You know, I love the Internet. No, seriously, I really, really love the Internet! And anyone who knows me knows that one of my main Internet addictions is Facebook. It is absolutely shameful how much time I spend checking people's status updates, digging up mushrooms on Gnometown, and looking at videos of hedgehogs eating carrots! ;)
Messing around on Facebook about a year or so ago, I was lucky enough to find one of my classmates from high school, Shaney. She is currently working as the principal of the International School in Tskuba, Japan--how cool is that? After the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan back in March, Shaney coordinated with various organizations and individuals in Japan, disseminating information to English-speakers in her area, and correcting a lot of misinformation for those of us in North America that was coming out through the media. For weeks after the disaster, Shaney and the folks at Team Tskuba made various weekend trips to the area devastated by the tsunami to help clean up and rebuild, and they continue to do so currently.
A lot has been done to begin again in the city of Ishinomaki since March. Roads have been cleared, volunteers come to town regularly to help local people clear debris, shovel toxic mud, and deliver fresh food to people still living in shelters months later. For those who were lucky enough to find their homes still standing and relatively structurally sound after the waters receded, the ground floor is often completely unlivable, and the families make do in the upper rooms of their houses. Many businesses have not opened again after the disaster, the buildings and equipment having been destroyed or made completely unusable. The people of Ishinomaki have lost family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, homes, jobs, and belongings.
It has been eight months. Most of us live thousands of miles away, far from the destruction and devastation. Times are difficult, not everyone has spare cash to send to the organizations still doing good work in Japan. And though many donated to the survivors of the tsunami this past spring, and sent thoughts and prayers and good wishes, time has passed, and everyday life goes on for us, in spite of people still struggling far away.
Which actually brings me to my point! (Finally!) I have been privileged to be a part of a wonderful online fiber community: Ravelry. I have met many amazing men and women through this website who love to knit, crochet, and spin as much as I do. And I am hoping I will be able to appeal to the incredible generosity of the knitting community to help the people of Ishinomaki.
Winter is coming, and people in the tsunami-stricken areas are going to need lots of cozy, warm items to get through the cold winter months. Not only that, but, as every Yarny Person knows, knitting is the best way to show someone you care!
The plan is to collect as many warm knitted and crocheted winter items for both adults and children as possible, and distribute them to people through the volunteers at the Koganehama Kaikan (community center) in Ishinomaki, Japan. There are pages above with links to various patterns (both knitted and crocheted) for hats, scarves, earwarmers, and other warm winter items, but please feel free to work up your favorite pattern as well--these are just suggestions!
There are a few specifications relating to items for donation.
- Firstly, please make sure that items are WARM. Extremely lacy stitch patterns are beautiful, but we need items that will keep the heat in.
- We have a page above with a few yarn suggestions. We will be sending items to people who might not realize that certain fibers need specific types of care, and if all yarns used are machine washable, then there won't be any mishaps with finished items ending up felted. I have included mostly wool blends in the list, for warmth and softness.
- Have fun! Use your creativity and make items that are beautiful and fun. We will be knitting for all ages, so use up scraps to make a colorful striped child's hat, or experiment with a new technique and create an intarsia scarf or cabled earwarmer. If you have a favorite pattern, please send a link, and it will be included on the Pattern Pages.