On June 18, I spent a day grieving. That morning, I had awakened to the news that 9 people had been gunned down the previous evening at their church while attending a prayer meeting and Bible study. As the day wore on, I learned that the victims were 9 African-Americans meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the oldest AME church in the south. And their gunman was a white supremacist. It was horrific, the sort of thing you don’t think should happen in 2015. During the course of the day, I read a tweet about donations to the AME church. Late in the day I clicked the link and was taken to the home page of the church. I gazed sadly at the photo of the church. It looked like it could be any church. It broke my heart. And then, instinctively, I picked up my knitting needles. Has this ever happened to you? You read about a tragedy somewhere, anywhere, in your own country or halfway around the world, and the first thing you think to do is start knitting? It happened to me. The first thing I thought of was prayer shawls. But then I thought, I’ve only knitted 3 shawls my whole life, and they all took a long time to complete. I wanted something a little quicker, yet still capable of providing comfort.
And then I remembered this pattern: the Praying Hands Cloth. It was one of the first patterns I had ever knitted when I first became interested in charity knitting. But that was a mere year or so into my knitting career, so to speak. I had a feeling I could turn out these cloths more quickly now than I had then. Here are two that I’ve knitted. My original plan was to knit 9, one for each victim. But I’m thinking that I’ll knit 3 more, for each of the survivors. Three people have to live with the memories of that day as well as the grief of losing nine loved ones. The point of this is to offer a measure of comfort to these victims and families. I want to let them know that they are loved, that they are being prayed for and thought of every day, that they don’t grieve alone. I hope that these prayer cloths will be a tangible reminder of that for them. I know this is a different kind of article than what I usually write here at Knitting for Charity. But I wanted to share my own experience of what has driven me to knit for charity. And I want to invite anyone reading to share their own. Has something recently (or long ago) driven you to knit for charity? I’d love to read and share your story. Please feel free to email me at knittingnuggets(at)gmail.com if you’d like to share.