November 3, 2010
We have at least 2,000 comfort scarves wrapped and ready for Holiday delivery
Making another 750 – 1,000 scarves by Christmas will be a lot of work by all of us. We can do it
Handmade’s dedicated volunteers are the greatest.
The generous contributions from yarn companies and individuals continue.
Shelters for abused women APPRECIATE receiving our comfort scarves
Affiliates throughout the county and in Canada are donating many scarves in their own areas
October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month
And now for the details:
In addition to our October delivery of 480 comfort scarves, we have at least 2,000 scarves wrapped and ready for delivery. I hope we can distribute them before Thanksgiving because every room in my house is filled with scarves and my entire family is coming for Thanksgiving. They will need a place to sleep! Joking aside, I am very proud of all of us who are working so hard to achieve our goal of delivering 10,000 comfort scarves in 2010. Honestly, as much as I hoped for such a result, I thought it might be too big to achieve. But we’ve almost made it. No slacking off now. We’re so close. Just keep scarfing.
October’s wrapping party was lots of fun. We had so many scarves to wrap we hardly had time for lunch. We went through a lot of ribbon and the whole group of brightly wrapped scarves look very festive. I am sure they will have a strong, positive impact. Barbara Klein, Carol Maldonado, Chris Needham, Donna Bybee, Evelyn Dow, Marie Cortez, Myra Kumagae, and Sharon McCann rolled and tied scarves until there were no more to roll. It was a huge job. Many thanks to you all.
In like manner, as I have written many times, the job of making kits for everyone who wants them is enormous. At first, Barbara Klein and Mary Gravlin made them. Word spread about how much fun kit making was and Sharon McCann joined them. Then Marie Cortez. Last week, Carol Maldonado came to the party. They’ve made a lot of kits, maybe even enough to last through the end of the year. I heard they think I’ll expropriate them and distribute them to more groups, which I probably will, but that’s the purpose, isn’t it. They have done a wonderful job. The scarves volunteers knit from the kits they make are really beautiful.
Most of the participants in this spectacular group are members of our Wednesday Evening Knitting Club, sponsored by June Grossberg, owner of Concepts in Yarn. June has supported Handmade since its inception. Her sponsorship has helped Handmade to become the success it is today. The Knitting Club meets every Wednesday, for as much of 5-8 p.m. as the members want to attend. The group is very welcoming. June prominently displays our bin of kits that need to be knitted and another bin of finished scarves. If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by. The shop is a gold mine for really great yarn.
Our enthusiastic group of kit makers goes through miles of yarn every time they make kits. They make them as a group at least once a week, and then individually at their own homes throughout the week. They couldn’t make so many kits without the generosity of yarn companies. Donations in September were substantial and put us in good shape for making lots of scarves for the holidays. Knitting Fever wasn’t content to stop with their donation in September. This month they donated two more huge cases of absolutely perfect yarn for comfort scarves. Thank you so much Tymon and Jeff.
Karen Ing, one of our very dedicated San Fernando Valley participants, decided to stop making scarves for sale (she will continue to knit comfort scarves). She donated 400 skeins of fabulous yarn from her leftover stash to Handmade. Vicki Ringer, leader of our Valley group, has already shared a lot of that yarn with scarfers in her group. I look forward to seeing the scarves made from Karen’s yarn. Thank you, Karen!
Carol Maldonado, whose name you must recognize as a wrapper and kit maker, donates bags and boxes of yarn to us every week. She has access to a lot of solid colored yarn which we have found extremely valuable for making horizontal comfort scarves and for scarves we make from scraps. Carol’s mother untangles the yarn and winds it into balls for us. Another example of team effort which pervades Handmade. Thanks to Carol and her mother!
Shelters continue to love and appreciate our scarves. On October 15, I drove to Lancaster, CA to receive a Community Hero award from (Antelope) Valley Oasis Shelter on behalf of all of us at Handmade. It was a lovely occasion. Culinary students at University of Antelope Valley prepared and served a buffet luncheon. Almost all the 100 or so people attending had in some way contributed to Valley Oasis. Valley Oasis honored all their donors, those who contributed cash and groups like ours who make items for the abused women. Lorraine Hines, Chief of Residential Services, thanked Handmade, saying: What a blessing you and your team of knitters are. We can’t thank you enough here at Valley Oasis. You have a powerful ministry going on.”
