Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Books I Want: Knitting for Peace

I ran across this book at work yesterday. Knitting for Peace by Betty Christianson is full of easy, simple patterns for things that people around the world need. Various charities are described in detail. The Mother Bear Project sends homemade teddy bears to children with HIV/AIDS. Project Linus sends homemade blankets - knitted, crocheted, fleece, quilted, etc. - to children who are seriously ill, have suffered trauma, or are generally in need of comfort. (Here's the website for the Madison chapter.)

I love this idea so much. The idea that something I make can go toward not just the entertainment it provides me, but can significantly improve someone's life - especially a child's - makes my heart happy. Several years ago, I started a Project Linus blanket. It's... still in my stash. I made the mistake of making it too complicated for my then-rudimentary crochet skills. For next time, I'm remembering that a blanket can still be interesting, beautiful, and comforting without needing to have 40 ends sewn in.

One review I found of the book mentioned that yes, all the patterns here are very simple (read: boring), but they are easy to adapt. Add intarsia, use a different yarn, sew on buttons - do whatever you want to make it a unique, fun project that a kid will love, too. Another review provides a good list of which patterns and charities are in the book.

I don't think the book itself has a website of its own, but I ran across various other sites that have peace and knitting in mind. Knitting Peace allows incarcerated women in Bolivia to keep earning money for their families while they're in jail. Children often live in the jail with their mothers because they have nowhere else to go, and the mothers have to feed them somehow. Knitting Peace allows them to do so.

Knit for Peace is an abandoned website, but it has good links for various peace activities, and her posts mention what she's working on and why. She has quite a world-view on knitting, and she has some good ideas, discussing everything from Tibet to Ramadan to the price of rice.

Another Knit for Peace website accepts donations that go to various places throughout the world. This post shows handmade children's clothing being donated for newborns in Sierra Leone.

Ravelry has various groups focused on charity knitting and crocheting - I searched "charity" in their groups and came up with 16 pages of groups focused on doing good for others! There is also a group called Peace Work, for those inspired by the book Knitting for Peace.

I like knowing that I can put my needles to use for more than just fun or personal benefit. I can do something to benefit the world at large - even if it's a small change, it makes a difference to at least one person, which is worth it.


  1. "I like knowing that I can put my needles to use for more than just fun or personal benefit."

    That's quite a bit more deviant without context.

  2. I considered saying something snarky about that, but I was going for a more serious post. Leave it to you to poke at me. :)


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