Hand-knit scarves for those who need extra warmth

WINNIPEG — With dangerously cold conditions in Winnipeg, a group of knitters are doing their best to chase away the chill and keep those who need a little extra warmth nice and cozy.

More than 200 hundred scarves, each hand-knit with care for those who need extra warmth during these unbearable winter days, were wrapped around trees and light posts in the Exchange District.

“It’s a lot of fun to make things that are useful for people and to have other people appreciate them,” said Val Paulley, who organizes the annual yarn bombing, named Chase the Chill.

For the past three years, dozens of knitters have donated colourful hand-made creations to help chase the chill.

“(It’s for) anybody who’s cold, really. We trust that the person who takes one wants the scarf and will use it,” Paulley said.

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Every year, more scarves are knitted, but who helps make them is a mystery. Many of the scarves are donated anonymously.

“We’ve got people who are teenagers, we’ve got all age groups up to late seniors,” she said.

“I think different groups of people are knitting that maybe we haven’t seen before,” said Mona Zaharia, owner of Wolseley Wools, which helped collect donations. “People are happy to drop off yarn so that people can come and pick it up.”

Volunteers spent Saturday morning decorating Old Market Square with the scarves, each with a message.

“It invites people to take the scarf if they need it or if they like it,” said Paulley.

This year the event was perfectly timed. Winnipeg was under an extreme wind-chill warning for much of the weekend, with actual temperatures hovering around -30 C.

“You can pretty much be guaranteed it’ll be timely in December in Winnipeg,” said Zaharia.

By Sunday afternoon, more than half the scarves were snatched up. Any left behind will be donated to a local charity.

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