Photo Gallery | Hats and scarves for Pittsfield
PITTSFIELD — Cindy Thomson's newfound knitting skills brought color and warmth to the downtown on Thursday.
Late morning at Persip Park, the Pittsfield woman clothes-pinned 24 winter hats to the black fence and tied 14 scarves to the posts and railing of the open-air stage.
The attached notes urged those in need to take the hand-made cold-weather garb she and her grandchildren made on a knitting loom from donated yarn.
Thomson's homespun goodwill met with an immediate response at the corner of North Street and Columbus Avenue.
"I already gave a couple away," she said to an Eagle reporter and photographer.
"Hopefully they will all be gone soon; if not, I will take them down if it snows so they won't get wet."
Thomson says she borrowed the charitable act from a warming trend that began last winter when much of the United States and Canada battled long stretches of sub-freezing weather. Various groups and individuals in major cities across North America began hanging hats and scarves on trees, fences, lampposts and other free-standing structures in public places to ensure the homeless and those in need had the proper winter wear.
Thomson has been loom knitting for about a year, a skill she learned after her mother, Dorothy Daoust, passed away in December 2014. Thomson had been Daoust's primary caregiver for almost two years before she died.
"My mother told me I would need a hobby after she was gone and someone told me using a loom was an easier way to knit," she said.
Thomson found her granddaughters, Kaitlyn Thomson, 9 and her sister Ashley, 11, were quick studies and helped their grandmother make the collection of hats and scarves.
"It was a little tricky at first; the yarn kept coming unwrapped [from the loom]," Ashley said.
The girls' brothers also helped out with Dylan, 12, designing the color scheme of the clothing and Deven, 4, providing moral support.
The family philanthropy has its roots with Daoust.
"My mom was a very giving person; that's where I and the grandchildren get it from," Thomson said. "I hope people who learn about this maybe will donate to a charity or make their own hats and scarves."
Content of notes ...
The hats and scarves all had a note attached carrying the following message:
"I AM NOT LOST. If you are in the cold and need me, feel free to take me. Please pay it forward in some way. Love, CT and family."