About five years ago, I saw an article in the Los Angeles Times asking for volunteers for an organization called Stitches from the Heart. I replied, and have been knitting and crocheting preemie/baby items for them ever since. The organization has grown to include members all over the world (3,700 to date) and 160,000 items have been shipped to over 400 hospitals across the country.
To me, knitting is a spiritual practice. It's my refuge when the world is overwhelming, my center in the midst of stress and chaos.
It's my time for reflection when I'm making something easy, and a challenge for my brain when it's something complicated. It's coming together with friends to share our lives, joys and sorrows. It's my companion when I'm sitting with a friend in the hospital after surgery, or when one of my dearest friends is getting chemotherapy. Above all, through Stiches from the Heart, it's my mitzvah, or service.
When I'm making a tiny hat or sweater, I'm thinking of the precious angel who might receive it, and praying for their safe journey in this world. I'm hoping, with every stitch, that a parent might find comfort, knowing there's someone in the world caring and thinking of them and their child, even if our paths never cross. It give meaning to my life every day, and for this i am profoundly grateful. None of this would have happened without Kathy Silverton, the founder of Stitches from the Heart. She's blessed so many lives in so many ways. The organization has been featured in Family Circle Knitting magazine and CSB News has done a segment, too. Now Stitches has opened up a yarn store in Santa Monica, with all proceeds going back to the charity, to pay for the cost of mailing the finished items to the hospitals. The store carries lots of Lion Brand yarn!
We've all used Lion Brand yarn in making things for the babies -- one of my most favorite blankets was made from Microspun. At one of our teas, we also featured a little jacket made from Homespun, and, lots of the washcloth blankets have been donated which were made in that yarn.
Now I'm in the process of starting a Prayer Shawl group with a friend who is a hospice chaplain. We'll, of course, be using lots of Homespun and I can't wait to get started.