Tuesday, January 10, 2012

‘Chase the Chill,’ anyone?

My desire to explore loom-knitting techniques led to a surplus of hats. Limitations of storage thankfully coincided with an interest in making the world a better and more interesting place.

As a result, hats mysteriously appeared in a local community landscape.

It intrigued me to speculate how people would react to suddenly seeing hats. Would they notice, given the hats’ similarity in coloration to the objects they adorned? Seeing a hat, would a viewer be tempted to take the hat for him- or herself?

I didn’t expect the hats to remain permanently and in fact hoped that they would find their way to an adoptive wearer’s head. Particularly given the cold weather this time of year.

Roughly one month later, I returned to the community and dropped off another hat.

Part of the fun is in not knowing precisely what will become of the hat, except that I hope it will eventually be claimed by a person in need of it. Part of the fun too is imagining the delight of an onlooker at such an unexpected and whimsical discovery.

My explorations in public knitting led to discovering a coalition of knitters who participate each year in a movement named “Chase the Chill.”

“Scarves draped on trees, bridge walkways, signs and other public locations appeared overnight in downtown Easton, PA, for the first time in fall 2010,” according to general information on Facebook for “Chase the Chill, the Original.” “Each one included a hang tag inviting anyone to claim ownership of the scarf.”

Chase the Chill combines yarn bombing with altruistic knitting. It distributes scarves in public places so that anyone can help themselves.

Originally founded by Susan Huxley, there are few rules to participate: “Anyone can participate in any part of the process. Join us in Easton or start your own event in another location.”
As a result, there is also a “Chase the Chill in Winnipeg,” which bills itself as a copycat event with the same mission as “the Original.”

Lake County yarncrafters — and for that matter, yarncrafters in surrounding counties as well — why not create our own “Chase the Chill” event for the Northern California area? The drops tend to happen in November and December so we have plenty of time to make scarves (or in my case, hats).

World Wide Knit in Public Day will be observed from June 9 to 17 this year; it could be a perfect opportunity to build up our supply for a concerted drop next fall.

But since it’s cold now, why don’t area knitters act on their own as productivity allows? Let a steady stream of hats grace public places where people in need can find them.

For more information about “Chase the Chill,” look for “Chase the Chill, the Original” and “Chase the Chill in Winnipeg” on Facebook. To join a conversation on Twitter about taking part in a Northern California event, use #ChasetheChillNorCal hash tag.

Published Jan. 10, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

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