Wow! Another week has flown by, and I find myself behind the keyboard again, excited to share what’s been going on in my knitting life. Thank you all so much for the outpouring of support for this blog through your messages on Ravelry, the emails you’ve sent me, and the comments you’ve left on the blog. I’m glad you’re enjoying reading what I’m writing. I’m always open to feedback, so please feel free to leave comments about what you’d like to see in this blog. Today, I’m going to write about something that is very near to my heart: charity knitting. Before we get to that, however, let’s review some of the knitting-related things I’ve been up to in the last week.
This Week In Podcasts
After catching up on the backlog of podcasts I listened to last week, this has been a pretty light week of knitting podcasts for me.
As usual, Knitting Pipeline was a joyful listen this week. Paula was joined by frequent guests Bronwyn and Sarah. I love listening to the three of them chat — it makes me feel as if I am part of their knitting circle. While talking about their projects, Paula mentioned that she was working on sweater to be used in a fundraiser. This sounds similar to the charity knitting I recently completed and talk about a little later in this post. The ladies at Knitting Pipeline are gearing up for hosting a retreat, and you could hear the excitement in their voices as they talked about some of the final details they were putting together. I really hope that at some point, I’ll be able to attend a knitting retreat. I would especially love it if it were a Knitting Pipeline one!
Fiber Hooligan continued to feature a guest host while Benjamin Levisay was away from the microphone. The October 14 episode featured Drew Emborsky (a.k.a. The Crochet Dude), and a large part of the discussion was focused on the Halos of Hope charity, so that also dovetails in nicely with this post’s focus on charity knitting. Halos of Hope gets a lot of attention on Fiber Hooligan — no doubt in large part because Benjamin is heavily involved with the Board of Directors. I always enjoy learning more about Halos of Hope on the Fiber Hooligan podcast, and this episode included a lot of great information about how knitters and crocheters can help out where there is a great need.
I love listening to podcasts on my commute to and from work, so if you know of any great knitting-related ones I should add to my list, please let me know!
This Week In Ravelry
“This Week In Ravelry” really ought to be “This Week On The Ravelry Itty Bitty Knits Board.” Most of my time on Ravelry this week consisted of continuing to get more involved in the discussions on IBK, especially the thread about the ornament swap. Since stepping up my participation in this group a bit, I’ve received a warm and inviting welcome from so many people. I don’t have a lot of opportunity to get together “in real life” with other knitters, so it’s great to form these virtual relationships with a group of caring people. In the past week, I’ve seen IBKers share stories relating to difficulties in their individual lives, and watched the entire group rise up with messages of support and encouragement. It really is a friendly, family like atmosphere. It’s hard to find that kind of thing on the Internet, and I’m glad to be a part of the group.
This Week On My Needles: More Gift Knitting
Last week, I talked about some of the gift knitting I was doing. Things have been coming off the needles, and I’m mostly happy with the way they are turning out.
I think my Dapper Dishcloth came out well. I felt kinda weird about blocking a dishcloth, but since I ran it through the wash to help make sure the color won’t run, I figured I might as well stretch it out on the blocking board and let it dry so it can look it’s best when I give it to one of my favorite comic book artists next week. Blocking a dishcloth is a lot easier than blocking a shawl or sweater, that’s for sure! It’s supposed to be a bowler-style hat, but I’ve been told it kinda looks like some sort of boat with a weird sail. What do you think?
The project on my DPNs hasn’t seen much work in the last week, but I’m still excited about it.
Finally, the “Plan A” gift for my IBK Secret Pal is off the needles and just needs the finishing work done. Sometimes, the finishing is more work than the knitting! I’m calling this my “Plan A” gift because it didn’t quite come out like I expected it to come out, and I’m going to need to get the finishing done before I can really evaluate whether it’s something with which I’ll be happy, or if I’ll have to go to “Plan B.” Fortunately, I already have “Plan B” taken care of, so if it comes to that, I’m ready. Doing this has been a lot of fun.
In addition to the gift knitting I’ve been working on this week, I was also thrilled to be able to attend a knitting workshop this past Saturday. We were knitting Little Felted Heart Bowls in support of Knitting Together For Synod 2014. I knitted one of those bowls last month (it was my first experience with felting, and I really enjoyed it). It was nice to hang out with a group of knitters, some of whom had knitted the pattern before, and some who were learning. I pitched in and helped teach a few techniques like knitting front and back and picking up stitches, too. I’m planning to lead a similar workshop at our church next month, so look for more information about this project on the blog in the coming weeks.
