Caps for Soldiers deadline TONIGHT!

We are so fortunate to live in an uber-crafty place with ultra-generous crafters. We’ve had such a great response to Barbara and Carla’s call for Caps for Soldiers, and it sounds like the other shops in town that have been collecting them have been having the same wonderful response. Barbara tells me that over 100 caps have been collected from Portland knitters already, and that the deadline has been pushed up to tonight, so they can be presented to the soldiers next week.

Here is a message, sent to us by Barbara, from the mother of this project, Janet from Boise. She and her mother, Bea, started this project.

Dear Knitting Angels:

When Bea made the promise to the Adjutant General in April that we would commit to 2,700 helmet liner caps by the first of September, it was indeed an act of faith. We got off to a slow start but always knew that if we could get the information out to the knitting community, it could be done. Finally, in the middle of June we started to get some media help and things really took off. Your calls came in like a flood and we scrambled to get the patterns distributed by mail, e-mail, through our drop-off sites and by passing them out everywhere we went.

We had some trials and misunderstandings with the patterns, etc. and of course the yarn shops had a hard time keeping enough yarn in the appropriate colors to meet the demand at first. Thank you for your patience during that time and we appreciate the wonderful efforts of our yarn shops for working so hard to meet our yarn needs as well as help with the knitting of the caps and collection process. With the help of the yarn shops, we made several changes in the patterns to try and make them more clear and knitter friendly. Then we started waiting for the completed caps to start coming in. We were like a couple of children waiting for Christmas.

Bea kept her knitting needles busy (too bad no one has invented high speed electric needles yet, huh) making caps along with answering calls for patterns, questions on the patterns and helping many knitters learn how to stitch the caps together without a visible seam. Janet spent most of her time making and delivering copies of the patterns to drop-off sites and via e-mail as requested, answering calls similar to those Bea received and collecting caps as they were turned in at our sites. She knitted caps as well as time allowed but did not get nearly as many knitted as she would have liked. At first just a few came in at a time, then gradually more and more came in each week and now we get a fairly large number each day. It is very exciting to see the response from you wonderful knitters.

We are now on the verge of reaching and exceeding our goal thanks to you all. We have over 2,400 caps sorted into small, medium and large size and boxed at this time. We still need all of the caps you have knitted, however, so we can be certain there are enough in each size to meet the needs of all the soldiers. . As we have said before, each and every cap is important. We are asking that you finish up the caps you are working on and get them either mailed to us or dropped off to a collection site by September 1. Bea and Janet have been asked to attend a BBQ with the entire 116th to turn the helmet liner caps over to them on September 9. This will be an unbelievable honor for us and we are looking forward to it.

The caps will be distributed to the soldiers as they are deployed and will take all of the remaining caps with them to Iraq and pass them on to other units for their soldiers. Having them by September 1 will give us time to sort them by size and get them boxed up for delivery on the 9th. If some don’t come in until after that date, we will forward them on until September 30, but it is really important to try and have them here by September 1 so they can be part of those being handed out to the soldiers at that time.

We have been told by the commanders of the 116th that they are very excited about the outpouring of support that our troops have received by our knitters in this project. It is hard to see our soldiers leave their families to go off to a war zone for an unknown time period, but we want you to know that they will be more comfortable while serving there thanks to your efforts. We hope you feel as proud of your accomplishment as we do and that you will accept our gratitude as well.

As a side note….Janet decided to wear one of these caps , soaked in water, golfing in the hot sun one day a week ago to verify that it would indeed cool her head when wet. She was very pleased to find that it worked even better than she had been told.

We look forward to receiving the remaining caps that you have worked so hard to create. The addresses are listed below. Please share this information with anyone you know that is working on this project with us as we don’t have the e-mail addresses for all our knitters.

In closing, we want to thank you again from the bottom of our hearts and on behalf of the members of the 116th for you help in the successful outcome of this project.