boxes of yarn from my friend yesterday. The postman, well aware of who had sent them, made a special trip from the end of the street. The street was blocked off while something is done to water pipes somewhere else. (I do not understand why our street had to be blocked off but that is another story.)
The postman is also aware that, once dealt with, the yarn in the boxes will go to charities. Much of what is there is in small quantities - one or two balls, a skein here, two skeins there, four skeins of something else. The colours vary too.
A friend came to help me sort it out. We tipped the contents of both boxes on to the floor and just looked for a little while.
"I like that..and that..." my friend told me. I knew she did not mean for herself. She meant for the young knitters we work with.
The young knitters have come up with an idea. They are still at the stage of needing and wanting to learn a great deal. They are still young enough to like projects that grow fairly rapidly. Part of this is because school and other activities also take up their time. Knitting has to be fitted in where they can fit it in. All of them take their knitting wherever they go. Tell one of the boys that "knitting is for sissies" and you will get a lecture about the way in which it was men who once did all the knitting. Women were only permitted to prepare the yarn and spin it. Men did a seven year apprenticeship and were expected to produce such things as stockings and carpets at the other end of it.
But, our lot are not doing a formal seven year apprenticeship. They are still learning some of the basics. One is now experimenting with cables, another with mosaic patterns, a third with colour and a fourth with creating ever more zany hats which sell before he has finished them.
It was his hats which gave them the idea. They want to try and knit one hundred hats between them out of all the odd balls of yarn that they have been given. It will be a chance to learn more techniques. It will be a chance to try out ideas. It will be something they can give to a particular charity which will use them well.
All those things are important. What is even more important however is that it is something they feel they can do to say "thankyou" to their friend in America.
We parcelled up the yarn that had come into "hat size" quantities. Sometime later this week I will put suggestions with the parcels so that they have a starting point.
And, as I put the suggestions in the parcels, I am going to say "thankyou" to the friend I have never physically met. She is giving these kids, all of whom have health issues of their own, a life-long gift - the gift of making and sharing. Their e-mails to her show just how much they appreciate that gift. The one hundred hats will be another way of thanking her.