Wednesday, September 20, 2006

No-Bull Book Review: Knitting for Peace

I have to confess that I wasn't quite sure what "knitting for peace" was before reading Knitting for Peace, by Betty Christiansen (Stewart Tabori & Chang). Was it making afghans with intarsia peace symbols? Knitting protest signs with slogans added in duplicate stitch? Was it simply a serene state of mind?

No, no and no. The knitting in Knitting for Peace is what most knitters I know call "charity knitting" -- knitting for groups that distribute the items to people who are in need of them. I suppose some people aren't crazy about the phrase "charity knitting," since "charity" seems to have developed a not-entirely-nice context, a ring of condescension or "let them eat cake Red Heart." Whatever the reason, this book chooses to call it "knitting for peace."

Now I know that there are knitters out there who just don't like the whole "knitting for charity/peace" movement. Some of them resist the notion that anyone who knits or crochets has some kind of moral obligation to craft for others, particular others they don't know. (Do stamp collectors have groups where they, um, donate stamps to charity? Do scrappers make homeless people albums so they can remember all the warm fuzzy times in the shelter?) Some don't mind the idea of knitting for charitable organizations but they dislike talking about it, feeling that good works are best done quietly and anonymously. Still others question the utility of such groups; "I'd be more inclined to knit for a charity," one knitter told me, "if I was sure the recipients really wanted the stuff they were given."* But obviously there are many other knitters who enjoy the fellowship that these groups provide, who get motivated by sharing patterns and talking with others and playing "show and tell" with finished items. So recognizing that people in the first three categories might not be interested in the subject matter of this book, and recognizing that people in the last category will, let's talk turkey.

My first impression of Knitting for Peace was how the size (about 8 1/2 inches square) and the feel of the binding reminded me of a photo album or journal. Probably this was deliberately done to evoke a rosy, intimate glow. The second thing I noticed -- and this is a very tough one to overcome -- is that from a typeface standpoint, Knitting for Peace is one of the most difficult knitting books I've ever tried to read. The print is, to put it bluntly, microscopic.

Check out that footnote: I defy anyone except Superman to read that sucker without a magnifying glass or the zoom function on their monitor. It makes the words on the penny look big.

Unfortunately, two stylistic choices make reading the teeny text even more challenging: the ink isn't black but rather a lighter shade of gray, and many of the pages are not white but are colored. (Heavens, do I mean "pages of color"?) I have decent vision and don't regularly wear glasses, but I struggled to read this book in the evening, sitting right next to a good reading lamp. This is a real shame, because I think a lot of readers are going to find the optometric strain an insurmountable challenge to this book.

On to content.

The first chapter of the book, called "Peace and War," is devoted to wartime knitting, beginning with an historical overview of American knitters contributing to various war efforts. The author then highlights several organizations whose knitting mission is loosely themed around war: organizations that provide knitted socks for soldiers stationed overseas, a woman who uses tiny knit sweaters to create an installation piece memorializing the number of American casualties in Iraq, even a group which stages knit-ins to protest globalization. The chapter ends with a pattern for a felted messenger bag; though it's a perfectly serviceable pattern, it seems a bit out of place since there isn't any logical connection between knitting a bag for oneself and knitting for peace (at least not that I could discern).

The second chapter is called "Knitting on Earth," and looks at organizations that try to benefit needy or impoverished citizens across the world. It was an interesting choice to include two knitting-related businesses, Peace Fleece and Lantern Moon, due to their outreach-oriented business philosophies. (Peace Fleece sells yarn that is made by blending American wool with Russian wool, as well buttons and knitting needles produced by overseas artisans. Lantern Moon seeks to provide economic opportunities for Vietnamese women and their families by selling handmade needles, baskets and other accessories.) In addition, organizations like Afghans for Afghans, which provides warm clothing for Afghani citizens, and RwandaKnits, which seeks to create economic opportunities for African women by teaching them knitting skills, are profiled. Patterns for an Afghans for Afghans approved vest and a pair of socks made from Peace Fleece are included, as well as contact information and requirements for these organizations.

"Peace at Home" profiles such diverse organizations as prison-knitting programs, knitting chemo caps, knitting for native american elders, prayer shawl ministries, knitting snuggles for shelter animals and knitting for the homeless. Appropriate patterns, e.g., a prayer shawl, an afghan, a chemo cap, are included.

