Playgrounds Will Laugh If You Try

Now it can be told, by which I mean let’s yap it up:

August 15, 2010 at 6:34pm
Our story so far:

On 5 June, I asked FB friends for that extra ball of yarn gathering dust in your closet. Three garbage bags full of yarn arrived, courtesy of Jean and Trout.

On 16 July, thirteen blankets went out to Wildrun in NYState.

Ten more blankets are knitted but need finishing; an eleventh is nearly finished with knitting.

Boy, is my closet clean!

There’s a humble beginning, oui?

August 31, 2010 at 8:33pm
Today, a dozen cat blankets went out to Georg for her favorite shelter. This brings the total sent out to 25.

I have enough yarn for about four more blankets.

If you’re hoarding balls of yarn for the lean times, now’s the time to send them to me for cat blankets in –

SFX: voice echo


“How, Ta,” you ask, “can I get a look at whatever we’re talking about here?” Well, here you go. Something in your eye?

November 14, 2010 at 8:24pm

On 15 November, fourteen more blankets will ship out to Wildrun.
Georg sent a huge box of yarn I’ll start work on soon, but if you’ve been storing yarn for the hard days of winter, please send it to me and I’ll make blankets for shelter cats.

If you’ve never actually met me and wonder what in glamorous tarnation this means, write me a letter and we shall tawk.

If you can believe it, I still felt chatty. Must’ve been taking vitamins or something.

January 27, 2011 at 1:24pm

In mid-January, fourteen blankets went to Georg’s favorite shelter.

Georg’s friend Rachel also mailed a box of beautiful yarn for the project. My little cats rejoiced!

In December, Darla brought knitted squares from Canada. Evidently, Canadians knit these. Last night, a woman appeared at my door in a snow storm and declared these squares can serve as pouches for orphaned marsupials. Yeah, I didn’t see that coming, either.

If you have spare yarn, send or give it to me and I’ll make it into soft things for furry beasties.

A woman really did appear at my door in a snowstorm. I made her coffee, fed her chocolate granola and demanded she quit the job that sent her out in such weather. Yes, that really happened.

April 15, 2011 at 9:17am

In December, Darla brought knitted squares from Canada. Evidently, Canadians knit these. A woman appeared at my door in a snow storm and said they should be possum pouches. In February, possum pouches went to Wild Baby Rescue Center in Blairstown, NJ, which I had never heard of until that woman appeared. Poof!

Also in February: Auntie InExcelsisDeo made 20-30 (I neglected to count) fleece blankets out of fabric Sean donated. Those went to Georg’s favorite shelter.

Tricia from Trenton sent three boxes of yarn that let me keep knitting. Thank you, Tricia.

Today, we are sending out another 15 blankets. Georg plans to take them to the Humane Society.

If you have yarn lying collecting dust at your house, please give or send it to me. I’ll knit something terribly and send it to a shelter for a stray cat or small dog – and look! Your house is so shiny!

Sorry, this started to get a little repetitive, but tempis was fugiting and who with any dignity pays any attention, I ask you?

June 11, 2011 at 2:56pm

April: 15 blankets went to the Humane Society in Georg’s neighborhood. Granny squares knitted by Tricia’s late friend went to Georg to be made into blankets.
10 June: a dozen blankets shipped to Georg in honor of the rescue kitty Tom who died the day before. Go in peace, Tom.

When people sent half-done projects, there were places for those things where they could be useful. Man, did I feel smart.

September 6, 2011 at 10:27am

6 September: 12 blankets shipped out to Georg.

Let’s be blunt: I’m a terrible knitter! Cats don’t care! Send me your extra yarn and I’ll turn it into blankets for shelter cats. Thank you, thank you.

Believe it or not, boxes of yarn arrived in waves. I knitted up a storm!

November 29, 2011 at 12:12pm

29 November: 16 blankets to the Humane Society in Georg’s neighborhood that was devastated by flood.

Thank you, thank you.

That was a harsh moment for one and all. Just awful.

April 11, 2012 at 3:16pm
Previously: Georg asked friends to make blankets for her local animal shelters. Facebook friends donated yarn, fabric, etc. and I’ve just sent off another 17 blankets. That makes 125.

I was knitting, I just didn’t feel like talking about it.

July 14, 2012 at 4:06pm
The postal system will deliver 18 more blankets for shelter cats to Georg’s door, probably on Tuesday. That makes 143.

I’m a terrible knitter. Cats don’t care! Send or give me yarn cluttering up your house and I’ll knit blankets for an animal shelter.

Blah blah blah. Me, me, me and my yarn-shadow.

