40th Birthday: A Crazy Little Idea

The day I turned 30, I had the great good fortune to do so surrounded by the SWG spinner’s group.  I had been a bit melancholy about leaving my 20s behind me, but spending the day with an amazing group of women, spinning fiber into yarn, telling tales, laughing and generally celebrating life, convinced me that the best was yet to come.

They didn’t know it was my birthday, and yet they gave me one of the best birthday parties I’ve ever had.

So, I’m about to turn 40… and I’ve been wondering how I could recreate a bit of that special day to get the next decade launched right.

Here were my thoughts:

  • Weave a communal project, something special and meaningful.
  • Raise money for a charitable organization that helps people in dire need.
  • Make it something anyone could participate in, no matter where they lived.
  • Have a launch party in Seattle, where folks could gather to start the project off with laugher and sharing.

I mulled all this over, and then picked up the phone and called Carol, the manager of Weaving Works, and said: “I’ve got this crazy little idea, want to hear it?”  Carol replied something to the effect of “I love crazy ideas, lay it on me.”  And to my utter delight, after listening to it all, agreed to help me make this happen.

Pitch: I want to weave two blankets, out of threads that represent the weaving community.  One blanket will become my 40th birthday present, the other will be raffled off to raise money for Doctors Without Borders.  One blanket to stay with me and remind me of all the wonderful folks (near and far) who are a part of my life, the other to take that out into the world and make it a better place.

Details: I throw a warping/40th-birthday(1)/launch party at Weaving Works, on Sunday, February 21st, 11am-2pm.  In lieu of gifts, I’m asking folks to bring (or send) 40 yards of a yarn (sport-to-worsted weight, wool or similar natural fiber) that represents them in some way(2),(3).  At the party, I’ll provide a cake, homemade biscotti(4), beverages, and free warp-winding lessons to anyone who wants one.  The party game?  Randomly picking from the pile of yarns, and winding 13-yard bouts of the warp that will become the two blankets.  (Weaving Works has generously offered to let us use their plethora of warping boards(5).)

After the party, I take the bouts home and blog the warping, weaving, and finishing process on my big loom.  (I’ll be weaving it off with a weft yarn that represents me in some way.)

When the blankets are done, I raffle off the second one.  All proceeds from raffle ticket sales will go to the emergency fund at Doctors Without Borders(6).

(Note: If you’re not in the Seattle area, you can participate by mailing in your 40 yards of yarn to WeaveZine; P.O. Box 860; North Bend, WA 98045; U.S.A.  I plan to take pictures of all the contributed yarn and put it in a notebook I’ll keep to record the project.)

I get: The biggest and most meaningful weaving project-kit ever, a fun party, and a warm blanket.

You get: Free food and biscotti, some entertaining blog posts, and a chance to win a really cool handwoven blanket.

DWB gets: Funds to support their life-saving work in the places in the world that need it the most.

RSVP: To help me plan the provisions, please RSVP to let me know if you’re coming.

Syne, age eight.

Happy Weaving!


P.S. You can now see an online gallery of all the yarns that have been sent in for this project.  I’ll keep updating it as more stuff comes in.


  1. A panel display with embarrassing pictures of my childhood is a distinct possibility.
  2. Handspun yarn would be especially treasured, just saying.
  3. (Watching my non-weaving friends and family try to wrap their head around this has been interesting.  Dad’s comment: “I’ll have to give it some thought.  I’ve never thought of myself as…wooly.”
  4. My friends will tell you that, this alone, makes it worth the trek to Seattle.
  5. Another benefit of having it at Weaving Works; yarn is right down stairs.  So if you forget to bring some, there’s a quick solution.
  6. I looked at a lot of charities before choosing DWB.  Heifer International was a close contender.  I decided to go with DWB because: I like the fact that most of the donation will go to actual work, not glossy fund-raising mailers; winning a Nobel peace prize is a strong recommendation; and they help the folks who need it most.

Please share your thoughts: I enjoy your comments and feedback!