The next chapter is "Peace for Kids" -- highlighting, you guessed it, organizations that benefit children, such as preemie knitting and Caps for Kids. You can see where this is going, I'm sure.

The last chapter is "Knit for Peace," and provides some tips for finding charitable knitting groups either via Internet or locally. A basic mitten pattern and rolled-brim cap pattern are provided in this chapter. And I am pleased to say that there is no how-to-knit section in this book (at last!).

This is a perfectly nice book, and it is devoted to a topic that is near and dear to many (but not all) knitter's hearts. It is very much designed to whet the knitter's appetite for charity knitting and to provide some basic tips for how to get started. That's fine as far as it goes. You wouldn't buy this book for the patterns (and I mean no disrespect to the author); the patterns presented are extremely basic and a quick internet search would yield you free versions (in some cases, identical versions) of them. While the historical background of charity knitting is interesting and nicely written, reading No Idle Hands and a few on-line or magazine articles about charity knitting would net you most of the same information. And when it comes to specifications for the charities themselves, a conscientious charity knitter would want to check the organization's website anyway, to make sure that (s)he is following the most up-to-date requirements for the group, in case needs change. Perhaps the best result of the book is that some worthwhile organizations will get some publicity and some donations to further their work. Is that enough to convince you to buy the book? You'll have to decide.

*A propos of this, I can tell you that some charitable groups who collect knitted and crocheted items are regularly given items that do not comply with their specified guidelines, like scores of lacy pink hats for (mostly male) soldiers, or lightweight cotton caps that won't help in an extremely cold climate where all-wool items are requested. To add insult to injury, the donors sometimes say things like "Well, beggars can't be choosers," or "they should be happy with anything we give them." Real charitable, huh?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I'm generally of the mind that "knitting for charity" is an exercise in vanity, but there are definite exceptions (like the Dulaan Project and other very-very-very-warm-items groups - a knitter can produce double-knit accessories or super-warm alpaca sweaters much more easily and cheaply than the organization could track them down with monetary donations. I don't think I've ever sseen a commercial alpaca sweater!). I doubt I'll buy the book, but, honestly, any book on being charitable is OK by me, small print or not.

Gail said...

Great review! I saw this book on Sun. at the NYC Knit-Out, and I feel it's just one more in the tide of beginner based books flooding the market. I appreciate the author's intentions, but, can't we get anything more engaging for our knitting buck? Just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Janice in GA said...

We had a bit of discussion on our local SnB list about "craftivism" -- crafts+activism. Some folks felt it was a stupid and self-serving idea. Others saw no problem with it.

My personal feel is that if your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And so you get folks sending frilly pink hats to soldiers, just because they "can."

Elizabeth said...

I'm in the camp that doesn't get the whole charity knitting thing. Maybe if I heard some heart-warming testimonials from the recipients (love the scrap book analogy!) I might think it matters more.

In the 90s I heard a lot of talk about things like making quilts for babies with AIDS. I always figured the baby would be just as happy in a factory made baby-blanket. If I was going to make something for an AIDS patient, I would much rather make a sweater for an adult who would appreciate the difference between a hand-made one and a store-bought one. Maybe that's just my ego peeking through.

I do really applaud the efforts of Lantern Moon, Manos del Uruguay, and others to introduce a marketable hand-craft to people who need to find a way to earn cash.

Thanks for another great review!

MsAmpuTeeHee said...

Thanks for a great review. Helpful and informative, as always...and definitely food for thought for me personally, as I am in the beginning stages of arranging a small donation project myself.
Warmly~ bonnie

Unknown said...

Ugh!...I'll pass on this one. I fall into the camp of folks that thinks charity ought to be personal and not broadcast.

A knitting/spinning acquaintance who has very fine taste was given a prayer afghan after a group found out he was battling cancer. I can only imagine what he did with this acrylic wonder.

Bridget said...

I am happy to read this review. I think I'll probably skip this book, as I am likely to look for myself for organizations/causes when I want to knit something as a donation/contribution/whatever.

A couple of years ago, when I was going into the hospital for some pretty serious surgery, a co-workers' mother knit me a prayer shawl. It was purple acrylic, with a cross motif knitted in. Not something I would have chosen, or made for myself, but I was *extremely* touched, and my gratitude for the gesture was genuine.

I later gave it to a friend who thought it was beautiful, which really pleased me.

