Monday, August 10, 2009

Knitting with Purpose! (Really!)

There are so many projects out there to tempt us that it’s rare any of us knit without some sort of purpose. I mean, you wouldn’t knit baby hats without a charity in mind or a baby in your life to wear them (ok, in the case of some of our more anxious grandmas-to-be, you might…ahem) but generally, you know what I mean. As knitters, we tend to choose projects with a recipient in mind. But what about taking it a step further? As knitters, what if we each chose to knit one holiday gift for a friend or family member that not only bears special meaning to the person we give it to because it is hand made, but because it symbolizes a common cause (and the purchase of the yarn itself resulted in a donation to charity?).

A couple of years ago Jimmy Beans was offered a unique opportunity that few if any yarn shops have ever had. We were invited to participate in the 2007 pre-Emmy Celebrity Swag Suite. That’s right—Hollywood stars (aka hunks!) and Jimmy Beans Wool in the same room! Of course, Laura being the genius that she is thought it might be neat to have the A-listers knit a row or two on a scarf we could later auction for charity. We’d already be there with all of the necessities: yarn, knitting needles, and know-how, so why not?! Stars like Scott Baio and Kevin Sorbo picked up the craft relatively quickly and knit a few rows on the original Breast Cancer Support Scarf (Laura chose pink when designing the scarf because the event fell just before Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October). Upon returning from Tinseltown, she listed the scarf for auction on http://www.clothesoffourback.org/ and raised $265 for breast cancer charities. Here's one of my favorite 'hunk pics':

(I think we all wish we could have been there!) And the finished product:







Then, the concept of knitting for a purpose really hit us. We tossed around various ideas, but eventually settled on the obvious one: why not offer the yarns to make a scarf like the one the celebs knit, and donate a portion of the proceeds from each to charity?

Almost two years later, I personally have lost count of how many Breast Cancer Support Scarves I’ve packed and shipped. The response has been absolutely amazing! But, after we heard from several of you that you’d really like to see some other causes represented, we decided to expand. We now have Alzheimer’s (purple), Leukemia (orange), Ovarian Cancer (Teal), and Heart Disease (red) Support Scarves. Each is made from five luxury yarns hand-picked for texture and color coordination by our very own color gurus (Jeanne and Sandy!) and follows the original stitch pattern the Breast Cancer Support scarf uses. Beautiful simplicity!

These scarves have recently been, or will soon be (depending on your local stations, from what I understand), demonstrated on Knitting Daily TV (episode 305). Laura was even asked to be a guest blogger on Knitting Daily's blog, so keep an eye out for that, too. It's been so exciting to be a part of!

So back to knitting with a purpose—it’s really more like knitting dual-purpose. Of course you’re knitting the scarf because you’d like to wear it, or someone you care about would like it—but you’re also knitting for a cause. $5 from each Knit for a Cause scarf purchased goes to the respective charity its color is symbolic of. And you’re knitting a project that unites both the knitters, and the wearers in a common goal: the search for cures, treatment, relief. I’m pretty sure we knitters CAN change the world, or at least a small corner of it.

*Ashley*



















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