January 1. I make one New Year's resolution every year. The rules are (1) it does not fall into the "become perfect" category, and (2) it has to be fun. For instance, one year the resolution was "see more movies." So this post is not to be seen as a resolution! It's a plan.
Pat and I both believe in knitting for people in need. Sure, we write the checks, too, but both of us think that, in addition to helping someone stay warm, there's an intangible benefit to receiving something handmade. The energy of the work, the knowledge that someone cared enough about you, a stranger, to make this thing -- we think the benefits go beyond the immediate and physical. And we've been knitting in this spirit for years.
It was Pat's idea, enthusiastically welcomed, that for 2011 we do a project each month that falls into that category. We both loathe the phrase "charity knitting" -- it sounds, to our ears, condescending, and has a certain "Lady Bountiful" sense to it. In the knitting guild I belong to, I changed the name of our charity committee to Knitting for Neighbors; Pat and I call our efforts KFO -- Knitting for Others.
We've made a schedule for the year. Unlike last year, we're posting this at the outset, in case anyone wants to follow along or jump in for a month or two. Subject to change, of course, because stuff happens. And Afghans for Afghans sometimes has quick, intense projects that can't be deferred. For now, though, here's the schedule. Each of us has three free passes, so we can skip a month if necessary, without penalty or need to justify. And the year doesn't really start until February 1; in January, permission is given to knit something for ourselves. Another new rule -- the project can have been started before the first of the month. As long as it's finished during the month of the challenge, it counts. (I can't count the finished red scarf sitting on my desk right now for next September, for instance.)
Other knitting will continue, too, and you'll see that here as well. We're looking forward to the variety!
We have participated in all of these projects before, and know them to be well run and successful at getting the knitted items where they need to be:
January -- knit for yourself
February -- wool mittens, for any organization (e.g., Nest Maine, afghans for Afghans, one of the reservations)
March -- wild card (project or organization of our choice; we may both do the same one or we may choose different projects)
April -- chemo caps for A. I. duPont Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, one of our many wonderful local children's hospitals. Any size kid, infant to age 18.
May -- scarf for Safe Harbor for next winter. Safe Harbor is a local organization (West Chester, PA) that helps formerly homeless, recovering addicts get back to normal life. Mostly men, they sleep at Safe Harbor but must go out during the day. Many are those guys you see selling newspapers at intersections.
June -- wool socks for Adopt a Native Elder (supports Navajo elders living in the traditional way)
July -- blanket squares for any organization: Pine Ridge, A4A group project; South Africa; other. Overachievers can just go ahead and knit the whole blanket. What? Stop looking at me like that!
August -- Caps for Kids, to be delivered via Knitter's Day Out, a small, annual Pennsylvania event every September that Pat and I always attend and where both of us usually teach. It's very early this month, so knitting will be done in August.
September -- red scarf for the Red Scarf Project
October -- wild card
November -- Hats for the Homeless (in New York; if we can find a Philadelphia equivalent, we'll donate there instead)
December -- wild card