Knitting and crocheting are two of the most creatively relaxing activities that a person can experience. A ball of yarn and one hook for crocheting are all that are required, while knitting requires the use of two needles. The craftwork can be done while chatting with friends or watching television and it’s quite portable. Grab any bag that you won’t be using for groceries and fill it with your needles or hooks, a small scissor and a few skeins of yarn, and you’re good to go.
I learned to knit and crochet as a child from my mother. Mom was an avid crafter for years, and often created clothing and bedding from skeins that she’d purchased at Grant’s or Woolworth’s in the old shopping center in Levittown. The only time I ever saw her lay down her needles was during the summer, when it was too warm to have a large amount of stitches lay across her lap. One Christmas, she created beautiful afghans for my sister and me. Another year, she made us each a poncho, a matching skirt, a coordinating sweater coat and a cute drawstring purse. I kept the set for many years. When my daughter was a student in Woodland Elementary years ago, she wore both the poncho and the skirt to school.
Over the years, I became a rather proficient needler. Skeins of yarn were purchased at Pearl Paint or K-Mart, which led to many Christmases of handmade gifts. I created afghans, scarves, hats and coasters for family and friends over the years. The greatest joy was giving a gift that came from the heart.
When my daughter and I found out that AC Moore was going out of business, I made it a point to “stock up” on yarn. Nicole Brand yarn, which can only be found at AC Moore, was easy to work with and felt much softer than standard yarns like Red Heart and certain varieties of Caron. My mom also visited the store, stocked up on the extra-large skeins and created many small lap afghans for family members that were lovely to behold, until her wrists complained of pain.
My husband glanced at my craft room a month or two ago and muttered, “Why do we have so much yarn? What are you going to do with all of it?” A friend of mine had donated several shopping bags worth to me, as her husband had told her to make some room in her own craft area. I began to crochet in earnest, hopeful that something might help me to decide what to do with all the yarn. Afghans, hats and scarves began to form on the end of my needles. For all the work, I couldn’t make a dent in the yarn surplus.
While waiting for physician appointments, I often brought yarn with me, hopeful that I could create something of value that would use up the yarn. I found a pattern for a beanie online and set to the task of making hats. One hat turned to 40 and soon I had so many hats that I didn’t know what to do with them. My husband, who had all 40 fall on him as he cleared off the dining room table, asked me what my plan was for my multitude of hats.
I was suddenly struck with a brainstorm. I wanted to donate the hats but thought that perhaps others might want to get in on doing something good for others. I put a message on Facebook on several pages and had an overwhelming response of love from the community, family and friends. Some donated hats from as far as Virginia and Boston, while others dropped off cases of yarn because they couldn’t crochet or knit. My heart almost burst from the sheer generosity of total strangers.
Last week, my daughter and I dropped off more than 35 hats and scarves to The Mary Brennan Inn in Hempstead. One Hicksville mom (Madeline F., this one’s for you) dropped off 21 hats this morning and offered five more last week. There are moms from the Levittown community who are willing to make a few hats and there are more moms from Hicksville who are creating hats at this very moment. We will donate the next batch to The Unforgotten Haven Two of New York. There will be more hat drives over the next few months, at the very least.
When we are blessed with abundance, the thought of giving back to those in need seems quite natural. For all who have donated to this cause, I cannot thank you enough. It’s important to pull together as a community, because we all have so much to offer each other. Doing good for others feels good, too. If you see hats on Instagram with the hashtag #donatefeelsgreat, it’s probably some of the beautifully crafted hats given to me from our amazing Hicksville community. Thank you all for helping those who cannot help themselves. You are all a beautiful example of love incarnate.
Patty Servidio is an Anton Media Group columnist.