The day began with Lace and I hitting the James F. Hall Trail at 7:30 am. We set off for the skinny trees with some sidewalk chalk and a measuring tape. We began by marking each tree to match each knitted piece to its corresponding tree. Once we were satisfied with our placement, we picked up coffee to share, and headed for the end of the trail to meet the Yarnivores from the Newark Free Library.
The NFL Yarnivores arrived at 9 am at the fan tree right near the Delaware Technology park at the end of the trail. It was a chilly morning, so we supplied them with some fresh Dunkin' coffee and went to meet our faithful friends to install the skinny trees.
We handed out colorful sewing kits, threaded our darning needles, and ventured into the woods to match our knitted pieces to the trees. There was something so wonderful happening. Our vision of these skinny trees from months and months ago began to take shape. It was like the woods awoke with pops of color as each tree was completed! It was incredibly cheery, even though it was such a frigid morning. I was so happy, I hardly felt the cold! Verna and Angie came to our rescue at noon, and finished the skinny trees for us. Lace and I had to leave for a very special and important baby shower that afternoon (Maddie's!). We planned to return to the trail at 4:30pm, and finish the install.
During the shower, it began to snow. Yup, snow. It had gotten colder than in the morning! So when we returned to the trail with Verna, her husband Adam (who was the best support ever!) and Marta, the task looked daunting; about 8 feet daunting!
Our next install was the 5 big striped trees in Kells park. Each one is 5-6 feet around, and 7.5-8 feet high. We brought the two ladders we had, our lovely, time-consuming knitted pieces, and began sewing the stripes in their corresponding colors, working from the top of the tree down to the trunk. It was tedious and slow pace work. Adam was our superhero here. He held ladders for us, made a coffee run, kept his 'tank' warm so we could thaw our hands out periodically, cheered us on, ran between the trees supplying us with yarn, using his flashlight on his phone to shed light on our shivering hands and the stitches, and even climbed the ladder himself to help us get the trees started! God bless the man. The devotion and persistence these friends showed Lace and I leaves me a little speechless. We quickly realized that bringing our designs to reality was a bigger task than ourselves. We do not know how to thank each friend sufficiently for the time donated, and for every stitch knitted!
We finally finished the 5 big striped trees by 9 pm and decided to go home. Lace and Marta had been working on the two gradient trees while we finished the striped trees. It felt like a scramble, so we could finally get out of the cold! The warmth we felt when we finally got in our cars, was so welcome!
The next day, Lace and Pete sewed the rest of the gradient trees together. (Way to go, Pete! A jack of all trades, you are!) Then, Lace and I spent 5 hours out on the trail working on the two small weeping cherry trees that afternoon. Still, we were not finished! Later on in the week we came back a couple time to sew random branches on, and finally on Wednesday morning before the artist walk, we completed the trees! While we were sewing during the day, we had so many trail walkers, runners, and bikers stop and talk to us about the installation. We had so many positive reactions, it was incredible to hear! Overwhelmingly, we realized that our main goal was accomplished through the installation: joy, cheer, encouragement, and surprise.
Lace and I are so grateful to everyone that came to help with the installation. After a very long weekend of installing the trail, we know that we never could have done it by ourselves. This fact is the component that exposes the bare bones of a community installment. The scale of this design was big, and each knitter/crocheter played a part in bringing the dream to life, just like every stitch and every piece sewn together. Thankfulness is not enough to describe our feelings about this installment and the wonderful outcome. The involvement we experienced from these friends, family, and local knitting groups completely warms our hearts and fills us with happiness!
Enjoy the trail, and let us know what you think!