Blanket project, block party help needy, fete Broadway bridge

by: PHOTOS COURTESY OF  CHARLIE VAWTER - The project Bridge for Blankets, helping celebrate the 100th year of the Broadway Bridge, includes 1,512 one-foot squares. Organizers of the project are part of a Broadway block party, Aug. 10; for info, go to colorful panels, consisting of hundreds of hand-knitted squares, are flying over the Broadway Bridge, and they are “billowing like sails,” project organizer Tyler Mackie says.

Mackie, 32, came up with the idea for the Bridge for Blankets project earlier this year, the end result helping needy people, as featured in the Portland Tribune in May.

As she watched the first panel being hoisted onto the bridge on July 20, she experienced some anxiety.

“The wind is pretty strong, and all that work could have just flown away. But the county maintenance workers care about the project, and they were holding on really tight,” she says.

The best way to view the blankets is to attend a block party to celebrate the Broadway’s 100th birthday, noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Northwest Broadway and Hoyt Street. For info:

by: PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHARLIE VAWTER - Organizers of the Bridge for Blankets project are part of a Broadway block party, Aug. 10; for info, go to hand-knitted afghan will be raffled off at 3 p.m. that day. Donations are still needed to pay for the cost of the yarn, Mackie says. She thanks all the volunteer knitters, the PDX Bridge Festival board and her mother, Sharon Mackie, for bringing the blankets to life.

“I believe in the project and what Tyler is doing,” Sharon Mackie says. The four panels consist of 42 color blocks, and each of the panels weighs 50 pounds. There are 1,512 1-foot squares, knitted from 840 skeins of Cascade Superwash wool.

Once the project is taken down from the bridge, the enormous panels will be washed, dried and taken apart to make 48 individual blankets. Some will be given to a children’s organization, and others will go to organizations that provide for homeless and needy adults, Sharon Mackie says.

To read the Tribune’s “Purls over Broadway” story, go to

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