I think that "quiet" charity is the best charity personally, but have no problem with sharing the information about worthy causes with other knitters, or having them share it with me.

Dorothy Neville said...

when I was a kid during a very bad year, I was the unfortunate recipient of a christmas present from the ladies auxillary --- the ugliest outfit I could have imagined. would have prefered nothing to the idea that someone would actually pick that out for me. just rubbed it in that we were poor and unfortunate. clearly it was purchased because it was affordable. and pink, don't all girls want pink?

so when we give toys for tots, I splurge on quality toys. and I do knit a bit for Dulaan, but am conscious of the fact a real person is on the other end. I try to make sure the hat is both warm and attractive. I'm still a novice knitter, so I appreciate that there's some simple knitting I can do that might help someone.

sounds like this book is a fluff piece. would have been interesting to have it discuss some controversy about charity knitting as you do. And wouldn't it be good if it did some real journalism and interviewed some recipient organizations or actual recipients?

Diane said...

Looks like a way for the author to make some money on info that a couple minutes of web surfing would bring.

I think charity knitting is great but you have to make sure you use great care to produce a quality, needed product following the guidelines set by the group. I probably take more time selecting yarn combinations for charity projects than my own.

Mel said...

I do a fair bit of charity knitting, more than I knit for myself. I try to knit to the requirements of the project and generally use yarns that I like and feel will be nice for someone else.

On some level, I agree that it should be a personal - i.e., selfless - act. On the other hand, talking or blogging about what you're knitting is a way of creating and maintaining awareness of a particular organization or project. If everyone knitting for Dulaan were to keep quiet, how successful would the project be?

Sherry W said...

I don't mind charity knitting. However, I do kind of feel knitters are especially targeted. It's all over podcasts, newsgroups, etc. It's almost like we are expected to knit for every charity that comes down the pike.

The subject of charity is interesting! In college I worked with a charity organization and I don't think charity should BE a selfless act. I think it's perfectly fine to be enriched by the service experience! It's a win-win. I understand tooting your own horn is annoying, but you don't have to suffer to perform good works either!

Patience said...

Nice review and good comments. I find I make most of my charity things for Afghans for Afghans given that I work in wool and most American organizations (that I've found) want acrylic or easy-care.

For me it's subway seat karma -- if I've got charity knitting in my briefcase, then a seat tends to open up. Either that, or after 11 years on the MBTA I've gotten canny about planting my butt quick.

Anonymous said...

I have put off commenting on this post. Simply because I feel so strongly about it.
I am stoutly against the idea of charity knitting (or crocheting).
Partly because of the way the donors feel compelled to talk about how very charitable they are, while making stuff, because it's charity out of CRAP.
Partly because I cannot imagine most of the CRAP is wanted by the
given-to. (in high school my son had a friend from Bosnia. what he and his fellow Bosnian refugee teens wanted was band t-shirts and music and snacks and books, not ugly acrylic hats and afghans)
Partly because I'm not so sure that what any victim of a tragedy, natural or manmade wants is a memento of that tragedy.
There's a ghastly crochet forum I've read where they're collecting THOUSANDS of acrylic squares to make afghans for Steve Irwin's family.
What self-absorbed misguided chutzpah.

And, no, I don't think it matters whether needy folks appreciate your handmade effort.
Charity is meant to do some good, not to make people tell you how much they admire your handiness.
They don't have to be worthy to receive.

Carol said...

When it comes to whether the person "appreciates" your effort, I guess there are two aspects of that. One -- is the item useful in any way? (If you get a warm, well-made wool cap and need one, I daresay you will appreciate it when your head is no longer cold.) Two -- does the recipient feel something beyond "I'm glad I have a hat", like "Wow, some stranger made this for me so maybe the world doesn't totally suck." Not necessarily "whoever made this is an amazing knitter and truly a wonderful person."

There are all kinds of groups that do all different kinds of things.
I belong to a yahoo group for The Ship's Project, and the moderator regularly sends very sweet emails from the soldiers who receive the items. They don't talk about how handy the makers of the items are, but rather the emotional lift from receiving something from a fellow American and the practical benefits of having warm socks or hats when their sleeping quarters are so cold. But this is an organization that works very closely with the intended recipients to ensure they get what they want and need, and won't send items that don't fit those requirements.

