Frantically Knitting for the Holidays? So am I. It’s a Good Thing.

Do you have unfinished knitting projects on your needles with holiday deadlines looming? Are you chewing up all your TV time in the evening, knocking out those scarves you need to stick a gift tag on by Christmas? Are you picking up the knitting needles during morning coffee breaks, during that ten minutes you’ve got before the next Zoom meeting, or making the most of the school pick-up line to get in a few rows of knitting? Yeah, me too.

My church plans to give twenty homeless teenagers handknit scarves for Christmas. We’ve got twelve scarves turned in and ready to go. But there’s another eight to go. And so I engage in near frantic knitting to help my fellow church knitters make up the difference. Having a homeless teenager show up to a Christmas party and NOT get a handknit scarf like everybody else is not an option. I’ve got two skeins of super bulky yarn headed for my mailbox, so I’m thinking size 13 or 15 needles and knock out a couple of scarves in 48 hours. Fingers crossed!

This hurried style of knitting is not my favorite thing to do. I’m more of a meditative knitter. But when the call goes out for a good cause, it’s what we do. Yes, we knit for ourselves. Most of us knit for the sense of peace and calm we get when we sit down to knit and unwind, away from the stresses of the world. We knit for a sense of accomplishment, for creative expression, or maybe just to have something constructive to do. 

But our best knitting is for others. We knit to welcome a new baby. We knit to comfort a ninety-year-old woman in a nursing home. We knit to show a husband or son or daughter our love for them with a sweater or pair of socks. We knit to show a homeless teenager that someone out there cares that they stay a little warmer this winter. 

So we knit, maybe frantically, maybe powering through our “not-most-enjoyable” knitting sessions. We knit to give. We knit to show our love. It’s a good thing. 

Holiday Blessings for Your Knitting Projects of Love, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, interrelated stories about knitters and those for whom they knit and love. The sequel to this book, The Knitting Guild of All Saints, has just been released! Available in paperback and on Kindle, included in Kindle Unlimited. 

Knit Generously – Knitting for Charity

I was in a fabric shop recently when I heard a woman at the cutting counter say this to the clerk: “I want something as cheap as possible. It’s just for charity.”

My immediate reaction was “ugghhhh.” In one respect, I get it. You have your own bills to pay, but you still want to donate your crafting skills to a good cause. You may need to spend as little as possible to make a gift for someone else. But it’s all in the tone of voice, and I had the distinct impression that this woman thought those on the receiving end of her charity crafting didn’t quite deserve anything but the cheapest, lowest quality materials for her project.

It all goes back to the purpose and intention of a gift. Do we go cheap and give as little as possible, even if we could afford much more and much better? Or do we give the best we can afford, thinking about what those receiving our gifts will appreciate?

This is not to say that inexpensive yarns can’t make great charity gifts. I’ve knitted numerous hats, scarves, and prayer shawls using clearance sale yarn or even remnants from other projects. But each of these items were gifts I could be proud to share and present to someone, anyone. I’ve knitted little hats for kids in an orphanage in a cold place, so they could go outside wearing cute, cheerful knitwear that might help them feel good about themselves and let them know that someone, somewhere, cares about them. I’ve knitted prayer shawls for cancer patients and nursing home patients in bright colors to cheer them up and help lighten their emotional burdens. 

My rule of thumb for all of these projects: knit generously. Make a knitted project someone else would truly love to receive and wear. Use yarn you’d use in making something for yourself or a loved one. Because when we knit for charity, we knit for someone who needs to be loved. That homeless person receiving the hat, that nursing home patient receiving a shawl might not have anyone else but you to knit for them and show them someone cares.

Blessings, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of the newly published book The Prayer Shawl Chronicles. The story “Hats for Orphans” in this book is based on her experience in knitting hats for children in Arkhangelsk, Russia.  Available in paperback and on Kindle, included in Kindle Unlimited