I’m an inveterate knitter, although not an enormously skilled one. I muddle around at intermediate level most of the time. This is fine, as I am apt to be doing something else while I knit, and if patterns get too complicated, like knitted lace, I lose track.
One of my pleasures is knitting for good causes. I’ve knit prayer shawls for friends with cancer, teddy bears for African orphans, and woolen garments for children in Afghanistan (through afghans for Afghans.) The latter have to be wool or some other animal fiber because of how cold the winters are. Often, my budget doesn’t stretch to the price of wool, so I’ve asked various friends to check whenever they’re at a thrift store or yard sale. One of my dear friends recently gave me a whole bag (from a senior center, I think), with a pile of gray wool that must have been 50 years old, judging by the pattern in which it was partially made up. I unraveled it and knit this:
It’s a child’s size 10, with a six-strand cable pattern and moss stitch sleeves. The patterns not only add interest, but make the sweater warmer by trapping air.
I can’t do anything about the horrible conditions and violence in Afghanistan. No matter how politically active I might be I am only one person. But I can ensure that one child has a warm sweater for next winter. Certainly, it’s more efficient to send mass-manufactured goods, but the good-will generated by a garment made by hand with love cannot be measured in dollars, only smiles.
Deborah J. Ross has been writing science fiction and fantasy since 1982. Her novels Jaydium and Northlight, and short story “The Casket of Brass,” are available as multiformat ebooks here on Book View Café.