comfort me with mittens
January 17, 2013
The Newtown school massacre -- call it what it is -- is still with me, like it is with so many. A month on, I'm angry and sad and disgusted.
We need to do something about guns. We need to do something about mental health care. No, I don't know exactly what that is -- but what we have now clearly isn't working.
And while we thrash through what ought to be done, with the conversation growing increasingly toxic, I do what I seem to do when the national discourse is so fraught and sorrow so fresh, which is knit until I have a better sense of how to move forward.
You may do the same. And for “knit,” feel free to insert the word of your choice, like “golf” or “exercise” or “rant.” We find our own ways to cope.
Shortly after I heard about the Newtown shootings, I saw a picture of a Norwegian tree made entirely of hand-knitted mittens.
No one can argue against the inherent loveliness of mittens. (They could, of course, because people can argue about anything. But I think we can all agree that the mitten-haters have larger issues.)
The mitten tree gave me a strange kind of hope and, because I don’t respond well to strange hope, it caused a plan to percolate in the back of my head. How cool would it be to line the shop windows in my town with mitten trees? My town could be any town, frankly. It could be Newtown. It could also be your town, if you adjust for scale.
Will mittens save the word? Reform our gun laws? Bring kids back? No. But they might start a conversation. We work with what we have.
I’d like to have help with making the mittens or funding yarn for others to make mittens. I’d like to plant mitten trees in other places, too. After the holidays, the mittens would be donated to local charities. Or, maybe, auctioned off for the Brady Center? I’m still in the planning phases on that part. (I'm also planning a book about mittens and fiber and knitters and sheep - but more will be revealed later.)
Right now, I’m more interested in seeing who I can rope in for the journey. Would you be willing to help me out with a blog post? Or a re-post? Some mittens? Corporate support? Cupcakes?
Actually, the cupcakes would just be for me. I plan better when there is frosting.
If you're ready to start, here are the details: make your mittens any green you'd like. Make them of a size to fit human -- kid or adult -- hands. Wool would be nice but not required. Knitted would be nice but not required. Send me an email and I'll send you a mailing address.
Spread this post far and wide. Let's see what happens.
yes. me. I am on this. (not to mention I am a mitten fanatic the way others are sock fanatics.)
Posted by: anj | January 17, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Have you considered putting this information up on the "Standing On The Side Of Love" website? I think you would find a lot of support there.
Posted by: Walter Clark | January 17, 2013 at 02:25 PM
This is a fantastic idea. And I have a lovely green yarn with no purpose...
Posted by: MaryKate | January 17, 2013 at 02:47 PM
Count me in. I have some green yarn that needs a home.
Posted by: kmkat | January 17, 2013 at 03:03 PM
I have only ever knit fingerless gloves but love this idea. I will repost on my blog.
Posted by: Sarah/CitizenBeta | January 17, 2013 at 04:16 PM
Mitten trees are a great idea! I will knit mittens (and bake cupcakes). I am also local (I work at SUNY O) so I may be able to help in other ways as well.
Posted by: Lesley | January 17, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Maybe it's just me and my lack of understanding, but if you can explain it for old ladies, I will bring the plan to them tomorrow, or next Friday if we don't get me fully understanding by then.
Posted by: Anna | January 17, 2013 at 06:52 PM
can i quilt some mittens???
Posted by: anne/originals by anne | January 17, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Posted by: www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmeirOB5ulDlmfjVbdq3nG2ImmR5-tOM8E | January 17, 2013 at 07:36 PM
This sounds like such a nice idea. I must have some green in the stash: I'll dig for it. And I can blog about it--soon, not tonight--and let my dozen or so readers know!
Posted by: ccr in MA | January 17, 2013 at 08:44 PM
Quilting mittens is great! I'm not even sure what that would look like but have at it.
And, Anna, it's pretty simple. Knit green mittens. Send them to me. They'll go on a tree, then either be auctioned off or donated to people with cold hands. Yes?
Thanks so much y'all! Let's keep it moving....
Posted by: Adrienne | January 17, 2013 at 10:04 PM
wonderful....i'll make mittens. also i''m sure my other knitting group will love to participate. i'm sure sybil of sybil's yarn shop will be interested. let's do this!
Posted by: barb | January 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM
I got halfway through a mitten last night. Should have the pair done by the end of the weekend. Then will start second pair.
Posted by: Heidi | January 18, 2013 at 10:03 AM
Can I send a check to you via your Green Toad bookstore for expenses? I'm a slooow knitter but would love to help someway. The whole Newton killings / gun laws / murders of little kids and Girl Scouts has been haunting me enough to get in the way of sleeping and I want to do SOMETHING. Thank you for getting the ball rolling.
Posted by: Sue B | January 19, 2013 at 09:48 PM
When do you need the mittens by? I would love to join in but these would be my first mittens, also I'd need to get them to you from Australia. I know it seems kind of strange knitting mittens in an Australian summer, but it would be nice to offer something from down here.
Posted by: tony | January 21, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Sue B and Tony - the short answers are yes and October. I've sent you some email....
Posted by: Adrienne | January 21, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Consider creating a facebook event. That would be easy to share. I've just posted this link on Knoxville Art and to some select friends.
Posted by: Debra Dylan | January 28, 2013 at 08:46 AM
Well I have never knit mittens before, but think this is a perfect reason to learn.
Count me in.
Keep your fingers crossed they turn out wearable. If they do, I will try and make more.
Posted by: Gina | January 28, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Thanks for your message, count me in!
Posted by: tony | February 02, 2013 at 08:16 PM