Back Page Spring 2013: Beanie Bonanza

What's behind that beanie on the Back Page of the Spring 2013 issue of Interweave Crochet? Step into the time machine—I'm taking you back a couple of months, to the dawn of 2013.

On the cusp of this new year, I had two familiar goals: 1. Clear the tables, start fresh. 2. Do more good. I am often challenged to find the time to follow up completely on either goal. I was determined, though, to make the time this year.

I took a look around and thought about how I could improve both my world and somebody else's world. My eyes fell upon the yarnyarnyarn everywhere (you know, not draped from the chandeliers, but filling enough tidy little bins to make itself known in a room). I could open up my space a bit if I crocheted up some of that yarn. And I could crochet it into something that could help others.

After a moment or two, I lit upon an idea: make beanies. Fast beanies. In fact, how many beanies could I make in a day, whilst still getting my work done? (three, as it turns out). For the quickest gratification for both missions, I stuffed two bins' worth of my chubbiest yarn into a bag, along with a handful of patterns and my biggest hooks. I was ready for a mission.

In two weeks, I made 15 beanies. I added to this my stash of airplane beanies from the Well-Traveled Hat Series for a total of 19 beanies. (What ever happened to the Well-Traveled Hat series, you ask? I started flying Southwest exclusively. Most often, I have a direct flight to my destination, so no layover time. And SWA is very low drama, so there are very few delays. This adds up to happier travel, but less crochet time).

Now, what to do with that pile of beanies? (Because sometimes I make a thing to give away and it never actually makes it out the door.)

I happened upon the link to Urban Peak, which provides shelter and other assistance to homeless youth in Denver and Colorado Springs. The shelter in Denver was seeking donations of beanies, among other things. After a few calls and emails, I sent the beanies off to Urban Peak

Shortly after I received an email from Steven Hughes, manager of volunteers at Urban Peak:
Hey Marcy,
The beanies arrived today!  And immediately a homeless young lady at our drop-in center began to "oohh & ahh" at them and found one that she loved!  Thanks again so much for this great donation in helping and supporting the homeless youth here!!
Be well, Steve

Now that is instant gratification.

One other note: In the Strands column of the spring 2013 issue, I mention a hat that saved my cold head when I was in Beaufort, NC one weekend. Here's a bit about that hat.

First, here it is:

The Beaufort Beret is keeping my head and ears warm while I watch kiteboarders cavort in the wind and waves near the ferry terminal in Cedar Island, NC.
Here is the crocheter who made the beret:

This is Lexan Blanchard. aka CrimsonMosquito on Etsy com (see that puffy coat, along with her own crocheted hat and scarf? It really was cold.) Lexan has rarely been without a crochet hook in hand since she learned how to crochet five years ago. We had a little exchange of money and goods and we were both happier at the end. (She may have been even happier a bit later, because no fewer than three people stopped me on the sidewalk to ask where I got that hat.)

Yeah, I know. We're all hoping to not need hats pretty soon. But what if you whipped up some beanies now? Say, one a week? Come winter, you'll be able to make some heads warmer. Lexan makes her hats from multiple strands of yarn from her stash—it's a great way to use up bits of yarn left over from larger projects.

Come on back next week for a gallery of beanies, with patterns and yarns.

And, if you've been able to check off some of your own crochet / charity goals for 2013, let me know in the comments!

Happy crocheting,


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