Think red. That’s what Betsy Doherty of Brooklin wants knitters and crocheters to do as they fashion scarves for the Heartscarves project, designed to bolster the spirits of women with heart disease.
Doherty is the network support coordinator for WomenHeart of Coastal Maine. She introduced the Heartscarves program to Mainers several years ago. WomenHeart is sponsored by the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, which recently adopted the Heartscarves project and will introduce it to volunteers from throughout the United States at a conference this month in Baltimore.
Similar scarf projects have sprung up in Mississippi, California and Indiana, as well as Maine, Doherty said.
WomenHeart of Maine was the recipient of the fundraising efforts of the 31st annual Pine Tree Quilters Show in Augusta.
More than 45,000 women in Maine have been diagnosed with heart disease, Doherty said.
As knitters and crocheters, you all know what to do. You get some lovely red yarn, something soft and drapey, something merino or Maine-grown and spun, something alpaca, silk, cotton or beautiful blends of natural fibers. Maybe even bamboo. Whatever — as long as it’s red.
Then you troll through your extensive stacks of books and magazines (which you all have, admit it!) to find the perfect scarf pattern, perhaps something lacy and airy as clouds on a sweet spring day in The County, or cabled and solid as the good Maine coast. Or maybe you’re good at creating your own designs and have something in mind that would be perfect to bestow on a woman who has just received the serious news that bypass surgery is in her future and that she must now live with the consequences of heart disease. The Heartscarves project does not require that any specific knitting or crochet pattern be used, the perfect way to encourage individual creativity.
Then, of course, you get right down to it — the knitting and crocheting, that is. You might want to crank on the DVD player and watch a chick-flick like “27 Dresses,” “The Devil Wears Prada” or one of the films adapted from Jane Austen’s novels as you ply your needles or hook. Music is good, too, or books on tape.
Before you know it, that red scarf will be long enough to twine several times around a neck, with a nice length left over to trail majestically or insouciantly, in one’s wake — because, after all, once a woman has faced a serious health issue involving her heart and is on the road to recovery, she will have a new bounce in her step and carry herself proudly with a smile.
What do you do with the scarves after they have been made so lovingly and blessed with your laughter, creativity and kindness? You drop them off at Shirley’s Yarns and Crafts in Hancock or String Theory yarn shop in Blue Hill. If you don’t live in either area, call Doherty at 359-8414 and she will arrange for scarves to be picked up at a convenient location.
Yarn shop owners who want to volunteer their stores as drop-off sites also may call Doherty.
What happens to the scarves you donate? Volunteers sew “Handmade with love for WomenHeart” on each one, package them in brightly colored WomenHeart gift bags, add news about local heart support groups and information about living with heart disease, and deliver them to area hospitals, including Eastern Maine Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor and Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor, and to cardiac rehabilitation units in Maine.
For more information about WomenHeart, visit www.womenheart.org.
• Mary Bird, who coordinates the Friday Fiber Friends at the University of Maine Page Farm and Home Museum, has a wonderful idea. It occurred to her that if a yarn donation basket were placed in churches, public libraries, senior centers, offices, businesses or other places, knitters and crocheters could toss in their odd balls and skeins left over from other projects to be used as source material for those who might want to select enough yarn to make colorful caps, mittens, scarves or other projects for someone in need. Way to go, Mary!
• The Spinoff Sock Group of knitters will resume meeting between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16, at the Page Home and Farm Museum, University of Maine.
• The SAD 22 Adult Education Program will hold Christmas wreath-making workshops 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, and 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, at Reeds Brook Middle School. The cost is $5 and each class is limited to 10 people. For more information or to register, call the adult ed office at 862-6422 from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
• The Gifted Hand fine art, craft and gift show will offer an array of items from 50 juried artisans. The event is set for noon-6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, High Street, Ellsworth. The show will feature gourmet chocolates, handcrafted jewelry, housewares, clothing, quilts, toys, paper goods, pottery, photography, woodworking, felted items, yarn and knitting supplies, fine art, prints, sculpture and more. An admission fee of $2 benefits The Grand theater in Ellsworth. Those who want to volunteer at the show or to donate items for a silent auction to benefit The Grand may call Christina Heiniger at 664-2402 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
• For Maine artisans interested in venues south of the Kittery Bridge — organizers of the Sugarloaf Craft Festivals are accepting applications for its spring 2009 juried shows. The nearest show takes place March 27-29 in Hartford, Conn. Other shows take place January through May in Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. For more information visit www.zapplication.com or call 800-210-990.
• Visit www.janbrett.com to access a printable, in color, Advent calendar. And www.wikihow.com has directions for making an Advent calendar with a cookie sheet and magnets. Also, go to this Web address to find a tutorial on making an Advent calendar from little white felt envelopes and stars — http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2007/11/how_to_make_an_advent_calendar.html.