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Project Cold Front: Fiber artists ‘yarn bomb’ Charles Town

By Staff | Jan 10, 2020

Items crafted by Judy Johnson and Susie Adams donned this tree in Charles Town. Toni Milbourne

CHARLES TOWN – To raise awareness of the struggles faced by the county’s homeless population, more than 15 fiber artists worked together to provide an eye-catching reminder that cold weather is here.

The artists gathered donations for cold-weather items for Jefferson County Community Ministries, a local organization that helps the homeless and those in need in the county.

Dubbed as Project Cold Front, the project was organized by Julie Philabaum, who said she had seen something similar being done in Pittsburg, Pa.

Local fiber artists donned trees in a three-block span of downtown Charles Town, with sweaters, scarves and other knitted or crocheted items, along with signage describing the project. The signage shares each artist’s name and encourages those who are reading the sign and admiring the items to “take a selfie” and post to social media to encourage donations to JCCM.

Stacey Rawlings, who contributed a tree sweater for the project, posted her selfie to her Facebook account.

A West Virginia theme was woven into the tree sweater by one fiber artist as part of Project Cold Front. Toni Milbourne

“I just installed my tree sweater as part of Project Cold Front,” her post said. “I also personally donated 10+ coats and 22 pairs of LulaRoe leggings last week to JCCM.”

According to Rawlings, a LulaRoe consultant, she hosted a “buy one, give one” event during the holiday season, in which she donated one pair of leggings for every pair sold.

“I was lucky to be able to participate in this wonderful project,” said fiber artist Katrina Ashley. “It meant a lot to me personally, as my uncle recently passed away. He had a hard life. He was living on the streets at the time of his death.”

When Ashley heard about his passing, she said she was close to completing the “sweater” that she was making for the Project Cold Front.

“I’m sure ministries like JCCM showed my uncle much kindness throughout his life,” Ashley said. “It was very special for me to be able to wrap this tree in memory of him, hoping it will benefit those who share his struggles.”

In addition to providing cold weather items to the homeless in the community, JCCM also provides a variety of services, not the least of which is a cold-weather shelter from October to March. JCCM also helps with food, laundry, computer and internet access and more for those in need. JCCM has a clothing and food bank at its West Washington Street location.

More information on JCCM’s services, visit jccm.us, email info@jccm.us or call 304-725-3186.

The art display will remain in Charles Town through Feb. 24.