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Posts Tagged ‘craftivism’

I am a semi-seasonal knitter. Contradiction in terms, I know – but I don’t stop knitting altogether in the summertime. I like to have a project on the needles, so I can pick it up if I find myself with a seat on the T (a rare boon), or restless while I’m watching Mary Tyler Moore, or simply with twitchy hands in need of distraction. But, I admit, my knitting slows waaaay down in the summer.

That being said, when my friend Amanda sent out a call for knitting help this spring, I knew I’d be knitting up a storm this summer.

Amanda is the founder and stateside director of Sanctuary Home for Children in Tenali, India, an orphanage that now houses about 100 kids. (They started in 2006 with 30 children.) When Amanda and some other SH board members and sponsors visited Tenali last December, they noticed people wrapping up in hats and scarves – though the weather (in the 60s and 70s) felt balmy to them. The orphanage’s operating funds cover basic clothing for the children, but extras can be hard to come by, especially multiplied by 100. So when Isaac, the on-site director, asked if we (the sponsors and board members of SH) could knit some hats for the children and staff members, we all dove into our stashes and pattern books.

Some of the hats I've knitted for SH

I love knitting for SH for all the same reasons I love knitting for Nest Maine and the Innocent Big Knit – it feels good to help people in a  tangible way, and it’s fun to get creative with my stash at the same time. With SH, there’s an added bonus: I feel a personal connection to these kids, especially the two I sponsor, and to Amanda. (I wrote a piece about SH for Halogen TV a while back.)

I’m up to seven hats so far, with an eighth on the needles and a couple more in the queue. My stash bin is lighter, my needles are busy, and I love imagining the SH kiddos wearing our handknits this winter. (P.S.: if you’d like to help support the work of SH, donations are always welcome.)

What craftiness are you engaging in these days?

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As most of you know, West Texas summers are HOT. Really hot. Sometimes I don’t even want to pick up my knitting needles. So when I do, whatever’s on them needs to be small, light and quickly finish-able, so I’m not carting it around for weeks, feeling it get heavier and heavier on my lap.

I did make an exception this year with my little green cardigan, which took me from March to July because I kept putting it down and picking it back up again. But all my other summer knits are lightweight. And most of them were also focused on whittling down the yarn stash, for three reasons: we were moving; I couldn’t (can’t) afford new yarn; and it feels good to knit for a good cause – NestMaine.

I blogged last fall about knitting for Nest – and for Innocent’s Big Knit, in which I knit tiny smoothie hats (and yes, I’m doing that again this year – up to 18 so far). I’ve been digging into my stash since June, using up leftovers from other projects, and popping them in the mail to Jean, who runs NestMaine. Now that I’ll be facing the New England winter, I’m even more motivated to send some warm handknits farther north.

As it cools off here in Mass, here are a few photos of this year’s Nest hats.

This is a Foliage hat, made of warm red wool:

Here’s a Shroom, knit during our garage sale:

Yet another Hermione hat, the ninth or tenth one I’ve knit:

And a basic garter-stitch-brimmed hat with a touch of leopard:

Finally, a Mairead, chosen because I love the name – but I love the hat, too:

The deadline for NestMaine is in September each year, but Jean keeps the P.O. box open year-round for donations. So if you knit, and you’re ever in a stash-busting mode, I know she appreciates not only hats, but scarves, gloves, mittens, cowls and whatever else you’d like to send, to help keep folks in Maine warm.

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smoothies and wool

I am addicted to Innocent smoothies, which unfortunately I can’t get in the US, but which I drank copiously last year in the UK. I get their weekly e-newsletter, which is full of random bits of fun, and several weeks ago it contained an announcement about their Big Knit fundraiser.

Starting in November, Innocent smoothies in stores around the UK will be wearing little woolly knitted hats – and for every smoothie with a hat sold, 50p (about $1) goes to Age Concern, a charity for older people. The goal for this year is 500,000 hats to raise 250,000 pounds.

I dug into my scrap yarn stash and have been knitting like crazy for several weeks. (This conveniently coincides with the end of my thesis and my new Gilmore Girls obsession.) And currently, 44 little hats are sitting in a basket on my coffee table, waiting to be scooped up and posted to the UK.

You can laugh at me. (Jeremiah does.) But it’s fun – and who doesn’t smile at the sight of a smoothie bottle wearing a knitted hat?

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