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The Gift

As a kid, I was a mass-productionist. Once I learned how to make something (eg: beaded geckos), I would make a whole lot of them. I would shower my mother with a large percent of what I made (and then dig through the trash later to make sure that she hadn't discarded my offering) but to be honest, a lot of what I made was without use or worth, and served no purpose other than the delight that making it gave to me, personally. I don't feel like my craftiness was necessarily a bad thing, but I wasn't approaching it with a mindset of "It's great that I can make something - now, how can I enrich someone else's life with it?"

As I got older, I shifted toward making things that others would value enough to be willing to pay me for them. I participated in a small craft fair or two, and one year I made a lot of scarves and sold them for Christmas. I had an Artfire account, and an Etsy page. Again, not necessarily bad, but still self focused.

I still knit for commission, and sell my patterns, but one thing I love about knitting is its versatility. At present my hobby pays for itself - eventually my hope is that it will pay for at least some amount of our living expenses. I can knit a design to sell, I can knit a garment for myself to wear --- or it can serve a greater purpose.
I can knit a cage mat that will increase the likelihood that a shelter animal will find a permanent home and keep it more comfortable in the mean time,
I can knit a hat to brighten the day of a sick kid who's being treated at the Little Rock Children's Hospital,
I can knit a scarf to warm a homeless person,
I can knit a stuffed bunny for a child who was torn from their house in the middle of the night and taken to a domestic violence shelter,
I can knit a prosthetic for a breast cancer survivor,
I can knit a teddy bear for an African child, orphaned by AIDS...
the list is endless.
But it doesn't stop there. I can also teach someone to knit:
a single teenaged mom who wants to make a blanket for her baby,
someone (either here, or in a third world country) who needs a way to earn money and enjoys production work if it means hope and freedom and autonomy in exchange,
a victim of domestic violence who's been told all her life that she is worthless and can't do anything,
someone who wants to make a difference in the world through knitting their own charity projects,
a lonely person seeking a friend and finding one through the knitting community...
again, the list is endless.

My own mindset is still a work in progress, but I hope someday to see knitting as the gift it truly is - as the ability to make something to brighten someone's day, or as a skill I can share with someone so that they can go on to make something for someone else, brightening their own life in the process. After all, I truly believe that my bent toward knitting is a gift from God - so how could I refuse to share it?


Shelley said…
Your gift inspired me to learn knitting. Ever since I saw your beautiful dress at the spring formal in 2009? I wanted to learn to knit. I sat in front of YouTube and taught myself how to knit and pearl. Now I am showing others how to knit and pearl. I don't know if I will ever be as creative as you and make my own designs but I can use others' designs and knit for others. You are a wonderful young lady and I am so excited for you and for your future.

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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
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