The Museum’s Knit Your Bit program—for which 10,000 volunteer knitters and crocheters across the country have produced 50,000 scarves for veterans’ centers, hospitals and service organizations—celebrates its 10th anniversary with a knit-in from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, September 17, in US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center.
For navigation help finding the knit-in, look for the Sherman tank wrapped in a giant scarf.
“On the Home Front during World War II, knitting served as one way Americans could support the war effort—thousands picked up their needles to knit socks and sweaters to keep American soldiers warm,” said Lauren Handley, the Museum’s assistant director for public programs, who founded the program in 2006. “We’re thrilled to celebrate this grassroots program, which allows us to connect directly with veterans and show our appreciation of their service to our country.”
The connection with veterans is one of the program’s appeals for Elizabeth Done, a New Orleans-based stalwart of the Knit Your Bit program. In addition to the live knitting action and giant-scarf-wrapped tank, the September 17 knit-in will also feature local students distributing program-produced scarves to veterans. Local Veterans Affairs representatives will also be on-site and available for questions.
“The veteran handouts are my favorite,” Done said. “You get the ones who get really emotional.”
Shirley Sentgerath of Fennville, Michigan, has contributed an estimated 700 pieces to the program.
“I try to figure between six to eight a month,” Sentgerath said. “I’m a knit-wit, and I’m tired of doing things for grandkids who are teenagers now.”
In addition to her passion for knitting, Sentgerath’s motivation for her heroic Knit Your Bit efforts is rooted in many family ties to the military. Her husband, John, is a Korean War-era veteran of the US Navy. The Sentgeraths have been Museum members since 2010, and visit annually while wintering on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
“There are a lot of things in the Museum that are absolutely outstanding,” John Sentgerath said.
Including Knit Your Bit, now rolling toward its second decade.