Monday, June 30, 2008

Nest: Bringing Warmth Home

As I write this, a beautiful summer day is coming to a close. We spent the morning picking strawberries at a local farm. After dropping them off at the house, we scooted over to the ocean for a quick dip before thunderstorms rolled in. The storms gave us the perfect opportunity to wash and hull the berries, then freeze them for winter eating. Summer in Maine is short and sweet. And Mainers squeeze every last drop out of what it offers.

Many Mainers are also preparing for a challenging winter. The rising cost of home heating oil put a major strain on budgets last year. For many people the upcoming winter will be even worse. It seems everywhere we go people are talking about how they will get by, what their strategy will be, and what changes they are making in their lives. Many of those changes are good. We see more food gardens than ever before. More people take public transportation when it is available. Carpooling is becoming more and more common. There is a spirit of conservation in the air that is refreshing.

In spite of these measures, many Mainers will face difficulties in the coming months. While the price increase for home heating oil is an inconvenience for us all, it is a crisis for many. Although the long term solution to the energy problem is complicated, providing warm woolen items to people in need is not.

Here's where you come in! We are asking interested knitters and crocheters to contribute hats, mittens, fingerless mitts, cowls, and scarves to be distributed in northern Maine before autumn. The sky is the limit in terms of patterns and design. Some of these items will be worn indoors, where it is becoming increasingly common to keep temperatures below 60 degrees. Please mail new items made from natural materials, preferably wool, to the following address

Jean Lee
P.O Box 6011
Falmouth, ME 04105

Many thanks!


TD wool design said...

wonderfully said.
happy your deadline is Sept. 1.
seems everything lately is Aug. 1 for me. This will give me a bit more time for items!

Alix said...

Brilliant project. Beautifully titled. Good luck.

Jess said...

Thanks for the info!
I just got back from a long plane trip and I got a good start on my contribution.
Thanks again for organizing this good work.

At Home Mommy Knits said...

I'm so glad I stumbled on your blog. I have some alpaca wool that would be great for some cowls. Will start knitting and send your way.

Julie Alvarez said...

This is a great idea. I don't live there in the United States, but I'll see what I can do.
Also, I would be thinking on starting something like this here in my town (Buenos Aires).
i was wondering, do you know how are you going to distribute all the knitted stuff? Which criteria are you using? And where are you doing it?
Thanks a lot and good luck.

Nest said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nest said...

that deleted comment was my own. too many typos.

Julie, I love that you would be starting a Nest project in your own community! I recommend contacting local agencies that assist people with food/shelter/childcare. We have many such agencies here in Maine. For this project I am working with a friend and neighbor, John Brautigam, who happens to be our State Representative. Because of his travels, he knows quite a few people in the area we are targeting. His contacts will connect us with people whose budgets will be stretched this winter.

Thanks, all, for your support!

Jeana said...

I'm in - the deadline convinced me, it's my birthday!

Anonymous said...

i'm definitely in, and i'll be posting about this either this afternoon or tomorrow on both my blog ( and on the charity knitting ring i'm part of ( ... here's hoping we can keep tons of people warm!

maltagirl said...

knitting is such a heart felt endeavor, the knitted object always seems to take on the love and care of the person who created it. What a wonderful gift to pass on to those who need it most. Not just warmth but the idea that you are not forgotten in increasingly callous world. I am so happy to find projects like this to be a part of. Redeems my view of humanity. thanks! I have four kids size hats already made, we will see what else I can get done by the deadline!

MamaAngel said...

i am interested! read about this on soulemama and will try to get at least a few hats done.

brandie said...

so wonderful jean! i am trying to knit my first hat...coming along slowly. hey, could you add some links to hat patterns? so happy that the deadline has been pushed back :)

shelleycaskey said...

what a wonderful project! count me in. :) i also will be mentioning it on my blog and hopefully more knitters will participate. :) - shelley,

Nest said...

Thanks, all! This is exciting! Thanks, too, for passing along the information and mentioning it on other blogs. Our goal is 100 items. Not sure if we'll get there, but even one warm item to one person makes a difference. I feel that so strongly. And if we go beyond, so much the better.

And could it be hotter here today? I think not. It's about 90 in the shade. I've been working bit by bit on finishing a hat.

brandie, don't worry about gauge. Any hat you make will fit SOMEBODY! Heads come in all shapes and sizes, right?

Anonymous said...

Sounds great! I already have some scarves I can donate, and I will probably be able to knit a few hats by September 1.


lmgnyc said...

I stumbled on this blog by chance and I have a few baby blankets I was wondering what to do with. I just have one question, the ones I have made already are not 100% natural, I think they are a synthetic blend. Do you still want them????

Shopworthy said...

I don't know how to knit, but can sew with fleece - would these be acceptable?

Rachel said...

This is a great project, I hope that many knitters will reach into their hearts - and yarn stash - to contribute!

Anna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna said...

I have the same question as someone else, will you accept stuff that is not made of wool? I already have a couple of scarfs made and would love to contribute. We don't really use them that much in Florida.

Nest said...

Hmmm...I didn't delete anything today. Not sure what that "deleted by the author" is.

Anyway, a few folks have asked about contributing things that are not made of wool. If you send things north, I will find them a home. There is ample need here. And baby blankets made of other materials make sense to me. We really appreciate your generosity!

Sandy said...

Can you discribe how items will be distributed? I fear the cold winter months will be harder on most of the country this year, then in previous years. Lots of folks will be in need. Nice of you to organize this effort. My to do list is substantial at the moment. However, I will see what I can do.
stop in for a visit, I popped in from HomeSpun Helpers

valkuan said...

I followed the link from Soulemama's webby. I am IN! I have a few patterns in mind and you will reach your 100 (i'm sure)!

Thanks for the wonderful idea.


Nest said...

Hello, all. We are checking the box everyday for items! It's getting exciting, thanks to you.

Sandy, how the donations will be distributed will depend on how many items we receive. If there are several boxes of things, my family will be driving up in September to deliver them in person. If fewer items are sent in, I will most likely have my friend John bring them to his contacts in Augusta, and they will deliver them when they head up north. Although John has spoken with friends and colleagues from the area, we are waiting to see how many things come in, which makes more sense to me. At that point we will contact agencies and offices who know the families and area best. At any rate, there is ample need all over the state of Maine. Especially this year.

Thank you for your interest!

Nest said...

oh, excuse me. That should be "every day". I am so used to Flickr, where I can edit freely. for thought.

We received 33 hats today from the Hanover Knitting Guild. Thank you, knitters! We also received several pairs of fingerless mitts, and a gorgeous, thick shawl.

Believe it or not we had soup for dinner tonight. No, summer is not over, but this cool evening is a reminder that cooler days and nights on are the way.

Anonymous said...

hey there. i'm sending out a box of items, and i'll send them priority mail, but they won't get sent out until wednesday. because i'm all about the last minute, i guess. just wanted to let you know!

Kristyn Knits said...

hello jean,
I'm sending off two cowls to you today! blessings to you for organizing such a wonderful project.

Nest said...

Robyn!! Do not send them priority mail!! I'm sure they will get here before we head up. That will be the third week of September, most likely, depending on schedules. I hate to think that you would spend that kind of money. If for some reason they don't get here before we go, i'll send them from here.

Thank you so much.