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Knitting for Red Thread
May 11, 2006

Calvin senior Stephanie Richards is throwing a knitting party to benefit the Red Thread Project, a local effort to knit hats for cancer patients.

Knitters of every skill level are welcome at the party, which will be held from 7 to 10 pm on May 17 at 221 Calkins Ave.

Richards“It’s a good cause that brings together art, knitting and community,” she says of the Red Thread Project, which has multiple sponsors, including the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art.

Richards asks that knitters bring their own needles (though she says she’ll have a few loaners on hand) and yarn to knit hats in various sizes from patterns of their choice. Homemade popcorn and tea will be served.

The knitted hats, due to be completed by June 1, 2006, will be donated to local nonprofit organizations for distribution to local children and adults who have cancer.

Prior to donation, the knitted hats will be used in a performance piece.

Volunteers will attach the hats to a red thread a quarter-mile long and the resulting string of hats will be modeled in a parade slated for the end of June.

“They’re hoping to have a thousand people attached to a red string parading around downtown,” Richards says.

The project, the creation of Chicago fiber artist Lindsay Obermeyer, was inspired by a Chinese proverb: “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place and circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.”

Richards, a social work major who has been knitting since her freshman year at Calvin, says the Red Thread Project is a good reason to rally her friends.

“For me, it’s something to bring people together,” she says. “We have a knitting party every Thursday.”

The knitting group shares more than the craft.

“I live with several girls in an intentional community,” says Richards, who participated in a knitting class at Calvin this January. “Knitting is one of the things that brings us together besides our weekly house dinners. It started as a Bible study and turned into knitting night. We’ve made baby blankets collectively for our friends who have babies. Usually it’s just to hang out, but we end up making a lot of cool things.”

The group is eager to widen the knitting circle for this event.

“My roommates and I are trying to plan a way to get our moms back to town. So hopefully, this is a way to get our moms back together,” Richards says.

~written by media relations staff writer Myrna Anderson