Making, but not excessively

By Patricia Collins

Dorothy was 89 when I asked her how she spent the long dark evenings of winter. “Jigsaws’ was her answer. “Do you knit?” “I love knitting, but I’ve no one left to knit for”.  Her family of children and grandchildren were grown up and fending for themselves and her great-grandchildren had reached the age when they would not be seen in hand made clothes. Now there’s a topic for discussion!

Dot’s rather plaintive cry was something that I could relate to though in s slightly different way. I love making things, sewing in particular, but I’ve reached the stage where I have everything I need – sufficient clothes, accessories, curtains, aprons and the rest.  From now on my sewing life could easily be confined to repairs and the making of an occasional pot holder.  Any more would be surplus, excess.  But I still love sewing and have a box of material just waiting to be used.  How do we make stuff without making more stuff?

dot

Dot, at her knitting group, models a fleece hat!

There was a simple solution for Dot. A few of us started to meet regularly in our village tea shop and exchange news about local projects needing hand knitted items. Now well into her 90s, Dot is keeping the local premature baby unit in exquisite tiny clothes. Others in the knitting group have produced hedgehogs for the local rescue, blankets for homeless people, warm bed socks to welcome refugees to the county.

There was a solution for me too and a chance to get back to that stash of fabrics and enjoy my sewing again. Shoe bags for the women’s rescue, incubator quilts for the hospital, Little Dresses for Africa and my easy favourite Morsbags for the food bank. There are projects galore on the web wanting and needing our sewing skills.  We can make more without making excess. Any favourite sites anyone?

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21 Comments

  1. No favorite sites, but what a wonderful post!

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  2. My favourite is this one: https://www.daysforgirls.org. Such a good cause, so important for liberating women.

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  3. I read somewhere that quite a big percentage of knitters have no-one to knit for and so knit for charity.
    I was however thinking of a post on Facebook I read from two people who do short term fostering and the one thing they have found is that the children they foster love it when the clothes they are provided with are nicely wrapped and have their new price tags on. After a life of hand me downs and charity buys it made them feel valued. The plea was to always leave the tags on when donating them, and to make the items of decent quality.
    Which made me really think that when we do make things for charity we owe it to the recipients to make them from good quality supplies and to a high standard , just as one would if giving them to family members. So it made me very happy to read that Dot is doing just that. I would love to see what she makes.
    You put me onto Knit for Peace , and that’s how I came to send a blanket for a homeless person.

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    • I couldn’t agree more about sending well made/good quality items to charity. When I knitted for Knitted Knockers there was a very rigorous quality assurance process… sometimes it felt a bit tedious to have every knit approved, but it ensured that every single prosthesis was the right size and of sufficiently high quality, so no recipient was ever disappointed.

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  4. My sewing groups make quilts and pillowcases for foster children, families in safe houses, There is always someone who can use what we produce. Love this post. It’s hard to feel viable after a certain age.

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    • I’m so inspired by the range of charities that different groups help. It’s amazing how generous people are with their time, skills and resources. How lovely to give a beautiful creation to someone who is having a terrible time in life.

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    • chrissiefizz48

       /  March 27, 2019

      I love this story! I’m in a similar position, so spend much of my time knitting and crocheting for charity. In fact just yesterday I started a new charity crafting group in my local cafe! I met 8 new like-minded friends, and we had an enjoyable time. We plan to meet every week.

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  5. One of my Twitter followers, Julie Kay, just posted this comment over on Twitter. I said I would share it here:
    If you’re reading this in US @ProjectLinus is a charity which collects quilts and blankets for children in need. I crochet baby afghans for them. It’s nice to know that while I’m keeping busy somewhere a child is keeping warm because of my gift.

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  6. Patricia Collins

     /  March 25, 2019

    Thanks for all your comments and for that reminder that we must always make and give our best work. Having said that I’ve noticed that a number of the knitting charities – for refugee camps for example ask that we knit in hot washable yarns like acrylic and that may conflict with our own desires. Dot has all the patterns for her baby clothes – matinee jackets, boottees, caps in her head, but I’ll try to photograph some of her output.

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  7. I donate baby goods to Pram depot (https://www.facebook.com/ThePramDepot/). They support women giving birth in prison and vulnerable women in the community. Also Knit for Peace for adult items and twiddlemuffs. I offered baby blankets to project Linus but was told that crochet blankets were too holey (they had not seen the blankets at this point!)

    I would like recommendations for patterns for crochet items – particularly using left over or small quantities of yarn

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    • That seems a bit strange to assume that all crochet is holey… I can only think that the person making the decision does not crochet. I haven’t heard of the Pram Depot before, but it looks like they do great stuff and specifically mention recycling, which is encouraging..

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  8. It’s sometimes difficult to find a project when you’ve been ‘making’ a long time. Offering your abilities to another is a perfect solution. I’m going to check out the suggestions in the comments.

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  9. I just recently discovered SiMBA, who make memory boxes for parents who have lost a baby, which include knitted/crochet blankets and teddies and butterflies. I’m also hoping to send some things to Knit for Peace. I just love using my crafting to help other people.

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  10. Our local hospice sells a lot of beautifully crafted items to raise funds for their work

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  11. Request to all your lovely readers………..Does anyone know of a good crochet version of the pattern for a ‘fish and chip’ jumper?

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    • I had to look up ‘fish and chip jumper’ on the internet as that had passed me by. I couldn’t see anything other than knitting patterns plus quite a few charities (including Knit for Peace) saying they no longer accept these jumpers… have you had a request for some?

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  1. Twiddling | The Snail of Happiness
  2. Patricia Collins | The Snail of Happiness

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