January 28, 2011
We’re riding on high on our success in 2010
2011 starts with a burst of energy and the delivery of 815 comfort scarves
We received many donations at TNNA
Shelters are so grateful
Chapter development continues
We need every participant
A few tips for scarfers
And now for the details:
With lots of hard work throughout the year and intense end-of-the-year scarfing, we reached our goal of distributing 10,000 comfort scarves on December 6, 2010. We provided scarves to every shelter for abused women in Los Angeles County, 4 shelters in Orange County, and 4 shelters in San Diego County. It was a great achievement. We couldn’t have reached it without the contributions of every volunteer, donor, and yarn company who participated in our project.
Building on the successes of 2010, we have started 2011 with a huge burst of energy. We had so many scarves to process that we had to have two wrapping parties to get them all ready. They were great fun for all of us (Chris Needham, Barbara Klein, Mary Gravlin, Teresa Copley, June Wisner, Evelyn Dow, Myra Kumagae, and Yumi Wu), but we had a lot of scarves to prepare for distribution, so we did a lot of work too. In January, we donated 815 comfort scarves to 22 shelters. By way of comparison, in January, 2009 we distributed 97 scarves; in January, 2010 we sent 300.
Thanks to our sponsor, June Grossberg, owner of Concepts in Yarn, I was able to attend The National NeedleArts Association Trade Show at the Convention Center in Long Beach CA. There, I took the opportunity to thank the many, many yarn companies who donated to Handmade in 2010, tell them what we had accomplished, and request support for our project in 2011. Many companies were well aware of Handmade. Most complimented Handmade for its accomplishments in 2010. Many promised support in 2011 and some even donated on the spot. I returned at the end of show with a big suitcase. Paul Meznarich of Plymouth Yarn filled one suitcase. I walked it back to the car and went back with another empty suitcase. Knitting Fever filled that one. Sion Elalouf, President of the company, introduced me to Debbie Bliss, one of their designers, who donated several big bags of yarn. Tymon Warda, my longtime email friend at Knitting Fever, helped me to the car; it was too much for me to handle alone. June reminded me to stop by Textured Yarn Co, where also on Monday Mary Doscher donated a bag of her colorful yarn. Bjorn and Rex Tannahill of Hand Painted Knitting Yarns donated a skein of their beautiful yarn. I visited the Lion Brand booth, and met Jack Blumenthal, who donated so much fun fur last year. I met Karen Skacel, of Skacel Knitting, who donated so many knitting needles to groups such as the kids at Narbonne High and the Girl Scout troop in NJ who wanted to knit comfort scarves for abused women. All in all, TNNA was a very heady experience for me. I think/I hope the yarn companies will continue to support our project.
The shelters continue to appreciate our comfort scarves. Lorraine Hines, at Valley Oasis, wrote: “thank you so much for the scarves. I know you folks put your heart and soul into the work. I pray God’s blessing on you and your team.”
Today I delivered scarves to Rainbow Services. The reception area was so full of women I could hardly enter. I mentioned this to the young woman at the desk. She said this was a new group just coming to the shelter. I said, “I hope you give them these scarves!” She replied, “We always do. They love them!” I was very touched.
We added the Fred Jordan Mission in downtown Los Angeles, to our list of shelters. Elaine Busby, leader of the knitting group at Rolling Hills Covenant Church, called asking me to pick up some extra yarn they had. It turns out they were knitting for an event at the Fred Jordan Mission and the deadline was Jan. 22. So they gave Handmade 5 huge bags of Splash. I attended their meeting and realized that they didn’t make as many scarves as they hoped, so Handmade donated 100 scarves to them. Here’s what they wrote to me about the event. “I loved watching people receive the scarves. They put them on right away. . . . Thank you for helping bless the people on Skid Row.”
In general, Handmade hasn’t donated to shelters for the homeless, but due to budget problems in CA, funds for shelters for abused women have been cut and some shelters offer their services to fewer women. Some women end up in shelters for homeless instead. And, many homeless women who live on the street, are subject to abuse there, so I think it is not inconsistent with our mission to also supply homeless shelters with comfort scarves. We already donate to the Downtown Women’s Center and the Chicana Services Action Center. There are at least 40,000 homeless in Los Angeles County. I hope the 300 comfort scarves we provide 3 shelters give some women warmth and comfort.
Luckily for Handmade, Sharon Greenberg moved and had to get rid of her stash. She donated 8 huge storage boxes of yarn. Thank you Sharon! Cathy McConville was cleaning out her closets. She donated a huge bag of yarn from her stash. Thank you Cathy! **Handmade’s** growth depends on donations such as these. We appreciate.
