Knitting to Support our Troops

kelonaNovember 5, 2007

I just got the Lion Brand e-newsletter and there's an article about helmetliners for our troops over in the Middle East. They can be knitted or crocheted. Wool is the preferred textile and they don't look too difficult to do. They do give you specific colors to use. Might be something you could work on in between your other projects. I'm going to try to do some; my nephew was just deployed to Kuwait last week.

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Kelona, I got the e-newsletter, too and very much want to participate. I certainly understand the necessity of using a natural fiber. First and foremost is warmth. Secondly, acrylic would melt in intense heat and put our brave soldiers in even more danger. On another forum, some have said that they are allergic to wool and have been using acrylic anyway. Please don't ignore the specifics of the request.

But I do have a question. 100% wool (unless it is superwash) will felt if machine washed. It will also felt if it is hand washed vigourously, won't it? The Lion Wool recommended is not superwash, though. Is this not a problem? I was thinking that I would need to buy superwashed wool, which is much harder to get in my neck of the woods. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 1:43PM
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I really don't know because I don't work in wool, but I will try it soon. Maybe if I do a little at a time. But, according to Lion Brand's site, they recommend hand washing in cool or warm water and laying flat to dry.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 2:08PM
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I read this article too. Americans have such wonderful groups and organizations that make and donate incredibly useful items for thier soldiers. Does anyone know of a Canadian connection?? I've gone so far as to emailing my request to the #2 Man at the Canada's Military...that was over a month ago and I've never had an answer...not that I'm surprised...they are "kind of busy". I have often heard that if you just write or send something without a specific receiver's name on it, it will get destroyed for fear of tampering etc. ANy ideas or suggestions or proper mailing addresses that we could send things to. I know that they would have to be made to specs (as the Americans do).

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 1:21PM
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They do realize that the guys over there get to wash their BDUs like... once every week or so, right? And that when they do, they just chuck everything in a washer....

And, I hate to say it, but most of the stuff that gets sent over there from places that mean to do well, gets tossed or stolen. There's a huge security risk with anonymous donations and most guys don't WANT it.

I don't want to be rude or sound like I don't support the guys (because believe me, I do!), but I don't want people to waste their time on something that's not going to be used.

What the guys want is DECENT FOOD, not helmet liners.

~ Kit

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 5:53PM
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Kit, you voiced some of my own concerns. I want to help, but I sure would like to know that what we are sending is being used and really is what the guys want/need. How are we to know? And of us here have a soldier in the family?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 6:13PM
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I also thought this might be a good idea. Our college just received a large grant to support educational advisement for returning vets. I also have two currently in my class who returned last year. I'll ask them if they know anything about bulk donations of handmade helmet liners. I'm thinking with all the security issues it may need to be coordinated with a known soldier. I'll let you know if I find out anything useful.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 7:31PM
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Thanks, Susan. I would really appreciate this.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 12:07AM
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There is a helmet liner website:

They will collect and mail them. As far as food and other necessities, Operation Shoebox will collect items and mail them. They have a list on their website and I printed it out and took it with me when I went shopping. It made it so easy - just up and down the aisles at Walmart!

My nephew is stationed over in Iraq and I put together 2 boxes to send to him a couple weeks ago. If you want to send items to Operation Shoebox or Helmetliner or to someone stationed overseas, go to the post office and get their "Flat Rate" "Priority" box. The box is free; however, you can put as much into it as you can possibly fit - weight is not an issue - and all it costs to mail it is $8.95. One of the boxes I sent was over 7 lbs. and it only cost me $8.95. It's not a huge box, but it'll hold a lot if you pack it right.

Kickypants ~ check out for supporting the Canadian troops. I hope this will help you.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 3:15PM
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Kelona, I know about the helmetliner website. That's where I got the pattern. But our question is still unanswered as to whether this is just somebodies idea of what to do to be helpful, or if this is really what the soldiers will need/use.

Thanks for the Operation Shoebox idea. I'll check it out.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 8:33PM
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My husband is an OIF veteran. He was there from Feb. '04- Jan. '05.

He's never complained about his helmet.

Kit, He did wash is clothes like once a week, chucking everything in the wash!

He and his troop WERE so suprised by the outpouring of donations from the US public, but often times they were also overwhelmed by the AMOUNT of things given! He told me that they had a room in the barracks that had boxes separating things like soaps, and shampoos and such. You just went in there and got what you need, but he also said that all of that stuff was available at the PX anyway.

Now a helmet liner might be preferred by some, not by others, but at least it is something that they can take out into the field with them without feeling like they are luging around something extra.

I never had even heard of the helmet liners being made for "our boys" until he came home from Iraq. I will ask him what he thinks, or knows about this program.

I'm all for "spoiling" our troops, anything to make them feel appriciated. It is truly a miserable existance being an OIF soldier. A woman in the quilting forum was making quilts for those recovering from wounds in the hospitals over there. How nice it is for a soldier to recieve something so wonderful from home, just to let them know that they are not forgotten.

BTW: Kit, the item my husband most requested was FOOD! I sent him groceries every other week!


    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 7:28AM
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Talked to DH while making supper tonight. He said that the new helmets that they issue do not even use liners. He said that they are more lightweight and just use padding like a bike helmet. So I don't know if those liners are even wanted anymore.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 7:24PM
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Jackie -

My brother was there from Oct 04-Dec 05 as well. He said that anything they got from someone they didn't know got tossed.

When he came home, we put a huuuuge sign in our from home that said "WELCOME HOME, SGT" and ribbons all over the place. Four or five people stopped in to say "thanks!" and "what can we send these guys to show our support?" My brother told everyone "Offer your services at home to their families." One of the guys that he was over there with had thirteen children, with another one born while he was there (farm family, up on the Iron Range), and his wife couldn't do it all. Guy was a stay-at-home dad, and his wife is a doctor, but they couldn't afford babysitting while she was at work, so she had to quit her job.

I sent my bro food once a week, I think. The guys in the post office would ask me every week "when's he get home?" or "what are you sending this time?" I sent mostly stuff like chex mix, banana peppers in jars (weird brother missed those most of all...), peanuts and homemade cookies. He shared it with all the guys, because everyone hated the fried food they got.

~ Kit

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 5:20PM
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I also spoke with a few of my current students who served. They did not use helmet liners (or any of their buddies) and agreed that if received from an unknown, did not use anything but tossed it. One mentioned that his mom knitted some socks and he used those. They suggested if we wanted to do this anyway, we should identify someone we knew who would distribute them to those who wanted them. But after reading Jackie's post about the new helmets, perhaps this is a wasted effort.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 8:23AM
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