Monday, June 29, 2009
June Newsletter from Handmade Especially for You
June 28, 2009
Domestic violence occurs in every neighborhood, even yours.
We distributed more than 1500 scarves this year and received “thank you” notes from many shelters.
All our shelters want summer scarves.
Handmade’s members make valuable suggestions. We couldn’t make and distribute so many scarves without everyone’s creativity.
And now for the details.
One evening, while knitting with a lovely group of women at a very nice yarn shop, I commented aloud that we all are knitting in a fairy tale, far from where domestic violence occurs. I expressed how lucky we all are. One of the women replied that her daughter actually had been in a local shelter. The shock of the women around the table was considerable. We didn’t know what to say. Yes, we are lucky that we personally have not experienced domestic violence, but we realized how close to all of us it is. No matter what neighborhood we live in, someone is or knows someone who has been a victim. Incredible isn’t it. Statistics show that abusers come from all walks of life, including families of doctors, law enforcement, and others in the helping professions. No group is exempt.
The mother of the abused daughter went on to tell us that when her daughter left the shelter, she took her comfort scarf with her, because it meant so much to her. Another shock. We have been making and distributing comfort scarves for not even a year. And an abused woman has already received one, gone through counseling to help her overcome the experience of her abuse, and graduated from the shelter. And took her comfort scarf with her. We have an important responsibility. Making and donating comfort scarves does help change the lives of women who have been abused.
We distributed just over 200 scarves this month, and over 1500 so far this year! The wrapping and delivery processes seem more routine now that we have been doing this for 9 months, but the value of the donation is just as important as when we started. All the shelters seem surprised and GRATEFUL at our continued involvement. They have sent us numerous thank you cards and letters to express their appreciation. One shelter even sent cards from the recipients addressed to the actual maker of the scarf she received. The notes were very moving. You can see a few of them in the photo above. The thank you cards complete the circle. We donate the scarf, the woman receives it, writes the card, the scarf maker receives the thank you. I know you don’t need personal thank you notes to motivate you to stay involved, but they are very nice to receive when we get them.
I have forwarded the cards to the appropriate scarf makers. If you did not receive one, please understand that we gave that shelter only 20 comfort scarves (at their request). They hope for 20 again next month. And the month after. Etc. Your card may be coming in the future.
The shelters want summer scarves. The directors acknowledge the value of receiving comfort scarves in breaking the cycle of low self-esteem/acceptance of domestic violence. So it doesn’t matter that it is summer and the weather is hot. What is important is the giving and receiving of the scarf. If I were in business, I’d call it the “cash flow,” but since our “cash” is comfort scarves, let’s call it the “scarf flow.” Summer or winter, the shelters want them. The point isn’t style or warmth; the purpose is showing the abused woman that she is worthy of receiving a beautiful, handmade scarf, that we, and rest of the world, haven’t forgotten about her.
I have posted several patterns for summer scarves on our website, www.handmadeespecially.org. I have also posted a pattern I think you will like for adding a ruffle to a scarf that. Somehow I feel ruffles are more summer appropriate than fringe, but whatever works for you is fine with me. I have a lot of pieces of yarn that are too small to make into one scarf. I have been grouping them by color and knitting them horizontally. The resulting scarf is very nice. I use big needles so even though I make the scarf in garter stitch, it looks very lacy. I bet you have a lot of yarn in your stash that you could use the same way. For really too short pieces, you can make scarves with only 10 or 12 stitches, and just change yarns frequently to use up the pieces until the scarf is 60 inches long. Don’t bother weaving in the ends. Tie them on the outside so that they become part of the design. No pattern to this kind of scarf. Use your creativity and see what happens.
Shirley contributed a “ruffle scarf” pattern that is very pretty and very popular. It needs a lot of yarn, size 101/2 needles, and a lot of time to make. It is worth the effort. You can find the pattern on the website.
To our group of OVER THE TOP KNITTERS (Annie, Beverly P, Auntie “D”, Cindy H., Diane, Janet, Kathy, Leslye, Lisa, Sharon, Tammy, Vicki, Wednesday Night Knitters at Concepts in Yarn) and the women from the Meyler Family Literacy Program, we welcome Betty W. (who sent us 10 scarves and a donation to cover the shipping, etc.). Even though summer school has been cancelled in Los Angeles, the women from Meyler Family Literacy want to continue making scarves over the summer. I hope all of you can fit scarf making into your summer plans. Keep up the good work, everyone.
Karen continues to wind big skeins of yarn into smaller balls. Kit making still is a big job, but it’s a lot easier when I have so many pre-measured balls to work with. This is a great contribution. If anyone would like to join Karen in making balls of yarn for kits, let me know. As our organization grows, we need more and more kits. Many thanks to Karen.
Betty W., one of our new participants, checked the websites of several of the shelters to which we donate scarves. She noticed one of them had laundry baskets on their wish list. She suggested we deliver our comfort scarves in a laundry basket so the shelter can give the laundry basket to someone who needs it. A great idea. I wish I had thought of it myself. Betty made a donation to cover the cost of buying some laundry baskets for next month’s deliveries. I hope others will do the same.
We depend on each one of you for Handmade’s continued growth and success. We couldn’t donate scarves to so many shelters if you didn’t contribute. Whatever you do, adds to the total. Whatever you do, whether you knitted or crocheted a scarf, created a pattern, donated yarn, money, equipment, spent time winding or wrapping, all is important. Many, many thanks.
If you want to donate scarves or yarn or if you want to send a check, please mail to:
Handmade Especially for You c/o Leslye Borden
30065 Grandpoint Lane
Rancho Palos Verdes CA 90275