Good Neighbors

Anti-Bullying Champion Hosts Virtual Knitting Circle

She's combined her two passions to connect with others who are social distancing. Wait 'till you see who guest-starred on her online knitting show!

Research has shown that knitting can reduce anxiety and depression. Shira Blumenthal knows this well.

Blumenthal is the founder of #HatNotHate, an anti-bullying initiative that encourages people to make blue (the official color for anti-bullying) hats for Bullying Prevention and Awareness month in October.

Blumenthal, who was bullied severely as a child, said she was inspired to start the campaign to help others who've had similar experiences. Last year she collected more than 23,000 hats to donate to schools across the country.

Blumenthal started #HatNotHate to raise awareness about bullying in schools. Hat Not Hate/Facebook

"When you unravel the 'e' of 'hate,' you have a 'hat.' It just seemed to make sense that, 'Let's make a hat instead of hating,'" Blumenthal told People. "At the same time, when you have 100 people wearing the same thing, it really stands out in a crowd."

Now that the coronavirus has forced people to spend most of their days inside, Blumenthal has been hosting live knitting sessions on the Lion Brand Yarn Facebook page for others to follow along with as they practice social distancing.

Blumenthal, who's the brand ambassador for Lion Brand Yarn, will record "The Shi Show" every Monday through Friday at 12 pm EDT from her apartment in New York City.

Blumenthal asks viewers of The Shi Show to use the hashtag #ShiMadeMeDoIt when they share their knitting projects on social media. Lion Brand Yarn/Facebook

It's about "having that opportunity not only to talk to someone, but see someone," Blumenthal told TODAY. "I'm cooped up in my apartment in Manhattan with my two cats. I am quarantining and haven't seen any people and it's hard for me."

The show will feature Blumenthal of course, who will be sharing knitting tips and patterns, doing giveaways and interviewing celebrity knitters. Last week, she was joined on the show by Vanna White, who is herself an avid knitter (who knew?).

Blumenthal, who comes from a family of knitters, said that her dad actually sent White yarn when he learned that the "Wheel of Fortune" star enjoyed crocheting. After speaking with White on her show, Shira said she's "the sweetest person ever."

Here's a snippet from The Shi Show featuring an interview with "Wheel of Fortune" star Vanna White...

Click here to watch the whole Shi Show with guest star Vanna White. Saturday Night Live star Melissa Villaseñor also recently joined Blumenthal on The Shi Show. Villaseñor has been posting live Instagram videos of herself crocheting during her down time.

Blumenthal was recently joined by fellow crafter, Melissa Villlaseñor, on her show. Lion Brand Yarn/Facebook

While Shira knows that her show won't change the world or help find a cure for the coronavirus, she's happy to give people a way to relax and feel a sense of community during a very stressful time.

And, while the crafters of the world will certainly enjoy The Shi Show, Shira encourages anyone and everyone to join the live sessions, even if they don't know how to knit.

"People just need a fun, funky 30 minutes of their day," she said. "And we're able to give that to them."

Blumenthal shares her own knitting projects on The Shi Show. Lion Brand Yarn/Facebook

How can you start something good?

You can catch The Shi Show every M-F, at 12pm EDT on the Lion Brand Yarn Facebook page.

Also, #HatNotHate is still accepting donations of blue hats. Check out the campaign's website for more information.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together.

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