Here is the fifth installment of my review of Knitting for Good and exploration of its themes. You can read my discussions of chapters one, two , three by clicking on the links, and four is located right below this post.
The fifth chapter continues the theme of community, but is about HOW to get involved with your community in a craft-centric way. It is divided up into a series of suggestions on different groups that can benefit from your knitting or craft skills. Recommendations include taking your knitting with you to visit with the elderly, whether in a nursing home or in your neighborhood, teaching children how to knit both in a group setting and one-on-one and teaching prisoners to knit (yes, prisoners!). It also brings up the idea of knitting/crafting items to be raffled off or sold to raise money for a cause. One of the best suggestions is just to carry extra needles and yarn in your knitting bag so that if you are knitting in public and someone expresses interest, you can teach them on the spot (and if its cheap yarn and needles you can even send them home with the new knitter).
Many of you are involved in some sort of volunteer knitting- whether its one of the ideas listed in this chapter or something else. It doesn't even have to be official and organized, in the chapter Betsy talks about teaching a young girl to knit at a chili cook-off. So tell me, do you have a cause that you knit for? What have your experiences been?
If you haven't ever used your crafting skills in this way, why not? The chapter mentions two possible reasons: one is not knowing what groups to help, or how to help and the other is the difficulty of taking that first step- whether its from shyness, laziness or uncertainty. Betsy recommends starting by making a list of causes you care about. This can be pretty general for now. Then narrow it down to the ones you feel most strongly about. Now do a bit of research online, in the phone book or by asking around to find out what groups exist in your community related to those causes. Next, give them a call (or an email), let them know what your skills are and the time you can commit. They will find a place for you, or recommend you to another group. If you decide to do this, please let us know how it goes. We would love to hear your stories, and by sharing them you may inspire others to take action, too!
Coming next is Chapter 6: Charity Knitting....