Sunday, November 07, 2010

an idea for Lyme

This is cross posted from my Lyme blog. Since it's fibre related and has a positive tone to it, I thought that maybe you guys would like to read it as well.

Knitting, spinning, weaving and crafting in general has done so much good for me over the years. Especially since I became really ill, it has provided me with nourishment that no medicine or food ever could.

Being a member of the yarn related community, both local and online, provided me a link to steadfast friends and wonderful support.

Yarn encourages me to accomplish something in my day. I'm not just wasting time waiting to get better, I am making socks, or a skirt, or something else. I create something tangible - and I know that's nothing to most of you who can do that any day, but to me, that's a huge accomplishment! It means the world to me to be able to pull on a warm sweater that I knit myself, or to adorn myself with vibrant socks that I not only knit myself, but I spun the yarn. It fills me with a sense of love and self worth that otherwise leeches out of someone with a long lasting illness.

But it's more than that.

When I am so ill, I'm nothing but a useless waste of space, I can still create something. I can knit a few stitches, or pull myself out of bed to lay on the couch and spin yarn. Even if my arthritis is so bad that I can only manage sparse five knitted stitches, it is still a contribution. It's marks the difference between being a worthless waste of skin to being human.

I wish I could explain it better.

Lately I've been spinning some yarns for sale. I want to make a bit of money so I can afford Christmas. One particular yarn, is rather challenging. It is involves making two yarns at once and plying them together simultaneously. I feel like an overtaxed octopus trying to do all this at once, but the results are gorgeous. And, it gave me an idea.

Now, this is just an idea at the moment. As I said yesterday, I'm not an organizer of big things. I realize that of myself. Give me grunt work, and a task I can do in the background, and I'm happy!

The idea:

It began by thinking that making yarn and other crafts to sell is one of the few things I can do to make my own income. I don't make very much - just enough to buy more supplies for my hobbies - but even that little bit says to me that I can one day become a functioning member of society again.

This got me thinking about how much better things will be when Lyme is understood. When the political controversy no longer governs treatment and an accurate diagnosis method is available. Organizations like CanLyme are working towards this, and wouldn't it be great if I could donate money to help them help people like me?

So I imagined myself spinning a special series of yarns, all different kinds and colours, all with at least a fleck of Lime Green in them to symbolize Lyme. And I take this yarn and put a little write up about Lyme in Canada and how lack of research is causing harm...stuff like that. I sell the yarn, and take a good percent of the profits and give to CanLyme (or the like) and a percent to pay for my health care. (note: most Lyme patients in Canada have to pay for their own medical expenses!)

That could be a nifty idea and a great project for 2011. It would help raise Lyme awareness, help support my health care costs, help raise money for charity, and most importantly, make me feel like I'm doing something to both help my state in the world and help the greater cause.

I think I might do this. I know I can usually get fleeces for free, and I don't mind washing and preparing the fibre for spinning. Dyeing the fibre might be an expense and it's beyond my skill set, but perhaps someone might volunteer their time and facilities? If I want a long wool like Cotswold, Romney or a Leicester, I might have to pay for that. But all in all, it's a low cost investment as all it would take is my time (something I have plenty of) and my energy (a resource that waxes and wanes) .

The more I think about it, the more I feel it's a good idea.

But, what if...

What if it went a step further?

What if several people with Lyme did something similar, all organized under one umbrella? Not just spinning, but knitting and weaving as well? Then we did as above? Sell the yarn, give a percent to a Lyme related charity and a percent towards our own treatment. Could this work? Could, given our illness, we do this? Would a project like this not only raise awareness of Lyme in Canada but also give those victims this this vicious pathogen a sense of purpose and a way to feel empowered?

It's not just the people with the illness who feel hopeless, their family, firends and support network also need a way to help. This might be the kind of thing.

I see problems with this greater idea: One thing that comes to mind is that I'm not a leader of men, woman or children. If we did this, I would need someone to take the lead, but I would still want to be consulted in it's organization and implementation. Not to mention, the leader of this movement would have to have a non-Lyme brain. There are other problems I see already, mostly where money is concerned. And who would do the write up about Lyme awareness and the project? How would it be presented to the public? Free knitting, weaving and spinning lessons would be needed for those who do not yet know how to do these things. Plus equipment: spinning and knitting are affordable, but weaving certainly isn't.

There is a lot to think about.

Thoughts anyone?


Natalie said...

I. LOVE. THIS. Brilliant. Thinking about how I can help from here...

Josiane said...

That's a great idea!
As for the people who don't knit, spin or weave: some might be interested in learning, yes, and some others might already have other skills, they might be able to create different things and I'm thinking that'd be good too. :)
As I've said before, I wish you best of luck in finding the right person to help you make this happen. I'm cheering you on from here and will be happy to help spread the word when the project is up and running. If you think of anything else I could do, please let me know; I'll keep thinking about it too.