Here’s how a New West woman wants to chase the chill away this winter

A new community project in New Westminster aims to build community and help chase the chill away this winter.

Dee Cavanagh is spearheading Chase the Chill in New Westminster, a project that will see handcrafted toques and scarves distributed in public places around the community during a yarnbombing event in December. Launched in Easton, Pennsylvania in 2008, Chase the Chill has spread to cities in the United States and Canada.

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“I do a lot of knitting and crocheting and I’m on a lot of knitting sites. Somehow I came across this one, Chase the Chill in Winnipeg,” she said. “I thought that would be interesting here.”

After pondering the idea for a bit, Cavanagh decided to go for it and contacted Chase the Chill to get some more information.

“I thought it would be interesting to do. It’s helping other people. I do so much knitting – I don’t know what to do with all my stuff,” she laughed. “My sisters told me, ‘Don’t make me anymore scarves’. I had so many – I thought what am I going to do with them all? I could just donate them but thought this would be a neat idea.”

Cavanagh is now looking or volunteers to knit or crochet scarves, which will be placed on trees, fences and other places for people to claim at a to-be-determined date in December.

“One lady already gave me some of her stuff,” she said. “She is just like me – she says she doesn’t know what to do with them all.”

So far, Cavanagh has assembled a collection of about 40 handmade scarves and toques of all colours and styles.

“I know my daughter-in-law is going to do something,” she said. “My husband has done some knitting – he taught himself how to loom knit. He has made a couple of toques already.”

Cavanagh’s mom taught her to crochet when she was just a child, and she took up knitting about 30 years ago when her own kids where young. She hasn’t set a goal of how many toques and scarves she wants to distribute through Chase the Chill, but the more the merrier.

“The one in Winnipeg, they said they started out with 66. Last year they got 700. I won’t get that many,” said Cavanagh. “You can put up as many as you want – it doesn’t matter.”

Everyone is welcome to help themselves to the handmade items regardless of income, but Cavanagh hopes some of them will go to local homeless folks.

“I am not sure yet. I’d like to target homeless people. I was thinking downtown somewhere. You tie them around trees and stuff like that,” she said. “A tag goes on each one. It says, take this scarf if you are cold or if you want it. It’s supposed to be for anybody.”

For more information or to help, contact Cavanagh on the Chase the Chill New Westminster page on Facebook or at chasethechillnewwestminster@gmail.com.

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