Thursday, December 12, 2013

Winter!

For the past few months, I've been dreaming of a little green vest. I have some Cascade 220 in a lovely green that has been waiting, so patiently, for an opportunity to become something useful and warm. We had a long drive ahead of us a few weeks ago. Perfect time for action. Vests, it seems to me, are a great solution in many ways. We can wear them inside on really cold days, or outside in almost every season. We can add them as a layer under winter jackets. Best of all, they still fit after arms have outgrown favorite sweaters. I always have a hat on the needles, and love to make mittens, but maybe vests will be my go-to project in 2014. (And maybe this will be the year I finally learn to cable.)

I visit the family shelter and clinic for the homeless fairly frequently now. I used to wait until I had a pile of woolens to deliver, but that really made no sense. Your donations are no help if they are waiting here at home, so now I pop in whenever I have more than a handful of warm things to share. What do we need? Everything. We need hats, mittens, socks, scarves, small blankets, vests, and sweaters. Yes, that is a long list. Basically, make what you love making. Try a pattern you have been thinking about, or stick to your favorite pattern.

I am often asked what we need the most. In truth, it is exceedingly hard to be out and about in our climate without a hat. Hats are always in high demand. I am a big fan of knitting hats, as they travel with me so easily and are perfect to work on when you have only a few minutes to knit here and there. If you tire of making hats, make something else! Know that your donations, whatever you make, will help keep somebody warm on these cold winter days. And thank you for thinking of Nest.

Happy Winter!

Peace,

Jean

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Woolens

I love wool. The colors, the textures, the possibilities. That said, I am not a summer knitter. I don't make a conscious decision to put down the needles when it gets hot, but I do. Maybe it's because my summer hands are busy doing other things. I don't even realize I've done it until I find myself digging through my knitting basket, months later, looking for something that needs finishing. Then, knitting becomes a regular part of my day once again. I look forward to those quiet moments here and there when I can get a few rows done.

Today I went to the family shelter to drop off a small bag of donations. There were hats, mittens, a lovely sweater, and a few small blankets. I am sure that the bag will be empty by the time temperatures drop this evening. As many of you know, there has been a sharp increase in the need for housing at the shelters in Maine. Too many people in our community lack the most basic articles of clothing to keep themselves warm.

I am often asked what types of donations are most helpful. We need it all. We welcome any donations of new, handknit or crocheted clothing and blankets. Hats and mittens are at the top of the list, but scarves, sweaters, socks, and small blankets are also very popular. All of your donations will be taken to the Portland family shelter and to the city clinic for the homeless.

As we let go of summer light, let us remember those in need this winter. As always, we thank you.

Peace,

Jean

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Solstice!

I'm a few days early, I know. Happy Solstice in advance!

Although winter got a bit of a late start here in Maine, it has arrived. It's cold. If you have finished your holiday gifts and projects and find an extra skein in your basket, please consider knitting a hat or two for Nest. I would love to deliver a big bundle of hats and mittens to the clinic for the homeless in Portland. I stopped by the clinic today to drop off a bag of hats. They could certainly use more.

If you have other projects you would like to knit or crochet instead, please do. What does not go to the clinic will go to the family shelter. They take just about anything. The residents love hats, mittens, vests, socks, and small blankets.

Finally, I wish you a wonderful holiday season. Your generosity and talents make a significant difference. Thank you. I hope your winter nights are filled with peace and joy. And yarn, of course. Plenty of yarn.

Peace,
Jean

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Nest :: 2011

We are enjoying a very (very) warm summer here in Maine. A few days ago the temperature topped out at about 102 in my neighborhood, which is quite rare here. Yes, it was so hot that I could not even....knit. Thankfully lovely, cool air blew in from Canada during the night and things are more Maine-ish today.

When we first started Nest there was a distinct beginning/middle/end to the season. There was a deadline for sending donations; most packages arrived within a few weeks of that date. Since then things have changed. We receive donations throughout the year. We deliver donations to a family shelter in Portland and a clinic for the homeless, also in Portland. Last year another batch went to a family shelter in Brunswick.

