Monday, February 22, 2010

Story of a Hat

This is the first in a Series of "Hat Stories" that will be posted by us, with submissions from our hat makers/contributors, to express what the project meant, and still means to them, and to let them tell their story of why they felt the need to help with this. 
The story below is from me, Beeba.

Although everyone must tire of hearing me say this by now, I must say it again:
I am still warmed inside by the success of our first campaign.

I loved seeing one of my hat contributions in particular popping up in several different pictures, on different kids.
The hat that I had the most reservations about as far as color and style, seemed to be pretty darn popular! (You can see another of mine, brown with a couple green striped in the 21st picture down, looks like its being handed to someone. I just found that out a few days ago. Call me crazy, but yes, I have come back to the Delivery photos post fairly frequently!)

I wanted to write about the story of my black and white hat, my Hurricane Hat, because its been on my mind; not just because, contrary to my initial feelings, it was popular, but also because it amazes me to see something that I made and donated after it was delivered. I mean, I always have given clothing and household items away that I no longer need, but once they were left at the drop off spot, and unless I was giving them away to friends/family, that was the end of the story and I never saw them again. Which is fine, of course, and the ordinary way donations and contributions to the needy work. Right?
But to be able to have inside information and see the beautiful recipient of something you lovingly made and donated is truly heartwarming, motivating, uplifting, and inspiring!
It has motivated me to make more, and inspired me to tell the story of that hat, the one I titled on my Ravelry Projects page, Hurricane Hat for a Gazan Child.

The story begins in Kentucky. While my mother lived there, she bought roving from a local spinner. This roving was either Lincolnshire or Cotswold (we can't remember which exactly!)-- a natural white.
My mother was at this time beyond the beginner phase and was getting really good at spinning. She spun the natural white with some natural (undyed) black alpaca, and the result was gorgeous black and white and silver in some places, thick-n-thin yarn. Truly precious to any knitter.

When I got my three skeins before she moved back overseas, I held onto them close and would fantasize about what I'd knit with them. A Fuzzy Lamb for my boys, perhaps? Leg warmers for me? Trim for a coat, sweater or jacket? The possibilities were too man, I couldn't narrow it down so I hung onto the yarn, lovingly smelling it from time to time (mom uses uplifiting peppermint vegetable based soap, maybe Dr. Bonners?), and squeezing it, trying to conjure up what I would knit with it. I kept seeing Barbara Prime's Fuzzy Mitten cuddlies. I am such a fan.

I had only knit one hat prior to helping with this project. I found some easy patterns and started knitting. I started with the Swriled Ski Cap in Knitting for Peace, but that was, sad to say, a disaster. I then completed Hat #1, and Hat #2, both Rolled Brim from Knitting for Peace, in Lambs Rode worsted, Noro Kureyon, and Cascade Ecological. I then attempted a lace hat that had major pattern issues and was set aside. Then, I tried a somewhat complex slip stitch hat that is absolutely beautiful, but that was extremely slow going. What with the deadline looming, it had to be set aside for a later date, too.
By now I was getting a little bored with frogging (had frogged 2 or 3 at this point!), and setting aside (I set 2 aside, the lace and the slip), and wanted something new and delicious.
I raided the box of yarn mom sent me before she moved, and rediscovered the handspun. I knew I wanted to use it, and what better recipient than a needy child? I knew Mom would be happy by that, too!
I scoured Ravelry for a fast, fun, simple pattern, and can't remember how I came across the Hurricane Hat, but cast on immediately. It was fast and fun.
I had an issue with the swirling part of the pattern, but the designer was really helpful and considerate.
I finished it really fast, and loved the outcome: a beautiful, natural, stormy colored hat.

It did occur to me that maybe the colors were too dark, but my son seemed to love it so that was a passing thought.

Jump ahead to a few months later, and I saw for myself that this hat was really popular with the kids! I read the Hat distributors post, below, and was happy to read the children's reactions to the hats, how they would swap them around, etc-- that explained why in one picture one kid had it on, and another kids in another!

It also broke my heart to read that they never got anything new before, and certainly never got to CHOOSE something all their own.
Knowing this only strengthens my resolve to keep on keeping on, knitting more hats, toys and whatever else I can for these very deserving, innocent children, victims caught in the middle of the crossfire.

I hope everyone who reads this will be inspired and motivated to do the same!
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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yes We Did!

Did you all notice the lovely slide show (look to the top right) that Beeba put together for the blog? I know its a work in progress but I want to thank you Beeba. Great idea and a wonderful end result!
So ladies and gents......Yes We Did! It was a call to action that didn't Change the larger issues but even if only for one winter, our work, which was from the heart, changed the lives of 113 children, innocent victims of the ongoing Israeli blockade on Gaza.
While we want to steer away from out right political discussion, its hard to seperate the fact that as a nation (in the U.S), we are called to action for positive change and yet, as far as matters close to our hearts (the children of Gaza) our hands remain tied. We can work our fingers to the bone for the children but unless U.S. policy towards the situation shifts dramatically, nothing is going to Change.
At this point in time, it's rather hard to envision a free Gaza. In most news articles, when the peace talks are discussed, Gaza is not even mentioned as being on the table! Is Gaza in a permanent state of siege then? And if so, can we accept that?
The less we hear about it, the more it becomes the norm. It isn't normal to imprison an entire population. We should never allow ourselves to become desensitized. Further we cannot allow our neighbors to become so either.
By all means, lets keep knitting! But I am interested in ideas that might help put Gaza on the "Change" list officially, in the White House. Isn't it time we say, "Enough" and demand Change?
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