The TinCaps will host their third Stitch ’n Pitch event next month, but this time they’re encouraging needle artists to contribute to a breast cancer awareness scarf that is more than a mile long and growing – and will be displayed in Fort Wayne later this year.
While organizers from Terri’s Tribute, based in West Virginia, are not pursuing a Guinness record, the scarf is billed all over the Internet and media as the world’s longest scarf. (The actual Guinness scarf is more than 33 miles long, according to www.guinnessworldrecords.com.)
The scarf project came to local attention through a rather circuitous route.
Linda Balthaser, retired assistant dean of the IPFW College of Arts and Sciences, discovered the scarf while on a bus tour that stopped in Beckley, W.Va., she said.
She and several other women grabbed pamphlets about the scarf and returned to Fort Wayne, where they began knitting and crocheting pink strips to send to the folks at Terri’s Tribute.
In the end, Fort Wayne became the largest group contributor to the scarf, Balthaser said.
So, Balthaser had an idea to bring the scarf to Fort Wayne to show it off. She approached Irene Walters at IPFW and asked whether displaying the scarf at Tapestry: A Day for You, a women-centered event, would be possible. Walters said she realized it was a better tie-in with Francine’s Friends, which operates a mobile mammography unit, where she sits on the board, so she approached Parkview Health about displaying the scarf.
With all the details sorted out among the different entities, the scarf will be in town in September, on display at Parkview Regional Medical Center.
Organizers from Terri’s Tribute continue to accept strips, but they are no longer adding to the physical length of the scarf. Instead, according to Cindy Whitlock, a friend of the woman Terri’s Tribute is named after, the strips are being counted toward the scarf’s length but ultimately stitched together into lap blankets for chemotherapy patients.
Terri’s Tribute started after the death of a woman named Terri Lynn Massey who battled breast cancer for several years before succumbing to it and leaving behind three children. The friends had hoped to raise awareness of breast cancer in Terri’s memory and also raise money for scholarships to be given to children who lost a parent to breast cancer, Whitlock said.
Because Terri’s Tribute is still accepting strips for the virtual length of the scarf, and because the TinCaps had a tie-in event slated for June 2, Heather Schoegler, director of community engagement for Parkview Health, approached the TinCaps about supporting the pink scarf project.
And, so, at the 3:05 p.m. June 2 game against the West Michigan Whitecaps, knitting and crocheting baseball fans will join together in the same section of Parkview Field to stitch away the time while their local team plays. And, stitchers are being encouraged to contribute to the scarf, sections of which will be collected after the game and sent to West Virginia, Schoegler said.
Advance tickets for the game are available until Thursday, according to the TinCaps, and can be bought by calling Brent Harring at 260-407-2816 or the Parkview Field ticket office 260-482-6400. Order forms for tickets are available at Parkview Field, Sarah Jane’s Yarn Shoppe, Born Again Quilts, Stitch N Frame and Simply Socks in Fort Wayne.
For $15, stitchers get a ticket to the game, a gift tote, and a hot dog, chips and a drink. Non-stitching companions can buy a $9 ticket just to get into the game and be seated in the same section. Advance sales are required to make sure enough gift totes are available and to make sure all stitchers get to sit together, Harring said.
If there are any tickets and promotional items available after the Thursday deadline, they will be made available on game day, he said.
Now, about that scarf: Organizers are asking that pieces be no wider than 7 inches and no longer than 5 feet. Use 100 percent acrylic, worsted-weight yarn (no baby yarns). Knitters are asked to knit the whole length, while crocheters are asked to single-crochet the first row and double-crochet every row after that.