Scarfing it up. October 27, 2008Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, wit and wisdom.
Tags: Kathryn Hall, Plant Whatever Brings You Joy, Scarf Initiative
Silence Dogood here. Today, I’ll finish knitting a scarf, cast it off my needles, and put it in the mail. But it’s not just any scarf. It’s a very special scarf I knitted for Kathryn Hall and her Scarf Initiative, one of almost 80 scarves people like me are sending her way.
Kathryn, whose blog, Plant Whatever Brings You Joy (http://plantwhateverbringsyoujoy.com/), is a perennial favorite on Blotanical, Stuart Robinson’s brilliant compendium of gardening blogs, decided early this summer to do something selfless for children—little girls in particular—who were likely to be very, very cold this winter. That’s because they’re refugees in the foothills of the Himalayas. Kathryn hit on the idea of knitting scarves for the little girls to help them keep warm this winter, but even more, to know that people far, far away loved them and cared about keeping them warm. She blogged about her dream, and other bloggers like yours truly responded. (Some volunteered—how, I’ll never know—to knit 13 scarves!!! Mercy.)
I went off in search of yarn I thought a little girl would love, and came up, thanks to my local yarn shop in nearby Kutztown, Pennsylvania, with a yarn in all the sherbet colors (hot pink, orange, lime green, yellow). I felt in my soul that a little girl would love the bright, varied colors in this scarf, and I started knitting.
I love knitting, because I’m so bad at it. Uh, say what?! Well, you see, I learned to knit at my grandma’s and great-aunt’s knees. They were both extremely accomplished knitters, but the same couldn’t be said of their eager and worshipful pupil. After many visits and many lessons, I finally got the basic idea by about age 8. But sadly, that was the only idea I ever got. I can knit, cast on, cast off, add or drop stitches, compensate for unintentionally adding or dropping stitches. But that’s the beginning and end of what I can do. I can’t even pearl. What this means is that I can’t make anything more complicated than rectangles and squares. I can make scarves, potholders, afghans. I can’t make socks, hats, or mittens, much less sweaters.
So okay, why do I love it? Being freed from expectation also frees me from pressure. I can go out and buy beautiful and fun yarn and then sit back with my needles and enjoy myself. I can sit, mindlessly knitting, and think about whatever comes to mind. I can watch a movie or nature program while my needles continue to work. I can love the feel and sheen and colors of the yarn, the smoothness of the needles, without having to give a moment’s thought to a pattern.
Last night, while watching a PBS “Nature” program on Arctic wolves, foxes, gyrfalcons, snow geese, and owls, followed by one of our favorite movies, “Galaxy Quest,” I came to the end of my second skein of yarn. This yarn has followed me everywhere, from our home, Hawk’s Haven, in the precise middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania, through our travels in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. By the time it reaches Kathryn’s mailbox, it will have seen a good deal of the East Coast.
Grabbing a yardstick, I measured the scarf, which Kathryn has specified as 5 feet long and 1 foot wide. I’m still 3 inches short. But Kathryn’s November 1st deadline is looming, so I’ll add those additional 3 inches today before I leave the house, and I’ll drop the finished scarf in the mail as I run my afternoon errands.
Needless to say, I’ve followed Kathryn’s scarf saga on her blog, and I’ve been astounded to see the number of roadblocks she’s encountered while trying to do a simple good deed. (I guess that ironic saying, “No good deed goes unpunished,” is in full effect here.) But unlike many, who’d have simply given up, Kathryn has pressed on, tirelessly working to find a way to get our scarves to the people who need them. Bless you, Kathryn! I want to be able to imagine my sherbet-colored scarf delighting some tiny girl as it gets colder and colder in her village. It’s the best Christmas present I could possibly give myself.
‘Til next time,