To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Monday, October 12, 2009


 In the Fall my life starts gearing up for "winter" (even though there's not much of a winter in California, except for in higher altitudes). Since not many of you have read my earliest posts (last year Nov.), I'll repeat some things here.

 (Don't these socks look comfortable? I would never have learned to knit them if I had not started knitting scarves and hats).

It was not till my son started living in a colder climate that I finally woke up to the fact that not everyone lives as cozy as I do:

After my son sent me an email that "they do internet cheap here" (N. China), I gave it some more thought.
He explained that the window has to stay open all winter, because the cable for the internet goes through the window! When an icy wind would blow, it would make it even 10-15 degrees colder (having lived in California since a toddler, and being transplanted to the area of Beijing).
Also, he had met a 6 year old at the bus stop who was begging for food. This 6 year old had no legs. My son gave him the potato wrap he was eating, because he had nothing else with him.

When musing about what to do, I realized that the extremities of the body get the coldest. He wouldn't object to wearing a knitted hat. That year the Nordic hats with  the ear flaps really started coming in vogue and made a hat for my son and one for the orphan he had met, in time for Christmas.

It didn't leave me though that there were countless of homeless people in the Northern regions.
We had taught our kids that if you see something, you should do something about it. And you start with "what you know."
I learned knitting in third grade in school. Just a year or so before, I had come back to knitting!

You can guess what the rest of the story is. I started knitting hats.
Knitting like a crazy woman.
Knitting anytime I have to wait, like at the dentist office. Or when I'm on long trips in the car and hubby is driving. Or, when I carry on a casual conversation at Starbucks (I know it's a messy pic, but the paper cup is "prove" that I really was knitting there!)
People come out of the woodwork there - they talk to me, or ask me questions when I have knitting work with me. Otherwise, I blend in with the wall paper!!

In this endeavor I have two goals. One is instead of depending on an organization,  I send it to people I have known and trusted for years. They disperse it in the streets.

My second goal is to knit a new hat, scarf or socks, because the self-esteem of homeless people is already so low. They need to be treated with dignity and respect, like I would like to be treated.

It's me but it's not me, if you know what I mean:)
(This hat I knitted this week in one day. I'm giving you the instructions of it, in the post underneath here. In case you never knitted a hat, this is an easy one to start with.) Also, I give some hints to make it easier on you. Do not forget that when you are in the cold you like your ears to be covered too:)

At first I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of this  problem, but it would be too easy to let myself get off the hook for that reason. I know that what I do is just a drop in a very large bucket. I figure that  if everyone makes a drop, it will add up to gallons of water!

If you can't knit or crochet, maybe someone you know can knit it for you and pay that person.
Or, you could do something simple together with your group of friends. DOING  SOMETHING is better than doing nothing!
Even the tiniest thing is appreciated when one has nothing warm to wear.
Can't tell you how good it feels to do something for someone else. Since I started up again last week, I hear myself humming, and I feel energized.


Reader Wil said...

What a great idea to start knitting for poor and homeless people! Your son is like you. A good and caring person! . It is terrible that handicapped people and especially children are forced to beg in those countries.

jeannette stgermain said...

In many big cities are not even children's hospitals, he discovered. Also, there was a big to-do in the news a while ago that China takes care of its handicapped people (with a pic of the son of the president who's in a wheel chair) -its NOT true, as I saw it in the streets - typical communistic propaganda.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

What and energetic, enterprising lady you are?? That is a sad story of the child your son met. I sometimes wonder why we are so quick to gripe and moan when ther are people like that who have less than nothing. You do not hear them complain.

Rudee said...

I knit mostly for others, too. It makes me feel good to do something helpful and hopeful. My cap shawl is leaving in a week and a half for auction benefitting our pediatric hospice program. So many these days have no insurance.

My daughter's psychiatrist (a developmental disorders specialist) is from Taiwan. He told me that lack of care for the disabled in China is truly shameful. He used to go back yearly to lecture and try to change their mindset, but was not hopeful. That was 10 years ago. I'm sure things aren't any better--even with the world watching.

Lastly, the hat is beautiful, but girlfriend, you should be a hand model!

Angie Muresan said...

I bet you are so proud for raising such a compassionate son. I know I would be. And how lovely that you started knitting again. Sadly, I never learned to knit, and I regret it every autumn.

jeannette stgermain said...

Joan, for everything that I was given in life, it's not much that I give back.
You are right, the ones who have nothing, don't complain. I shudder thinking what all they do without, things that many of us take for granted and think they are "basic" things.

jeannette stgermain said...


