Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hats! Hats! and more Hats!

I am happy to finally have the time to update my Blog.  I've been very busy and love the chance to reflect on the past couple of months.

What has kept me so busy, you ask?  The answer is hats!

It all started last spring when I joined a Scottish Country Dancing group.  A small group, our goal was to join another group of Hawaiian Hula dancers for an annual show at my work. It was a lot of fun and the group continued to practice after the show was completed.  We were asked to dance for a charity event at a local Veterans nursing home.  A member of our Human Resource department was brainstorming about ways to involve other co-workers in charity events.  I told her that I knew several people who crocheted and I would be happy to volunteer my efforts to teach if there was anyone who wanted to learn.

The end of September was approaching and the HR director told me that she was going to open the building on the next Saturday so we could meet and do crochet.  By default, it was kind of left to me to do the organizing.  We put out signup sheets and advertised on our departments internal web site. 

Scrambling at the last minute, I proposed that we do hats for charity.  I knew that Primary Children's Hospital would take hats and I thought I could interest some people in making hats for babies.  Also, Utah Catholic Services which serves the homeless would accept hats.

I have been very surprised at the success of the group.  It started up as giving up a couple of Saturday mornings to teach crochet.  I started surfing the web for hat patterns.  The crochet page on this blog has been updated with the following links to hat patterns.

The first couple of weeks there were about a dozen of us crocheting hats, scarfs and even some mittens.  We had a couple that were making hats on their Knifty Loom.  I was thrilled that my daughter started and completed a hat, too.  In fact, you can see the pink ruffle hat by the right arm of the chair in this picture.

Within the month, we had made over 125 hats to donate!  I was asked to particpate when the hats were given out.  It was a wonderfully heart-wrenching experience.  At the hospital, I and my small group were shown a room inside the hospital that had a tree in the corner with hats on the tree.  Officials explained that kids of all ages utilized this room for chemo treatments.  Some of the children would be in this department for up to 14 hours a treatment and some children have several treatments a week.  Before the youngsters leave, they are allowed to pick a hat off the tree to take with them.  Since many of them have lost their hair this small kindness means very much to them. The tenacity and courage of these children is awe-some.

We also toured the Catholic Community Services facility.  There we were shown the eating area which typically serviced 500 meals a day.  In the past little while, with the weather turning colder, they were averaging 800.  They also showed how their donations were cleaned, organized and set up so that those in need could find clothing and coats.  Unlike thrift stores these items were given completely free.  The administrators joked that woman were very good about giving up their old clothes but it was a much different story for men.  Of course, the majority of the people they service are men.  They also stated that they had a real need for larger sizes.  Any of the x sizes were deparately needed.  They expressed gratitude for the hats, scarfs and mittens.  Just while we were there, several requests were made for gloves.

The funny thing is, after volunteer month was over, we are just hitting our stride.  A couple of days after the tours a co-worker came in loaded with 3 huge appliance boxes of yarn.  It seems she stopped by a garage sale in her area and purchased all of this yarn for a $100.  Joy, what a wonderful contribution and we thank you.  Now, if you walk around the work area, you will notice yarn and a project on what seems like every other desk.  One co-worker keeps telling me that we have started a movement.  Currently, we have expanded the project for the Christmas season.  Our tree, in the foyer, has a "Warm your Hearts" theme and is already completely filled with hats and we have containers under the tree that are filling up fast!

Not only have I had the wonderful opportunity to contribute to all of this, but I have also been able to know many of my co-workers on a much more intimate level.  The stories that have been shared mean so much.  One co-worker has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.  She is in a wheel chair most of the time, now, but she and her mother have contributed well over a 100 hats between them.  Another co-worker and friend shared how she and her sister discovered that they were both taught to crochet by their grandmothers.  Just not the same, grandmother.  They both have completely different styles.  There are several men who are contributing and I keep telling the ones who aren't that there is nothing unmanly about crocheting.

A dear friend told me that she always admired how her mother could adapt and make up patterns.  Her mother passed away a couple of years ago but now she was learning how to crochet and felt that much closer to her. Another very special co-worker told me that 15 years ago when she was pregnant with her first daughter she learned how to make granny squares.  She still has the squares but didn't know how to join them.  I explained that now she could join them and have a blanket for her first grandchild when it was time.

It seems like everyday I am showing a new person how to make a chain stitch. I've been reflecting on how life is like a chain.  It is full of small little links that make the line of our lives.  I'm not sure that was well said, but back to that Scottish Country Dancing instructor. Her husband had an accident.  While he will make a full recovery, she shared that learning how to crochet has kept her sanity while she is waiting at doctors and running him around for errands.  She has completed one hat and is now on her second.


1 comment:

  1. You rock! :D Your encouragement and enthusiasum (sorry I can't spell) is what keeps this project going. I am so glad they moved me by you!