Susan Melka designed our latest free pattern, the Thin Blue Line Afghan for Alpaca Direct, in honor of Sergeant Greg Moore, a local police officer who died in the line of service.
The "Thin Blue Line" is a blanket made up of squares that can be knit by many different people (make sure everyone gets gauge!), and put together to honor a loss in your community, in your family, or to celebrate an occasion like a baby or a wedding. It's a beautiful gift for others or yourself!
The Story of the Thin Blue Line Afghan
Many of us live in North Idaho to have a quieter way of life where it's safe to walk the streets and live together in a small, close-knit community. Our version of "Mayberry" changed suddenly back in May 2015 when our neighboring town Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, suffered the loss of Sergeant Greg Moore. A fourteen-year veteran of the local police department, Moore was shot and killed when he stopped to question a suspicious person a 2 am in a local neighborhood.
Although Coeur D’Alene is the largest city in North Idaho—its population hovers around 50,000—there exists a strong sense of community among local residents. In the aftermath of the tragedy, this community embarked on its healing process by planning a memorial to honor Sergeant Moore and others who have fallen in the line of duty.
Coeur d’Alene’s downtown McKuen Park will be home to the Thin Blue Line Memorial River, which will feature three waterfalls and provide a place for reflection and relaxation. Fundraising, spearheaded by the Panhandle Parks Foundation, has been ongoing for the last year.
When a renewed call for donations was issued earlier this spring, our owner, Kelley Hobart, decided she wanted to help. She took the idea for a fundraiser project to North Idaho Fiber Friends, the group of knitters at her family-owned yarn shop, and they unanimously signed on. Like knitters everywhere, they were eager to have a new project on their needles, and to help others. They decided to knit an afghan.
Several ideas for suitable knit afghans were floated. It had to be simple, with enough components for a good group project. The individual blocks would have to be large enough to create a strong design in a minimal amount of time—compiling hundreds of 4 inch squares was out of the question! The project would need to be finished before summer to meet Panhandle Park Foundation goals. With these thoughts in mind, I came up with an easy 9-inch square garter-stitch block that would look great in denim blue and cream. Knit on the bias, the individual blocks, when finished, could be arranged in any number of ways. Borders could easily be added to pull the whole thing together.
Alpaca Direct donated the yarn—perfect Berroco Vintage—and eighteen knitters went home to knit up squares. By mid-May, there were 42 squares ready to be sewn into the afghan that had come to be known as “the thin blue line.” The blocks were pieced together, and the borders were knit on. Each person who worked on the afghan signed their name on a label that was stitched to the back. From here, it was delivered to the Panhandle Parks Foundation.
Thanks to the creative social interactions of Teri Hamilton, another of the North Idaho Fiber Friends and an Alpaca Direct employee, Panhandle Parks Foundation will be promoting the Afghan as a central fundraiser during the early summer months. Raffle tickets will be sold at various venues until early August when a drawing will be held at the annual Coeur D’Alene Art on the Green.
The Afghan, created through the combined efforts of Alpaca Direct and North Idaho Fiber Friends, will have a new home, and the community of Coeur d’Alene will be one step closer to completing its memorial to Sergeant Greg Moore.
Download the free afghan knitting pattern now!