That is interesting! I didn't even know that there was anything like a pediatric hospice program. Of course I was doing a rotation in Hospice in 1992 - many things must have changed since then:)

The story of my son was in 3 years ago - so not much in China's mindset has changed. I think part is that it is "shameful" to have a disabled child. Sad, sad, sad!
Thanks for the compliment:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Yes, my son has a big heart (so big that others sometimes take advantage of that - but he's learning!).
I am glad I started knitting, because now I see that it had a greater purpose than just making things for myself!

Dear Angie, someone in your area must know how to knit - get the basics from them! All you need to know for most projects is to cast on, to cast off, to increase and decrease stitches, to Kint and to Purl.

If you know that, you can continue on your own(a useful source of information is a yarn store - I know Michaels has knitting classes, and maybe JoAnne's world too)

Hope you'll find someone who can teach you the basics!

The Green Stone Woman said...

You're a very generous person, Jeannette and it is good to see you put your talents to such good work. My grandmother used to crochet blankets for the poor in India and I think she made sweaters and hats as well. I am not that gifted and give in other ways. We all do the best we can, but the governments of these countries sure are lacking in caring a great deal. China especially gives me the cold shivers.

Rosie said...

I've been busy knitting squares for The Knit a Square appeal to get me back into knitting again - I'm very tempted to have a go at the hat though:)

Gaston Studio said...

Love the comfy looking socks. I don't knit, but there are other things I do that makes me look forward to fall.

Liz said...

what a gret idea, you're a sweetiepie for thinking of it!

The Weaver of Grass said...

What an absolutely splendid idea Jeannette - I am now going to copy the instructions and get knitting.

crochet lady said...

You have a great talent and a great heart!

It's cold here in WI already. We got 3 inches of snow yesterday, i couldn't believe it, I mean Oct. 12!

It does feel good to help others.I would like to donate some crocheted items this year to some local organizations that help provide for people in need.

jeannette stgermain said...

Ah, when there is one female like your grand mother in the family who has a generous heart, it often spreads throughout the whole family:)
I agree, we each need to do what we can:) Sad to say, not every government is like the Dutch, who takes care of the people from the cradle to the grave! We can be proud of that, Irene.

jeannette stgermain said...

It's great that you are doing that, Rosie!

I also have read about an organization that knits scarves.
Someone else knits a knitted doll.

Hats, scarves, dolls and blankets are all needed, so there's enough room for everyone to pitch in:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you Jane! We each need to do what we are "called to do."

My only regret is that I woke up so late in life to this fact, that we do not only live our life for ourselves and our loved ones, but we're here on this earth to help each other.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thanks Liz, I am glad I can use my knitting to help others too.

Went to your blog and left you a comment. I have a wordpress blog too, but I haven't been there for a long time. This one keeps me busy LOL

jeannette stgermain said...

Great! And you seem to be a person who gets together a group of people (in my mind I can just see you having a knitting circle at your just renovated house! I know, I'm a dreamer:) )

jeannette stgermain said...

Wow that is early! Does that mean it's going to be a cold winter?
From the little bit that I know you, you would seem to be a person who would be generous - glad I got to know you on the net!

Lillie said...

Very pretty and I am looking forward to see more pretty knits coming up soon.

SarahA said...

I envy you. Not only for your warm climate, but also the ability to knit (I have never mastered the art successfully *sigh*).

BTW Thank you for visiting my place/my space and your comment left. Yes to both 'lip-reading and signing'. My Baby was more about the silence there, when someone is no longer.I lost a dear friend recently.That is what I really meant.I think that silence is more unbearable.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you, Lillie! I don't know if I'll post more knits soon, because they'll all be hats - the project to get them to homeless people is more important to me than the hats themselves! Have a great weekend!

jeannette stgermain said...

It's hard to lose someone! Give yourself time to grieve:)

Sarah, there must be someone in your area who can teach you the basics of knitting. The generation of people in their 50ties and 60ties grew up doing that - you just have to cacth one of them!

Petrus Spronk said...

While you there in the northern half are knitting warmly into winter we here in the southern part are unraveling into the summer heat.....

jeannette stgermain said...

I am knitting winter things, but maybe you forgot that I live in California, close to the equator. Today during the day it was 85 degrees F., but it cools off at night to 65 degr.
Have no idea how hot it is right now where you live !

Beth Niquette said...

What lovely hats you make! I grew up poor--there were six of us kids. We were sometimes cold, but never hungry. My Mom would can and can every summer--so we lived from the land, with a trip to the grocery store at the end of each month.

I would have loved to have had a hat such as these--you are a precious lady.

jeannette stgermain said...

Am thankful that you never had to go hungry!
It is a very interesting thing, when one has had encounters with the heavenly realm, it totally changes ones outlook on life! Now I know that my time is not my own, and I may as well share with others what I have been given (in a material way).