June 15, 2013 at 10:29pm
Last week, we sent out 16 blankets. In related news: in the fall, we sent out about 30, though you didn’t hear about it because I have no attention span and IS THAT A SHINY OBJECT? Anyway, that brings our total to somewhere around 189. Why, why, Flying Spaghetti Monster, why am I knitting like a blanket knitting machine? A few years ago, the lovely Georg asked friends to make blankets for her local animal shelters.

I’m a terrible knitter. Cats don’t care! Send or give me yarn cluttering up your house and I’ll knit blankets for an animal shelter. Or: message me for details of how you can knit or crochet blankets for lonesome shelter critters because you are a relentless do-gooder.


Pete set up shelves in the attic where I could organize my yarns. Topaz promptly claimed a spot in one of the boxes where the other cats could not see her. Genius, really.

December 31, 2013 at 11:12pm
Busy, busy fall for the cat blanket project, which branched out a little. Recently, 15 blankets went to the lovely Georg in Upstate New York, bringing our total to somewhere above 204. Two blankets went to the local hospital’s baby blanket project. Eight thick scarves went to a South Dakota reservation project; one baby blanket and ten scarves went to the university’s adopt-a-family project. Thank you to everyone who sent boxes of beautiful, colorful yarn!

I’m a terrible knitter. Cats don’t care! Send or give me yarn cluttering up your house and I’ll knit blankets for an animal shelter. Or: message me for details of how you can knit or crochet blankets for lonesome shelter critters because you are a relentless do-gooder.

Last week, we sent out another 20 blankets, including 2 from Mags and 1 from a yarn donor, bringing our approximate total to 224.

I was charting my progress on Facebook, but who can handle all this glamor? So let’s sort out some results:

cat blankets These go to Georg or to a shelter with which Georg is in contact.

baby blankets A hospital near me has a baby blanket project. A friend coordinates. I try to make blankets early in the year or if I have a long car trip or a lengthy illness. You know: if I’m sitting, I’m knitting and I buy special yarn for this.

scarves There are a number of projects that ask for scarves. I send or deliver them all over the place. Mostly, I buy yarn for this that I think will be fun and soft to wear.

So: there you go. I gotta go knit something.

Your Time Will Come Yes

Finally finished my Red Scarf Project offering, by which I mean I’d knitted 50″ of tiny stitches until I could bind off and put this away until August, when I will sew up the ends and celebrate.

still a terrible knitter

Redder in person, like all celebrities.

Zomigod, I thought it would never end and look forward to maybe making a second scarf in a month or so, time permitting.

Jump Into A Brand New Skin

Somewhere on campus, a biochem grad student teaching an intro level course has offered his students extra credit for donating boxes of non-perishable foodstuffs to the unnamed university’s food pantry/adopt-a-family project. This afternoon, the grad student’s offer produced the interesting result of a young woman at the Circ Desk in the library where I work, offering materials for our project families. The perplexed department supervisor called me, asking that I come from my lair in a dark corner of the basement to cope with this terrifying crisis. At first, I didn’t understand why she had come from a biochem class to this corner of the campus, a humanities library, but she spoke slowly and explained in tiny words that she would leave the foodstuffs with me in exchange for a letter including her name and student number and describing what she was donating. A letter? I write letters all day and I was pretty confident I could do that, so I accepted the bag and quick-walked her back to my lair. She said, “I didn’t know this part of the building existed,” and “You’d think this would smell funny,” as I laid out the donations and typed up a list, added her details and signed my name. She promised she would return with more donations. I thanked her effusively and took the bag of donations to a department where the collecting was going a bit slowly. The perplexed department head examined each item with an expression of wonder. It doesn’t matter why the student suddenly appeared. She did, when someone needed her to, when inspiration was needed. Somewhere, a biochem grad student has filled other rooms with light.

That is the kind of surprise I can live with.

Talk About the People Going Under


A recent yarn donor asked me to make a lap blanket for the place where her mother is receiving cancer treatment. Of course, after all my panic and speaking in tongues, it turned out fine, if slightly smaller than expected, because knitting ain’t rocket surgery unless Georg is doing the ballistic stitchery.

Actual dimensions: 30″ x 44″

And She Was Holding My Right

When the doctor told me that for four weeks post-surgery I would do nothing but sleep, eat and stretch, he glossed over a few things. For one: patients are supposed to sleep flat on their backs; also: patients can’t sleep. Nap, yes. Sleep, no.

In addition, the doctor could in no way account for things like that my mother would barge into my house every day to talk for a few hours, bearing yet another dessert large enough to feed a high school basketball team. This morning, Mom asked what she could bring over. I shouted into the phone, “No! No more puddings! Put down the spring-form pan and back away from the flan! Do not stop for pound cake! If cotton candy tries to give you a strange man, don’t take that, either!”

One thing the doctor was right about, though: after a few exercises, I feel bone-weary and have to put my feet up. Even so, I cannot look a bonbon in the eye.