Heather Finlay, CEO of the YWCA of San Diego County, wrote that our contribution of comfort scarves “helps (them) provide comprehensive programs and services for women.” Cathy Meader, Manager of Becky’s House Programs (sponsored by the YWCA of San Diego), wrote how much the women there “LOVE the comfort scarves (we) have been sending.” She took the time to share some of their comments: “They’re wonderful. I love them.” “Thank you for keeping us warm.” “I feel special.” “Thanks so much for taking your time to create beautiful scarves.”
Our comfort scarf project continues to spread throughout the US. Now that some of the affiliates have had time to organize, they actually are making scarf donations in their own areas. Susan Van Winkle, leader of our San Diego affiliate, has broadened her scope from St. Clare’s and the Women’s Resource Center to add Rachel’s Women’s Center. At the beginning of the month, her group donated 48 scarves to them.
Mary Gingery, in Columbus OH, donated 10 comfort scarves to the Turning Point shelter in Marion OH. She also brought kits to a local prison where she will help the inmates make scarves for abused women. More news on that once the inmates finish knitting the scarves.
Tammy Peters, in Culpeper VA, made her first delivery of 15 comfort scarves to SAFE Services to Abused Families. She met with the outreach coordinator and plans to make monthly deliveries of 15 scarves. She says they are “excited and thrilled about what we are doing.”
Barbara Kochuba, in Pittsburgh PA, is moving ahead full steam. Last month she was looking for scarfers. This month she delivered scarves to Womansplace in McKeesport and New Beginnings in Homewood. What happened? She posted an SOS on Ravelry, organized her group, wrote a newsletter, and is working on getting her own 501(c)3. Go, Barbara!
Bonnie Jacobs, who designed a pattern for a crocheted Frisbee at no cost to Handmade, taught her daughter’s Girl Scout troop to knit comfort scarves. As I mentioned last month, Skacel Knitting donated size 19 needles for the troop and the appropriate yarn with which they can knit scarves. Apparently the girls caught on quickly. You can see them with their scarves on our website www.handmadeespecially.org
Bonnie and her daughter Danya as far as I knew were the only mother/teen daughter team making comfort scarves. You can see a photo of them draped with comfort scarves they have made for Handmade also on our website. Now Shawn Crane and her daughter, Emily, in our San Fernando Valley group, are another mother/teen-daughter team making comfort scarves. What a great way to connect!
Lyn Almustafa, Biology teacher at Narbonne High School, Harbor City CA, sponsors an afterschool knitting group. We teach the students to knit so they can make comfort scarves. Part of the students’ incentive is that completing three comfort scarves fulfills their community service requirement necessary for graduation. A win – win situation for all of us. The teens are very enthusiastic and do a great job. We received 15 scarves from them last week.
Sally Koch is the new Vincentian Service Corps volunteer at Villa Caridad in Santa Barbara. Working as the activities director, she encourages a knitting group at the retirement facility. I sent a box of kits. The residents are working on them. When they finish, we will donate them to a shelter in Santa Barbara. I love that Handmade’s participants include every age group.
Finally, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is not usually a topic of conversation, but I have seen articles about it, heard news reports on radio and TV, this month more than any other time. At the luncheon at Valley Oasis, Carol Crabson, CEO, spoke about a new kind of abuse they are seeing. They call it “first time abuse.” Typically, the man has lost his job, the family is going through foreclosure, and the stress of all of these terrible experiences happening at once causes the man to lash out against his family. This devastates the family even more than the loss of the man’s job and their home. The man doesn’t know how to handle what he has done. He is embarrassed and even more guilty. The staff at Valley Oasis has been overwhelmed by women coming to their shelter as a result of this first time abuse and are developing programs for the man, for the woman, and for the rest of the family to cope with it. They say our scarves are very important in helping the woman feel better about her life when she arrives at the shelter. When we hear that the recent economic recession has had a big impact on people’s lives we understand that the impact is more than simply economic. I feel very lucky that Handmade can do something to make a positive difference to help ameliorate a very bad situation.
We still need a lot of scarves to reach our goal for 2010. We reach that goal one scarf at a time. Every scarf counts in the total. Your scarf is important!
If you want to donate scarves or yarn check, please mail to:
Handmade Especially for You c/o Leslye Borden
30065 Grandpoint Lane
Rancho Palos Verdes CA 90275
If you want to donate $$$$, which we need to pay for the huge holiday shipping bill we anticipate, you can mail a check to the above address, or contribute via PayPal. There is a link on our website.