The top two questions: What's the deadline? What are the important dates?
We are extending the deadline from August 20 to September 5 to allow the entire summer to knit, crochet, weave, sew, and quilt up a storm! We are opening the gallery July 18 as an empty space where we will start collecting, cataloging, and exhibiting the blanket packages (the sooner you send in your packages, the sooner they will be displayed), and also hosting knit-alongs and discussions. We will have a celebratory opening in September (date to be announced) and are closing December 17. After the show's close, the blanket packages will be distributed.
What is Welcome Blanket?
A welcome blanket is traditionally created to lovingly mark the arrival of a new person into the world. In the Welcome Blanket Project, each handmade blanket is a physical manifestation of this celebration of new refugees and other immigrants: “Welcome to the United States and your new life here! We are so glad you have arrived.”
What is the purpose of Welcome Blanket?
The goals of Welcome Blanket are as follows:
1. Welcome new immigrants to the United States with a practical gift and words of welcome and connection.
2. Provide ways for those who want to support immigrants to create and give a practical and thoughtful gift.
3. Create community around positive, hands-on ideas of inclusion.
4. Promote discussions about immigration policy and its effects on real-live people.
When and where will these blankets be displayed?
The blankets will be displayed together at the Smart Museum at the University of Chicago between July 18 and December 17. We are starting with an empty gallery space and displaying the blanket packages as they arrive. Final due date to send for the the exhibition is September 5. This is an incredible opportunity to have your work in a museum show. Admission to the museum is always free and open to all.
How does Welcome Blanket work?
Here’s the general process:
1. A person makes a blanket, either individually or with others (such as, in a knitting circle).
2. S/he sends the blanket with an accompanying personalized note to the Smart Museum by September 5, 2017.
3. The Smart Museum catalogues the blanket and the note, and posts it to our website www.welcomeblanket.org/gallery so we can watch the distance of inclusion grow!
4. The Smart Museum displays the blanket in an installation in its contemporary gallery between July 18 and December 17. The gallery will gradually fill with blankets, peaking in mid September around the Chicago Architecture Biennial and Expo Chicago.
5. In November and December, with help from our partnering non-profits the blankets and notes will begin to be dispersed to new immigrants.
6. The immigrant receives the blanket and words of welcome. S/he may contact you to thank you for the blanket.
I’m in! What now?
Great news! This is what you can do:
- Knit or crochet a blanket (sewing is great, too!). Make it a blanket that you yourself would like to receive. It can be in a color you love, it may represent where you are from, it can be something you make with friends and family. Here is a link to our PATTERN page to get you started.
- Enclose a personalized blanket note. If you are working as a team, everyone is invited to fill out a note. A note includes:
a. Description of the blanket (# yards, dimensions, care instructions)
b. What is your family’s immigration story? When and from where did your family come?
c. Advice for the blanket recipient.
d. Words of welcome for the blanket recipient.
e. Contact information (optional).
f. Please note: by entering you are permitting your information to be published unless noted otherwise.
3. Send your blanket and welcome note by September 5, 2017 (we will be exhibiting your work as it arrives and is catalogued, so the earlier, the better!) to:
Smart Museum of Art
5550 S. Greenwood Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Blanket Making Specifics:
What kinds of blankets do you need?
We are asking for blankets that of 40"X40". As we connect with more organizations, we may learn that additional sizes are requested. We will update our website accordingly.
We welcome blankets of different colors and patterns. Our one “blanket rule” is to make something you would like to receive and have it be new, clean and fresh. If you want to recycle yarn or other knitting materials, please make sure they have all been washed to ensure hygiene. Think about the blanket as a gift to a neighbor. Wool, acrylic, cotton, etc. are all fine!
Extra points if your blanket is washable! We want our blankets to be easy to use.
Who will receive my blanket?
We are partnering with multiple refugee and immigrant resettlement agencies to coordinate distribution. If you are part of a non-profit that would like to receive blankets, please be in touch!
Where and when should I send my blanket and personalized note?
Please send your note and blanket by September 5, 2017 to:
Smart Museum of Art
5550 S. Greenwood Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60637
I’m a quilter. May I participate?
Absolutely!!! You want to create a handmade gift to welcome someone to the United States? Yes! Please participate! Welcome Blankets focuses on blankets using lines of yarn, but that doesn’t mean that kindness always has to fall within the lines. We love that quilters are joining. Instead of thinking of the quilt as a line of yarn, we will add up the square yards of quilted blankets, too. Let’s see how much we can build!
Do you have any patterns?
We do. For our "Come Together Blanket" please see our PATTERN page to knit, crochet, or other materials. Kat Coyle , the designer of the Pussyhat, has, once again, created a pattern that is a great place to start.
I created my own pattern. May I submit it?
Yes! If you would like to share your pattern with the community, please include an image of the finished blanket and detailed instructions (and/or video) We are a tiny team, so please be patient. We will get the patterns up ASAP.
I have never made a blanket before. I may need some help.... Help?
A blanket is a rectangle. This means that it is a great first project for beginners. Whether you are a beginner or a skilled knitter, if you are having some trouble with your blanket, here are a few ways to get help:
- Ask a knitter/crocheter/quilter you know for help. Explain Welcome Blanket and why it is important to you.
- Drop in at a one of our local ally yarn stores for a knit-along, some quick tips, or an official class.
- Check out our GATHERINGS page for announcements about people getting together to make Welcome Blankets. Hosts choose whether or not to post on the page- not all events will be posted here. Even if you do not already know how to make a blanket, you can still host a gathering!
- Check out our TUTORIAL page for step-by-step instructions.
- Check out our Ravelry Page (basically a Facebook for knitters). As we grow, there will be more people who will be able to help. It requires a sign-up, but it's quick and easy.
- Follow us on social media and connect with other Welcome Blanket Participants:
I want to start a Welcome Blanket Project satellite in my city/country, how do I do that?
Awesome! Let's make this round of Welcome Blanket and then take what we have learned to apply it to future Welcome Blanket collectives! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being a liason!