Thursday, February 26, 2009

in the news

Check out this nice article about Chicks with Sticks in Long Island:

Groups of hat knitters are springing up all over the place. Some women in Leeds, England put together, on their own initiative, a wonderful Sunday morning knit-in. Here's a description that may inspire you to get together a group, too:

The coffee morning was a great success and we raised enough money to send you lots and lots of hats. In fact another parcel is about to be posted. What was lovely was the fact that we had over 20 of the knitters with us, the oldest a 90-year-old who brought 10 hats with her. We had a big blow up board of your letters and pictures of the soldiers wearing the hats. Some photos will follow. Every one who came wanted to DO SOMETHING and if they could not knit they wanted to buy wool or pay postage. Some had sons or grandsons in the army. There were a number of ladies who hadn’t knitted for years and there are now plans afoot to form a knitting circle. Look what you have started!!!

Even the famous Webs has a group! (And check out their wonderful Valley Yarns line. This stuff makes great hats.)

Also noteworthy: The knitters of Canada continue to be prolific and needles are clicking all across New Jersey, too. I'm especially touched by the packages that come all the way from Australia and New Zealand and wish I could do something about the high postage costs from there. Suggestions are welcome.

A special shout-out goes to all the schools who've taken up the cause, teaching kids to knit (yay! next generation!) and sending charmingly sweet drawings and letters for the soldiers.

You're all wonderful -- thank you!

p.s. Despite some recent wintery weather, Israel continues to suffer from a very serious water shortage. See my "poster boy" there in the snow? His parents own an organic farm in the Golan. They have a huge mango grove and only enough water now to keep the trees alive, but they don't think they'll be able to harvest this summer. I'm not sure how they'll manage. So, if you are one to pray, this'd be a good time to pray for lots of rain to fall here over the next month.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hats Galore!

So what's up with the hats for soldiers, you ask?

That's me, with a few days' worth of mail. This project has become huge, thanks to all you wonderful people from around the world who've taken the time to knit a hat for an Israeli soldier. Just to give you an idea of the scale, I now have my own shelf in the post office. I come in every few days with one of those enormous mail sacks, which the people in the post office have permanently loaned to me, go directly to the back room and they help me load all the packages into the mail sack.

Opening them up at home on the dining room table is a big treat -- my kids love to see the postmarks from all around the world. Nowadays, we're getting between 100 and 200 hats a week. Power to the knitters!

In the last few weeks, a lot of hats went to soldiers serving in Aza (=Gaza). Here's an elite Golani unit, just out of Aza, wearing the work of your hands.

It's hard for me to describe how appreciated the hats are. The fact that someone sat down and with his/her own hands made something that a week later a soldier can put on his head ...Well. That's not only head-warming, it's also heart-warming.

Some Q & A:

How many hats have you gotten altogether?

I've personally received and distributed almost 2000. In addition, some hats were mailed directly to Barbara Silverman of "A Package from Home" so it's hard for me to keep track of the total number of hats that have come in -- she's definitely gotten several hundred by now.
A *humongous* thank you goes to my mother-in-law who sews the labels into each and every hat I get.

Do you still want more hats?
Yes! This is an ongoing project, not connected to the war in Aza, that enables people from around the world to show their appreciation for the difficult work that Israeli soldiers do. Even in the summer, even in the desert -- if you're doing guard duty in the middle of the night, baby it's cold out! The soldiers wear the hats year round, and we collect them year round. So keep 'em coming!

Why is this pattern the way it is?

This hat has several advantages:
1. It's not hard to make.
2. It conforms to army regulations.
3. Because of the ribbing, it stretches to fit a wide variety of head sizes.
4. It fits better than the hat that soldiers are given by the army and -- this is a biggie -- it can be worn under a helmet. The army issue hat does not. A lot of soldiers, especially those serving in cold areas, have expressed their gratitude for this.

Can I include a note for a soldier?
Yes, we are happy to include your letters with the hats.

And...please don't forget to include your email address (not snail mail address) every time you send me a hat, so that I can let you know it has arrived.

Thank you again so much, and be in touch. I love hearing from you all,