Mom recently forwarded an email my way:
Hi, Jo! A couple of months ago in one of your “Ask Jo” posts, you mentioned one of your daughters was doing a 26.1 mile marathon of crocheting for charity. I think it was Kayla. I wondered if you might be able to ask her to share more info about that including some of the caps or other items she might be crocheting. That sounded so interesting! I love quilting, but I also love to crochet.
Thanks, Brenda in KY
Hi Brenda! Of course I’m happy to share more about my Charity Marathon! It comes with a little back story…
For some reason my last birthday hit me really hard. I’m getting to be an age where people aren’t impressed by what the adorable young person is doing anymore and instead I’m blending in to a big world of adults. I have a good job, good marriage, nice house, nice pets. It hit me that I was on the fast track to being very average and I just wasn’t ready to settle down yet!
On July 31 it hit me that I had spent six months of my life in a slump so I decided to do something about it. Crafting has always brought me peace. I needed a way to quit moping around for myself and think about others instead. So I merged the two needs into my Charity Marathon: My goal to craft 26.2 miles of yarn into items to give to away over the course of a year.
July 31 was during the quilt retreat and I got a little high off all of the creative energy. I started telling people about my goal before I had time to calculate what a huge task it would be. When I did the math I realized that I would be using 46,112 yards of yarn! To put that in perspective, that is about 130 skeins of my favorite acrylic yarn, Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn in worsted weight.
Now I’m three months and 5.2 miles in. According to my trusty spreadsheet that means I’m 20% of the way finished with my marathon. I have donated 88 items to various charities and have a trash bag full of items waiting to be washed and packaged. I’m pretty sure I’ve completed more projects in the last three months than I have in my whole life! It has been an amazing shift.
My favorite things to make are baby hats. I made several for Click for Babies, a campaign to end Shaken Baby Syndrome by distributing purple hats to parents who complete the Purple Period of Crying curriculum. I also make hats for The Preemie Project, who hosts different drives throughout the year. So far I’ve contributed to the CyHawk challenge (I was assured I singlehandedly outfitted the Cyclone fans), Boo in the NICU, and now I’m busy with the Winter Holiday drive. The Preemie Project also collects bereavement items. I have made many miscarriage blankies, which are no fun to make but bring great comfort to grieving families.
I prefer to crochet because it uses a lot more yarn much more quickly, but have crocheted myself into tendinitis! I’ve been “cross training” with some knitting projects in between. I love this free pattern from She Makes Hats and have made a few to send to Syrian refugees. I keep a ball of purple yarn in my purse and am always working on this Skinny Rib Baby Hat for Click for Babies. I also am working on a knit afghan.
As I work I have been sharing free patterns on my blog, Pins’s Needles. (My married last name is Pins. How perfect is that?!) I post pictures of every item I finish (as well as pictures of dogs, houseplants, and glassware thrifts) to my Instagram. You can follow my marathon progress on my Kayla’s Charity Marathon Facebook Page as well.
I hope that helps, Brenda! I love talking about crafting to whoever listens, so contact me with any questions!