January - February
L iving with CFIDS,
By Judith Watson
One of the things that have saved me
from the despair that often
accompanies CFIDS is doing things which give my life purpose. I guess itís not unlike the old adage: "I
wept because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet."
I knit mittens year-round
for children who eat in a soup kitchen in Washington, D.C. Most of these children are homeless and live
in shelters with their mothers. After much experimentation, I found a two-needle pattern that is extremely
simple. I make mittens in a wide variety of colors and in three sizes. When I have lots, I sort them by
size and send them to the soup kitchen. I make them in wool so they really keep out the cold, even when
Itís wonderful therapy because I know that there are children who would be cold without
these mittens. I try to think of the child who will wear them as Iím making each pair. I can knit in bed.
I can take my knitting with me wherever I have to wait, like at the doctorís office or while getting the
I order the wool from a yarn company in Maine, so the only time that I have
to leave my house for this project is to take the box of mittens to the Post Office. The yarn company
even sends me samples so I know all the colors and types of yarn available. The wool costs about $3 per
pair of mittens.
If youíd like a copy of the pattern, Iíll be happy to send one if you send
me a self-addressed stamped envelope. I even have a pattern for crocheted mittens, so please specify whether
you want knitted or crocheted instructions. And if thereís no soup kitchen in your area, or if you live
in a warm climate, the soup kitchen in D.C. would welcome your donations. In D.C., 31% of the children
live at or below the poverty level, so the need is critical. If youíd like to get a sense of how dire
the situation is, I urge you to read Street Lawyer, John Grishamís latest book. Itís set in D.C.
and paints a compelling picture of how homelessness affects children.
Write to Judith Watson
at P.O. Box 523021, Springfield, VA 22152. The D.C. soup kitchen address is: So Others Might Eat, 71 "O"
Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001-1290.
Judith Watson, a frequent contributor
to the Chronicle, lives
in Springfield, Va.