Gracious Parcels in the News

February 22, 2007 at 1:52 pm | Posted in charity knitting, country living, faith, family, free knitting patterns, Habitat for Humanity, Holidays, knitting, love, marriage, photography, relationships, volunteerism, yarn | 20 Comments

Fireflys Gracious Parcels Project Makes the NewsYesterday afternoon a neighbor phoned, asking me if I had read the local paper for the day. I had not read or seen it, but I knew why he was phoning.

Recently the Habitat for Humanity board I am a member of decided to send out press releases to local and regional newspapers, telling them about Project Gracious Parcels, a charity knitting project I started via my blog last fall. If you aren’t familiar with Gracious Parcels, it is a project inviting knitters who read my blog to knit and donate seven-inch squares as pieces of blankets I put together for local Habitat homeowner families; forty-nine squares are joined together to make each blanket.

Earlier this week the president of the Habitat board phoned me, because a reporter from the local paper wanted to interview me about the project. The day after the telephone interview a newspaper photographer came out to our farm to shoot some photos of the Gracious Parcels squares that have been coming in through the mail recently and which are destined to become four blankets for a new Habitat family moving into their new home this spring.

Fireflys Gracious Parcels Project A Pile of SquaresThe newspaper article came out yesterday, and was on the front page of the paper. It was more than I expected, executed more swiftly than I would have imagined. The reporter is a lovely sounding young woman who comes from a family of knitters and quilters. I enjoyed sharing the joy and details of Gracious Parcels with her, and also enjoyed hearing a bit about her own experineces and thoughts regarding knitting and needle work. In my opinion, she wrote a wonderful article that accurately captured the spirit and intention of the project and the knitters who are participating in it.

Gracious Parcels is a heartwarming and soul-warming project. You readers who have been participating and spreading the word via your own blogs, emails, and knitting groups are a wonderfully generous and beautiful lot of spirits. Beyond the active participants, there are also countless others who have encouraged me through kind comments left on my blogs and pleasant emails sent my way.

I currently have enough squares on hand to make two blankets and many more squares are on their way. I am certain we will make the target of creating four blankets in time for the spring housewarming of the single mom and her three children who will move into the house currently under construction.

The squares are quite beautiful and thoughtful in and of themselves, but I invite you in for a closer look at some of the tags the contributors have made to include on their squares. Some are humble handwritten notes on bits of of lined paper, saftey pinned to a knitted square. Others are printed cards and notes created with a flourish and tied on with pretty little ribbons and strings. Each tag is extraordinary and dear. The tags include the name of the knitter, the state she knitted from, fiber content of the yarn, and in some cases little prayers, wishes, or other kind words for the blanket recipient.

Fireflys Gracious Parcels Project Closeup of LabelsI imagine what it would be like to receive a blanket such as this, knitted in kindness from strangers all over the country and even from foreign lands. What a treasure to read each tag and find yourself enveloped in a living scrapbook of love and kinship from near and far.

This is what you have done, you readers and knitters, and those who have encouraged the entire process.

Your generosity and creativity is grace in living color. You are dear.

Some readers have asked whether or not Gracious Parcels will continue after the four blankets are made this spring, and yes indeed it will continue. The next objective after the spring blankets will be to create as fifteen or twenty blankets for the 2007 holiday season.

Fireflys Hand Knit Spring Gift BagUltimately, I would like to continue expanding the project so that our Habitat for Humanity affiliate will be able to distribute many, many blankets to others in need in western New York especially each holiday season. The winters here can be quite cold, and there are many families in need of warmth as well as hope.

Included in today’s photos is a shot of the mystery object I was working on earlier in the week: it is a special knitted gift bag in a beautiful, sunny yellow cotton yarn. This part of the mystery is now exposed. Next I will knit and then reveal to you what is going inside of the gift bag.