The variety of charity knitting groups is so wide I think it can be hard to generalize about them. I gravitate toward programs that are very practical-oriented. Some groups are better at targeting what is needed and what is not.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that a lot of charity knitting happens because of a complex of attitudes around knitting that have to do with its status as "women's work". These are all broad generalizations, and the attitudes are falling out of favor but still cling residually to the craft.

1) Women are expected to do and make things for others. But what do you do when the people in your family have all the socks they need?* You knit a pair for a soldier.

2) Women are not supposed to take time for themselves. So if you're sitting in the living room knitting to relax, and your husband comes in and seems annoyed by it, you can shut him down very effectively by saying, in your best reproachful tone, "It's for charity."

3) Women are supposed to be all nurturant and compassionate and stuff. What better way to do something you like while showing compassion than knitting for charity?

4) Women are supposed to be industrious. This runs into the family-has-enough-socks problem again, with the same solution.

Plus, for a lot of people it's a cheap way to feel virtuous and charitable without having to really be so--hence the crocheted afgans for a family that can't possibly need them.

I don't do charity knitting myself, but I have respect for people who do if they do it *right*. Make items that the charity can actually use, to the charity's specs, and you're golden.
Make acrylic afghan squares for someone who has no possible use for them, and you're a posturing schmuck.

*Don't laugh, it's happened to me. Liam doesn't need to wear any given pair of socks more often than once a month. They don't exactly wear out quickly either.

Carol said...

Fascinating comments, Carrie S. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Further to Carrie S's point, if you think about the social history of charity knitting, it also becomes apparent that "good works" like knitting for the poor was one of the easiest ways for pre-feminist women without jobs outside the home (or any other independent source of income) to do charity work.

In other words, if you weren't inclined to ask your husband for actual cash to donate, you could simply use some of your already-paid-for yarn stash to make something for the needy.

Carol said...

Well, back in the day, you COULDN'T go to Walmart and buy socks. The only way to provide them to the needy was to make them. Nowadays, when you can readily buy whatever garments you want fairly cheaply, I think the emotional message is as much a part of the giving as the physical item.

Anonymous said...

I think that charity knitting, like most other things, can be done well or poorly, depending on your attitude.

Think about it: you can donate gently used and well cared for clothing to Good Will, or you can donate clothes that are thread-bare and stained.

You can buy healthy and tasty things for the canned food drive, or you can use it as an excuse to clean out your kitchen cabinets.

If your motivation is to truly help the organization you're giving to, you'll take their mission and needs into account and give appropriately.

Anonymous said...

I don't do charity knitting, for all the reasons you have given above. Though I do have a daughter in the Army and she told me just yesterday that the wool/alpaca beanie that I knit and sent to her in Europe came in handy when she was in the field in the winter months. She wears it under her helmet. She has also given me "orders" for at least 5 more - just like the one she has for other soldiers she works with. That made me feel like I was doing a good thing for those guys and gals who serve our country overseas. It's not charity, just a good deed.

Anonymous said...

Oh by the way, the beanie is dark grey. It falls in the regulation colour for under her helmet. She said that brown would work also.

Anonymous said...

So, some people are farther along Maimonides ladder of charity than others. They will progress, one hopes. A project like Dulaan is something like a 3 - gave cheerfully and adequately when asked or maybe even up to a 7 - where the charity is anonymous, although blogging about giving kind of blows you down to a 3 again but at least it's not a 2 - gave grudgingly and inadequately when asked.

But most of us probably just like to knit and will use any excuse to do more. 8-) As for patterns, seems to me that Cottage Creations has 2 or 3 pattern books for "community knitting" - church fairs and charities both count, that are quite handy and sound superior to that book.

Lady Wyvern said...

It must be the time of year, because I just posted on this very subject last night in my blog. Guess it's that whole
"winter holiday" thing.
I have never, will never participate in these worldwide endeavors. There is too much need RIGHT HERE where I live for warm coats, sweaters, hats, blankets for me to send stuff around the world .
I will see a good majority of kids go to school every day without a coat, much less hats, gloves or scarves.
Charity begins at home and I know many disagree with me, go ahead, Im a big girl I can take it, but at least take a few minutes to read my entire blog entry.

