It begins...

A friend recently forwarded an email to me titled "The Invisible Mother," a short essay comparing the tireless and often thankless job of a mother to the builders of Europe's great cathedrals. Both give their whole lives for a work they will never see finished, both make sacrifices and expect no credit, and both are fueled in their passion by the faith that the eyes of God see every detail. The writer of the essay was inspired by the thought that our endless efforts in motherhood, invisible as they may seem, are worth it and can make an enriching life.

For many of us, the way we choose to hold our invisibility at bay is by creating something tangible. For me, my days often end with knitting - my love of fiber and the need to do something relaxing end up producing something I can hold and look at. Nobody will know how many times I swept under the high chair that day, or how many toys I picked up, or how many times I tried to coax a "please" or "more" or "sorry" out of my 5 year old. But a darling, handmade infant hat? That you can see.

I start new projects every day, and my 10 year old does the same. In this process of creating (and yes, often not finishing our projects!) we connect with each other and a bigger picture of ourselves in the process. My plan for this blog is to share the projects that excite me and bring some accessible proof of my existence in this invisible world of mothering!

So, this blog is dedicated to the mothers out there whose days are filled with the minutia of tasks that build our children and our families. I often tell people that I haven't decided what I want to be when I grow up. But for now, I am the builder of a great cathedral. With every shoelace tied, lunch packed, and forehead kissed, I build.

And I can hardly wait to create something new...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hugs of Fiber and Fleece

When Rowan was born 7 years ago, I was overcome by so many emotions it was hard to process them all. One of the most overwhelming experiences I had as a brand new mother revolved around the sudden urge to care for all the children of the world, not just my own.  Rowan had everything she needed - loving parents, a warm home, as much milk as she wanted, and more clothes than I knew what to do with. It hit me like a ton of bricks in those first days she was home that so many of the world's children don't have those things.  So many children suffer from lack of warmth, lack of security, lack of love. As a caring person, you can be heartbroken over their plight, but I don't think it really sinks in until you are holding your own child in your arms and the thought of them in danger or suffering is almost more than you can bear.

Once I started to knit in earnest, I realized that there are only so many homemade gifts you can make for people before you run out of projects. You can either fill drawers and boxes with finished products no one will ever see, or you can knit for charity. When I first read the book, Knitting for Peace by Betty Christiansen, I felt like I could finally do my part to care for the children of the world. I've made countless sweaters, socks, and hats to be sent far and wide to different charities, and with each item sent out I can take a breath and hope that perhaps one more small life will be affected in a positive way. I will hug all those children with the tiny loops and stitches I knit for them.
"afghans for Afghans" Child's Vest - 2007
"Caps for Kids" Hats - 2007
It seems that when I am not caring for my own children, I am trying to reach out to any other children I can.  In my current roles as a Daisy Girl Scout leader and as the Service Project Coordinator for my Moms Club, I decided I wanted give many of the children in my life the first-hand experience of helping kids in need. An organization I have always wanted to get involved with is Project Linus (, a group whose mission is to "provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer "blanketeers."  So, when fleece fabric went on sale I filled my dining room! I spent about 12 hours "prepping" the fleece for my Girl Scout troop, and last month they finished 26 blankets. With help from several mom friends, we have prepped countless more blankets to be completed next week at our Moms Club gathering.
A Daisy Hard at Work!
"Prepping" the fleece basically means we had to cut the selvage edges off and create a perfect (well, as close to it as we could!) rectangle of fabric using the specifications from Project Linus. Then each end of the blankets need to have 1" wide strips cut 4 inches deep, with a notch cut in the top of each one. The Girl Scouts and Moms Club kids simply have to take each strip, tuck it into the notch and pull through to create a fringed edge that makes the blanket look complete. 

From the moment I became Rowan's Girl Scout Leader and realized I would be helping the girls earn their light green Daisy petal: Considerate and Caring, I knew I wanted to involve them with Project Linus. The girls had so much fun creating the blankets as part of this important lesson and loved the idea they were helping an unknown child. It was hard for some of them to part with the finished blanket, but I had planned ahead! Each girl got a remnant from the fabric they had chosen to work on. On each remnant I put a label with their name and a little poem I wrote:

  Today I made a blanket for another child in need.
I’m considerate and caring, as all Daisy Scouts should be!
This little bit of extra was left when I was done
I will keep it to remember that giving can be fun!

Their eyes lit up when they learned they would get to take a little piece of the experience with them. Rowan has decided she wants to make a quilt out of the leftover fleece remnants, and has told me she wants to keep the label with the poem on it to remember.  Yeah, I'd say it's been worth it!

Finished Daisy Scout Blankets
So, hopefully all these kids in my life will have their hearts expanded just a little bit more by taking part in this project. For many of them it is hard to imagine the situations that children less fortunate than themselves face, so it is a peek into a world that we try to shelter them from. Hopefully they will come out of it feeling part of a bigger picture, knowing that their own two hands can make a difference to someone. We'll be wrapping fleece hugs around 65 children who desperately need them. One by one, we'll touch lives with love and warmth. :) And I breathe a little easier.  


  1. Awww, that is just a wonderfully heartwarming post, Heather. Love seeing and reading about the projects made both by your hands and the little ones you are guiding so expertly into being thoughtful, caring citizens.

  2. You can be sure that all your hard work is apprieciated by those that need it. Living here in South Africa, I see daily those that live in shacks with no "comforts" such as running water or heat. Those blankets will make many people happy!!! Anne