On March 2, as the tornado warnings were swirling across the television screen and pouring forth from the radio, yarn shop owner Stephanie Stratton was knitting.
She was still knitting as the clouds cleared and it became apparent that some of the deadliest storms in Kentucky history had roared through. Stratton, her shop, A Tangled Yarn, and her shop cat, Fred, were spared.
The morning after the storms, even before she'd really thought the whole thing through, Stratton posted on the Facebook page of her Nicholasville shop encouraging other knitters to do what they do best.
"Want to help the victims of the storms that raged throughout Indiana, Kentucky and TN in a tangible way?" the post read.
The request was simple: knit a 7 by 9 square out of acrylic yarn, drop it in the mail and afghans will be assembled to deliver to folks in West Liberty.
Sarabeth Parido, who owns Sarabee's Little Yarn Shop in Winchester, was one of the first to respond. Word of the project, dubbed Love Squares, spread on Etsy.com, the arts and crafts Web site, through knitting groups and, sometimes, in ways that not even Parido and Stratton understood.
And, sure enough, within a week the squares started arriving.
"Here's one I got today from Utah," said Parido as she recently helped Stratton sort through squares at her quaint, fiber-filled shop, with Fred the cat inspecting every one with a vaguely curious sniff.
Parido and Stratton will sew the squares together and deliver them to West Liberty through a connection at Parido's church. There is no end in sight for the effort.
Parido can think of nothing better than a nice warm, handmade quilt to give to someone in need.
It's something, she said, that envelops you "like a hug."