another batch in late 2010. June of 2011 rolled around and group three was sent and as of December, 2011, the last group of sweaters is making its way to Kentucky.

What I Learned

This project began as something to help me to look forward to when not feeling well (most of the time) and to assist with the transition into retirement. It ended up being so much more. Here’s a bit of what I learned:

  • Children’s sweaters are a great way to learn new techniques or use new yarn you’ve been meaning to try.
  • Blocking a sweater is when the ‘magic’ begins. Each and every time I was amazed to see a heap of knitted pieces transform into a beautiful sweater.
  • The buttons are critical and make-or-break the look of the sweater. It is important to select and purchase the best possible buttons that you can to finish the garment.
  • Call me crazy if you wish, but the biggest discovery is that I LOVE FINISHING WORK! Yes, it’s one of my most favorite parts of knitting. What a surprise.
  • I began the project with gathering patterns from various sources. Somewhere around sweater #70, an interesting thing occurred. I began designing the sweaters myself! That was not the plan, but an outcome of the process itself.

Fun Facts

A Few Thanks

Thanks to all the folks who not only cheered me on to complete the project, but also those who donated their extra yarn from previous projects. Such a thoughtful gesture is much appreciated.

Some of my fellow Thursday morning drop-in friends donated knitted items for the project. Each time, I was surprised with these lovely items (sweaters, a snuggle sak, and two dolls) and more than happy to include them in the boxes being sent. Thank you.

Thanks to Webs for having an outstanding button selection, an unbeatable yarn selection, and allowing me to share my story.

Final Thought

Charity knitting has been an amazing experience for me at a challenging time in my life. If you have bits of yarn leftover from other projects, combine them to knit up a small sweater and give it to the charity of your choice. You’ll be making someone warm and in return you may have some delightful discoveries of your own.

Susan, The Sweater Lady

Pictures:

(1) Charcoal Grey Cable and Seed Stitch vest made with Cascade 220 Superwash

(2) Light Blue Angora Bolero from page 39 of Vintage Knits for Modern Babies using Valley

Yarns Deerfield

(3) V-Neck Cardigan using Crofter Fair Isle Baby DK and steel blue Charming Raglan Pullover from page 69 of Vintage Knits for Modern Babies made with Encore DK

Brrr…Hot Chocolate Run

Thursday, December 1st, 2011
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We’ve raised funds. We’ve ordered T-shirts. We are 40 strong and counting.

Yes, I’m talking about the WEBS Hot Chocolate Run team! We will think of you all as we walk for Safe Passage on Sunday, so add a little comment of support. I’ll print them all up and share them with the staff as we shiver on Sunday morning!

We are lagging behind as the lead team and with a staff like ours and generous loyal customers like you I know that can’t last for long. If you were meaning to give make sure to pledge before Sunday, December 4th, either in the store or at www.PledgeReg.com under the WEBS team.

We’ve been so touched by the support of our customers at every charity effort we’ve ever endeavored, and this is no different. Thanks for being a community that we can be proud of!

Cara

Helping the Homeless

Monday, November 21st, 2011
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There are a million ways to give back during the winter months and the holiday season. If you have been looking for a crafty way to give back look no further! Lise, a long time employee, has been organizing a collection of knitted/crocheted/woven items for donation to the area homeless.

A word from Lise, “With all the crazy weather we have experienced this past year, most of us still will not experience what it is like to live on the streets.  There is not a night where all the shelters do not have a waiting list of people to get in. Even though we didn’t have electricity we did have plenty of clothes to warm us up in those cold homes.”

Last year we received an overwhelming response and were told that there was still need. Maybe this season we can break our record! A local man who works with people living on the streets will use these items to make sure those without shelter are warm and safe.

We are always thankful for the generosity of our customers and cannot wait to see what lovely things come our way. Feel free to donate in person or mail to the store.

Last year our customers mailed and dropped off the following items: 105 hats, 81 scarves ( woven, crocheted & knit), 5 hat/scarf sets, 6 blankets, 12 pairs of gloves, 1 knit slippers, 2 baby sweater and 6 Christmas stockings.  There was also a bag left with wrapped presents to be given to the homeless.

Thanks to everyone for their many generous offerings!

Cara

The 8th Annual HOT CHOCOLATE RUN

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
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WEBS is a yearly sponsor of the Hot Chocolate Run and this year the staff wanted to get involved personally. Although this event has been regularly attended by employees we wanted to go as a team this year, complete with t-shirts! What better way to fuel our love of charitable events and team building than to pool our resources and do it together?! I’m hoping we can convince a large contingent to train to walk and knit, how fun would that be?

