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Team Blanket No. 2: For Survivors of a House Fire


PSo I’m finally getting around to sharing my vacation with you but as I thought about it all, it was way too much to put in one post. It did, however, end up being five different mini-vacations in one big vacation (we’re not going to talk about the one day I went back to work) so I think I’ll do five posts.

Vacation Number 1

My sister has a very sweet little house in southern Vermont. I left on a Sunday morning and took a leisurely ride up the Taconic and then the smaller roads through Vermont and arrived mid afternoon. My sister, brother in law, and niece Molly were on vacation in New Hampshire so my parents and the animals were at the house. Within an hour, my other niece Susie and her boyfriend JM arrived and we were off to dinner (delicious!).

On Monday, Susie and JM left for NH to meet up with the rest of their clan and Granny, Pop and I were left at the house. I’m an early bird, so I had lots of lovely knitting time with the dog and the cats while everyone else snoozed. I actually finished a few things that have been sitting in the basket for a while.

Monday afternoon, we went to Hildene. It’s the home of Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert and is a major historic site in southern Vermont. Robert was the chair of Pullman Railroad and the irony of his father’s role in freeing the slaves and the less than ideal situation of the Pullman porters is not lost on anyone. The family’s private rail car is restored and on display at the site along with a very moving timeline of the civil rights movement starting at the Civil War. They aren’t dancing around it–they’re taking it on quite directly and the exhibit was surprisingly moving.

Pop was a carnie in the 1940s and 50s and worked on a railroad carnival so he has a thing for old trains. Real ones, not the models. He loved it.

Next stop (they have a little trolley which was great because Pop is 87 and his knees are old) was the goat farm. My parents had no interest so then went on to the house while I explored the farm. They make their own cheese there (which was delicious) and the docent when I was there was the semi-retired vet from town so he really knew his stuff. I think that was my favorite part. After that, on to the house where I met up with Granny and Pop and tootled around the joint. The family lived in the house until the 1940s. Interesting to think of the lifestyle they had within my own parents lifetime.

Came across this in the servants quarters. Do you think she was making a log cabin?


On Tuesday the plan was to go yarn shopping. Imagine my shock to find out that all the yarn shops in the area are closed on Tuesday! What kind of state is this??? Who are these people? So we were going to head into Brattleboro and go to The Retreat Farm and visit Carlos the ginormous bull who is gentle as a kitten but they were closed too. So we gave up and went into Manchester, had the best hot dogs ever from the hot dog truck and went to the book store. It’s one of my favorite book stores and I got so carried away that I bought an Alabama Chanin book. More on that in later in the vacation. We made a quick pit stop on the way home at the Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop to drop off some brownies (they were so nice), then out to dinner.

Perfect, relaxing days to gear up for my adventures to the north. More on that tomorrow!


Thank you!! I feel a little sad that I’ve finished . . . waiting for the next one.


Yes!! There was to be another. You can look @ doing a square for Team Blanket #5. For victims of the Carr fire, Northern California. The contact there is Deb Doyle in San Mateo, CA. And if Team4 ever gets started…


I’m back! Weeks of moving house, having a cold, and hosting mates from Perth have hindered my progress, so it was wonderful to sit and knit another miter today. Karen, your holiday part-1 sounds incredible, and I’m wishing your bloke a speedy recovery!

Now for a confession. I wussed out of the faded corners on my first square. To atone, I’m doing a second square with the colour scheme reversed, and am having far too much fun fading the cross. Here’s a many-loose-ended picture for your enjoyment!


Whoa!!! That is awesome😍and that’s a bazillion ends, too😆lol


So many ends! I had a brain-wave and started weaving them as I go by carrying the loose ends as if locking a floats, but sadly I didn’t get this idea until miter 3… :sweat_smile::roll_eyes:


Meant to do a post rather than a reply.


Here is my square all finished and blocked. This was a fun knit! I have enough to do another square with the colors reversed. Let me know if you would like to have it.


Hello, Do we have a Must Be Done By date yet? I was so sure I would be done by now, but I’m not. Finished the first 4 miters and am almost finished with #5, so the end is in sight. Ideally, it should be finished by the end of the week, but stuff just seems to keep happening. Sheesh!

The ones that have been done have been so lovely. Hope I can come close!


Holy Cannoli!! It’s been crazy! Timberland (the boot company) came in with about 60 people to do a volunteer event at work. It was awesome! They brought all sorts of cool folks with them. These guys came. They were delightful and inspirational. Raekwon from Wu Tang Clan came! For those of you who haven’t spent a lot of time in the hip hop world (I worked in hip hop for a long time), he is one of the top three rappers in the world. He’s also one of the good guys. It was pretty amazing.

Immediately after that we had a conference on site which was also pretty rockin’.

We are in a time of amazing change and growth at work so we are running with a very lean staff right now. Which leads to a lot of “oh my God I didn’t realize we needed to actually feed these people”. My week was supposed to have three tours and then spending my day at my desk writing. Instead, it became nine tours and me having to be “on” for five days. By noon on Friday I was doing jazz hands about social justice. Seriously, it got to the point where I was getting home from work (eventually), flinging my pearls and my bra, falling into bed, searching for my pearls and my bra (it was a dress up kind of thing) and going back to work.

