Handmade: Detroit statues sport bright knitted scarves

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News

The note attached to each scarf reads, "If you're cold, you can keep me. If you know somebody else who's cold, please take me to them." The hand-knitted scarves are the work of Keego Harbor resident Barbara Green, who goes on what she calls "scarf-bombing missions" as her way of helping persons in need who live in Detroit.

About once a week during the winter months, she drives to the city and distributes scarves throughout the downtown area, tying them around lamp posts and statues for the taking. She's also donated scarves to shelters, churches and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.

"I started doing this last winter after I saw some women in Ottawa had done something similar," she says. "They knitted scarves and attached them to statues throughout their city with a note that says, "I am not lost! If you're stuck out in the cold, take this scarf to keep warm." She says scarves work well for such charity knitting projects because they're "easy to tie around things."

Green did much of her scarf knitting during the warmer months while walking near her home. "Over the summer, I would walk 10 or 12 miles a day with my knitting, and it got my neighbors interested in the idea of giving something back," she remarks. "I knitted while walking along the shore of Cass Lake, which is in my neighborhood. It would be 95 degrees, and I would have my knitting bag over my shoulder." She makes her scarves using mostly acrylic and machine washable wool "in all the colors in the rainbow."

After becoming known to many as "the neighborhood knitter" and "the scarf lady," Green says she was able to talk with neighbors about her project, and has since received donations from some after they cleared out their deceased mother's house where they found "a bunch of yarn."

Wishing to inspire others, Green, who's made and given away close to 80 scarves, says, "I'm hoping other knitters will see what I've done and do something similar, whether they're here in Metro Detroit or in other parts of the country."

A super fast knitter, Green completed five scarves just this past week. Here, she shares her original pattern for the scarves. "All the scarves I've given out follow the same pattern," she says.

Detroit News Staff Writer Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150 or jbrown@detroitnews.com. For more craft news and giveaways, visit her blog at detroitnews.com/crafts.

Basketweave Scarf

Level: Advanced beginner

Estimated time: 20 hours

Tools: Size 3 knitting needles (or size required to achieve gauge), scissors, yarn needle

Supplies: About 8 ounces of worsted-weight yarn (suggestion: Red Heart "With Love")

Gauge: About 41/4 stitches per inch (16-17 sts per 4 inches)

Abbreviations: K knit, st stitch, CO cast on, BO bind off, rep repeat

Finished size: About 12-by-42 inches


Loosely CO 50 sts. K 6 rows (this will be bottom garter stitch border).

Begin basket weave pattern as follows: Rows 1-6: K 10, *p 5, K5,* rep between asterisks to end of row.

Rows 7-12: *K5, p 5*, rep between asterisks until 10 sts remain, K 10.

Rep these 12 rows until piece reaches desired length.

K 6 rows for top garter st border.

BO loosely and sew in tails with yarn needle.

Contact Barbara Green at facebook.com/barbgreen88.