There comes a moment of reckoning in every crafter's life, when "the stash" threatens to take over the house and decisions must be made. Hard decisions. My moment came almost six years ago, when little sister Dianne came for a visit and offered to help me organize my craft room.

It turned into an intervention.

"Honey, you need to give up some of this yarn," she said in her most placating voice.

"Give up? Yarn?" My brain couldn't put the two concepts together.

"What about these?" she asked, holding up two matching skeins.

"Bernice and Heather?" I said, snatching them from her. "Shhhh. They'll hear you." OK, so maybe I needed an intervention.

Here's the problem: There are only so many relatives and friends for whom one can knit a pair of socks or crochet an afghan. When one has reached maximum handmade density in one's circle, one is stymied.

This doesn't, however, stop one from buying more yarn. Particularly if one is a self-described yarn addict.

My solution was to start a charity crafting group. Rather than give up any of my precious yarn, I would find those who could benefit from my handmade bounty.

The group, called With Love, attracted several hangers-on, and we began seeking out those who could use our services. We found there were many: several cancer groups wanted pink scarves; Living On needed shawls and lap robes for those who had lost a loved one to violence; AARC needed Christmas gifts; various groups needed handmade items for silent auctions.

When we hooked up with Carrie's Kids, we found a world of need: hundreds of homeless children tucked into various motels and shelters, dozens of homeless teenagers separated from their families and couch-surfing at friends' houses or living in their cars. This led us to our signature event, the shoeboxes we produce every Christmas for homeless teens that include handmade hats and scarves, gloves, personal care items, snacks, small gifts and gift cards.

We've adopted a nursing home for several Christmases, and we donate food to a local food pantry. We also jump in when families fall through the cracks, delivering vanloads of food, clothes and household goods -- whatever is needed.

Our endeavors are funded through sales of our handmade items at crafts shows and several mega yard sales per year.

The bad news is that our membership is dwindling. Old age has claimed a few members, and others have moved away. With my imminent defection to Kentucky, new leader Susan Blaney finds herself in charge of a very small group.

With Love needs volunteers -- both crafters and others to help out at a few yard sales per year -- as well as donations of yarn, fabric and merchandise for shoeboxes and other efforts. There are no dues and very few meetings, and crafters create what they want and as much as they like to boost our inventory.

Interested in contributing to a charity where 100 percent of collections goes to help those in your community? Contact Susan at demkeblaney@hotmail.com.



 
Reach Derri Scarlett at derriscarlett@yahoo.com.