What I really want to talk about this week is charity knitting. Partly because charity knitting is responsible for turning me into a knitter, partly because it was came up again on all the podcasts I listened to this week, and partly (ok, mainly) because a non-profit organization that means a lot to me is hosting a large fundraiser this Thursday, October 24.
Charity knitting is amazing. I’ve found that, as a whole, knitters are some of the most kind and generous people I’ve met. One of the great things about charity knitting is that it can take so many forms. Organizations like Halos of Hope are seeking handmade items to distribute to people who need them. Donating an item to an organization like that ensures that your knitted item finds its way directly to someone who can use and appreciate it. When Blueberry was in the NICU, we received a few handmade preemie hats that were donated to the hospital. To this day, I don’t know if they were donated by individuals, or as part of an organized group. I’ll never know who made those hats that meant so much to us. But I continue to be grateful for the love and generosity that went into them. They made a real difference. This kind of charity knitting is really special, and can become emotional — for both the recipient and the knitter.
When people think about charity knitting, they usually think about knitting items that find their way directly to someone who needs them, usually in the form of a hat, a scarf, mittens, or similar items. That is not the only form charity knitting can take, however. Another form of charity knitting is to create handmade items that are given to a charity to either sell or use as a prize in fundraising events. This is the kind of charity knitting in which I’ve engaged lately, and it’s really been a blast.
Let me take a moment to tell you a little about my charity of choice. Family Support Network of Central Carolina (FSNCC) is an organization whose mission is to provide support, education, and caring connections to those who have a child with special needs or those born prematurely. When Blueberry ended up spending the first five weeks of her life in the NICU, FSNCC was there to help us learn more than we ever thought we’d need to know about how a NICU works. FSNCC was there to provide support and encouragement to us as we went through that journey. A NICU experience can be very difficult at times, and FSNCC was there to help us along the way. A few months ago, FSNCC asked me to serve on their Executive Board and I was honored to accept that invitation.
For the past several years, FSNCC has hosted a casino-themed fundraising event called Poker For Preemies. Proceeds from this event go to support all of FSNCC’s programs, not just the efforts surrounding working with NICU families. This is where my involvement with charity knitting comes in. At the Poker For Preemies event, we will be featuring raffles for a number of prize baskets, each with a different theme. Several of the baskets include handmade items: jewelry, aprons, felted bags, bibs, wash cloths, toys, etc. I decided to chip in with my knitting skills and contribute Ribbit and Rabbit, two toys that are designed by one of my favorite knitting designers, Susan B. Anderson. I previously made both of these toys for Blueberry, and was looking forward to making them again. It was a lot of fun, and I think they are going to fit in great in one of the raffle baskets.
One of cool things about knitting items that can be sold or raffled for charity fundraisers is that it gives you the opportunity to branch out from the utilitarian items such hats, scarves, mittens, and the like. When you knit an item that will be used for fundraising purposes, make sure the design you are knitting can be used for charity knitting. For Ribbit and Rabbit e.g., Spud & Chloë includes the following note at the end of the pattern: “This pattern may not be sold in knitted form with permission from Spud & Chloë. Selling the knitted item for charity or fundraising purposes, with 100% of proceeds going to the charity, is always welcome.” I love it when designers and companies that hold the copyright to patterns are generous like that!
If you’re in the Greensboro, NC area on Thursday, October 24, 2013, you should totally come to the Poker For Preemies fundraising event. Put all your raffle tickets in the basket that includes Ribbit and Rabbit, and you may be the lucky winner that gets to provide a great home to a couple of toys that I knitted! If you’re not able to attend the fundraiser, but would like to support FSNCC with a tax-deductible donation, we are happy to accept donations in a variety of ways. I sincerely hope you’ll consider supporting us. If you’d like to learn more about FSNCC and/or Poker For Preemies, here are a bunch of links to check out:
- Family Support Network of Central Carolina Web Page
- Family Support Network of Central Carolina on Facebook
- Poker For Preemies Web Page
- Poker For Preemies on Facebook
- Poker For Preemies Tickets
- Poker For Preemies Donations
FSNCC is my favorite charity/non-profit, and I bet you have your own favorite non-profits/charities. Maybe you’ve done some forms of charity knitting yourself — either items that are directly used by recipients of the charity, like a hat for Halos Of Hope, or an item that is sold/raffled to raise funds for a charity, like my Ribbit and Rabbit for FSNCC. Or maybe you’ve been the recipient of charity knitting. I would love to hear about your experiences with charity knitting, from either side of the fence. Leave a comment with a story about your favorite knitting-related charity, or a charity that accepts donations of knitted items. Perhaps you can share a comment about what it means to receive a handmade item from a charity.
Until next week, keep on knitting for the ones you love!