I talked to my Dad on the phone today. Remember when he said he had an idea for knitters?Â He’d written it up and he wanted to know if I would let it be a blog post here.Â I said sure, Dad–and then he made me absolutely promise not to touch it, not to edit a single word.
Ooookayyyy…Â You know you’re in trouble when…Â I promised.
Oh, and Dad? The last time I saw Grandmother Jeppson before she passed, I was admiring the afghans she’d made and wishing I had the patience someday to knit a project that big.
I think she’d be pleased.
Now, being the daughter, I think I’m nowhere quite near as famous as Dad thinks I am, nor that I deserve to be.Â I also squirm when people describe my name as a verb the way he’s referring to.Â There are many knitters more generous than I.Â I don’t give things away to be on record; I do it for the selfish reason that it makes me feel wonderful, not to mention the person I’ve knit for.Â I also tend to knit scarves or the like when I don’t know the person well: it’s a small enough project that if they’re not thrilled to the bone, it’s okay, it didn’t take me six months to do.Â But the goodwill in the knitting is just the same, large project or small, and I certainly do a fair number of large projects to give as well.
All that said, I’ll sit down, be quiet, and let Dad have his say:
Five or six years ago while watching Alison knit something she intended to give away I suggested that she make a log of what she had knitted and to whom she had given it.Â I thought it would make an interesting record. She moaned, saying she could not remember many of them. We finally concluded she probably had given away 200 of her wares. I would not be surprised if the total now came closer to 500. She may wish to correct these figures.
Whatever the number, Alison has become so internationally known for knitting things which she could give to special, and usually unsuspecting, people that her name has become a verb describing the act. â€œTo Alison someone.â€ The harrowing attack of Crohnâ€™s from which she is recovering has demonstrated how much she is admired and loved.
Knitting something and giving it to an unsuspecting person is an act of kindness that can have wonderful, extensive, and long-lasting repercussions. The practice deserves encouragement. I would like to suggest to followers of spindyeknit, and to others as the word is spread, a means of fostering this goodness.
I suggest the creatingâ€“either as merely an informal grouping, or later as a legal entityâ€“of The Alison Hyde Knitters Gifts Foundation. It could work along three different lines or levels.
1. It would simply be a database. Knitters would be encouraged to Alison someoneâ€“and whenever possible send to the database a photo of the object, the story behind the gift, the name of knitter/giver, and something about the recipient (just described, not necessarily named). As this information accumulates in a fashion that anyone can access, the practice will spread. This will likely generate additional comradery among knitters.
2. Knitters (or others) who have surplus yarn can list it on the database as something they will give to any recipient who will promise to knit the yarn into something she/he will give away. Recipients might be expected to pay incoming postage and sign some sort of pledge form.
3.Â In its ultimate possible development, yarn producers or importers who have a surplus product might donate it to the Foundation for distribution as in No. 2 above. At this level the Foundation probably would need to be legally established as a charitable entity so that major donors would be motivated by some tax benefit. Perhaps there is a knitter or a spouse who could handle this. Also, if the Foundation develops to this stage it probably will need to do a little fund raising to cover expenses.
I am not a knitter, although I have been the nationâ€™s foremost expert on modern, handwoven French tapestries for many years. But my mother was a knitter, and maybe that gene passed to Alison. During World War II, the entire country was mobilized..Â Every community had volunteer projects to help the war effort in some fashion. We lived in Carson City, Nevada, which, though the state capital, had only about 3,000 people. My parents had three sons, no daughters. My oldest brother, Robert, was the supply officer on the Petroff Bay, a pocket aircraft carrier which fought in every major pacific battle of the last two years of the war, including the brutal Battle of Leyte Gulf. My next brother, Richard, although he is in the history books as Morris, was in the Air Corps and used to write our parents not to worry about him because a few weeks after he got overseas the war would be over. No one believed that. Turned out Richard was the weapons officer
on the Enola Gay who armed the atom bomb and was the last person to touch it. I quit high school to volunteer in the Army Specialized Training Program and was training to become a combat engineer.
One of the volunteer projects in Carson City was a band of knitters under the Red Cross. Iâ€™ll let my mother tell of it, as she wrote afterwards in her life story.
â€œ….the war years brought so much worry and heart aches to parents of sons. I was really resentful when (Lawrenceâ€™s) call cameâ€“he was 17. We already had sent our other two sons and he seemed too young to leave home. When we put him on the bus for Pasadena and it pulled away it was almost more than I could bear.
â€œJust before and during the war I was in turn knitting chairman and County Production Chairman of the Red Cross. We produced an unbelievable amount of hospital garments, sweaters, kits, etc., during this period. I spent an average of five hours a day, six days a week for over two years in this particular serviceâ€“feeling that if I worked hard enough maybe the war would end sooner and my sons would come home.â€
So I am very sympathetic to knitters and aware of the substantial good they can do.
â€”Lawrence Jeppson, Alisonâ€™s Dad.
34 Comments so far
Leave a comment
Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>