Israeli soldiers with their knitted hats
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Hats Off to Peace

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Aunt Pearl was my neighbor across the street growing up. She wasn’t my real Aunt but some neighbors were addressed like family.  On my visits across the street, I often found her knitting.  

Aunt Pearl could knit as fast as a train going down the track, barely watching as she worked. It was amazing to observe. She made many beautiful things. Sadly, I never asked her where she learned to knit or when she started, but my curiosity has been awakened today as I write this.

At some point in life, I started knitting, although I don’t recall the circumstances. I do remember two things I made that were outstanding. One was a yellow vest that had embroidery on it and the second was a poncho with a drawstring and some pom-poms.

I gave the yellow vest as a gift to a friend for her daughter to wear and hope they are still making use of it.

Sadly, the poncho, which was black, white and auburn has disappeared, but I was able to salvage one of the pom-poms. Each color had its own space, a large triangle for each layer. That poncho was my favorite as I love most things that are soft, comfy and keep me warm.

When I had a problem with my knitting, purling (pun intended), knowing what row I was on or if I lost a stitch, etc., I went to Aunt Pearl. I also went to The Knit Shop on Clarks Lane where the ladies would help if you bought your yarn from them.

I was happy to have help, but I always felt a little queasy asking for it and wished I could have figured these things out for myself. Today I have a better hold on things, although I don’t make anything too complicated.

Recently, I’ve made some hats and scarves for relatives, friends and for people I don’t know who are homeless and in need.

I use leftover yarn that people give me or some I discovered in bags and drawers. The texture, the softness and the color call to me. How amazing it is that I can put two needles together with some yarn and make something useful and beautiful. Not to mention the physicality, the movement, the rhythm that takes on a life of its own.

As I write this, I’m in the process of finishing up some scarves. Recently, I heard of a great need for hats for our holy soldiers in the land of Israel. I just received the black yarn that the pattern calls for, and I’m about to start on my first hat. We will see how it goes.

If perhaps you might be interested in knitting some of these hats, or you know anyone else who might be, please let me know. I am including the instructions* and hope you will join me in this cause. The hats will protect the soldiers and keep them warm as the weather gets cooler in Israel.

Besides, it is a mitzvah (good deed). It will be my prayer as I knit to have the kavanah (intent) of safety and warmth for our soldiers. Hopefully, like a yarmulke, these hats will bring a G-dly presence to protect them, Am Yisrael and our world.

May all war cease. May evil be exterminated, and may we live in shalom (peace) with warm, beautiful, comfortable hats. Hats off to peace!

*Here is the Hat Pattern.

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Read more by Hinda Blum.

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