Reduce or Reuse
Jewish tradition clearly prohibits wasteful consumption of resources, which violates the mitzvah (duty) of Bal tashchit (“Do not destroy”), Deuteronomy 20: 19-20. No doubt about it, this is a serious challenge to many of us interested in needle arts. We frequently have far too much of the stuff of needlework. Thinking through how to meet one’s duty not to consume wastefully, but also meet one’s desire to explore beautiful fibers, create remarkable gifts for dear ones, and nurture ourselves, leads to a few simple ideas:
UFO’s . Unfinished knitting projects (UFOs) litter many of our lives. To use what we have, thoroughly and without waste, means at the very least to finish projects. If we can’t bring ourselves to finish, then find another use for the materials. Many of us make the break from our UFO’s and rip (or “frog”) completely (like Jenny), others can’t bring themselves to do it (like hege).
Inspired by the spirit of tikkun, I recently “liberated” two long-neglected, nearly-completed adult sweaters into material for upcoming tzedakah (social action, or charity) projects. The navy Takhi tweed (sport-weight) cardigan for my husband, left to languish in the basement for a decade, was unceremoniously frogged and re-wound, and will find new life in many hats for Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Greater Philadelphia (all fibers accepted) and The Dulaan Project (wools), including this Zeebee-on-the-needles (inspired by Brooklyn Tweed’s tweedy version).
Stash reduction – use or donate. If you are anything like me, your stash of new yarns and the bits and pieces leftover from old (finished!) projects grows and grows. Unused, they render ordinary yarn consumption wasteful. Some have been motivated to sort out the stash into two piles: (1) those balls, skeins and hanks that will never find a way onto needles or hooks, and (2) those we plan (really, really) to work with, whether for ourselves or others. The tikkun task: to find a productive home for the first batch: give it to a friend, teach someone with it, or donate to any of the many organizations that accept contributions of yarn and needles, such as Warm Woolies (which provides volunteers with materials for handmade items for orphanages world-wide), and The Warm Hands Network. You can find additional information about contributions to “charity knitting” organizations on the web (try here, here, and here).
Having made a couple of passes through the many “knitting stations” throughout my home, I’ve turned up these for sorting!
My donation pile will go to the “R.S Tikkunknitters,” the social action knitting group at Congregation Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia, for use in hats, scarves and slippers for donation to local homeless family shelters and the Dulaan project.