Sunday, November 4, 2012

Scarf-Bombing Chases Post-Sandy Chill

By Christina Georgiou

Scarves "bombed"around the West Ward
 blow in the breeze  on Saturday.
The colorful, warm, wooly neckwarmers
were claimed quickly.
Click on any photo for a better view!
 "Chase the Chill" has held a scarf-bombing event every November for the past several years, but this year, it's timing was especially appropriate.

Led by local knitter and needlearts teacher Susan Huxley, volunteers donate scarves they've handknitted to the cause and then drape them from trees, sign posts and whatever else is handy.

The scarves have tags inviting lucky finders to take them if they like them.

Last year, Chase the Chill distributed more than 200 colorful bits of wooly warmth in the Downtown district.

This year, however, there were so many--509 to be exact--that the group festooned both a section of the West Ward near the Easton Area Community Center and Centre Square.

"I can't believe the jump from last year. I couldn't believe it. I kept recounting," Huxley said. "People really stepped up to the plate."

 Charity knitting groups, such as the Palmer-based "So Other May Be Warm" who contributed 56 neck-warming items, as well as individual knitters contribute to the cause.

Angela Boehm, of Bethlehem, was a large part of the increase in donations,  contributing 163 items this year.

Boehm said she enjoys knitting nightly, along with a cup of coffee and watching soap operas as a way to unwind at the end of the day, and contributing to Chase the Chill is a perfect outlet for her hobby.

"I was doing one or two a day at one point," she said.

Other contributors that enjoy knitting and crocheting said they too enjoy their hobby for similar reasons.

"I knit every day," said Grace Hochella, of Allentown.

Hochella said she's enjoyed the crafts since learning it when she was 11, but became a "serious knitter" after her father passed away a couple of years ago.

"I find knitting healing and unifying," she said. "It's scientific. It uses both sides of the brain. It's a wonderful healing art."

A passerby claims a scarf.
 Finders of the scarves probably agree, for checking back on the sites Chase the Chill "bombed" every one of the colorful labors of love had been claimed--within the hour on Centre Square, and within 2 1/2 in the
West Ward, where the majority of the scarves were distributed.

The decision to bomb the West Ward with scarves came not only because of the greater number of contributions, but also because a large section of the neighborhood had been without power since Monday in the wake of "superstorm" Sandy, leaving most residents without heat  for the week as well.

That situation was rectified a few hours later, not only by the scarves, but when power was finally restored to the neighborhood later in the day.

Easton knitter and knitting teacher Susan Huxley, left, chats
with Angela Boehm amd Grace Hochella

Scarf-bombing volunteers caught in the act.

More about “Chase the Chill...the Original” can be found on the project's Facebook page. Anyone can participate, and the group takes donations of yarn as well. Each of the donated items is also photographed and documented on the page.

"So Others May Be Warm" meets regularly at the Palmer branch of the Easton Public Library and donates the fruits of their knitting to a variety of good causes. Information about how to join the group and meeting times is at the bottom of the branch's webpage.

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