The Hot Chocolate Run raises funds for Safe Passage, the Hampshire County organization providing shelter, counseling, and advocacy services to women and children who have experienced domestic violence.  This event is Safe Passage’s largest fundraising event.

Want to get involved? We will have a team fundraising page available at  www.PledgeReg.com, listed under team WEBS. Learn a little bit about where your money will be going by following this link http://safepass.org/HCR/.

I hope you’ll consider offering support to such a worthwhile organization and helping us meet our fundraising goal. All money raised goes to support Safe Passage’s counseling, advocacy and shelter services, and all contributions are tax deductible. Donations will be collected until Sunday, December 4, which is race day.

Thanks for all your support!

Cara

8th Annual Knit/Crochet for the Cure

Monday, September 26th, 2011
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We are once again partnering with the Cancer Connection for our annual Knit and Crochet for the Cure to help bring attention and support during Breast Cancer Awareness month. The event will be taking place on Sunday, October 2 from 1-4pm.

        

A couple of snapshots from Knit for the Cure 2010!  We had lots of fun!

This is an event that we feel honored to be a part of. We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful community of knitters and crocheters to join together in this cause. The staff here has a great time getting to know our customers, and customers getting to know each other. In the past we have made afghan squares, chemo caps and scarves and in speaking with the Cancer Connection, the items we create and donate to this group all end up with a story attached to them. The kindness you all show by helping this cause means such a great deal to every individual that is a recipient of a cap, or a scarf.

I have included some links to the projects that we are going to be doing this year. If you have some stash to use up, what a great way to do so. If you would like to join us for the event, we will have yarn available for these projects. Please be sure to register for this event by contacting customer service or stopping by the store. Or if you do not live near WEBS, why not create one of these and give it to your local Hospice shop or other non-profit affiliates that would cherish the donation you make.

Here are just a couple of the projects we will have going this year:

We hope you will be able to join us,  we always have a good time, have  delicious snacks, and good conversation.  And you know how we like to raffle off some great door prizes!

- Karen

Pink Hats, Bracelets & Scarves

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
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Hi Everyone

As you know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  During each of the last 4 or 5 Octobers we’ve held a Knit for a Cure Event in partnership with Cancer Connection.  This year we included our Bead Store in the mix and had a lovely event.  I wasn’t able to make it down to the store – too many boys going in too many different directions all at the same time.  Yet the importance of this event is not lost on me – especially this year.

A good friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of last year.   For those of you who read this blog regularly, you will remember that I was in a very dark place back then.  My friend’s news simply validate my view that the world was completely upside down and backwards.  Why were bad things continuing to happen to good people?

Yet, over the coming months I watched my friend work her way through chemo and radiation with strength and grace.  As worried as I was about her and despite still being overwhelmed by the tragic death of a dear friend in December, I started taking great comfort in her ability to face her situation head on and just decide that this was not going to define her.  She’s always quick to point out that I helped her from afar during this time but what I don’t think she realizes is how much she helped me.

We had a lovely turnout for our event.

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We knit hats for the folks who rely on Cancer Connection to help them through their difficult days.

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A staff member from Cancer Connection was on hand to remind everyone how much they appreciate the event but to also emphasize the importance of self-checks and mammograms.

WEBS Beads designed bracelets that we offered as kits.  I don’t care how badly you feel, everyone deserves a little bling:

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It seems like the folks at Classic Elite were on the same wavelength.  This week’s e-newsletter featured a lovely write-up from the owner Betsy Perry and a wonderful set of scarves – all knit with someone in mind they themselves loved and cherished and had battled this terrible disease.

Thanks to everyone who made it to our event and contributed a hat.  My heartfelt thanks to Linda Pratt of Westminster Fibers for donating some of the yarn that we used for the hats.

As Oprah would say – what I know for sure is this:  I’d love to eliminate this event from our annual schedule because it was no longer needed.

Kathy

Haiti

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
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Hi Everyone

I’m sure most of you are like me and have been stunned by the devastation in Haiti.  It’s almost too much to bear when watching the news coverage.

There are many efforts underway, both within the fiber community and beyond to raise money for the victims.  I am not going to make a hard pitch or emotional plea.  Just know that if you have some items on your wishlist or have been thinking about yarn for your next project, now is the time to place your order.

From 1/25 through 2/1 we will contribute 5% of sales to Doctors Without Borders.  Doesn’t matter if you shop in the store, on-line, over the phone.  If you make a purchase in this time frame, 5% will be donated.

Steve & I thank you all in advance for supporting this effort.

Kathy