Knitters are special people. The ones I know are kind-hearted, devoted, and giving people. A few days ago, I became aware of a special way one Medfield knitter has helped with the healing of the Boston Marathon 2013 survivors and first responders and she has been on this mission since last April!
As the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing comes nearer, there are many tributes being shown on television and many stories to be read in Boston and local newspapers. Over these past 12 months there have been fundraisers of all kinds in support of the One Fund Boston.
The Boston Strong Hat Project is one of them. In her own quiet way, with the support of the knitting community, Lisa McFetridge, the owner of Idle Hands Knits, is supporting the One Fund, as well as supporting the individual bombing victim’s families, the survivors and their families and the first responders, with the design and creation of the BOSTON STRONG knitting pattern.
Lisa designs knitting patterns; mainly hat and mitten patterns and has been a knitter for as long as she can remember. “As many knitters know, the act of knitting is calming” she told me. She went on to explain that the creation of the Boston Strong cap design happened only a few days after the bombing. “I have knit through many difficult periods in my life….and as I was watching the 2013 Marathon, I was knitting. On the Thursday after the Marathon, I heard about Sean Collier on the car radio; another victim. I knew I needed to design a Boston Strong hat and the hat needed to include those lost and those who survived. The focus of the hat are the words ‘BOSTON STRONG’, surrounded by 4 stars (one for each victim), with the Boston skyline on the back including the Hancock Tower, where I worked for many years and where I met my husband.” The pattern allows for the 4/15/13 date to be an option, or the word “Peace” as a substitute.
Lisa designed the Boston Strong caps, and donates the full amount of the sale of these patterns to the One Fund Boston. In addition, she has been able to have the funds matched to double the donation. Over $2,000 (before matching funds) from pattern sales has gone to the One Fund and about one hundred caps have reached survivors and first responders.
In addition to designing this hat, she designed 4 Tribute hats, one in memory of each victim, and sent them to the families of Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, and Sean Collier. The hat in memory of Lu Lingzi, is red, and incorporates BU in the skyline and the stars of the Chinese flag; the hat in memory of Martin Richard is blue and green with a shamrock and the word “Peace” in the skyline; the hat in memory of Sean Collier is red and grey with “Collier Strong” and “MIT 179” in the skyline; and the hat in memory of Krystle Campbell simply states “Krystle Strong”.
But the giving doesn’t stop there. When an individual purchases the pattern and knits a hat, the hat can optionally be sent back to Lisa. Lisa will work to ensure that all caps received reach the families of victims, survivors and first responders. Knit caps have come to her from all over Massachusetts, much of New England as well as New York and Pennsylvania. They have come from friends and from strangers who volunteer their time and talents by purchasing the pattern, knitting the cap and then donating it. Lisa told me she is “happy to keep distributing them as long as they come in.”
In our little town of Medfield, an idea became a reality; 4,000 knit stitches become something much more, a healing tool for the giver and the recipient. It has spread across the state and beyond. A true testament to the giving hearts of knitters! “The knitters are doing something to help”, she told me, and I agree! I believe each knitter has greatly helped some individual who proudly wears this cap. They are given to heroes, but the knitters are considered heroes in the eyes of many of the recipients as well.
Lisa said that the biggest take away is the “giant new family” of knitters and supporters of the survivors and the first responders. “I can’t help but wonder if the people who made this terrible day happen had any idea of the new stronger fabric of community and family that would result.”
Lisa would also like to thank Jen, Emily, Cathy, Sue, Donna, Peg, Teri, Sandi, Joanne, Tammy and everyone at Black Sheep Knitting, The Stitch House, Cascade Yarns and WEBS and every knitter who has given their time and talent to this project for their support every time they have been asked. She also gives thanks to Ravelry for giving all knitters the chance to connect in a global way and to all the recipients, whose response has made this project so much more than the yarn, needles and stitches that make up the hats.
If you would like to purchase the pattern, and/or donate a cap, or see images of these caps, please take note of the following information:
The pattern can be purchased online in PDF form through Ravelry at:
or from WEBS at:
Information on how to donate a cap to a survivor or first responder is available in the pattern or see Lisa’s Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Idle-Hands-Knits-by-Lisa-MCFetridge/152539364833757 or email her at LISAGMC@AOL.COM.
You can also see the Boston Strong hats being worn by the recipients in portraits and short videos about survivors on the website “Dear World”
http://dearworld.me/ as well as Runner’s World Online and many other sites.
For more information regarding the OneFund Boston.
All proceeds from the sale of the pattern will go to OneFundBoston