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Chicken wrap

Knitters take Farm Table roosters under their wing with scarf project

BERNARDSTON — The sentinels standing watch outside a local restaurant will be a little warmer this winter, thanks to an area knitting group.

“We thought it would be fun to knit a scarf to tie around the neck of the big rooster on the grounds of the Farm Table Restaurant,” said Elaine Bagley of Bernardston.

She said she drives by the big red rooster statue on South Street as many as six times each day, and always thought it looked kind of cold. So, she asked the group of 22 women she knits with in Brattleboro, Vt., if they’d like to help knit a scarf for it. Nine of them said “yes.”

When she stopped by the restaurant earlier this month to ask permission, she found two other large rooster statues, and two smaller ones, tucked away on different parts of the property.

Not wanting to play favorites, she and her cohorts decided they’d need to knit five scarves.

Tuesday afternoon, Bagley and others stopped by the restaurant to give the roosters their scarves. The last one is still in the works, and should be delivered next week.

“We didn’t get anything in return,” she said, when asked if the restaurant offered them a free meal for their work. “We didn’t want anything for it.”

Though the knitters meet in the Brattleboro Senior Center, many of them come from Franklin County.

Audrey Stockwell of Colrain, Cyndee Grader of Turners Falls and Marilyn Chapin of Leyden, worked on the scarves, as well as Elva Feifel of Williamsville, Vt., Betty Anne Nelson of Newfane, Vt., and Maria Edes, Pat Propster and Carolyn Frank, of Brattleboro.

The nine women worked for about a week, each producing several colorful 4.5-inch squares to be stitched together to make the scarves.

Bagley and her friends got a kick out of seeing people’s reactions.

“The guests (at the restaurant) really seemed to enjoy it,” she said. “They were coming out of the restaurant, and pointing and laughing at the roosters.”

Though the just-for-fun project mixed fabric and frivolity, the knitters do more than make clothes for inanimate objects.

“We’re not just a bunch of women being silly,” Bagley said.

They also like to put their skills to use to help others.

“In 2009, we spent most of the year making helmet liners, or balaclavas, for the soldiers in Afghanistan,” Bagley explained.

She said the soldiers’ standard-issue liners were made from silk, and didn’t provide enough warmth for the cold, overnight watches during the winter.

The group joined forces with several other knitting groups for the project, producing 350 helmet liners. Of those, 46 came from the Brattleboro group, said Bagley.

“Our members also make lap blankets for nursing homes, scarves for the veterans’ hospital, and infant caps for babies and preemies in the local hospitals in Greenfield and Brattleboro,” Bagley explained.

She said when the group isn’t stitching for a cause, they’re busy working away on Christmas presents and other gifts.

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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