Let’s Call It ‘The Great Summit County Knit-A-Long’ (column) | SummitDaily.com

Let’s Call It ‘The Great Summit County Knit-A-Long’ (column)

Two events on Wednesday brought this column to life. The first was a Summit Daily News headline, "Summit County might get its first real snowfall next week according to expert Joel Gratz." One might find this headline hard to believe if you've only experienced our balmy afternoons this week. But where I live, on the southern edge of Blue River, on Tuesday morning my car windshield was covered with frost.

On Wednesday afternoon, Kathy stopped by the long table where the Prayer Shawl Knitters meet at Next Page Books & Nosh and dropped off a scarf she'd knitted for this year's scarf knitting project. She left with a bulging bag of yarn generously donated by Karen. Three different knitters stopped by that afternoon and mentioned they were looking forward to participating in the scarf knitting project. This was the second event which reminded me that a few weeks ago I told you about my grand ambitions for this winter.

Last year instead of giving something up for Lent, I decided to give something away. Each week, I knitted a simple scarf and left it somewhere around Summit County with a note that read: "If you're cold, take me, I'm yours." And that was that. I never found out who discovered a scarf and took it home. But I hope they were a source of comfort and warmth. Because that's what the project was for me.

I have written frequently about my bouts of depression. Most recently, I wrote about how gratitude has helped me to counter my dark thoughts with reminders of good things that surround me each day. I've discovered that giving is an equally effective method for countering my tendency to hide at home when depression knocks at the door.

God's Word recommends something radical, that we become more cheerful the more we give, especially when we give from our heart. "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7) Let's put that to the test: I invite you to join me in The Great Summit County Knit-A-Long beginning with the first snowfall next week and continuing until the last snowfall next spring.

We're blessed to live in a place so filled with beauty. As the snow falls, most of us head to the slopes or cuddle in front of a cozy fireplace. But for some residents of Summit County, winter is a time of long cold nights spent in places where heat is an unaffordable luxury.

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There are a number of excellent organizations throughout Summit County to help with food, clothing and housing. I encourage you to volunteer with one that speaks to your heart. So why does knitting speak to mine and why do I encourage you to join me in this knitting project?

When you have little joy in life, when each day is spent gathering the bare necessities to get by, when your clothes are bought at a thrift store and you have to count coins to buy something to eat at the end of the month, it wears you down physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is when small things of beauty and comfort can be hardest to find, but also most needed because they may be the only evidence of hope.

To discover a beautiful hand-knit scarf on a bench with a note addressed to you is a happy surprise when happiness is rare. It is practical because it keeps you warm. But it is also a luxury because it tells you that someone is thinking of you, has cared enough to spend hours knitting, just for you.

I want to spread a blanket of love this winter, and I want you to be a part of it. God calls us to, "Be good to everyone." (Galatians 6:10) The beauty of this knitting project, and other volunteer projects for that matter, is we are demonstrating God's love for our neighbor without qualification. We are anonymous givers, which is a beautifully selfless way to give.

If you're a knitting novice, create a simple scarf, using the knit stitch, 8 inches wide and 36 inches long. Attach a handwritten note to the scarf that shares a simple message, such as, "If you're cold, take me, I'm yours," or better yet, write something from your heart. Then leave the scarf in a place where it will be found by someone who needs it.

If you'd like a more challenging project, we need baby blankets, newborn baby hats and prayer shawls. Each one will be distributed to organizations in Summit County that will place them directly in the hands of women and children who will be grateful and warmed by your loving handiwork. You can leave your finished projects at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Breckenridge or at Our Lady of Peace in Silverthorne. We'll make sure your knitting (or crocheting!) gets to an organization that needs it.

If you need to learn how to knit, contact me, we can meet at Next Page on a Wednesday afternoon, and I'll be happy to teach you how to make a simple scarf. The Great Summit County Knit-A-Long is the perfect project for individuals from age 7 to 100, church groups or schools. Let me know how I can help you and I'll be there. I have yarn and knitting needles that have been donated and I'm happy to provide them for your project. I hope you'll send me an email with your pictures, I'd like to share them in this column.

We share God's love when we share what we have with those who have little or who have much but need love. I hope you will join me in sharing God's love this winter.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson is the author of 10 books, available at Next Page Books and Nosh, in Frisco. She lives in Breckenridge.

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