>After finishing my Project Linus blanket, I came to the realization that knitting and arthritis were an impossible fit. It saddened me that I was no longer able to knit, especially because I felt such a strong connection to Project Linus, and wanted to keep contributing to this awesome cause. Knitting had been a big part of my life for so many years; it was difficult for me to admit defeat. My other unfinished projects, that I started “pre-RA” would have to remain unfinished.

This past summer, as I have for the past three summers, I welcomed an Occupational Therapy student into my home to observe and offer adaptations to help me with my daily tasks. We began talking about how I miss knitting and she immediately became excited and said, “I’ll teach you how to crochet! It is so much easier on your hands!”

“Won’t happen,” I immediately replied. My grandmother had tried and failed to teach me more times than I could count. I never understood it, I could knit elaborate sweaters with my eyes closed, but when it came to crochet, I never made it past a single chain. I always blamed it on the fact that I was left-handed. Plus, how could I possibly crochet? That needle was even smaller than knitting needles. Surely, my hands would not be able to handle that sort of grip.

The next week, my student showed up with crochet needles and yarn. She showed me the basic chain stitch, which I had easily mastered many times. She then tried to explain the ‘single crochet’. As expected, when I tried the pull through the stitch, the entire chain came off the needle. It was hopeless. She patiently explained it again, showing me how to hold my work with one hand, while my pulling the needle through with my other hand. Something so simple, that I had never thought of, because in knitting you don’t hold your work, you hold the needles. We moved on to the ‘double crochet’ & everything started making sense.

I know that for those of you who do not knit or crochet, I have completely lost you…. The point is, that someone finally taught me how to crochet and I love it!!! Not only that, the grip is completely different and so much easier on my hands. Thank you Leslie!

I had planned on jumping right into a blanket for Project Linus, when my friend Kris posted on Facebook about an organization called ‘Operation Gratitude.’ They were looking for people to knit or crochet scarves to send in military care packages overseas. I knew immediately I had to crochet a scarf for the people who risk their lives every day to protect my family and my country.


I’m not going to lie… I started my scarf over three times. It took me a while to get the hang of where the row started & ended (again, something I never had to think about with knitting.) But once I finally figured it all out, there was no stopping me. I was able to crochet, virtually pain free for 20 minutes or longer every night until I finished just last week.

I’m now working on a second scarf and plan to alternate between blankets and scarves to donate for as long as my hands will allow.

If you’d like to learn more about the carepackages sent to our service men and women, visit www.operationgratitude.com

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>Crafts for A Cause

September 13, 2010

>Helping others is one of the greatest gifts you can offer. In the book I am writing, the main character devotes her time to promoting literacy through charity work. Everyday, there are opportunities available for each of us to perform our own Mitzvah. As we enter the holiday season, please keep in mind those in need, as well as those who sacrifice their own lives to protect us.

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My Grandmother could knit an entire sweater in a single day. We used to visit with my Grandmother every Sunday. She had a closet at the front of her small apartment with games to keep my brother and I from getting bored, but I was always more interested in what she was making – an afghan, a scarf, clothes for my dolls. There was always something interesting in the works.

Finally, when I was in fourth grade, my Grandmother gave me my first set of knitting needles. They were metallic pink. I remember her patiently showing me how to form the stitches, one after another. She wanted me to start with something simple, I insisted on making a sweater. Knitting quickly became my favorite hobby. In my attic, lie bags of sweaters I have made over the years; they are tattered, stained, and no longer in style, yet I cannot seem to part with them.

Shortly after my youngest son was born, he came down with meningitis and was hospitalized for nearly two weeks. Those days were some of the worst I have experienced to date. A couple of days into our stay, a nurse brought us two beautiful baby blankets, hand-crafted and donated by an organization called “Project Linus.”

I was so touched that people I never met would take the time to quilt, knit and crochet these beautiful blankets to brighten up a child’s stark hospital room. I knew it was time to put my knitting skills to good use.

Unfortunately, my arthritic hands were not so willing, and I was only able to knit in 10- minute increments every few weeks, sometimes months. Nevertheless, I was determined, and eventually, I did finally finish my blanket for “Project Linus.”

It may not seem like much, but the blankets we received in the hospital were truly a sign of hope for us. I knew from the moment we received them, I needed to pay it forward .

If you are interested in learning more about Project Linus, please visit their website http://www.projectlinus.org/ Even a few minutes a day can make a difference!

Watch for part 2 on this topic later this week & as promised an excerpt from my book!!