Which of course let to a wicked head cold.

But the knitting didn’t suffer. Nor did the wonderful packages arriving at my door. People are still making squares and I have a lovely pile of packages to open.

You’re all wonderful and things should get back to normal around here this week.




Love! These! They’re fabulous. Are you from Australia? My wonderful brother in law is from Gold Coast?


Yes, it would be wonderful to have another square with this color combo! I’ts fantastic.


I’m on it!


Honestly, Karen, you are one of the most interesting people that I don’t know but kinda know and really want to know. Hip Hop?? Wow, how cool. Did I mention that I visited the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama when I was on the way to that Alabama Channin class??
Hope your work calms down eventually. I am looking forward to learning more about what it is you do for a living. I thought it was baking brownies that went into Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. And I thought that was pretty darn cool.

Thanks for leading our group. I’m now doing a square for team 5. I love this project.


I am! I’m originally from Perth, on the other side. My wonderful step dad is from the Gold Coast too!


I went to Gold Coast about 10 years ago for a week. Everyone told me I was crazy to go to Australia for just one week but the choice was a week or not at all. I loved it!


Hello Team 2!

I’ve been meaning to share these for a while. Although I haven’t yet gotten up this part of my vacation, I want to start sharing this now. (We make our own rules here, right?) In Volume 3 of Karen’s Vacation Adventures, I went to a great bookstore and found this wonderful pack of postcards called Rad American Women A-Z. An alphabet of radical women! In light of the radical kindness of this group, what could be better for my thank you notes?

I’ll share them with you in batches. If you click the name, it will link you to the Wikipedia page for the woman on the card.

I have sent these out without any consideration of our individual politics, etc. Regardless of how you feel about them, we have a sisterhood where we are all welcome to respect each other, even when we disagree. Part of the beauty of this project (seems like a weak word for it–I’ll try to come up with a better one) is that none of the things that divide us have mattered. It’s quite beautiful.

Angela Davis

Billie Jean King

Carol Burnett

Dolores Huerta

Ella Baker

More to come.


So you know how we finish the miters and then we do a log cabin edging? And the log cabin edging is nine ridges? Am I only the only one who thinks of this every time I count to nine? Am I showing my age?

Every time I finish a border I stand up and shout “Nine! Coconut! Custard! Pies!”


Jen, I am resolutely and proudly not cool. I am, however, lucky and have found myself in some wonderful places in my life. I give credit to my parents for giving my sister and me a tremendous amount of freedom with really healthy boundaries. By the way, both my parents are truly cool.

I would love to go to the Legacy Museum. Now that I have discovered how truly wonderful vacation can be, I may take a trip there in the spring. There’s an Alabama Chanin story in Volume 4 of my vacation and, suffice it say, I’m totally hooked.

As to my career, the hip hop company that I worked for was Tommy Boy Music and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It was a very progressive company and I handled all our work that had to do with people. So I did everything from payroll and benefits to running workshops on the music industry in the alternative high schools in the NYC housing projects. Our founder was, and still is, a real character and a true believer that business can do good in the world. We were part of Warner Music Group and paved the way for several of their policies that are still in place today. My favorite work that I did there was getting our health insurance carrier to give us what, at the time, was called Same Sex Spousal Equivalent coverage. This was long before there was any such thing as domestic partnership. Our carrier offered it but only to large companies, which we were not. I called their CEO’s office three times a day for about three months. I always got voice mail but would leave very nice messages that said things like “Hi! It’s Karen from Tommy Boy. Hope you had a great weekend! Just checking in to see why you won’t sell me the coverage that you sell to other people even though I want to pay you for it.” Then I would call at lunch time “Hi, me again. I’m going to get some lunch so if you call me back in the next 20 minutes, I won’t be here. But I’m just getting a slice of pizza so I’ll be back soon!” And on, and on, and on. I never got a person but eventually someone called me back and said “Fine. You can have it.” I’m sure whoever had to listen to the messages is still telling stories about the crazy lady. But we made it happen and set a precedent. Which was awesome. They also talked me into being House of Pain’s product manager. They were Irish-American as am I so they figured I could handle them. Which I did but it was a wild ride. Such fun!!!

As to my current job, it is in my DNA. I work for a non-profit that owns a commercial bakery that has created a model called Open Hiring. To get a job at the bakery all you have to do is put your name on a list and be legally allowed to work in the U.S. We ask no questions. There’s no application. No interview. No resume.
When your name comes up on the list, you can have a job. No questions asked. It’s radical and it works. Our team (60% of whom have been in jail) are amazing. And our brownies are delicious! Our non-profit works with all the things (child care, housing, food, training, etc.) that a community needs so that people can succeed in their jobs. I love it so much. Every job has it’s good and bad days but I can genuinely say I love going to work every day. I’m stopping now because I can go on about this for days!!

So that’s the short version of my story. Simply lucky to be in the right place at the right time and find the people that I jive with. This group is much the same!


I think of the Beatles; Number Nine, Number Nine!! From, I think, the White Album?!