Knitters are very kind and generous people. Generous in spirit and generous by giving of themselves in the form of knitting. I think most of us are more excited by the giving of a knitted item than the recipient. It is an expression of love, affection, and caring — the gift of our time and talent, which is the most precious gift of all. When asked, knitters step up to the plate every time. I’ve seen it happen many times over, and I am counting on it now. Prove me right, knitting peeps!
Wrapped in Care Shawl Project
I was approached recently by the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics — St. Paul about an idea they had come up with in their Bereavement Support Group — a group for mothers who have suffered the death of an infant. They would like to provide these women with a hand-knitted shawl at the time when they must say their final good-byes.
The grieving parents often want to take a picture with their baby as a lasting memento. If the mother has not already been discharged, she can be photographed holding her baby in a beautiful hand-knit shawl instead of a hospital gown. Wrapped in Care.
They sought me out because they know I am an avid knitter — they wondered if I would be willing to knit a shawl for this fledgling idea of theirs. And, did I happen to know any other knitters who might be interested. It took me a few minutes to think about it (I am a bit slow on the uptake!).
Do I know any knitters?
Until a few years ago, I was a solitary knitter, “networked” only with my sister. Now, I am part of a weekly knitting group, a VP of the Knitters Guild, a regular blogger, and part of the Ravelry community. I am linked to hundreds, no thousands, of knitters both locally and worldwide through the internet. I started to think, wow, I could really get the word out and make this happen!
The Fates Played a Hand
Part of my role as a VP of the MKG is to plan monthly programs for the membership meetings. The June 2008 program was selected long before I knew anything about the shawl project and the June topic: “Share Your Shawl” a member show-and-share of their gorgeous hand-knit shawls. The program was held this evening, and it was an amazing sight — 47 of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring shawls you have ever seen!
I thought this meeting would be the perfect time to roll out the “Wrapped in Care Shawl Project” and tie it into the “Share Your Shawl” theme.
I also realized that even though people have wonderful intentions, sometimes they get side-tracked as time goes by. So, I went to the United Hospital Foundation and asked for funding for some free shawl kits to take to the Guild meeting. I thought if people took a kit home, they would be more likely to knit a shawl. So, I distributed 15 shawl kits at the meeting tonight. Way to go, Guild Members!!! Thanks in advance for your support! Mwah!
This will be an ongoing effort with no specific deadline — too many shawls are needed. United and Children’s are topnotch hospitals and provide excellent care to mothers and infants — but even so, 200 women each year leave the hospital with empty arms.
What can you do?
Please consider knitting a shawl! I know many of you do charity knitting and many others are waiting to be inspired. The details are included in the flyer and brochure linked below (and in the right-hand corner of the blog). The finished shawls can be sent directly to Children’s Hospital.
My Thursday knitting peep, Emily, has really stepped up to the plate. She is already on her third shawl! Bless your heart, Emily — you’re wonderful! Here are the shawls she knitted:
The shawls do not need to be expensive. And “easy care” is the key. For the shawl kits, I did a lot of my shopping at JoAnn Fabrics (I know :)). The Yarnery was another source! The Bereavement Support Group said that soft yarn is preferred, in muted, non-variegated colors (or with very gentle variation in color) — these photograph the best.
And please, help get the word out.
Link this to everyone, everywhere. I have created a pdf flyer and a bi-fold brochure that explain all the details, such as where to send the shawls, etc. Take them to your knitting groups. Link them to your blogs! There are many free shawl patterns to choose from out there, such as The Alix Prayer Shawl and The Adamas Shawl. I have also written up the two, very easy patterns pictured above.
These links will be available permanently in the right-hand column of our blog.
I am honored and humbled to be a part of this project. I feel like it was meant to be — that the reason I blog and have linked up with other knitters over the years happened for a purpose. I am so excited to share this with all of you!!
Please help make this a reality.