Saturday, February 2, 2008

Crafting for charity

One of the many (well, two or three) readers of this blog left a comment earlier today saying that she had come to my blog from 25 Things for Charity. This is a blog for people who have a goal of making (you guessed it) 25 things to donate in a year. I joined it quite a long time ago, but rarely posted to it because (a) I didn’t really know how to use Blogger, especially how to post photos; (b) I didn’t have a blog of my own that I could link to; and (c) I have a teeny tiny issue with follow-through, which grows into a bigger and bigger issue the busier I get with work and all those other things that interrupt my creative time.

I’ve always loved making things for other people. Friends, family, complete strangers—it doesn’t matter to me. Although I’ve been crafting since I was a kid, I actually own very few things that I’ve made. Whenever I’m working on something for someone else, I think about that person. Even if I’m watching TV or listening to the radio or talking to a friend, an image of the recipient is in my mind, so by the time I’m done, thoughts of that person are part of the finished product. I do this too when I’m making things for strangers, even though I have no idea what they look like or who they are. I imagine a premature baby wearing a hat that’s small enough to fit an orange or a homeless person being a little bit warmer because of a scarf I’ve made. It’s a change of view that helps me keep my own life—both its challenges and its blessings—in perspective.

Volunteering has been an important part of my life since I was very young and at one time, crafting for charity was an almost daily part of that. I still give away most of what I make, but as my life has gotten busier and my crafting time has decreased, I find that one of the things I really miss is that time spent thinking of someone else as I work. My mind races through so much of every day—pick this child up here, drop that child off there, buy cat food before the cats revolt and start eating us, make that appointment that’s been on my to-do list for three months, remember which clients use serial commas and which don’t. I miss—I need—the opportunity to slow it down, to think of a woman in a hospital somewhere who has no clothes to bring her baby home in or a child in a shelter being given a quilt to keep for his very own. For me, doing things for others is not a selfless act. I get much more than I give.

One of the goals of my Year of Living Differently is to spend more of my time doing things that I enjoy and value. This year I plan to make at least 25 things for charity and to post them on the group blog. I now know how to use Blogger (kind of) and I do have a blog to link to (two, actually!), so all I have to do is figure out the follow-through thing and I’m set.


Hayley Townley, Breast Cancer Survivor Extraordinaire! said...

A serial comma? Is that, anything like a, serial, killer?

Sandy said...

Hi Susan,
I understand your comments very well on your blog. Thats not to different than my own. I was on 25 Things, continued to knit and crochet and give; but had a hard time with blogger so wasn't here for over a year. They've made blogger more user friendly now I think. And so, I'm trying to get back into it. I couldn't even add a link before so trying to get from one place to another was torture before.

I too think about the person I'm knitting or crocheting for, and feel very fortunate to not be in their shoes. I also agree we get just as much out of it, the quiet relfective time as they do in the warmth and hope. The other plus to me has been running into other people who care for others. Sometimes in this big crazy and overly busy world it's easy to think there aren't good folks out there. And, there really are.

Hope you'll be a frequent visitor. I think I'll add the link for your page on my page, so I can pop in and out easier.

Have a good day

Anonymous said...


I know what you mean about time slipping away due to real life. There are times when I am a scarf machine. Other times I can not be convinced to pick up a skein of yarn. I find that the busier I am in real life the less I knit.

I live your idea of living differently. So much of a person's life can be "doing what needs to be done for others" without ever really doing what they want to do for themselves. I hope you find many moments to do exactly as you please.

Take Care,