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Updated: 2 hours 52 min ago

Team Knit 2024

Thu, 07/04/2024 - 14:09

I have always been, much to my own disappointment and that of my mother, a person who is a rather vulnerable to criticism. My grandfather thought that criticism was valuable and told you a lot about where you should be putting your energy if you’re trying to improve yourself, and maybe because I’m a bit weak or maybe because I took that a little too seriously, I have always taken the things that people say about me right to heart, and tried to do something with it. I think that this has worked on some things – but there’s a whole raft of other stuff about me that just seems intractable no matter now many times I vow to be the sort of person with a really tidy house who also doesn’t talk too much. Usually, when I confess that I’m sort of vulnerable this way all sorts of people try to reassure me that I’m pretty great and I shouldn’t worry about what other people think, and that’s super nice of them. I appreciate it a lot, while also not being able to really think that’s true. Caring what other people think is important to me and the civil society I’d like to live in, and I care what you think of me, and for the most part I think I’m better for it, especially as I get older and work out exactly which opinions matter, and which are differences of opinion that I’m kinda proud of.

Now, I’ve written before how being someone who takes criticism easily to heart makes it really hard to be a writer, especially one who gets to read her reviews right here on the blog, or in my inbox. It can make me nervous about writing in general and well – I think I’m always going to struggle with that. So a while ago I went to write to you about the Bike Rally and Team Knit this year, and to tell you that I’m going to try and blog about everything as frequently as I’m able in exchange for donations, and stopped, and didn’t. See, I received a comment from someone that said that she felt this blog only existed to be a personal go fund me for the Bike Rally (that’s an oxymoron by the way, you can’t have a personal fundraiser that’s for a charity the money is going to the charity for crying out loud I’m not buying shoes) and I realized that if I posted now she could think I was doing just as she said, and I worried that she would have more criticism that hurt my feelings and I didn’t post. This went on for a while even though this reader said she was deleting me and wasn’t going to read anymore, because I’ve always figured that if one person leaves a comment, they’re really speaking on behalf of a bunch of knitters who feel the same way but can’t be arsed to leave a comment. (This is like me believing that all spiders are hiding a secret ability to jump. You can’t tell me otherwise, despite evidence to the contrary- I said it was a secret.) It doesn’t matter if that’s true or not, because I realized something shocking about it yesterday, and here it comes.

I don’t care.

Even if every little bit of that is true, and I am only using the blog as a fundraiser at the moment, do you know what? That’s a great legacy. That’s an amazing thing for this blog to do. If that is the culmination of twenty years of blogging – that I’ve told you the story of my knitting and this family for two decades and created a platform that exists so that knitters can make the world a better place? Sign me up. Send me the tee-shirt. Cool beans, I’m in, I think that I like that about me.

I have also been kinda bummed about the world lately- and somehow it has felt to me like there are so many problems right now that it is impossible to write fairly about anything. If I write about the climate aren’t I ignoring Gaza? If I write about Gaza then I am a boor who must turn my attention to Ukraine, and how could we overlook the Sudan – do you even care about Niger? Do you know the temperature of the Atlantic ocean? Aren’t politics keeping you up at night? Are you worried about eroding human rights? It feels to me many days like the world is completely out of control and these problems are so many and so big that it can feel hard to do anything about any of it. Luckily though, I am a knitter and so are you (probably) and that means that unlike a lot of people, we have an antidote. Team Knit.

Team Knit is a little group of knitters (mostly in my family) who every year, ride their bikes from Toronto to Montreal (that’s 660km – or 410 miles, for my American friends) to raise funds for PWA. (Toronto People with AIDS foundation.) This year Team Knit is:

Me. (Stephanie)

Ken (like always)

Cameron*

Jen (welcome back Jen, it’s been 8 years)

Fenner (Jen’s kid, now a whopping 16 years old and old enough!)

*Quick note about Cam- he has an injury this year that’s preventing him from riding. He’s still dedicated to the ride and the cause, so he’s signed up as crew and will spend the six days making the ride go from another angle.

How is that an antidote? Glad you asked. In fundraising – what I was just writing about is a big, big part of what fundraisers are trying to overcome. The problem that almost nobody has a spare few million dollars, and that means that most donations are going to be rather smaller than that, to say the least. Now, most humans are smart enough to look at a problem and realize that some money would go a long way to helping, but understand that it would be a lot of money. Then they realize that they don’t have a lot of money, they just can spare a little bit, and don’t donate, because there’s no way that $10 can solve the problem, and so they don’t give anything. There’s other people though – people who understand the concept of “cumulative action” – and those people are different. Those people have learned somehow, through experience or education, that a small action isn’t futile, if it’s combined with many other small actions, and those people will indeed take a small action or make a small gift because they know their little piece is an essential part of something big. Fundraisers love these people – this kind of person creates really differences in the world, and guess what.

All knitters understand Cumulative Action. Every, single one of them. Knitting teaches you that one small action does matter. That one small action, like knitting a stitch, isn’t unimportant. It’s vital. One small action repeated many times is a sweater. Or a shawl. Or a pair of socks to hold the feet of someone you love, and that idea? The concept of cumulative action? It makes knitters the most remarkable fundraisers of all. Other groups, they have to rely on the small part of their community that understands that… knitters? Our whole group gets it. Our whole group sees that one small thing – put together with many other things can create something enormous, and wonderful, and magical.

More than this, there is a bonus, and it is that this feels great. Taking a small action that becomes huge in cooperation with your community is a remarkable way for people to know what it must feel like to make huge gifts, to be a philanthropist, to know that they are actually taking an action big enough to create real, tangible change and difference in the world, to be someone who is shaping that world- to lift the feeling that nothing matters, that you can’t do anything, that it’s all out of your control. It’s not. It’s not at all. You’re just not going to do it by yourself.

Please give if you can. As always, I believe there are so many ways to help – the wave of cumulative action roars fastest with lots of us. If you can’t afford to give, please help by spreading the word, telling a friend, asking a business, or reaching out to any billionaires you may know. You’re Team Knit, let’s go.

(I forgot to tell you about the deal. For every $1000 we raise, I’ll write one blog post. It’s a small thing, but it’s something I can do.)

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