Editors, Vineyard Gazette;

Back in the late spring, Rev. Chip Seadale, the rector at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown, called a meeting to brainstorm some ideas that would be useful to the Ukrainians in their time of need.

As ideas were being bounced around the table, I thought about all those pregnant young moms with one or two youngsters on each hand as seen on the various TV news programs leaving their beloved homes for who-knows-where. One could see the worry in their faces as they wandered to refugee camps and other towns near the Polish border for safety from the exploding bombshells in the Ukraine. I thought about the cold weather there and the need for warm blankets.

I put out a poster asking those interested in helping out to either sew, knit, crochet or quilt baby and toddler-sized blankets over the summer to be collected by the project’s end on Sept. 30. I was amazed at what followed over the weeks to come.

The Blanket Project took on a life of its own from there. Women from all over the U.S. started sending boxes of lovely, hand-knitted blankets in sizes that would keep a small family warm. The blankets featured monochromatic colors, fancy stitches and delicate knitting patterns.

Others had bold stripes and tassels. One box of quilts featured cute dog motifs.

The final tally was mind-boggling: 74 knit blankets, 19 quilts, eight hats, three toddler sweaters and one beautiful pair of knitted hand warmers.

Thanks to everyone for their efforts and willingness to help with this project. These are the ladies on the Vineyard who contributed: Sheila Baird, Beth Green, Carole Early, Mardi Moran, Patti Dean, Judy Mueller, Kristi Straler, Ellie Bates, Kathy Malmquist, Amy Custis, Susan Wilson and Juleann Van Bell.

The following ladies contributed from all over the U.S.: Linda Adorno, N.Y., Joyce Silberling, Calif., Pei-loh Lo and Mindy Annis, Minn., Robin Ford, Pa., Rachel Bell, Mass., Sandra Enser, Va. and Renee Riddle, Ind.

Just a quick note here about Renee: she is in her late 90s and she filled seven large boxes with lovely knitted blankets that her daughter Susan Moran generously paid for to mail to me. Pam Montorrosso deserves some thanks for assisting me with the packing of all 18 boxes.

Whether these ladies made one or many blankets, I have to send you all a warm and hearty thank you for your handicraft talents and generosity.

While I’m at it, I can’t forget to thank all of you who contributed money for postage to this project through St. Andrew’s Church or by other means. The blankets were mailed for $1,860 to an orphanage and refugee shelter in Chernivitsi, Ukraine, near the country’s western border.

Finally, I have to thank the two young ladies at the Edgartown post office window for their help and good humor, as well as the patient folks who stood in line behind me.

Donna M. Blackburn