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In restrospect, I realize I ended yesterday’s post with one of my least favorite words in the English language:

Try.

Thinking about that final sentence now, I’m cringing.  I am consistent in jumping upon this word when other people use it.  When you “try” something, you leave yourself a big excuse for failure.  As the wise little muppet said, “Do!  Or do not!  There is no try.”*  So, I am not going to try to balance crochet and digiscrapping.  I am going to find a way to incorporate both into my life in a way that makes me happy.  So there!

Now, let’s leave the serious stuff behind and get back to some craftiness.  I was looking through my projects folder the other day and realized that I never shared one of my Christmas gifts.  It’s not a big deal, but it’s a neat little bag:

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Pattern: Go Green Market Bag by Suzetta Williams
Yarn: Something cheap & scratchy from a garage sale
Hooks: H & J
Pattern Modifications: For Rounds 7-15, I changed the V stitches to each have 2 ch’s rather than 1. Then, I added two more rows of V stitches, each with 1 ch in the V’s, before changing back to the H hook and finishing.

This was a little gift for my mother-in-law.  She didn’t have any reuseable market bags, so I thought this would work nicely for her.  I was really surprised at how much I was able to fit in the bag for the photo.

My current WIP is a poncho for a little girl.  The Knitters for Obama group has chosen their next service project and are knitting and crocheting items for the Mattaponi Indian Tribe of eastern Virginia.  This is a tribe unrecognized by the federal government and in need of supplies.  As one of the ladies said, the things we make them won’t solve their problems, but they will show them that someone cares and will keep them warm in the cold weather.  If you’re interested in helping, either by making items or donating yarn, send me a message for the guidelines, or check out the “New Service Project” thread in the Knitters for Obama forum on Ravelry.  This is open to all.  It is our goal to make our service projects multipartisan efforts, and everyone who wishes to participate is welcome.

*This is an expression that garners mixed reaction in my husband.  On one hand, he loves that I’m a Star Wars gal.  On the other, he’s pretty darn sick of my reminding him of this line.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend j. IM’d and asked if I would make a hat for a friend of hers just beginning her chemo journey.  I agreed, of course, and when she sent the yarn, I happily set aside my other projects and whipped up a hat.  When that used half the skein, I decided to complete the set with some wrist warmers.

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Something hit me while I was working on this project and another comfort gift last week.  I was more content than I had been in a while.  In fact, as I packaged them up for shipping, I was saddened the project was over.

I love crocheting, and, yes, I love crocheting things for myself.  However, the peace that fills me while I’m making a gift – especially a gift for someone truly in need of comfort – is undeniable.

I grew up with service being an integral part of my social life.  Girl Scouts and 4-H both put a heavy emphasis on serving others and the Earth as part of being a good citizen.  I was raised in a religion that heavily emphasizes social justice.  I lost sight of this to a certain extent upon reaching adulthood.  That is to say, while I understood the necessity of being a giving person, I didn’t often make the time or effort to follow through.

Over the past few years, though, the true meaning and purpose of life has begun to cement itself in my conscious mind.  And it is this: It is all about love, empathy, and understanding.  We are all one.  We are all indivisible.  A woman three thousand miles away is a sister to us all.  The cap I make her will not cure her cancer, but the knowledge that someone cares for her enough to make the effort may bring a smile to her face on a day when she really needs it.  A positive attitude will help her in her healing.

Giving and sharing are central to my belief system.  It is not enough to do for others to fulfill a duty, or because one thinks she should.  I do, because it is right.  I cannot understand how I could live life correctly without it, or if I am unable to contribute for a time, without supreme empathy.  Yes, of course, I also give because it feels good.  I am only human, after all.  But it cannot be the only reason or the driving force.  I cannot feel only good about making such a small gesture when there is so much dire need; there is always a certain amount of despair that accompanies it.  Sadness that I am not doing more.  I can only do as much as I can do with the resources that I have, and I suppress the negative emotion once I acknowledge it, because I strongly believe that it does little good to dwell on it.

Of course, I need to work to achieve balance in this, as in all areas of my life.  (Balance is always my biggest struggle.)  My boys would both like me to crochet something for them, and I have another pair of socks to make for myself with the yarn gift from my husband.  I am also beginning to feel pulled back towards digital scrapbooking, but I’m resisting.  I’m afraid that I will follow my old pattern: when I pick up another creative pursuit, my current one gets shoved in a drawer, often for years.  I’m not ready to give up on crochet, even for a short break, but can I balance both digiscrapping and crocheting as leisure time pursuits?  Perhaps keeping service projects going with the crochet will help prevent its decline?  I suppose the only thing to do is try.

My boys

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