I have been knitting for 40 years. That seems like a really long time, but I don’t consider myself an expert knitter. I belong to a Facebook group called “Addicted to Knitting” and I feel like a beginner when I see some of the things other people knit. I knit a lot for my family, but they probably have just about all the knitted goods they need. So I look for other ways to use my needles and spend time knitting for a good cause.
I usually have a prayer shawl of some sort on my needles. Wedgewood United Methodist Church started a prayer shawl ministry when I was there and they can always use more prayer shawls. Prayer shawls are knitted or crocheted from any pattern, dedicated at the altar, and then given to those who need them. I have several simple shawl patterns I use that are good for knitting when we travel.
The most basic is the “Holy Trinity” pattern. Cast on 63 stitches, knit three, purl three and do this until the shawl measures six feet. I also use the leftover yarn to make a “Coat of Many Colors” prayer shawl. Cast on 250 stitches and knit every row. Change yarns every row to use up leftover yarn. Combine two strands for thin yarns. Every four rows, tie the ends together for a fringe. The shawl is colorful and joyous.
Prayer shawls cover people with love and prayer. They are “symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving God. The wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify.” Quote from Janet Severi Bristow. I will knit prayer shawls as long as I can find a prayer shawl ministry to give them to.
This last year I branched out into a new area. I read an article about “Socks for Soldiers” and thought it sounded like knitting for a good cause. I spend a lot of time knitting socks while working at Visitors Centers and I could spread the word. Socks for Soldiers knits regulation socks for soldiers on active duty overseas. They order special yarn and follow service regulations so the socks conform to standards.
In order to join “Socks for Soldiers” you have to knit a pair of probationary socks showing you can knit according to these standards. In order to get the correct gauge, I had to use size 1 needles, which is a little like knitting with toothpicks. It took me forever to knit the 14″ legs and the 12″ feet. I thought I followed the directions precisely, but when I sent the socks in I was told that they were too big and I hadn’t done the Kitchener stitch correctly. Well, I hope they can find somebody with really big feet to give them to because I am not knitting any more of those socks.
When we got to Fort Frederica, they were doing a winter clothing drive for the homeless. So I used some of the yarn that I spun and made a couple of hats. They are a basic watch cap pattern and the yarn was nice and thick so they should be plenty warm.
I knitted a couple of shawls and sent them to my two youngest nieces, for whom I pray every day. I used the “My Summer Song” pattern for one and the Mitali pattern for the other. The Mitali is the brightest color I could find. I was tired of knitting with the natural colors that I had been spinning.
I knit some fingerless mitts with yarn I spun for demonstration purposes. Spent most of the cruise to Hawaii knitting monogramed washcloths for everyone in the family. I am knitting more “Greenleaf” baby hats until I use up the green yarn I spun. Hat #6 is on the needles now. I’m sure I can find babies somewhere to give them to.
When we were in Columbus in December, I fell in love with the Infinity Shawl yarn by Katia. I bought two balls, not believing that one was enough to make a shawl. But it was! I used the “Fan and Feather Comfort Shawl” pattern. The shawl is small, but I was delighted by how soft and light it was. I also love how the colors blend so subtly that you can’t tell where one stops and another starts. Now I have another ball of it for another shawl. I gave that shawl to Wedgewood for their auction for the Building Fund. My knitting for a good cause went for $40 in the silent auction!
Knitting for a good cause is a way to continue my knitting without burdening my family with too many knitted items. It also uses up my stash so I have an excuse to go out and buy more yarn!