This New Knitting Project Is Using 2,000 Miles Of Yarn As A Powerful Symbol

A warm welcome for immigrants.

A powerful new project is using knitting to send a message of inclusion to immigrants entering the United States. The initiative, called Welcome Blanket, aims to use 2,000 miles of yarn to knit blankets. The significance of that staggering number? It's the approximate length of President Donald Trump's proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

"Imagine if the massive distance of this wall was re-conceptualized and re-contextualized not to divide, but to include," the project's website suggests. "Instead of wall, a concrete line, to keep people out, what if lines of yarn became 3,500,640 yards of blankets to welcome people in?"

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The project has a built-in passion for "craftivism" (crafts + activism), as it was started by Jayna Zweiman, co-founder of the Pussyhat Project, which created knitted pink hats for activists participating in the Women's March on Washington

"Craftivism is an opportunity to be politically active while being kind and generous," Zweiman told Mashable. "It takes time and care to create something for someone else. Whether someone knits on her own or in a group, the time devoted to making a blanket is an opportunity to think about, discuss, and learn about immigration."

Kat Coyle, who designed the original pussyhat, also designed a blanket pattern (below) for knitters to use.

"It's easy to knit and easy to knit with a group," Coyle wrote of the blanket, called "Come Together," on her Instagram. "How you decide to place the squares while joining them, gives many many opportunities to change the overall pattern design." There's even a helpful tutorial for beginners.

Those participating in the project are asked to knit (or crochet, or sew) a blanket that is 40 inches by 40 inches, which averages 1,200 yards. That means about 3,200 blankets will be needed to meet the goal. Participants are encouraged to make their blankets "something you would like to receive" and think of it as "a gift to a neighbor."

And that's because it will be.

The blankets will be displayed in a show at the Smart Museum at the University of Chicago starting in July, with an exhibition in September. When the show closes, they will be donated to refugees and other immigrants through resettlement organizations, along with welcome notes from the knitters that include their own families' immigration stories and advice about living in the United States.

The message Welcome Blanket wants to send to immigrants is simple: "Welcome to the United States and your new life here! We are so glad you have arrived."

At a time when immigrants continue to face greater risks and increased hostility, that's a sentiment we could definitely do with highlighting.

You can visit the Welcome Blanket website for more information on how to contribute.

A Plus has reached out to Welcome Blanket for comment.

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