The stitch I used on the bag is an open mesh. It was enjoyable and quick to knit. I chose an open mesh because I want the contents of the bag to be somewhat visible once they are in there. For the time being, for the purposes of the photograph, the bag is lightly stuffed with tissue.

In a few days I will be able to show you the contents … after I complete them. I will also share the pattern with you.

Thank you again for your participation, at whatever level, in Gracious Parcles. Thank you also for reading my blog and for encouraging me over the past several months to continue on. I am sincerely grateful.

I wish you the finest of days today.


Copyright © 2006 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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  1. I have a square for you, but I need an address to send it too! The pictures look great.

  2. What a great project and how neat that you were featured in the news about it! Kudos to you for taking the initiative and getting this project going. What a wonderful and positive contribution to the world.


    P.S. If someone wanted to send a square, where would they send it? Are you still accepting them? Thanks!

  3. What’s the name of your paper? I’m wondering if they have an online version we could look at, as I’d love to see the article.

    I’ve been busy and haven’t commented much in a while…just wanted to give a friendly wave! 😉

  4. What a great project, I’m so glad they featured you and theproject in the paper. I can’t wait for the pattern and your finished mystery objects.

  5. I found your site by way of “Small Farms.” I wanted to thank you, because I enjoy what you are sharing. I look forward to visitng your beautiful Blog. Thank you.

  6. I must get at the square knitting. I have a few I need to get done. I hope to get some more in the mail to you by the middle of March.

  7. Yay! I am glad you have received local coverge. Hopefully, you will receive even more squares!

    Take care!

  8. I can easily get Celestial Seasonings. In my no caffeine days it was all I drank. Tell me your favorite flavors and I’d be delighted to send a few boxes your way.
    I love your project idea. I’m dong a 4 day session (90 minutes each) with 2 groups of kids at my school to teach them knitting and we’ll be donating squares I was thinking to Warm Up America, but maybe I should reconsider and send them to you…. I’m not married to the WUA idea….. just want them to learn to knit and also have the experience of doing something for others.

  9. What a great program you’ve put together! Good luck to you and I’d love to do a square for the Holiday project!

  10. I wrote previously regarding your address to send a square and have not heard back. I’ll send if you send. Thanks!

  11. Hi firefly! I’m so glad you were interviewed. It’s a blessing for all and so colorful and warm and the personal tags are such a sweet and memorable bonus. God is smiling. I’m going to try to master some squares for you. Will you send me your address as I have something I want to send you? I’d love to see you in person, but Washington state is too far away! 😉 If anyone tells you about Celestial Seasonings.. where to purchase.. I’m after their English Breakfast flavor. I LOVE it. Can’t get it here.

  12. Glad to hear that your project got some press, perhaps it will encourage some local knitters to get involved too, and the tags are just wonderful.

  13. I won’t be able to meet your February 23rd deadline, but you have my prayers during this batch of blankets. I will definitely contribute to your next holiday blankets.

  14. How exciting! Can you share the article with us?

    Looks like you have a pile of pretty parcels there again! I need to get busy and knit you up a few more, although I can’t make the deadline for this one. I don’t want to repeat the squares I’ve already done, so will think up something new. Any color requests??

  15. I’ve received a few calls about the story I wrote about Gracious Parcels. There are a couple of women in the area who have a ton of yarn, and from the way they were talking there will be more squares coming your way from our little county.

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write about Gracious Parcels. I hope I will be able to contribute a few squares myself in the coming weeks!

  16. I’m so sorry that I can’t get another square to you by 2 days ago (I’ve been so busy I am just now able to read your post – and as my granddaughter would say, “You raaaawwwk!!!!”)

  17. Just awesome!

  18. can you send an address for sending the squares? i’d love to help. And thank you for writing, I’ve had a great time reading about your experiences. Thank you! ann

  19. This is why we do this. The way I feel after reading your posts, just plain good 🙂 Time to knit!

  20. […] making blankets out of donated squares with her Gracious Parcels project. And now the blankets are in the news! How exciting is […]

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