Friday, December 15, 2006

A Pre-Holiday Book Review

This hasn’t been the best week. T has asthma, and with the change in Indiana weather from balmy to blustery, he had a pretty bad episode last weekend that involved 3 a.m. calls to his pulmonologist, heavy-duty steroids, and a near trip to the ER. His asthma’s now under control, but he got sent home yesterday with stomach flu, and is as I type missing his toddler holiday party at school. Poor little fella.

Anyhoo, before his health took a downturn, I went to a book signing last Friday night for one of our authors. While at the bookstore, I picked up a bunch of Christmas gifts. I’ve recently been eyeing a new knitting book for me called Knitting for Peace, but have been too cheap to fork over the $20 for it. But with the floodgate of expenditure that is the month of December, the price (especially with my 30% off coupon) seemed a pittance, so I got it.

I rarely say this with any conviction, but I think this book is going to change my life. It’s full of profiles of charities that accept hand-knitted items: whether to clothe people in war-torn countries, to give some comfort and warmth to soldiers stationed far from their families, or to provide some covering for newborns born domestically into such poverty that they otherwise would leave the hospital wearing only a diaper.

I’ve been knitting since my grandma taught me and my brother when I was six. I’m now much, much older than six, so it’s been a lot of years. I’ve been obsessively knitting (hiding yarn expenditures from my husband, waking up at 4 a.m. and sneaking to the living room to finish a couple rows before going back to bed, trolling knitting blogs) for 10 or 15 years. As you can imagine, my friends and family members probably have all the knitted sweaters, hats, wrist warmers, afghans, bookmarks, and iPod cozies they need. What a better place to put the incessant need to stitch than to create items for people who truly, truly need them – either physically or psychologically?

Because I can’t craft for every organization, I’ve chosen Project Linus as my charity of choice. This lovely organization donates new handmade blankets -- knit, crocheted, quilted, no-sew from fleece -- to give to kids in need. The need could be that they’re three years old and undergoing surgery to remove cancer, and they’ll be able to go into and come out of surgery with a cuddly lovey to give them some comfort. Or it could be that they’re a 16-year-old who lived through a nightmare day at Columbine High School, and they go to a group counseling session that includes a stack of blankets in the room, and wrapping in a blanket gives the teens comfort and confidence to start articulating and working through their experiences.

Every year about this time I make vows that I’ll do something somewhat superficial: Lose 15 pounds, start balancing the checkbook every month without fail, put my clothes away in the closet and not dump them on the chair by the bed. This year, I’m planning to look outside myself and bring something good to people who need something good. If a blanket I knit can help a six-year-old I never meet be more brave going into chemotherapy, who cares if my checkbook never balances?


Blogger amyzeats said...

you know, when i read the part about the clothes on the chair i thought, well, at least i'm not the only one! :)

my mom taught me to embroider, crochet, and knit when i was really little. i still do the embroidery every now and again, but i really miss the fact that i've utterly forgotten how to do the other two. so you've inspired me to make a new year's resolution (in addition to the usual 5 lbs gone, get organized, and be better about staying in touch with family and friends).

i'd planned on going down to this neat little yarn store to buy some xmas gifts (buy local!! -- and, no, i'm not done with my shopping) who also give lessons. i think i'm going to sign up and re-learn this. and if it goes well? maybe i can make my first project -- assuming it is at all recognizeable as a shawl or a blanket! -- something for one of the participating organizations from the book you were talking about. i think that sounds so cool. thanks for the tip off.

6:23 AM  
Blogger amyzeats said...

and...i did it. signed up for an intro knitting class at the spot i mentioned in the above post. i'll let you know how it goes...!

11:02 AM  
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1:34 PM  
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9:15 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Can you teach me to knit? What a great cause. I love Linus.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Cindy K said...

I just got around to reading these:

Amy, I got your text. Bravo on the knitting class. I can't wait to see how you like it!

Teresa, I can *totally* teach you how to knit. Whenever you're around and ready to learn, just let me know.

7:00 PM  

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