Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Power of Love

by Joanna Campbell Slan

A recent New York Times article showed knitters creating orange and maroon blankets for the families of those killed in the Virginia Tech massacre.

I hope that many of you will join with me in knitting--or crocheting--at least one square. I believe you are reading this blog because you believe in the power of handmade articles. I know I do.

You see, every time I make something by hand, I make it with love. With every stitch (even those I pull out and start over), I add a prayer. Currently, I'm working on a tea cozy for my friend, Margaret, whose father in Scotland has taken a turn for the worse. Even when I’m not consciously thinking these loving thoughts, on some level, I am adding them in with every stitch.

And I know Margaret will be able to tell the tea cozy was made with love. It will do more than warm the teapot; it will warm her heart.

I know this about crafts because I still have little cotton purses my grandmother cross-stitched for me. I still run my fingers over the tiny Xs that spell my name, and I see her—vivid, real and oh-so-alive—in my mind’s eye. I know how something matters when it’s made with love because I’ve seen my son’s face light up when he looks at a scrapbook page that he’s the star of. I know how special a poncho is when it’s crocheted with love, because I know how much my sister Meg enjoys the poncho I made her—and how when she puts it on, it’s sort of like my arms hugging her, and she can feel it, I see it in her face.

So those knitters making the blankets for the families of the Virginia Tech tragedy, well, they aren’t really knitting blankets. They are knitting love, compassion, sympathy, support, good-wishes, caring, and prayers of healing into lumpy squares of wool. And even if each of those families has a hundred other blankets in the closet, even if the LAST thing they need is another blanket, they DO need these particular handmade blankets.

And folks, that’s why I do crafts. It’s not cheaper than store-bought. Given my talents, it’s certainly not more perfect or exacting. But each item I make is imbued with love. The craft item in question may look like a blanket, a tea cozy, a draw-string purse, a scrapbook page, a poncho, whatever…but it’s really a prayer made manifest.

Want to help the grieving families at Virginia Tech? Go to to learn how you can contribute a crocheted or knitted square. The last day to contribute your square is May 31. And if you do decide to contribute, tell me about it in an email, please. Email me at and I'll send you a personal thank you note.


Anonymous said...

Here HEAR!

You've got that exactly right, Ma'm. Store bought are easier to wrap, and sure look more professional, but homemade are made with LOVE!


Joanna Campbell Slan said...


No kidding--and they are truly one-of-a-kind. You can't find another exactly like it on a shelf.


Camille Minichino said...

Very well said, Joanna. Maybe now I'll stop apologizing when one of my crafts gifts doesn't look perfect! I always feel I get more pleasure out of the gifts than the receiver because it's so satisfying to find just the right special touch that makes the gift suitable to that person and no other.
Thanks. Camille/Margaret