It seems as if knitting has taken over Duxbury.
While the last few weeks have seen the outside of the Duxbury Free Library decorated with knitting, inside the library Duxbury High School senior Maddy Buchanan is spending every spare minute before Christmas to knit as many squares as she can for patients at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute as part of her Girl Scout Gold Medal Award project.
The Gold Medal Award requires scouts to spend at least 80 hours working on a project that helps others outside of their immediate community and that will be sustainable after the project ends. That is, the organization should be able to continue in its mission after Buchanan finishes her requirements
Buchanan started the project, Knit 4 Kids Cancer, this summer and worked with the Knit Wits, a knitting group at the library, to create eight-inch squares that would be transformed into throw blankets for children and teens under- going chemotherapy at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. She also worked with a group of knitters at Duxborough Vil- lage a couple of days a month and collected knitted hats from residents.
“The women love to knit and have so many projects that they have saved,” she said. “They were so generous to donate seven hats to us.”
The project has a personal connection for Buchanan, as she has been knitting since she was five-years-old and has been a Girl Scout for about as long. She works with children at her mother’s day care and knew she wanted to do something for children, and her grandmother passed away from cancer about four years ago, so Buchanan put all of her experiences together and created Knit 4 Kids Cancer.
“They tell you to do something you find interesting,” she said. “I wanted to incorporate everything that has happened and touched me and this is what came out of it.”
As part of the project, Buchanan had to first meet with the Girl Scout council to get the project approved and then set out on her 80 hours of work. Throughout the dura- tion of the project, she must report back to an advisor to keep track of hours and work on troubleshooting any issues. So far, Buchanan said, the project has run smoothly. After the project, Buchanan must present the project, prove its success and show how it will be sustainable in the future.
Last Thursday, Buchanan was working on the second floor of the library with knitted squares spread out on a table and started sewing a blanket for a young child. Her goal is to gather enough items to bring up to Dana Farber before Christmas. If all goes well, she plans to create pamphlets and patterns to leave at the library for future knitters who may want to participate.
Buchanan was the first Girl Scout in Duxbury to start working towards the Gold Medal Award. Another Girl Scout, Janine Neprud, is also working on her Gold Medal Award. Neprud is working to teach children about equality, including religion and gender equality.
The Knit Wits will be holding a Knit-A-Thon on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 10 a.m. and will be watching holiday movies to complement the knitting. Buchanan said she hopes to finish up her blankets on that day and will try to deliver them the following week. Because the blankets are for children of all ages, each will be a different size. By Christmas, Buchanan will have at least three blankets to deliver.
Buchanan, who is hoping to go to Bowdoin College in Maine to study ecology, said she continues knitting as a way to express her creative side and relax after busy days.
“It’s been nice to be able to set aside at least an hour a day to just knit,” she said. “It’s nice to know that by doing something I love I can help children who are suffering, even if it’s just to keep them cozy while undergoing treatment."