Tag Archives: Anne Faber

Sizing Up The World’s Largest Stocking

Like many Westporters, last week you hung your stocking by the chimney with care.

But no matter how carefully Maria de Palma, Anne Faber, Diane Lowman, Ellie Herman and Harriet Vandis tried, they could not do the same.

Their stocking is 139 feet tall, and 74 feet wide. It weighs 1,600 pounds. The Guinness folks confirmed: It’s the world’s largest.

The world's largest stocking. (Cramer Gallimore Photography for Caron United)

The world’s largest stocking. (Cramer Gallimore Photography for Caron United)

Anne, Diane, Ellie and Harriet live here. Their stocking is in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Well, technically it’s not their stocking. It belongs to 1,100 others too — and Caron United.

Over a year ago — on Veterans Day 2014 — the yarn manufacturer asked for help creating the largest stocking in the world. Across the country, knitters and crocheters responded.

The Westport quintet — and all those others — created 3-foot-by-3-foot blankets. They sent them to Caron, which stitched them all together.

What’s the point?

Along with helping create a world record stocking, Caron contributed 15 cents for every skein of its yarn used. They also solicited donations. The result: More than $100,000 has been raised for Children of Fallen Patriots. The organization gives scholarships to kids of US military personnel killed in the line of duty.

The stocking was unrolled and displayed as part of a Christmas celebration in Fayetteville — a city best known as the home of Fort Bragg.

Diane Lowman, Anne Faber and Harriet Vandis, hard at work. Not pictured: Ellie Herman.

Diane Lowman, Anne Faber and Harriet Vandis, hard at work. Not pictured: Ellie Herman and Maria de Palma.

So where do you hang the biggest stocking in the world?

You don’t. Soon, it will be taken apart. More than 1,100 blankets will be created –then donated to military hospitals.

Maria, Anne, Diane, Ellie and Harriet belong to Knit One, Nibble One. That’s a loose-knit (ho ho ho) organizations of hundreds of Westporter women who create “healing shawls” for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. (Because the drugs are infused at a low temperature, patients often feel chilly.)

The “nibble” refers to magic-bar cookies that founder Ellen Lane bakes. She puts one in a tote bag that also holds yarn, needles and knitting directions.

Knit One logo

The women do much more than knit, of course. For example, Anne is a champion rower, while Diane runs yoga workshops.

So as you stow those Christmas stockings, be thankful they fit in a box in the attic.

And be thankful too for talented, creative and caring women like Westport’s own Maria de Palma, Ellie Herman, Anne Faber, Diane Lowman and Harriet Vandis.

Anne Faber Rows For Her Life

In 1996 — on her son’s 13th birthday — Anne Faber’s husband was killed by a drunk driver.

In one moment, her life changed forever.

She left her job as a Wall Street analyst. She moved to Westport, for its strong school system.

Yet not until Ginger Katz — a fellow member of her Norwalk Hospital bereavement support group — mentioned rowing did Anne find a reason to get up in the morning, and really do something.

Anne knew nothing about the sport. But Ginger took her to the old Saugatuck club. The very first time Anne picked up an oar was in a race.

She was hooked.

“I’d been a dancer,” Anne — now 70 years old — recalls. “Rowing seemed very rhythmic.” She discovered a talent for tempo. Today, she says proudly, “I’m known as the metronome.”

Ginger Katz (front) and Anne Faber, years ago on the Schuylkill River.

Ginger Katz (front) and Anne Faber, years ago on the Schuylkill River.

She joined Norwalk’s Maritime Rowing Club. She became certified as a coach. A trustee of the Berkshire Rowing and Sculling Society, she heads up to Pittsfield every Monday, coaching adults and giving back to her sport.

Anne is much more than a rower, of course — a committed knitter, she makes healing shawls for chemo patients through the Westport Senior Center’s Knit One, Nibble One program, and she has trained to be a pharmacy technician, learned to be a baker and chef, and earned certification as a paralegal — but it is on the water that she feels most fulfilled.

Last month, at the USRowing Masters National Championships in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Anne won 5 medals. There were over 2,000 entries from 143 clubs, and no one is believed to have earned more.

The races were 1000-meter sprints. Anne’s stash includes golds in lightweight singles and (with fellow Westporter, 72-year-old Peggy Bliss) lightweight doubles, plus a pair of silvers and a bronze. Some of those medals came rowing with 50-something women.

Anne Faber with her medals.

Anne Faber with her medals.

Her victories mean “I’ve arrived at a level of competency that makes my boat move,” Anne says. “I train all year long, so there’s some self-satisfaction too.”

But rowing has given her more than medals.

“It’s allowed me to find myself again,” Anne explains. “It’s made me someone else. I’ve seen a different part of life. I regained my feeling of rhythm and motion.”

She loves being on the river, with fish and birds. Rowing — as difficult as it is — is quiet and peaceful.

And, Anne notes, “when the boat moves quickly and efficiently, just skimming the waterline, it’s an incredible, exhilarating feeling. It’s like a Zen period in time.”

Last fall, Anne won an Over-70 race at the prestigious Head of the Charles. She hopes to return this year.

Beyond that?

“I’m still trying to figure out what to do in the next stage of my life,” Anne says. “Whatever it is, I like exploring new things and meeting new people.”

Who knows? That may lead to more self-discovery, as wonderful as the day nearly 20 years ago when Anne Faber first dipped her toes in the rowing water.

(Hat tip: Diane Lowman)