Hope and Help from Stitches Midwest

It’s always interesting when I go to knitting festivals or conferences because the place just has a friendly, happy vibe to it. Like most people, knitters and crocheters have problems, but one of the benefits of the craft is that practicing it has a calming effect that some say provides similar results to meditation. One of the other things that I really enjoy finding at these events is the people who knit or crochet for charity, because beyond using our craft to help ourselves, many of us like to use our craft to benefit others.

At Stitches, many groups were represented, with booths and volunteers offering advice and patterns to help people get started crafting for a cause. I’m almost a little hesitant to name them, because I’m afraid I’ll miss someone, but if I did miss an organization, please comment and I’ll update the post.

I love knitting for charity. In fact, I don’t do it nearly often enough. Those who don’t knit often don’t understand it. After all, if you want to get hats for the homeless, you can buy them at Walmart for $3. The yarn costs more than that, not to mention the time invested to make the hat, but in the end, I think it means something to the recipient that this item was made with love and care just for them. Maybe I’m just making myself feel good, but I think it makes a difference.

While we were there, I saw several signs about the Elephants Remember Joplin project and also saw the elephants on display, but I did not understand the full meaning of it until after I returned home.
Elephants Remember Joplin is the work of a clever knitter who saw what happened to Joplin when the tornado struck and wanted to help. To date, she and her helpers have raised over $10,000 for Homes for Hope. Even more interesting is that this knitter is 9 years old. What she has managed to do would be awesome for an adult, but even more so for someone of her young age. Why did she pick elephants? Because elephants never forget!

Elephants Remember Joplin. Photo from Joplin Globe website, http://www.joplinglobe.com

To read more about this unusual little lady and her knitted elephants, check out this article from the local Joplin newspaper.

So who else was there matching crafters to people needing handmade items? There were a bunch:

  •  Halos of Hope, which makes caps for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Check them out on their website here: http://www.halosofhope.org/
  • Project Linus, which makes blankets for critically ill children but also donates for disasters, or other events. Interestingly, it was started right here in my hometown of Parker, CO but has spread nationally since. Check them out on their website here: http://www.projectlinus.org/
  • Warm Up American, which makes blankets for the homeless. You can check them out on their Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/WarmUpAmerica

Personally, I’ve made prayer shawls for the ministry in my church and done a few other charity projects too. It makes me feel good to participate and I hope that the work of my hands warms someone else, both physically and spiritually.

What about you? What do you do to give back? Perhaps you’d like to join my in my personal quest to add more charitable knitting to my life. After all, while fiber crafting brings me a lot of joy and happiness (okay, and the occasional tear or swear word), it’s not always all about me.

Happy weekend, all!

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