By Jennifer Lucarelli, Contributing Writer
Southborough – With the Boston Marathon just weeks away, one local resident is working with knitters from around the world to bring some comfort to the runners.
Southborough resident Carol Venie is a member of the Old South Church Knitting Group in Boston that created the Marathon Scarf Project 2014.
Marathoners from around the world come to the Church of the Finish Line – Old South Church in Boston – for their annual Blessing of the Athletes, according to its website.
“The scarf project was born out of the Synod Scarf Project of California,” Venie said. “The group collected 10,000 scarves as a stand against the bullying of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) youth. This was the inspiration of our group to knit for the runners to give them courage and take a stand against violence.”
Venie said knitting the scarves “is a way to bless the runners with something that was knit with love and courage that will touch their skin and bless them.”
She was formerly part of a group called Graceful Stitches who used their knitting projects to show support and to give courage to cancer patients.
“We came up with the name Graceful Stitches because by the grace of God we survived cancer,” she said. “And by the grace of God, maybe these runners can find some peace after such an awful tragedy last year.”
Venie said she wanted to be part of the knitting group to show her support for the victims and their families from the bombings.
“This is my first project since Graceful Stitches and I was thrilled to be back in the business of healing with my own hands,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of something that will touch so many people and knowing that through my knitting I can make a difference – what better gift to give someone than something that is handmade from the heart.”
“I hope the runners, too, may feel hope and encouragement, and not be afraid to finish the race and run with a peaceful heart,” Venie added. “I hope by knitting these scarves that it shows the runners we care, and through our knitting, it shows that every stitch is done with love and hope.”
To date, more than 1,000 scarves have been created by knitters from around the state and around the world.
“We'se had people send scarves from Australia, England and France and from about 27 states from around the country,” she said. “All the scarves are knit in the blue and yellow colors of the Boston Athletic Association.”
If you's like to knit a scarf, they should be about 4 to 6 inches wide and 60 inches long. The colors are blue and yellow and they suggest using the colors of the Boston Athletic Association, Pantone 109c and Pantone 294c, as a guide.
They are asking that scarves be mailed or dropped off at the Old South Church, 645 Boylston St., Boston, or Venie said she would pick them up locally. She can be reached via email at [email protected] to coordinate pick up.
There is also an event at the Old South Church Saturday, April 5, from 2 to 4 p.m., where knitters can come and finish knitting their scarves. The Marathon Scarf Project knitting circle meets every Tuesday through mid-April as well.
For more information about the project, email [email protected] or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OldSouthChurch. There are also suggested patterns at Red Heart Yarn's blog at www.redheart.com/blog/boston-marathon-scarf-project.