We are often asked what things are most in demand. In truth, we need it all. Small blankets for stroller and car rides, vests, sweaters, scarves, cowls, and warm socks, are all part of winter gear in Maine. But, the two things we really can't live without are hats and mittens. When winter winds are blowing and temperatures are low we need hats and mittens or gloves. These are the articles of clothing that so often get lost or go missing. If hats and mittens are not your favorite things to knit, feel free to knit whatever brings you joy, or whatever pattern you're eager to try. We can always find a home for your lovely creations.

Your kindness and generosity continue to make a positive difference, one stitch at a time. Send your donations at anytime. As always, the P.O. box is open.


Peace,
Jean

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

I have been thinking a lot these days about gratitude. I think one of the gifts of growing older is the irresistible urge to stop from time to time, no matter how crazy-busy life gets, to give thanks for life's many blessings. I am blessed with a strong, loving family. I have food and shelter. When I turn on the tap, or flip the switch, there is clean water, light, and heat. If any of those things should suddenly disappear, I have good friends who would offer help. And, I have you. Over the past three years you have sent over 700 items to Nest, providing warmth and comfort to many, many people. I am incredibly grateful for that. We are a tiny group by most standards but our work has made a significant difference to hundreds of people. And that is worth thinking about.

Although I am not able to write to each and every one of you, please know that your work is appreciated. I am the lucky one because I have seen the faces and heard the voices of people who wear the lovely things you create. If you are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, give yourself a little pat on the shoulder. You have made a difference.

As always, the P.O. box is open. Until warm weather arrives, we will continue to deliver any items received to two area shelters. As both shelters serve families, anything goes in terms of patterns and sizes. If you have any questions please contact me. Thank you!

Peace,
Jean

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hats! 100 Hats!

Ah, September. For knitters, such a beautiful word. Especially this summer. Sadly, I put down my needles a few weeks ago. I find it impossible to knit when temperatures are in the upper 90's. Although I don't want to complain, as it has been a spectacular summer, it has been very, very hot. I am ready for cooler days and chilly nights. Perfect knitting weather.

This week we received some very special mail. 100 hats, all knit by Robyn Devine. Hop over to Robyn's blog at www.onehundredhats.typepad.com to see the hats, complete with links to patterns, and read her story. It is very inspiring. Robyn plans to create 10,000 handknits for charity in her lifetime. She also writes another blog I enjoy reading called Minimalist Knitter. It can be found at www.minimalistknitter.com. Thank you, Robyn, for sharing your work, your kindness, and your generosity.


Peace,
Jean

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Nest 2010

Welcome to Nest 2010!

Nest was started in the spring of 2008 in response to the sharp increase in the price of home heating oil. Last night I was reminded of that as I sat looking at our oil bill for the upcoming winter season. I thought of the many Mainers who struggle to make ends meet with limited resources. I also thought of the many boxes and packages of handknits we received over the last few years and the joy those contributions brought to so many Mainers.

In 2009 Nest delivered over 200 articles of clothing to communities in northern Maine via our contact in Ft. Kent. We also donated about 100 items to a family shelter in southern Maine where residents range in age from newborn to adult. Contacts from both communities expressed an interest in unisex hats, mittens, socks of all sizes, and small blankets.

As you pack your bags for summer visits and trips, throw in a skein or two for Nest. Who can resist a stashbusting contribution that will make a significant difference to somebody in need? We prefer donations made from natural fiber, as it is warmest. However, there are folks out there who cannot knit with natural fiber and others who cannot wear it. If you are interested in making handknits using synthetic fibers we welcome your contributions.

Donations received before September 15, 2010, will be given to our contact from northern Maine. All donations received after that will be distributed in southern Maine. Do not spend extra money on postage! Your handknits will find a home no matter when they arrive.

Happy Summer to you all!
Peace,
Jean