Monday, March 19, 2007

Sometimes, it's nice to be nice

I hate meetings so, in the perverse way that the universe works, I spend a lot of time sitting in them. I've learned to take some type of needlework with me, or I turn into one of those annoying people that fidgets and rolls their eyes at any discussion that lengthens the meeting. Fortunately, my principal understands that I fidget (actually, it drives him crazy), and is very tolerant of my prediliction for needlework during meetings. It's a nice change from the previous regime, headed up by one of Those People--the ones that are sure that you can't do two things at once, so if you're knitting or crocheting during a meeting, you obviously aren't paying attention to his pearls of wisdom. But now he's gone, and I can once again do needlework during meetings.

"Meeting Work" has to meet certain requirements:
-- It must be small enough to easily transport to meetings
-- It must be something that doesn't make any noise (I've learned not to click my needles)
-- It must be an easy enough pattern than I don't have to pay attention to it

Last year's project was the Fibonacci's Rainbow afghan (see one of the earlier posts for pictures). I started it at the beginning of the first day-long workshop of the school year, and had it finished well before the end of the school year. I also found a problem with large afghans for Meeting Work: eventually it gets too big to drag to meetings.

This year, I've been doing a lot of small projects, particularly scarves. Scarves are great because they are simple, usually have a brainless pattern, and are small enough to take to meetings. I've knitted and crocheted scarves for everyone I know (Stephen has several), and I'm still going to meetings, so I've started doing needlework for different charity organizations.

The National World War II Museum, located in New Orleans, began a scarf drive last fall, rather like the old "Knit Your Bit" Red Cross knitting drives held during WWI and WWII. The scarves they collected were going to veterans. It sounded cute, and fun, so the Meeting Work during February was knitted and crocheted scarves.

Afghans4Afghans was started by Ann Rubin in 2001, and is dedicated to producing a lot of knitted garments and blankets for people (mostly kids) in Afghanistan. A lot of people in the Bay Area knit and crochet for Afghans4Afghans and affiliated charities; many of the local teachers are also needleworkers and a bunch of them participated in a sweater and vest for school kids drive last fall.

So why do "charity knitting/crocheting"? Simple. I need something to do with my hands during all those meetings, and I can knit or crochet only so many sweaters, scarves, and afghans for myself and my friends. By making things and donating them to a charity, I'm sharing my needlework with other people, and maybe I'm making their life just a tiny bit more comfortable.

I'm certainly not any kind of saint; sometimes it's just nice to be nice to other people. So be nice to others: do something for somebody else. Run an errand for the senior that can't drive. Volunteer at your local public school. Smile and say "Hi!" to the office grump (that should freak 'em out!). Make something for a charity (there are a lot). I've put links to the National WWII Museum and afghans for Afghans on the right.