Anonymous said...

hrdvmky and Dorothy said it well. As a kid, I was often on the receiving end of "charity" which is why I hate that damn word. My Ma has dementia, and the only thing she really remembers how to do, and enjoys doing is crocheting squares. So we keep her supplied with wool, and move the squares along where needed. She stays happy and unagitated. But we never never never buy the cheap ugly crappy yarn for her to work with. There is nothing uglier than the sentiment of "they're poor, they shouldn't be picky" which I sure had enough of to last me a lifetime by the time I was 6.
Barb B.

amy! said...

I guess I see a lot of these projects as opportunities to try a technique or skill and use up part of my stash that I wouldn't otherwise (that odd ball of yarn, which might be used for another project some day, but probably won't be exactly right). I want to learn double-knitting. I have extra wool. I'll make a hat or two with the technique and give them to Dulaan or Afghans. I also find something appealing about the bear drives. I like to make toys. I like to imagine the child smiling when they receive it.

But the area that I haven't seen addressed much is the more personal blog drives. The ones where someone's relative or friend is having a hard time, so someone asks for afghan squares. These seem to provoke large responses. Don't know if it's because we "know" the person who asked, or whether we get to see the end results with the posted photos and sometimes a thank you letter from the recipient. A little more tangible than, say, Warm Up America, for the same effort.

Anonymous said...

It's very true, there is a lot of misplaced charity, although it is meant well. Right after 9/11 the knitting world lit up with "what can we do" posts. A big, out of control, slouching monster of an effort to make throws for FDNY families took on a life of its own. Probably the last thing in the world the families who lost a firefighter needed, of course. Then, no one knew where to send them. Being a NY'er, I volunteered to collect them at my home - and since the FDNY didn't want/need them, I donated them equally to animal shelters and a local project that provides a take-home quilt or blankie to children who are victims of domestic abuse entering the foster system.
I understand the impulse to DO something, and like it said above, when the only tool is a hammer...however, anyone wanting to donate anything should think it through.

Anonymous said...

I guess after reading these comments, I'm a little concerned about all the pessimism.

My experience:
My dad (who died a month ago), was given a handmade afghan while in the cancer ward at the local hospital. No, he wasn't a fashionista, or had the best taste, which apparently makes a huge difference in the world of charity knitting and whether or not you appreciate a gift, but he did appreciate it. It kept him warm when he got cold. As simple as that!

I knit stuffed bears for kids who are affected by HIV/AIDS. Perhaps not every bear that is delivered is fabulously received, but I've personally seen pictures, read letters, etc showing that at least some of them are. I love the project because it lets me be creative, use new yarn, and helps me think that I brighten someone's day just a little.

I really hope that we can all step back from being so opinionated and think that perhaps people really do have good intentions with their charity knitting.

Carol said...

Oh, Anonymous, I would have emailed you privately if I could. I'm sorry about your dad.

There are all kinds of knitters in the world, and as people have said, they knit for others for all sorts of reasons, some good and some bad. I think being selective about the groups that one knits things for helps a great deal. Common sense helps a lot too: I mean, does Steve the Crocodile Hunter's family really want to receive 100 afghans in the mail? Or would one be better off knitting a warm cap and mittens for Dulaan? And I know there are folks who feel that knitting for people who may need warm clothes is an antidote to the frequent knitting-related acquisitiveness that you see so often (how big is your stash/look at all I bought/SABLE etc.).

I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from participating in an effort that really helps people.

Anonymous said...

I need to clear something up about one of these comments ..that ghastly crochet forum did not crochet THOUSANDS of squares for Steve Irwin's family...second a family friend is delivering it so if they chose not to accept it maybe they can auction it off for charity or for the Austrailan ZOO benefits

maylin said...

Thanks for a thoughtful review. One thing I haven't seen mentioned is the effect on the giver. I am of the opinion that even if the giving is misplaced the giver benefits and will develop into thinking more about the issues mentioned and become more aware. It might help us all to be more generous and compassionate and less suspicious, which in the end must be better surely? Not sure I expressed that very well, it just seems a bit hard to criticise people for doing something they feel is helping even if they get it 'wrong', give them time they will get it 'right'.

Anonymous said...

As a person who has received a charity blanket, let me say that it is most definitely the emotional aspect of it that is most important.

I received a baby blanket for my daughter when she was in the hospital as an infant, and although it was very simply made and not at all fancy, I cried just to know that someone, somewhere made something with their own hands out of love and now it surrounded my daughter with that love.

I did not know who made it, or left it on her crib. I still don't know, to this day.

