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Gracious Parcels in the News

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Fireflys Gracious Parcels Project Makes the NewsYesterday afternoon a neighbor phoned, asking me if I had read the local paper for the day. I had not read or seen it, but I knew why he was phoning. Recently the Habitat for Humanity board I am a member of decided to send out press releases to local and regional newspapers, telling them about Project Gracious Parcels, a charity knitting project I started via my blog last fall. If you aren't familiar with Gracious Parcels, it is a project inviting knitters who read my blog to knit and donate seven-inch squares as pieces of blankets I put together for local Habitat homeowner families; forty-nine squares are joined together to make each blanket. Earlier this week the president of the Habitat board phoned me, because a reporter from the local paper wanted to interview me about the project. The day after the telephone interview a newspaper photographer came out to our farm to shoot some photos of the Gracious Parcels squares that have been coming in through the mail recently and which are destined to become four blankets for a new Habitat family moving into their new home this spring. Fireflys Gracious Parcels Project A Pile of SquaresThe newspaper article came out yesterday, and was on the front page of the paper. It was more than I expected, executed more swiftly than I would have imagined. The reporter is a lovely sounding young woman who comes from a family of knitters and quilters. I enjoyed sharing the joy and details of Gracious Parcels with her, and also enjoyed hearing a bit about her own experineces and thoughts regarding knitting and needle work. In my opinion, she wrote a wonderful article that accurately captured the spirit and intention of the project and the knitters who are participating in it. Gracious Parcels is a heartwarming and soul-warming project. You readers who have been participating and spreading the word via your own blogs, emails, and knitting groups are a wonderfully generous and beautiful lot of spirits. Beyond the active participants, there are also countless others who have encouraged me through kind comments left on my blogs and pleasant emails sent my way. I currently have enough squares on hand to make two blankets and many more squares are on their way. I am certain we will make the target of creating four blankets in time for the spring housewarming of the single mom and her three children who will move into the house currently under construction. The squares are quite beautiful and thoughtful in and of themselves, but I invite you in for a closer look at some of the tags the contributors have made to include on their squares. Some are humble handwritten notes on bits of of lined paper, saftey pinned to a knitted square. Others are printed cards and notes created with a flourish and tied on with pretty little ribbons and strings. Each tag is extraordinary and dear. The tags include the name of the knitter, the state she knitted from, fiber content of the yarn, and in some cases little prayers, wishes, or other kind words for the blanket recipient. Fireflys Gracious Parcels Project Closeup of LabelsI imagine what it would be like to receive a blanket such as this, knitted in kindness from strangers all over the country and even from foreign lands. What a treasure to read each tag and find yourself enveloped in a living scrapbook of love and kinship from near and far. This is what you have done, you readers and knitters, and those who have encouraged the entire process. Your generosity and creativity is grace in living color. You are dear. Some readers have asked whether or not Gracious Parcels will continue after the four blankets are made this spring, and yes indeed it will continue. The next objective after the spring blankets will be to create as fifteen or twenty blankets for the 2007 holiday season. Fireflys Hand Knit Spring Gift BagUltimately, I would like to continue expanding the project so that our Habitat for Humanity affiliate will be able to distribute many, many blankets to others in need in western New York especially each holiday season. The winters here can be quite cold, and there are many families in need of warmth as well as hope. Included in today's photos is a shot of the mystery object I was working on earlier in the week: it is a special knitted gift bag in a beautiful, sunny yellow cotton yarn. This part of the mystery is now exposed. Next I will knit and then reveal to you what is going inside of the gift bag. The stitch I used on the bag is an open mesh. It was enjoyable and quick to knit. I chose an open mesh because I want the contents of the bag to be somewhat visible once they are in there. For the time being, for the purposes of the photograph, the bag is lightly stuffed with tissue. In a few days I will be able to show you the contents ... after I complete them. I will also share the pattern with you. Thank you again for your participation, at whatever level, in Gracious Parcles. Thank you also for reading my blog and for encouraging me over the past several months to continue on. I am sincerely grateful. I wish you the finest of days today. ~firefly Copyright © 2006 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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