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Tying up ‘Loose Ends’: Handwork project brings joy to those in grief

Dec 18, 2023, 7:13 PM | Updated: 7:18 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A new online initiative wants to help your grandmother with that quilt or blanket she started but was never able to finish.

Loose Ends was created by two friends and crafters, Masey Kaplan in Portland, Maine, and Jennifer Simonic in Seattle.  They were both at a school reunion and helping sort through a friend’s deceased mother’s craft supplies when they came across two unfinished blankets.

“I had been thinking about the concept of the Loose Ends Project for a few years,” Kaplan said.  “Maybe this is a good time to see if we can launch this idea.”

Masey Kaplan and Jennifer Simonic of Loose Ends. (Winky Lewis)

Kaplan and Simonic pair volunteers with unfinished projects.

“We have close to 17,000 finishers in 60 different countries and we’ve got just under about 2,000 projects,” she said.

When West Jordan resident Cheryl LaSalle’s mother died, she inherited an unfinished afghan and baby blanket from her grandmother, Rose Dunlap.

“She (her grandmother) was always just the sweetest, kindest little lady,” LaSalle said, tearing up.

Beth Parker, who took up crocheting as a way to deal with the pandemic, finished the afghan blanket for LaSalle through the Loose Ends Project.

“And that means a lot to me. Because it’s my grandma’s memories,” LaSalle said.  “Every project she did, she filled it with love.“

Cheryl Lasalle and her grandmother's blanket. (KSL TV)

Cheryl Lasalle and her grandmother’s blanket. (KSL TV)

“As a knitter myself, I know so much love goes into things that I make for people that I care about,” Kaplan said.  “I know that when I go, I’m going to leave behind at least six to eight unfinished things that people will have to do and I will want them done from wherever I’m going.”

Britney Snell of Salt Lake is working from a pattern published in 1947 to finish a bedspread started by Murray resident Sandy LeCheminant’s mother not long after that.

Her mother, Ruth McKilligan, is still alive but physically unable to complete it.  McKilligan says she started the project when she was single but got married and had kids and never found time to finish the project.

Brittney Snell Working on Ruth McKilligan's bedspread. (KSL TV)

Brittney Snell Working on Ruth McKilligan’s bedspread. (KSL TV)

“That’s part of her legacy part of her. Her being is what’s being passed along,” LeChaminant said.  “She still has furniture that her great grandparents had and to her that’s important. That’s the connection to the past. It’s far more than a bedspread. There are memories. There’s artistry. It is a beautiful piece. The craftsmanship, the time, the love.”

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Tying up ‘Loose Ends’: Handwork project brings joy to those in grief