Local shop knitting scarves to raise money to buy livestock for poor communities -- themorningcall.com
As a child, Barbara Stabile would watch her mother knit sweaters and other items for the American Red Cross to give to soldiers during World War II.Over the years, as her own foray into knitting went from hobby to career, the owner of Tangled Yarns on Main Street in Bethlehem looked for a way to give back.She's found a cause through Keep the Fleece, an effort sponsored by the United Nations as part of the International Year of Natural Fibres.The goal is to raise $250,000 to give to Heifer International, a Minnesota agency, which will use the money to buy fiber-producing livestock, such as sheep, to help poor communities become sustainable.Stabile and others have been hard at work knitting scarves that measure 9 inches wide and 60 inches long. They are collecting $1 for every row knitted. A single sheep could be purchased for every 120 rows.Their work will be sent to the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, which is being held Oct. 17-18 in Rhinebeck. There it will be assembled into what organizers hope will become the world's longest scarf.The completed scarf will then travel to the White House and United Nations, among other places.Stabile heard about the project from employee Kate Lemmers, who attended a trade show of the National Needle Arts Association in Columbus, Ohio, in June. Stabile was familiar with Heifer International. Last year, Lemmers suggested getting involved in Heifer's holiday Giving Tree program. The shop raised $750 for the program by knitting and selling baby socks, scarves and other items. It will participate in the program again this year. When Lemmers mentioned Keep the Fleece, Stabile was only too happy to break out balls of wool. Staff, friends and loyal customers have also taken turns knitting rows. But Stabile said she has been handling the work from donors who prefer to leave the needles and yarn in the hands of experts.''One donor got so excited about the project she gave me $600,'' she said. ''I knitted two scarves with that.''The shop is working on its sixth scarf now and has raised about $1,600. The deadline to turn the scarves in is Thursday.Stabile has taken her scarves to bridge games and dinner parties, she said, ''just to publicize it.'' She estimated she's been spending 20 hours a week on the project. Even so, she said the work isn't difficult. ''I can't sit in front of a TV without knitting,'' she confessed.And it isn't just Stabile -- Lemmers is similarly obsessed. Like a patient in need of medication, she keeps her needles and wool handy at all times.''If I'm stuck in traffic, there's no road rage,'' she said. ''It makes sitting so productive.''Stabile said people have been receptive to the cause. At least 150 people have either donated money or knitted rows themselves. Stabile even got her 7-year-old grandson involved when he visited from New Hampshire.''He knitted two rows and he gave me $2. It's been really fun,'' she said.
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