September 7, 2011
We’re so busy the Newsletter is LATE. Here’s the reasons:
We distributed more than 8,000 comfort scarves so far this year
Articles about Handmade Especially for You appeared in Knitting Paradise, Knits for Needs, and The Daily Breeze
Macy’s Shop for a Cause was very successful for Handmade
Shelters appreciate comfort scarves
It takes a village of yarn donors to make 8,000 comfort scarves
Our affiliates are busy too
The story of the “traveling scarf”
Please volunteer for Handmade even if you can’t knit or crochet
We’re starting our big push to reach our goal of delivering 15,000 (total for the year) comfort scarves to our 43 shelters for abused women by the END OF NOVEMBER or BEGINNING OF DECEMBER
And now for the details:
In August, Handmade donated 1,000 comfort scarves to 33 + shelters throughout S. CA. This is amazing! We couldn’t have done this without your willingness to donate your time and creativity. It took all our kit makers, all our knitters/crocheters, all our wrappers to make and deliver all these scarves. Thank you all so much. By comparison, when I wrote the August Newsletter last year, we were cheering about shipping 420 scarves. We’ve come a long way in just one year. So far this year, we have made and distributed at least 8,000 comfort scarves (compared to 5,000 last year)! Good job everyone!
Positive publicity has helped us a lot. The Daily Breeze, a local So CA newspaper, featured Handmade in their Calendar. We received many inquiries about volunteering and quite a number of newcomers started attending our Wednesday evening get-togethers at Concepts in Yarn. Thanks to June Grossberg, the owner, who supports Handmade by providing space for us to meet and bins for kits and finished scarves. Remember to come early if you want a seat around the big table. Actually, it’s also lots of fun when the table is so crowded we all have to squeeze in next to each other.
Knitting Paradise, an online knitting magazine with many good tips and helpful articles, featured Handmade. We had a good response from their readers, which means a lot when we need so many scarves.
Knits for Needs, an Atlanta based charity, donates to anyone who needs “warm stuff.” Meridith Zelaya, its Founder, heard about Handmade on Ravelry or Twitter, where I had posted an SOS for yarn donations. Not only did she send us a box of yarn, but she also posted info about Handmade on her blog. Fabulous publicity for Handmade. We appreciate!
Our best publicity in August came from our participation in Macy’s Shop for a Cause event on August 27. Macy’s gave us an excellent location, right on the main floor between Cosmetics and the escalator. We had a steady stream of potential volunteers all afternoon. We brought lots of kits with us and distributed almost all we had with us. Some of the people we met at Macy’s have already joined us on Wednesday evenings at Concepts in Yarn. One called to get her daughter’s Girl Scout troop involved in Handmade. Another wants to form a group at her local Temple. By generating excitement like this, I think we will be able to achieve our goal for 2011.
Shelters love our comfort scarves. Way back in October, 2008, when I made our first delivery to Rainbow Services in San Pedro, I didn’t imagine the impact of handmade scarves on abused women. Of course, I hoped they would love the scarves, that having a scarf would be a comfort to them. But I didn’t imagine the way receiving a handmade comfort scarf would lift an abused woman’s self-esteem so she could begin to transform her life. I see this pattern again and again as we send our scarves to new shelters. The directors all say what Rainbow’s director said when I first started delivering comfort scarves to her.
Jody Winger, for instance, at WINGS in Covina, sent a note saying, “The women here at WINGS love the scarves you all make. It’s funny to see them pick them out to go with their outfits. The women are very appreciative for everything, since most come with nothing. . . . We . . . appreciate you all for taking the time to make them. It does make the women feel good. . . “
Marti DeLaO at Interface Children & Family Services in Camarillo, wrote: “Thank you so much for your gift of 15 handmade comfort scarves. We at Interface work every day to . . . heal the effects of the abuse, neglect, and abandonment of children, domestic violence, and many similar issues. . . . You make a real difference.”
Ronnie Root, at St. Clare’s Home in San Diego, continues the above themes. “Thank you for your generous donation of comfort scarves to assist us in serving abused women and children. Generosity such as yours allows us to continue our mission. . . . We. . . hope you continue to help us restore hope in these delicate lives. Thank you for showing these fragile community members that you care!”
Honestly, after reading notes like these, and I read many of them every month, I wish we could reach every shelter everywhere!
