doing something useful



“It’s nice to be doing something useful.” Yes, my mother is very excited about a new project: knitting children’s hats for the 500 Hats Project, which is organized by a local store, Lovelyarns in Baltimore. The project asks local knitters and crocheters to make hats for elementary and middle-school children in selected Baltimore City schools or programs. I hope Mom and I can go to the store to deliver the hats, as it looks fantastic: I found out about the program when searching for local knitting-related charity projects and what makes it very convenient and flexible is that there are no deadlines – they accept hats anytime. 

Mom learned to knit when she was a child; so did I. She has made wonderful things over the years; I don’t seem to have the “persistence” gene and often don’t finish what I start. But now that our activities are more focused on things we can do at home, Mom and I are committed to putting our knitting skills to work on behalf of local charities. This work has really been a blessing for Mom, who was trying to find something new to do.

With the hat project, Mom has a purpose now and is really enjoying working on these hats. She grumbles a lot about doing the ribbing (“knit 1, purl 1 over and over again”) and reducing the number of stitches (“purl 3 together … I’ve never done that in my life … what’s wrong with this pattern …”) but she is having a ball! Of course, despite her years of experience, she has difficulties following the patterns, so I’ve tried to find some “beginners” patterns that are very simple. So far, she has made three hats and we are waiting for more yarn to continue with others.

I have been making cat mats and small “security blankets” to donate to local animal shelters. This is really fast and easy – perfect for me! Mom also recently started one – taking a break from the hats. I may also do some bigger projects, including knitting throws for local charities. We made a couple of small throws as Christmas gifts, so have already started down that path.

Often I don’t finish knitting/craft projects because the intricate patterns start to feel like “work” instead of relaxation. After a long day, sitting down to a pattern I have to follow so intently is not energizing – it is draining. But now, Mom and I both are using simple patterns, which makes knitting relaxing for me and easier for Mom. Who knows, maybe some day, I’ll go back to those lovely complicated patterns, but for now I’m just excited to get something done.

As I write this, it is about 27°F in Baltimore, but with the windchill feels more like 4°. This makes it even more imperative that we focus on making progress. This definitely is a good use of our time and perhaps will bring some comfort to our fellow two- and four-footed Baltimoreans.


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