Photo from the Welcome Blanket website
Have you heard the news? Pussyhat Project cofounder Jayna Zweiman has launched a new effort: the Welcome Blanket Project. This new craftivism project takes the length of the proposed 2,000 mile border wall (between the U.S. and Mexico border) and re-conceptualizes it into “welcome” blankets for U.S. refugees.
Instead of wall, a concrete line, to keep people out, what if lines of yarn became 3,500,640 yards of blankets to welcome people in?
A welcome blanket is traditionally created to lovingly mark the arrival of a new person into the world. In the Welcome Blanket project, each handmade blanket is a physical manifestation of this celebration of new refugees and other immigrants: “Welcome to the United States and your new life here! We are so glad you have arrived.”
– from www.welcomeblanket.org
Like the Pussyhat Project, there are patterns on the website for knitters, crocheters, and even quilters! If you are new to knitting, they have a tutorial with step-by-step instructions (including images) to help you along the way with their Come Together knitting pattern. The Come Together knit blanket calls for bulky superwash wool, and we suggest Cascade 128 Superwash as a great yarn for it!
Each blanket must also be accompanied by a Welcome Note, which includes: your name and city, your family’s immigration story, and words of welcome and advice about living in the U.S.
Pictured: Welcome Note Template. Photo from Welcome Blanket website. Printable version of template can be found on the website.
These blankets, along with the welcome notes, will be displayed at an inaugural exhibition at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, beginning July 18th through December 17th. The blankets will be distributed to refugees and other immigrants through resettlement organizations after the exhibition ends.
The Welcome Blanket Project needs about 3,200 blankets (that are 40″ x 40″ each) to reach 2,000 miles of length. All blankets must be sent to the Smart Museum of Art by September 5th. In order to help them achieve this number, we will be hosting a Welcome Blanket Gathering on Sunday, August 6th at 12pm (during our usual Sunday Brunch!). We can help you get started on a blanket, or you can sit with us and continue working on one. Feel free to bring a friend, partner, or spouse along – we hope you will join us!