Sunday, December 2, 2012
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?