Our kit makers are busier than ever (as you can see from the fact that we delivered 815 scarves in January). Just as I used to do when I was making the kits, they have burned through their yarn meters. I ordered more from Nancy’s Knit Knacks. Bob Schroyer, who convinced me I needed the electric yarn winder/yarn meter set up, sold Handmade 4 Super Meter Plus and 4 meter replacements at wholesale prices instead of retail. That is an important donation to Handmade. Thank you, Bob.
Alyson Cline, leader of our AZ affiliate, Pins & Needles, reports that they sent 45 comfort scarves to the Women’s Shelter in Chinle AZ. They plan to donate 40 scarves each quarter. Composed of 35 women of all ages and skill levels, Pins & Needles also mentors a teen group who also will be making comfort scarves. Glad to learn we are helping in AZ.
Tammy Peters, in Culpeper VA started her affiliate because she herself was a victim of abuse and sought safety for herself and her two small sons at a shelter in Joshua Tree CA. “I feel this is a wonderful way for me to use my talents and give back.” In August and September 2010, she sent scarves to the shelter in CA where she found safety. In October, November and December 2010 she delivered 57 comfort scarves to SAFE, a shelter in Culpeper, where she now lives.
Marg Grieve, leader of our first and only (so far) Canadian affiliate, Giving Hands, says she is off to a big start in 2011 too. Her group has met twice already and she says her basket of ready to donate is overflowing. The shelters in her area are very grateful for what Giving Hands does. “all of our donations were very gratefully and happily accepted. Some of them were just overjoyed at the love and care that were expressed by the joint effort of all the helpers at GIVING HANDS. The smiles on their faces will be cemented in my memory for a very, very long time... and so the work carries on.”
Barb Kochuba, leader of our Pittsburgh affiliate, Comfort Scarves, also reports a great start in 2011. In fact, she beat me to the punch, publishing her Newsletter two days ago. Barb donates to several shelters in her area and already has her February quota ready to deliver! She has taken advantage of football fever in her area and uses Ravelry to best advantage. “Steeler Nation has 'adopted' us via Ravelry with a challenge to the Packers fans to see who makes the most black and gold or green and gold items by the game. Comfort Scarves - Pittsburgh will be the recipient of the Steeler donations. There's a link on the FB page to the Steelers/Packers Charity Challenge. I've committed that any items I receive by next Wed I will get to our shelters by the game.” Maybe Los Angeles does need a football team!
The people who participate in Handmade Especially for You are dedicated, hard working, creative, and generous. They have interesting stories behind their drive to make comfort scarves. Co-workers Victoria Blake and Celia Velasco, for instance, wrote me that they heard about Handmade last summer. They wanted to participate but didn’t know how to knit or crochet. So they spent the next 6 months teaching themselves. “We’ve taken apart more scarves than we would like to admit, and have probably ruined even more yarn, but we are happy to give you 8 scarves.” They worried that their scarves were not the “prettiest,” but assure me that they made them with the hope that “whoever gets one . . . will know she is not alone and that every day brings hope.” Victoria and Celia, even the most proficient scarfers rip and start over again and again. So glad you contributed 8 scarves. We need every participant and every scarf.
Finally, a few tips to all our scarfers. We need scarves that are at least 4-inches wide, but not wider than 5-inches, and at least 60-inches long. We’d love it if you would decorate both ends of your scarves with fun fur or other novelty yarn. If you don’t have such yarn, please ask and we will send you some.
Please attach your gift tags with a piece of yarn, not a safety pin. Please sign your first name only to the gift tag. Of course, if you want to add a message, that is fine.
Please do not use stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row). It makes the sides curl. Garter stitch (knit every row) is fine.
Please no keyhole scarves.
Yes, Handmade Especially for You enjoyed a lot of success last year. We made and distributed a huge number of comfort scarves. If January is any indication, we expect to make and donate even more than 10,000 scarves this year. To do that, we need many participants, scarfers, kit makers, wrappers, donors, volunteers, cash donations, and a workshop. We have big goals--we’d like to add the shelters in San Bernardino and Riverside counties to our list of recipients—and need to keep our momentum going to achieve these goals. We need and appreciate whatever you can and want to contribute.
So, if you want to donate scarves or yarn, please mail them to:
Handmade Especially for You c/o Leslye Borden
30065 Grandpoint Lane
Rancho Palos Verdes CA 90275
If you want to send a check, please send it to the above address or donate through PayPal, which you can access on our website: www.handmadeespecially.org.
Thanks in advance, Leslye
501(c)3 EIN: 26-9359292