They didn't know us. All they knew is that kids in the hospital might need something bright, cheery and easy to wash to comfort them and their families.

That's why these blankets are sometimes called "comfortghans" - it's not just about keeping warm. It's about emotional comfort, too. It's about feeling like every time you wrap your baby up, or wrap yourself up, you are getting hugs from the people who made it.

Is that schmaltzy and sweet? It probably is.

But until you've been in a time of need, and actually received a handmade item, you really don't know how appreciated it is.

A store bought blanket would not have been the same. I would not treasure it the way I do the blanket I keep on my now healthy four year old's bed. I would probably have given away a store bought blanket with all the other store bought baby blankets when she outgrew them.

I'm sorry that there are some people in this world that can't see that kindness is in the intention, not the material.

Oh, and I got tacky "charity" gifts when I was a kid, too. I knew the difference between real charity and some louse who was just wanting to clean out their closets and empty out their kids' old underwear drawer. Yes, I got used underwear once.

I like charity blankets much better.

Anonymous said...

Some of these comments floored me. Wow.

When I started writing about craftivism years ago, it was because I liked the notion that you can use your creative endeavours for positive change.

Do I advocate giving crap to charity? No. I think each think you give should be tailored to the charity and should be something you should wear/use yourself.

Do I donate anonymously? Yes. Because that's the least important thing about it. Who cares who did it? The point is that you did.

It's also about intention and the idea that with your stitches you can knit hope, love, strength whatever, making both the process and the product therapeutive.

It's about using your creativity in other ways and expanding that notion.

It's about what happens when you just want to knit scarves but have knit scarves for everyone you know and want to keep doing it.

It's about opening your eyes to the world-at-large, and not constantly bringing the focus inward.

Stephanie Forsyth said...

I never thought I would see the day that there would be some sort of "controversy" or argument over charity. Especially the comment about a friend (with good taste?) who recieved a prayer shawl and her saying she wonders what he did with the "acryllic wonder", wow, I would be ashamed of that comment. A lot of love and hope for wishing him well went into that shawl, and hopefully he came through all right, and came through with a sense of thankfulness that strangers were thinking good thoughts for him.

This is WHY we need a book like Knitting for Peace (charity, etc) because peoples hearts have become so guarded, jaded and self interested, that we NEED instruction books for being kind and giving humans. :(

Anonymous said...

Wow. While agree that doing for others is best done quietly and without spotlights, I can't believe the nasty little attitudes in some of these comments!
I am a nurse in a prenatal intensive care unit. Most of our babies are dangerously premature, abandoned, born to mothers who were using drugs while pregnant, etc. Alot of these babies will become wards of the state and placed into foster care until parents/family get themselves together or they are adopted.
We receive blankets and caps knitted and crocheted by a group of ladies representing 2 churches and 1 mosque who get together twice a month to make these items. They are simple, soft and beautifully made. We have yet to see one that is loud and tacky.
Our staff, the parents, caretakes- ALL of us - truly appreciate and are touched with these gifts. They are desperately needed and make a huge difference.
These blankets and caps mean even more BECAUSE they are handmade, and by people who do care and feel they want to help in some small way.
Isn't that better then hearing people moan and complain?

Anonymous said...

I actually picked out this book for my husband to buy me at Christmas time. I love this book. I love the idea of doing something as simple as knitting for peace. I am 57 and haven't knitted anything since I was 9 when I had to learn to knit in school. I am sick to death of war and fighting and killing. I am sick of this mess in Iraq. As a woman and a mother I want to give something positive to the world and work for peace and what nicer way than to knit a hat or a scarf or mittens for someone in the world who needs them?
I was diappointed by the negative and even spiteful comments about people who knit for charity. There's enough vileness in this world already without adding to it.
It's not about ego or "ugly yarn" it's about doing something to make the world a better place.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Stephanie. When I was doing a search for this, I was shocked reading some of these comments. How sad and cynical.

I like to knit for the Mother Bear project. Which I wouldn't have known about if someone hadn't posted about the bear they were working on. Is it purely selfless on my part? Well, no. I get pleasure out of it. It makes me feel good knowing I can make something that might give a lonely, sick or dying child some comfort. Even if I knit 20 bears and only 5 children really enjoy them and are comforted by them, then it's worth it to me.

Do I post about it? Sure I do. And hopefully someone who didn't know about it will see my post and decide to do it themselves.