I broke one of my own rules this week.
The rule is this: Don't ever donate an item for somebody else to use that you wouldn't be perfectly proud to see on your own child or use yourself. In other words - don't turn out junk in the name of charity, because that's not charitable at all.
I still believe in that rule. But when my schoolteacher daughter called Wednesday night to tell me about a family with a lot of children who'd just lost everything in a fire, it seemed appropriate to recalibrate my internal formula of quality vs. utility.
I'd built up a fairly substantial box of stuff that was clearly not my best work. A knitted blanket in double-thick baby pastels, but too large and too heavy for a baby. Another in garishly bright yarn. A winter scarf that seemed a few stitches wider than it ought to be. A bunch of hats that were experiments for new styles and stitches - and close inspection revealed more than a few bungled rows and mis-aligned ribs.
I'm not a perfectionist in my craft work by any means. Still, I hadn't felt right about sending this stuff off to the hospital or the youth center. But it seemed a shame to let vanity keep a bunch of hats and blankets in a box in my guest room when they could, with all their flaws, be put to much better use.
So off the box went to Brooklyn yesterday - along with the little jester hat I completed on Sunday, and a flannel baby blanket a la my mother.
This family will need a lot more help getting back on their feet, but if the children have new blankets to cuddle with at night, I hope it'll help at least a little.