Winter 2012: Scarves for Troops Update

Thank you to everyone who has been busy knitting, sewing and crocheting handmade gifts for the troops! We have heard from several of you…

Bonnie, one of our knitters referring to her scarves, says she enjoys knitting and crocheting them and imagining someone receiving each of them. Such a nice image!

Others finish a scarf or hat and say a prayer for whoever receives it:

I feel that I am adding a bit of my blessings to each scarf that I complete and that the special blessings will reach a young man or woman serving on the frontlines.”  –Vic

And we’ve been hearing from the troops who have received your gifts:

“I just wanted to take a minute to say THANK YOU for the package you sent. I received some goodies and other useful things. I love the hat, as you see I am posing with it in the picture I sent you. I really appreciated the letters and cards and I look forward to sitting down and writing back to the senders; especially all the kids at Johnstone Elementary school. Thank you again. Very Appreciative, D.W., USAF”  

We’ve been asked if we are still sending scarves and knit hats. YES we are! There will be many serving in our military who will cherish receiving one of your warm items, so please continue knitting and crocheting right up until our deadline in December! We need 30,000 MORE to be able to put one in each of the care packages we’ll be sending before the end of the year. And when that deadline passes — please don’t stop! We can get a good head-start on scarves for 2013!

Jane’s dad was in WWII, her husband is retired Army, her nephew has returned safely from Iraq, so Jane (pictured, right) says she has many reasons to appreciate our soldiers.

Thank you very much Jane, for sharing your scarf pattern and tips with us:    

I use Lion Brand Homespun– it is sooo soft and ‘snugglie’ – washable and dryable. Pattern – K2, P2…Cast on 20 sts. with # 13 needles, knit with # 11 needles. By casting on with 13’s and knitting with 11’s, it makes the edge soft and flexible, not rigid. I just tried many yarns, stitches and patterns and this is what I loved to use.

Another supporter, Mary, has provided the numbers of stitches to cast on for various needle sizes. Sharing this information can be invaluable to people like myself who grapple with such things! We are grateful that she has also shared her Watch Cap patterns. Find that information (and more) here — and print it out for future use: PATTERNS

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. When is the deadline for sending scarves and hats? By Monday, December 10, please! That will allow time to get them ready, packed up, and worn by their grateful recipients by the end of December!  (Our final packing day for the year will be on December 15.)

When packing up items for the mail, it is advisable to place all your scarves and hats in one large plastic bag and seal it shut before placing in the mailing box. This insures they arrive clean and dry. Avoid individual plastic bags per item. We don’t include the plastic zip-lock bags in the care packages because the bags tend to fill up with air and take up some of the much needed space for other items.

Where to Send: Please follow the shipping instructions found here: Donation & Shipping Info, print out a Donation Form for each package you ship and mail your scarves and hats to this address:

Operation Gratitude
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA  91406
ATTN: SCARVES

2. Is there a pattern for the scarves and hats?  Feel free to use your own or find some ideas here: PATTERNS.  We do recommend that you keep them simple and perhaps use slightly larger needles so more can be made!  Please keep your scarves within our size restrictions (5”-6” across and about 48″ long) so they fit into our care packages.

No fringe, please.

You may notice that the size guidelines are a bit smaller than in the past. Do NOT be concerned if yours are a little wider or longer. It is still absolutely fine. Our scarves that are a bit large for our regular boxes are enjoyed and appreciated by our Wounded Warriors or our Veterans.

3. What yarns and colors should we use?  Any soft yarn is fine and any color will be accepted, but if possible please keep the colors on the subtle side–blues, browns, olives, grays, maroon, and black are all good choices, as well as appropriate for male and female troops! Stripes using these colors or multi-colored yarn is acceptable.

Note: It is best to steer away from red, white and blue as a color combination. Military can not wear a depiction of the flag. Scarves can be red and white; blue and red, or blue and white, but it’s best not to use the three colors together.

Please know that the scarves and hats we send are gifts from home. This message from Carolyn Blashek, Founder of Operation Gratitude:

“The importance of the scarves in our packages is to send the very warm and loving message that people at home care enough to take the time and effort to make something as beautiful as a scarf. Our scarves, hats etc are not ‘regulation,’ so they can only be worn by the troops during their moments of rest and when they go home. Nevertheless, the message they send is enduring.  Due to potential allergies and/or Military uniform restrictions, please list the fiber content on your ‘Made With Love’ note that you attach to the scarf.”
 
4. Should I attach a letter or note?  We make sure that all hand-made items include a short note and an e-mail address.  If you could do so for each of your hats and scarves it would be most helpful — and makes it even more special when the item is personalized. It can be as simple as “Hand-made with love” OR a note or letter telling about yourself, including your email address or your home address.  If you’re uncomfortable including your own e-mail or home address please feel free to use opgrat@gmail.com.
 
5. Will I get a letter of acknowledgment from Operation Gratitude?  Yes, we will keep track of all the scarves and hats you send or deliver to the armory, then send you a thank-you letter within a few weeks after the completion of the Holiday Drive.  Please remember to include a Donation Form filled out with your name and address in each box or bag you send us!

Please remember–there will be many a soldier in the frigid hills of Afghanistan or on a Navy ship that will cherish receiving one of your warm items, so please continue knitting and crocheting right up until our deadline in December!

Your gifts of lovingly made hand knit and crocheted scarves and hats are incredibly important in lifting morale and communicating support and caring like nothing else.

Thank you for your help and support making the Sharon Howard Scarves for Troops Project through Operation Gratitude the fantastic success it has become. In honor of Sharon, our friend and creator of Scarves for Troops Project, let’s make 2012 another successful Holiday Drive.

You are all AMAZING and INSPIRING! Keep up the good work for this noble cause!

“Many Hands Make Light Work” ~~ “Busy Hands, Happy Heart”

QUESTIONS? Please contact Kelly by email: Opgratscarves@gmail.com

About Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, plus personal letters of appreciation to Veterans, New Recruits, First Responders, Wounded Warriors, Care Givers and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas. Our mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of our Active Duty and Veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to say "Thank You" to members of our Military. Each package contains donated product valued at $75-100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than One Million Care Packages.
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7 Responses to Winter 2012: Scarves for Troops Update

  1. Pingback: My Operation Gratitude Story: Nancy Pappas | Operation Gratitude Blog

  2. Kim says:

    Do you accept scarf donations all year round? I see I am to late for this year, but I would like to work on making scarfs for the troops for next year.

  3. trixiec67 says:

    I love this project. When I first read about it I pulled out a crochet needle and some yarn. I looked up a “how to” on YouTube; and I can’t tell you how many times I had to pull apart the mess I made. I have never been one to be shy at trying anything new. This is one medium that has defeated me. I hold a BFA in photography (B/W) and yarn has stumped me. I wish I could do something to show my appreciation.

  4. Lisa says:

    I am soon to mail my scarves off for this year and have attached a little card to each. I also have several dozen unused holiday cards I was going to write notes to our service folks in and include them when I send the scarves to OpGrat. Is that OK? Can they be included in the card packages?

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