Sunday, 31 December 2017

Knitting for peace, charity, health and happiness!

Four great knitting books I'll be reading and using in 2018.

Christmas gifts I'm very happy with, all of them about knitting for 'causes'. 

This one talks about various projects and groups around the world where knitters make and donate things for a particular cause, beginning with knitters in wartime (from the American war of independence, through world war II, Bosnia and Rwanda in the twentieth century, to the current conflict in Iraq) and looking at projects donating blankets to the homeless, clothing for orphans and other children around the world who need love and support. Knitting donations;  knitting as a means of income for the poor and destitute; knitting as therapy for prisoners; knitting for cancer causes.

The case studies in this book are evidence for the author's claim that:

'We knitters work a powerful magic when we knit for others... we can build bridges.... help to heal... offer a primal sort of comfort, and create peace - however small, and in whatever way that may be - for others and ourselves.' (page 9) 

There are some patterns included in the book, for items which can be made and donated to some of the causes - full information in the book, and some basic knitting instructions.

Knitting for Peace. Make the world a better place one stitch at a time.  By Betty Christiansen, Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2006.


This one is historical, and takes me back to childhood memories of my Nan and Grandad - my
grandfather was in the so-called 'great war' (World War I). He lied about his age so that he could go and fight, because he was too young. He survived though with deafness that meant he couldn't fight in the second world war, though he played his part there as an air raid warden and first aid officer. And I'm sure that he had people at home knitting for him.

The book has some fantastic photos - advertising from the day, clothing, knitters, postcards, fashion plates and cartoons from magazines.  And a lot of patterns of very solid looking items of utilitarian clothing which was such an expression of love.  One scheme for providing sweaters for soldiers was set up in London by John Penoyre, and the book quotes him:

'The fact is the human mind is so constituted that in times of very special stress and trouble the little extra personal comforts to which one is attached bulk very large indeed.' (page 17)

Knitting for Tommy. Keeping the Great War Soldier warm.  By Lucinda Gosling, in association with Mary Evans Picture Library. The History Press, 2014. 


Knitting for Good is described as 'A guide to creating personal, social, and political change, stitch by stitch'.

This book begins by talking about some of the benefits of knitting, from a personal perspective.  Some of these benefits  are there in the first two books above as well;  in this one, the author talks from her own experience, and from people she has spoken with, about how knitting has all sorts of benefits - relaxation, therapy as a kind of physical meditation practice, for some even pain relief.  I would add help with sleep - I'm quite sure knitting helps me to sleep better.

Then the book talks about different ways we can contribute to our communities through knitting, and gives some examples.

The third section is about how knitters can have an impact on the world, from personal choices about recycling and supporting handmade and fair trade, through to 'craftivism' - linking craft and activism through the kind of knitting for causes also talked about in the first book above.

There are knitting patterns here too, examples of how people use their creativity to make connections, help others - and the book has a strong focus on how how we can use our knitting in this sort of way, if thats something we want to do, and how we can also benefit from doing this.

Knitting for Good. A guide to creating personal, social, and political change, stitch by stitch. by Betsy Greer, Trumpeter Press 2008. 


This third book is different, as its mostly a knitting pattern book - but its a great example of what the
other books are talking about. There is an introduction about the 'knitting for causes' movement - and the book then has a great set of patterns, contributed by various people.  All the patterns are free for anyone to use for a charity cause, so can be used to make items to sell in the made4aid Etsy shop.  (Its not very clear whether this is the case for the patterns in the other 3 books - they can be used though for donations to the causes they are 'named' for).

There are 25 patterns/projects here in total - some of them will definately be appearing in the made4aid shop sooner or later! 

Knits to Share and Care. by Gerard Allt,  D&C Press, 2008.


And - as we approach the end of 2017, I'll be updating the totals of money raised so far by made4aid. Currently all profits go to Medécins sans Frontiéres / Doctors without Borders.

Made4aid is a very small project, which quietly ticks along and suffers a bit from me being so busy in my every-day life. I'm so grateful for everyone who's ever helped, sent donations, encouraged.  And its so brilliant to hear from other people around the world who are doing similar things or who want to contribute.

The latest is MP, a middle-school student who has donating some fab hand-made cards - now in the Etsy shop, for sale with free shipping in the USA, a set of 10 cards for £8.50 / $12.

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