Hurrah for knitters! Since the Heart On My Sleeve ebook launch in February, we’ve sold over 3200 ebooks and donated all of the income (a whopping total of $53,745 USD) to the Against Malaria Foundation. The funds raised so far will buy over 22,000 long-lasting insecticidal bed nets which are set to be distributed in Malawi, Papua New Guinea, and Uganda (it’s easy to track the distribution of the funds we’ve raised on the Against Malaria website).
In human terms, this means that the entire populations of 70-80 villages have been protected through our efforts. These are people who would not have been safe from malaria, who now are. Malaria most affects children under 5 and pregnant women, for some of these people our donations will mean the difference between having their toddler or pregnant sister die of this preventable disease, or live to adulthood. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the impact of each dollar raised is not trivial.
Every two weeks as I transfer the period’s earnings to the Against Malaria Foundation, it lifts my spirits a little to be doing something positive. So many in this world suffer such hardship, and learning of these hardships while I sit and knit in comfort and safety can engender a feeling of disconnect.
I personally struggle with this. I experience a resistance to look, an anxiety about opening my eyes to the harsher realities of the world around me. Often when I learn a little about the children and babies dying needlessly of a preventable disease like malaria, about waves of people being displaced from no-longer-safe homes, about our destruction of environments and the suffering of working poor and oppressed folk in my own community I feel a need to shelter myself within my own little bubble of happy (privileged) existence.
I find the only way to keep eyes open and at the same time maintain the emotional balance needed to take care of myself and my family is to focus on one action at a time. We, all of us, are only able to act in small ways. As parents, Alexa and I feel that there is nothing we wouldn’t do to protect our children, and sought a way to extend that concept of care beyond our own personal circle.
Alexa and I decided one way to act was to coordinate Heart On My Sleeve to raise funds for the Against Malaria Foundation. This project allowed us to do what we were already good at (knit design) and contribute to a cause outside of our immediate families. Obviously our impulse resonated with other designers, as 7 others jumped wholeheartedly on board with our idea, and each contributed a design. Once more I’d like to thank Shannon Cook, Romi Hill, Bristol Ivy, Tanis Lavallée, Joji Locatelli, Jane Richmond, and Ysolda Teague, and for their generous contribution of a pattern. Learn more about the contributing designers here.
On a personal note, Alexa and I have enjoyed the connections this project has initiated and grown. I’ve gotten to know Bristol Ivy a little bit better (check out her lovely new book!). I’ve enjoyed the chance to work with Ysolda, who lives here in Edinburgh (her hometown, and my adopted hometown) and is thus able to meet up for knitting dates every so often. We photographed her and Max in the Hearthstone sweater at the National Museum of Scotland, and there was so much running around! Some of the best photos were shot by her 7-year-old sister, Lolita! Obviously creative talent runs in the family.
While visiting family in Victoria, I enjoyed a beautiful afternoon at the photographing Jane Richmond whose collaboration with Shannon Cook epitomizes the relaxed-beachy-casual that I love Vancouver Island for. I was ecstatic to work with Romi Hill (one of my design idols!) and Alexa had the chance to hug her IRL at Knit City this year. I also absolutely loved throwing colour at Tanis Lavallée’s brilliant colourwork design, Crazyheart, when I knit one for Max.
And last but definitely not least, Alexa had a chance to meet up with Joji and Veera, along with Felicia of SweetGeorgia Yarns, while they were visiting Vancouver! It was a wonderful year for us to get to know some of the designers we have admired from afar a little bit better. All involved were so happy to contribute and so generous of their time and talents. It really was a joy to put this project together.
Gift a copy of Heart On My Sleeve today!
Heart On My Sleeve is a one-year fundraiser; after February 2018, the ebook will no longer be available. So get your copy right now! If you’ve already supported this project, thank you so much! If you want to contribute further, you can always donate directly to the Against Malaria Foundation here.
We will be hosting a Heart On My Sleeve KAL starting in mid January, 2018. If you’re an advance planner, get a copy of the book now, and add a sweater’s worth of yarn to your wish list! If you’re looking for a perfect gift for a knitter near to your heart, I’d suggest you gift them a copy of the ebook, and make a plan to participate in the KAL together.
A few of my favourite knitter’s projects made from the Heart On My Sleeve collection are featured on in this Pinterest board:
Knitting as action, knitting as comfort
In the face of the seemingly overwhelming suffering in the world around us, how do you act?
Does the stitch-by-stitch rhythm of knitting bring you comfort in the face of things that you cannot change?
Some of the lovely designs from Heart On My Sleeve: