Knitters and crocheters took their knitting needles to the library Thursday to help keep local veterans warm.
The Blair Public Library hosted its first Knit Your Bit event, inspired by a World War II campaign to knit scarves and warm clothes for soldiers on the battlefield. Six women spent the afternoon at the library knitting scarves for veterans in the Omaha area.
Ruth Heer of Blair, Neb., has headed the local chapter of the national campaign after finding information from the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
The campaign, based in New Orleans, was launched in 2006 and has collected and donated more than 20,000 scarves nationwide.
“This is something that, at my age and stage of life, I like to do and can encourage others to do,” Heer said.
Heer said men and women of all levels of knitting and crocheting are able to participate.
“I am still in the beginning stages, definitely,” said Gayle Roberts, director of the Blair library. “But it's great to have it open to all stages.”
Marjorie Kohler, a Blair resident and the sister of a veteran, said she had donated one scarf so far.
“I just work on it a little bit at a time,” she said.
Pat Hunsche of Blair, a Navy veteran who served from 1953 through 1957, attended the event to help with the knitting circle and to receive a maroon, crocheted scarf, donated by Heer's sister in Utah as a thank-you for her service. Hunsche is the first female veteran from the Omaha area to receive a scarf from the Knit Your Bit group.
“This is a very nice tribute to veterans,” she said. “I have seen men wearing the scarves when they get all dressed up.”
This was the first Knit Your Bit event for the Blair library, and attendance was lower than the local group's previous event at the Millard Branch of the Omaha Public Library, Heer said. Forty people attended that gathering.
The Blair event was postponed from Feb. 21 because of snow. The date change caused some transportation problems, and senior citizens centers that planned to sent residents had to back out.
The Blair library will host Knit Your Bit the third Thursday of every month.
“I think next month we'll have more people,” Roberts said. “We just have to get transportation figured out and the weather will be better.”
So far, the group has collected about 20 scarves and has handed out three, but Heer will now receive help from the Omaha American Legion Auxiliary.
That group will help distribute the scarves to places such as the VA Medical Center and the Eastern Nebraska Veterans Home in Bellevue. Veterans can also pick up scarves at the knitting events at the Millard and Blair Libraries each month.
Blair's next Knit Your Bit is March 21 at 1 p.m.
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