It is cold out here in Iowa City, Iowa. There is
snow on the ground and we have a wind that is so fierce it makes you wonder how the
prairie ever got settled. It is the time of year when knitters can really contribute to
the greater good of their community and family by knitting hats and mittens and scarves.
Don't worry if you live somewhere warm, you poor souls, knitted goods travel well. Box
them up and send them to the colder communities. We'll put them to good use.
Think about mittens. Good hand-knit mittens. Mittens with a little time honored design
on the cuff or palm, a snowflake for the lucky ones or maybe a furry cuff for glamour.
Mittens are on my minds a lot these days since I took a vow last year on my fiftieth
birthday (January 25th for all those who would like to know) to knit a hundred pairs of
mittens for cold and needy hands. I thought the whole venture might get my troubled mind
off my own petty problems and ultimately change my karma.
In case there are any knitters or crocheters out there contemplating a karma change and
a hundred-mitten commitment and are wondering how long it takes to make a hundred pairs
of mittens, the answer is a very long time. I have just finished my 67th pair and new
math or old math, no matter how you equate or divide it, I have 33 more pairs of mittens
left to go. And I will have to get back to you about the karma part.
Of course, those of you who never thought about knitting one hundred pairs of mittens
might be wise enough to ask, why? Surely there are other ways to change one's karma or
contribute to the greater, warmer good of your community. Why would anyone make one
hundred pairs of mittens? It's a good question. A fair question, I guess.
You knit a hundred pairs of mittens for the same reason that you knit one pair of
mittens: to keep a pair of cold hands warm. There is a certain feeling one gets in
knowing that what just came off the needle is going right into use. All doubts of the
quality of your mothering will vanish when you see your sweet petunia equipped to brave
the elements with your hand knit heirlooms. And there is a sense, a tiny glimmer, of
what in Judaism is called Tikkun Olam -- repairing the world -- when you send a pair of
mittens you lovingly knit, embellished and designed as you would do for your very own
near and dear out into winter to find its place on the weather-beaten hands of a
stranger. I can't assure you this will change your karma or affect world peace, but I
will be willing to bet you won't be able to just make one pair.
Get your needles out and hurry up. It is already freezing outside. Make a tottering
tower of warm, winter mittens, plain or fancy: stitched in patterns to show off from the
yarn that you Kool-aid dyed or cuffed with fuzzy fur, and handsomely cabled. Give away
many but be sure to knit enough extra woolies to store in a wicker basket by your front
door for your family and friends to wear and for all to admire what you created from
that simple craft of poking and pulling with two sticks and some string.
Share the warmth and knit on!