Monday, December 01, 2008

"Deck out the tree 4 charity" (ends the 12th!) Contest too!

NOTE: This free pattern has been removed 10/17/12. It may or may not return, but if it does, it will be tweaked and pdf’ed and available for an inexpensive $1.99 price.
A simple gift of hand-knit (or crocheted or sewn) ornaments to lighten up a stranger's heart.
Please tell your crafty friends about this project & post this to your blog if possible. The charity pattern is posted in the bottom of the post.
The day after Thanksgiving, my whole family gathered yet again, but this time to visit my Grandfather in the nursing home. This is the same grandfather that underwent major heart surgery a while back, didn't recover, and started to deteriorate and have part of his foot removed because he couldn't walk...because he couldn't recover. I know, sick cycle. This was the first time that I visited him in the nursing home, and I was appalled at the sight of these lonely nursing home residents barely doing anything but staring at other people's visitors or falling asleep in front of a large TV in the "theater room" because the nurses are too busy or unwilling to wheel them around all day. The activity coordinator barely provides activities, doesn't even own a keyboard for visitors playing carols during the holidays, and residents are surely bored out of their minds all day. Every day. The loneliness of boredom and the every-day nothingness is seen in their eyes. It's enough to burn your heart.
I watched one elderly woman try to wheel herself in another direction and had trouble doing so. Every time a nurse walked down the hall, she tiredly tried flagging them down with her weak and shaky arm while also giving each the "puppy eyes" look. She craved attention. From anyone. Nurses. Residents. Other resident's visitors. All ignored her, leaving her with all the more heart-broken eyes. I asked one of the nurses why he kept ignoring her as he walked down the hall with an IV stand while she constantly tried to flag him down. He responded in a nonchalant way, "oh, she always does that." Yeah, and? Was my response. She's still a human being, and she might actually need help this time. All of them do.

This whole paragraph will seem a little weird, but I had a dream Saturday night (the day after I visited my grandfather) that I was in some sort of wreck and lost all of my money and possessions and for some reason, barely clothed besides a long shirt. I was very embarrassed walking among all the people in my dream. I ended up begging some people on the subway to loan me a couple of dollars so I could go to a Dollar Tree or thrift shop to buy shorts, pants, pj bottoms....anything to not be half-nude. It was amazing how much I had to plead with these people to donate a just few bucks. I ended up waking up in the morning with tears streaming down my cheeks. I haven't balled in my dreams for quite a long time. The dream was intense. Disturbing. An actual reality for someone around this planet, I'm sure. It reminded me of how cold it is getting now, and how I should be putting more efforts into charity knits. The message that I really need to become more proactive with charity knits was reiterated by the Homily the same morning that I woke up for Sunday mass. It was all about "The least that you do for my people, you do for me" and how you should live your life like the world would end tomorrow and make a difference in someone's life. (Something like that.) Once I got the message that this homily was corresponding to my feelings all weekend, I instantly thought of how I was going to solve my huge Christmas knitted-gift list. I wasn't going to knit anyone a gift. All of these people who were asking for knitted gifts from me have everything. They are loved. They have money. They have a warm house to live in,... and friends. I thought back to these nursing home residents and how they might not even get a single gift in the mail, let alone a card...or a visit from any family members. Even if I could knit them all something small, no matter how insignificant it may seem to the bystander, it would be something hand-made... and for them. Not shared, like all of the amenities in the facility. Something small for them to enjoy that's theirs. I will also spend the other time working on my "prayer squares" afghans, from the other organization I started, and hopefully knitting more scarves and such for PADS shelters.

So, without further ado (and hopefully you read most of above to get the gist), I'm starting a new charity organization that is devoted to knitting each and every single 100+ resident from that nursing home a knit holiday ornament: "Deck Out That Tree!" I am asking each and every one of you to see if you can find it in your time this week to knit some ornaments with the pattern I provided below. If it turned out that only a dozen people sent me just a few ornaments, it would save a tremendous amount of time on my part. I can only do so much, and knit so fast in under a month. Whether or not you do it as a competition, the top 3 people to send me the most ornaments will receive free knitting yarn & goodies (see contest info below). Any other peeps will receive a new free KUAS pattern via email. SO PLEASE LEAVE A STICKY NOTE WITH YOUR NAME & EMAIL ADDRESS in the package so that I send you your stuff. I really feel like I was meant to do/start this project this year. But I know realistically, I'm gonna need a lot of help from you all. I have a small tree in our living room that will be filled up during the week with all of the knit organizations. I hope to fill the entire tree up.


LotusKnits said...

Oh Anna, this is such a thoughtful, lovely idea. Your post has me in tears. I want to try to do a few of these, but I'll definitely be spreading the word.


Anonymous said...

This is such a wonderful idea. I'm pretty busy this week (finals...ugh!) but I'll definitely try to get some knitting time in for your project!

Jen said...

You are wonderful. I'll cast on for this today. :)

Erin said...

Count me in! I'll let you know soon how many to expect. And above all, thank you for organizing this!

Anonymous said...

Decided to make a few myself. :) Hopefully I can get a bunch done in time.

Timiae said...

I plan on making some! I hope to have a good number to be able to send to you by that date. We'll see, though, since it's only 8 days away!

Timiae said...

Oh, do they have to be red/green or blue/white? Or are other color combinations ok as long as they are Christmasy/Wintery?

Melissa said...

I'm in! What a great idea! I was just wondering what kind of holiday mischief I could get myself into this year!

Knitting Up A Storm said...

Well, all I ask is that they are not sports colors! Ha ha. That's why a Red/green, red/white, green/white, blue/white, etc...real generic holiday colors would be best. :) You could also avoid holiday colors if you do three stripes instead of two. That's fine as well.

Timiae said...

I'm sending my ornaments out tomorrow! I hope that they get to you by the 12th. I wasn't able to get as many finished as I had hoped, but it's something!

Unknown said...

Happy us! Yay for blogosphere knitting friends:)

Anonymous said...

Am sooo sorry I didn't find this earlier.
Being in a different country AND because it is already past the 12th, means there is no way to get ornament(s) to you on time.

But surely there are people in nursing homes around nearby to me (in Nova Scotia, Canada) which are in the same situation.
I will see what I can do.

Thank you for opening my eyes,
janeyknitting AT yahoo DOT ca

Timiae said...

Did you get them? I mailed them the 9th...

Anonymous said...

I am still feeling badly about missing out on your Holiday Ornaments. (I am so crammed with work this week that I haven't even got time to knit.)

What about Easter-time?
Knitting your Holiday Ornaments in pastel colours would work, wouldn't it? Rather than in Christmas/winter colours.
I have collected some knitted Easter egg patterns (even one in crochet) if you would like to brighten elderly spirits in the Spring. Nine egg patterns follow:
Knitted easter eggs:
Curly purly eggs:
Purl bee egss w- decoration tutes:
Go to April 4, 2007 knit easter eggs:
Elegant Easter Eggs:
Jean Greenhowe's Novelty Eggs:
Crocheted Easter eggs:
Easter Eggs in Basket:
(Basket is here:
Knitted DROPS Easter egg:

Happy Holidays,

Louiedog67 said...

I wish I had seen this before Christmas...this is a fantastic idea! I hope you were able to reach your goal & I am sure you brought happiness to a lot of people who need it most.

Are you planning to continue this next year? I'd love to help!

Patricia : )

Jeri said...

Sometimes, like in my mother's situation a couple of months back, the residents are supposed to wheel themselves, and they can, but they don't want to.
Currently my mom cannot, and does not have to wheel herself.