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Archive for the ‘Operation Gratitude’ Category

for care packages and deadlines and the dreaded customs forms.  Since this year I don’t have anyone from the family downrange, I haven’t been collecting the goodies and the silly little toys etc.  This year, was a knitting year.

As you may remember from a past post, Operation Gratitude does a great job getting care packages, including warm hats and scarves, to the troops.  I was very privileged to be able to work with them again this year.  The great contributors who knit out of a wonderful shop in Alexandria – fibre space™- made a LOT of scarves!  And the lovely ladies who run fibre space™ were kind enough to hold them there as a collection point until I could get down there and pick them up.

Packing them up, together with those that my mother worked on and the hats done on the train all year, was a superb start to the gift giving season.  My thanks to the knitters at fibre space™ and the staff, to my mom, and to the fantastic people at Operation Gratitude and the Armory where they collect and repack all the wonderful items they collect for the packages.

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The phone rang, and I put down the latest knitting project to answer it.  My mother was on the line,  and asked what I was up to –  I told her about Operation Gratitude and knitting hats & scarves for deployed troops.  As the grandmother of a veteran, and the mother in law of an active duty soldier, she’s always trying to find something she can do to help.  When I went to Florida for a holiday, I brought information, needles and a few patterns, and off she went – trying to bring some friends along with her (they didn’t join the fun)

The other day I got the package of this year’s scarves from her – and she added a note to each one.  It  made me pause.

Dear Friend;  I hope this will help in a small way to keep you warm and dry.  The last time I knitted for a soldier was 67 years ago in Germany, when we knitted for soldiers fighting in Russia!  Let’s hope that one day, there will be peace.

My mother was  a little girl during World War 2, living in a small town outside Frankfurt-am-Main.  She, her mother, her grandmother – they knitted for soldiers in the cold of Russia.  I and my mother knit for soldiers in the cold of Afghanistan and Iraq.  We knit together the wars, the men and women who serve, the families who wait.  And we all hope, so very hard, for peace.

KSF

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Knit one, Purl One… in Gratitude

Needles clicked, yarn spun, and discussions about patterns flowed, but in a store surrounded by the jewel tones of silk, bright worsted wool and imaginative color combinations in alpaca and cashmere, the dull tones of black and brown and grey pure wool stood out. A group of women met on a glorious summer day in Old Town Alexandria, a day that the humidity was down and a cool breeze blew across the Potomac, but they sat indoors. Why? To knit for a cause, for Operation Gratitude.

Fibre space™, a charming, welcoming and well stocked yarn store and community was hosting a “knit in”. As their website said:

Please join Volunteer Alexandria’s Big Event Planning Committee and fibre space™ for a special service project dedicated to thanking our soldiers for their service to our country.

As a military spouse, I was encouraged to see the number of knitters and crocheters sitting around the table in the classroom and on the couch and chairs in front of the huge show window , industriously making scarves and hats in the dark colors requested – and 100% wool (acrylics are not allowed – they melt when exposed to flame) There were a few military spouses, one new Army wife, a retired Navy Wife, a military child (who really picked up the pattern for a scarf and knitted up a storm) and a bunch of civilian knitters who wanted to make something useful for someone who needs a little something warm for the upcoming hard winter in Afghanistan or Iraq.   Fibre space ™ instructors were there to teach and help, and the coffee and cookies were very welcome.

There was a great side benefit, the questions! One woman wanted to know what else she could do, was there something she could do for the families (I sent her to the Blue Star Families website!) There were the questions about how do the families cope, what are the problems that are affecting us during deployment and what’s it like after deployment. Helping our civilian friends understand what military families are like was another reason to spend a fun afternoon doing something we all enjoy.

Fibre space ™( 102 N. Fayette Street, Alexandria VA) has volunteered to be a drop off point for scarves and hats made for Operation Gratitude. To find out more about the Operation Gratitude hat and scarf project, please go to their site – there are patterns and requirements.

Thank you, fibre space™, for giving us a great place to meet, for the coffee and cookies and being a drop off; thank you to the women who came and spent a holiday afternoon knitting and are still working on their projects. Do you have a yarn store in your town you enjoy? Won’t you join us in making hats and scarves for Operation Gratitude?

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