A Stitch Of ComfortMeticulously folding each blanket, my fingers remember what it was to hold the yarn taut as each stitch found its life within my hands. The one stitch became ten, twenty, one hundred and then a thousand. Suddenly, that one humble stitch had become a part of something bigger that itself. At some point, it became a source of comfort for an animal who has no place to call home.
By: Kelly Bodeaux
Kelly Bodeaux places her handmade blankets into the kennels of a shelter in Green County, Wisconsin.
Once the volunteers arrive at the shelter tomorrow morning, my husband and I will approach with an armful of blankets that I hope will offer a bit of comfort to a few of the many kittens and full-grown cats who reside within their care.
My story is not an extraordinary one. In fact, one might call it rather common. I began stitching blankets for the local animal shelters a few years ago. Our son's youth group had chosen a shelter to which it would donate the proceeds from an onslaught of bake sales. The children did quite well in their fundraising efforts; yet, I found myself wanting to do more than whip up a batch of pecan turtles or peanut butter balls each Saturday night.
As most of us do, I had a cupboard full of yarn. It didn't take long for me to realize that I could use my resources to make something of a difference. Snug in our beds, we all had plenty of afghans, blankets and comforters to go around. I thought it was perhaps time someone thought to put their restless fingers to work by making a blanket just the right size for a feline.
That's precisely what I decided I would do.
Shelter blankets can be created in many ways. They can be crocheted, knitted or sewn.
When the youth group leader dropped off a check in the amount of the bake sale proceeds, she also presented the blanket that I had crocheted. It was yellow with flecks of orange, green and blue. I doubt the cat that snuggled into it gave much thought to the colour palette that governed its creation.
Our son is a bit older now. He's more interested in the young lady who sits beside him during art class than he is in youth group activities. Yet, my fingers have found their rhythm in each stitch that I crochet. It doesn't appear as though they've grown even the least bit weary.
Sushi Bodeaux settles upon a blanket-in-progress for a mid-afternoon nap.
In the time that has passed since those bake sale days, I have crocheted numerous blankets for shelters and rescue groups throughout the midwestern United States. Working with extremely limited budgets, they have all been grateful. Some shelters use them to provide a soft place for the cats to lie within their kennels while others use them to line the transport carriers. Often times, shelter workers come to consider the blanket as the personal property of the feline who, over time, has found comfort within, upon or beneath it. Indeed, many believe the presence of something familiar just might make the transition a bit smoother when the cat is adopted or brought into a foster home.
I would encourage anyone seeking a late winter pastime to rifle through the yarn cupboard. I'm certain you'll find a skein or two that would work quite well. The time spent stitching a shelter blanket is sure to keep your mind off the snow piled high outside your windows while providing one of our darlings the opportunity to stay warm throughout the night.
Green County Humane Society
1500 6 1/2 Avenue
Green County Humane Society
PO Box 54
Copyright: Kelly Bodeaux - 2008