Our kit makers—Barbara Klein, Linda Friege, Marie Cortez, Sharon McCann and Yumi Wu—are enjoying the new workshop. They have plenty of room to spread out the bins of yarn so they can see which yarns coordinate best. It’s incredible to walk in while they are working and see bin after bin of color-sorted yarn and piles and piles of new kits. Their kits are so beautiful. They do a great job. Thank you, ladies!
We couldn’t make these beautiful kits without the contributions of so many generous yarn companies and people. Postings on Ravelry and Twitter brought in many yarn donations. Skacel sent a big box of yarn. The Schaefer Yarn Co also contributed. Crystal Palace, Lion Brand, Knitting Fever, Coats & Clark, Trendsetter Yarns and Plymouth Yarns all said they would send yarn. Looks like our warehouse will be full in September. These companies are really wonderful. They have supported Handmade continually since spring, 2009 and have never let us down. One of the things I have learned is that no one company can provide all the yarn we need. It takes a whole village of yarn companies. We make a typical scarf with Fun Fur from Lion Brand, main color from Knitting Fever, and contrasting color from Crystal Palace.
Just as easily, we could start with Whisper from Crystal Palace, main color from Coats & Clark, and contrasting color from Schaefer. Or novelty yarn from Skacel, main color from Plymouth, and contrasting color from Trendsetter. The variations are infinite. But it takes the donations from all these companies (and more not mentioned today) to achieve our desired effect: an absolutely beautiful and individual personal gift for an abused woman who has escaped her abusive environment.
Good news from Handmade’s affiliates. Renee Hoffman (Long Beach CA) reports she donated 20 more comfort scarves to Interval House. Vicki Ringer (San Fernando Valley CA) delivered more scarves to Haven Hills. Vicki says she has deliveries all wrapped and ready through the beginning of next year. Barb Kochuba (PA) now donates at least 80 scarves per month to shelters throughout Southwestern PA. She’s adding washcloths, fleecy blankets, hats, etc. for the holidays. Ann Miller (Pueblo, CO) continues to deliver 10 scarves each month. We never add the deliveries of our affiliates into our deliveries. If we did, I wonder what the new total would be. I’m sure we’d be amazed! I’m impressed just thinking about what number would be.
Bonnie Jacobs, a long time supporter of Handmade, sent us a “traveling scarf.” Bonnie started it in NJ, where she lives, and sent it on to friends throughout the country. Each friend added a few rows. Bonnie finished it and sent it on to Handmade. Everyone who worked on the scarf signed the gift tag. Quite a nice scarf with a very warm story behind it. Bonnie makes the fringe by chaining 10 stitches down, 10 stitches up, attaching to the main scarf, and then down an up again. We all love Bonnie’s scarves and her enthusiasm for Handmade.
This time of year is crunch time for Handmade. We need so much yarn. We need so many kits. We need to send the kits to our volunteers. We need more volunteers to knit/crochet more scarves. But even if you can’t knit or crochet, you can still participate in Handmade. We need someone to punch holes in the gift tags so we can attach them to the scarves. We need people to add novelty yarn when the scarves arrive without it. We need more people to wrap the scarves before we ship them. (We’re already having 2 wrapping parties each month. We may need to have 3 in November and December.) We need more people to pack the boxes. We need more money to pay for the shipping. It’s all so interrelated. Every time we add more shelters, we need more of everything else. Our team works very hard. Many contribute in several different ways—they make kits and then knit scarves. Or they knit scarves and then wrap them. I know how much work it took to ship 2,000 scarves for Mother’s Day. I’m trying to plan ahead so none of our dedicated volunteers burn out when we distribute 2,500 scarves in November and then 2,500 again in December. Please do what you can to support our project.
As usual, I have so many people to thank, I never can get them all into one Newsletter, no matter how hard I try. But please be assured, I feel grateful to all of you. Distributing comfort scarves to abused women is a really great thing that we all have done together. Your support and participation makes Handmade all the more meaningful to me and especially to all the women who receive our scarves. Thank you all so much.
If you want to donate scarves or yarn, please mail to:
Handmade Especially for You c/o Leslye Borden
30065 Grandpoint Lane
Rancho Palos Verdes CA 90275
If you want to donate $$$, you can send your check to the above address. You can also donate through PayPal. There is a link on our website: www.handmadeespecially.org.
Leslye Borden, Founder
Handmade Especially for You
501(c)3 EIN: 26-3529292
PS You'll find the photos that illustrate this Newsletter on our website www.handmadeespecially.org