Another of Georg's friends sent us productive pressies.

Another of Georg’s friends sent us productive pressies.

I Understand About the Food

This morning, I opened an envelope at work and found something totally unexpected: a thank you note from the family we collected for during the unnamed university’s anti-hunger project. We have not had any contact with the families and worked with the understanding that our efforts helped people we won’t know, but here was an adorable drawing in the hand of a tiny artist of five snowmen with initials of family members. My icy heart melted. Later, because I am a conniving thinkerizer, I cornered the head of the libraries and told her all about it in heart-rending detail until I was sure she would never allow anyone to cancel the project.

Georg put out the word that I can't be left to my imagination and yarnworkers have responded in a big, big way.

Georg put out the word that I can’t be left to my imagination and yarnworkers have responded in a big way.

And Now I’m Ready To Start

This year, thanks to yarn donors, we're sending three to the hospital's baby blanket project. Many thanks to you and you and you and you. You, too.

This year, thanks to yarn donors, we’re sending three to the hospital’s baby blanket project. Many thanks to you and you and you and you. You, too.

I’ve figured out a few things about these winter projects.

1. Start in the spring.

2. It seems stupid, but knit when it’s 90 degrees on the porch.

3. Don’t stop.

Miss Sasha has been making hats on a knitting loom. I have been hmm-hmm-hmm-ing about whether or not I could turn out hats this way, but I’d have to have a place to send them. It must be noted that I am in New Jersey and even toddlers get mouthy when you stroke their hair.

I guess we were all young then.

That Something Somewhere Has To Break

On Tuesday, my office cellmate and I went out for a walk down College Avenue at lunchtime. People were rushing in every direction and the sunlight felt pretty good in the warm afternoon. At the corner of Bishop and College, Sigma Delta Tau often holds bake sales for vague causes. “Buy this cookie to prevent child abuse,” is a common refrain. Tuesday, the sorority sisters were running around on the grass, where plastic-wrapped pallets sat on the sharply sloping lawn like odd spines on a stegosaurus. A herd of lanky frat boys lugged another plastic-wrapped pallet up the hill to a spot near the building. Everyone was laughing in the oddly warm December sun. The frat boys scrambled down the hill and in front of us bounced as one body toward a strangely placed 18-wheeler. My cellmate and I walked on, but my back hurt, so at the corner of Hamilton, we turned back.

This time, we could see the truck was nearly empty but the boys were unloading another pallet. It looked heavy. We could see from this angle the pallets were Jingos, some new thing Pepperidge Farms is selling with shouty commercials. Yeah, that one. About twenty pallets dotted the sloping, uneven lawn. It looked like the back of a giant, plastic-wrapped stegosaurus, but in a minute, we had forgotten all about it.

An hour later, my phone rang. A guy who ran an office one floor up wanted to know what a sorority should do with a sudden and shocking abundance of snack crackers after a verbal miscommunication with Pepperidge Farms. I started listing off agencies. The guy was keeping an awesome story to himself, I could tell. I did not want to miss out on whatever it was, so I hung up on him and ran upstairs.

In his office, I found him red-faced and laughing, sitting with a young woman I didn’t know. It developed that she was a member of the lawn snack sorority, which by the way appears to be called EAT at first glance, and some other sorority girl had had a conversation with some PR lackey that might’ve sounded like:

PR dude: Would you mind passing out some of our new snack crackers?
Sorority girl: We – like – would not mind.

And then a truck showed up. The sorority now wanted to know who would accept a donation of thousands of snack-size bags of Jingos because the sage at the local soup kitchen donation line wasn’t answering his phone. Fortunately for the sorority, we just had a hurricane and thousands of people were living in shelters, so I made a list of agencies looking for donations, though I should have mentioned that, not for nothing, there’s a grammar school two blocks away and you know all of those children don’t eat every day. But that slipped my mind. They asked if I wanted some. Thinking of the anti-hunger project, I said sure. The young woman asked how many cases because she brought cases of Jingos with her when she came to work. I said I’d take three for our three families. She disappeared and returned with three cases and a single serving bag, which I gave to one of my co-workers who still has a metabolism and normal blood pressure. Remember how those pallets required a herd of sweaty frat boys? Those boys were pretending to struggle because three cases weighed nothing.

A little while later, I called my sister to tell her a sorority on College Avenue was frantically trying to unload cases of crackers. She said maybe the church could send a car, but how would the driver find the right place? I told her to look for the only building on College Avenue that looked anxious about retaining water, and this was a matter of some urgency because Tuesday night it was going to rain.

Pete drove me to work Wednesday morning. We were gratified to see about half the number of pallets I’d seen were now propped neatly against the building and no food was mildewing on the lawn. From this, I learned that I need more twenty year olds to make cargo-size food errors.