I have piles of worsted weight acrylic and other synthetics floating around my stash. Not really floating, more like reproducing.
I gave a HUGE skein of what I think is Red Heart to my friend Chris today so he could learn to knit. It was a neat jungle camouflage sort of colour, and I had no idea what I would ever make with it.
I'm not the biggest fan of that yarn, but it's cheap... I think we, my Mom and I, got it a few years back when we knit for the Downtown Mission. Basically, we would get huge amounts of inexpensive yarn and knit scarves for local charities and gave them around Halloween to distribute to those who need it. This is before either of us knew that acrylic isn't very warm... At all, really. The scarves were beautiful, though. All kinds of awesome colours, different sizes. We made them with the intention that children would receive something handmade to show someone cares.
This year seems like it's going to be a particularly hard Winter. Many local people are out of work because it seems like everyone is out of a job. Which is almost true. I live in Windsor, Ontario. We make cars. Most of the plants we have here are too outdated to produce high-demand cars, and they're just sending the work elsewhere.
Both my parents are directly affected. My Dad works at a feeder plant. He makes a part that is included in most cars and some airplanes, the lumbar system. He started working there a week before Labour day, 2001. Then 9/11 happened, and they lost the contract for airplanes. Since then, he was off for just over a year because of a severe car accident that almost killed him, (The only time I've ever been as happy that my parents insisted on owning a Chevy Avalanche; it saved his life.) was laid off for a week at a time every 6 months or so, until demand would require them to go back to work. Just recently, he was informed he was "indefinitely laid off". The letter included something that said if he didn't hear back by June 2011, to consider the plant closed. Pretty tough.
My mother works for the Big Three. She will be out of a job within two years. Pretty terrible. She will be about 2 weeks shy of her 50th birthday (which is strange to think; I remember when my Dad planned an entire surprise 40th for her, and didn't let me know until about 12 hours before) so this means shes not eligible for most pension benefits.
My best friend's dad is laid off from an other one of the Big Three. My uncle had to move out of town to continue to work for the same auto company. The list goes on.
I read in the local newspaper about extra strain on the local food banks and social benefits and shelters and everything else. They're asking us to dig deep into our already shallow pockets to help out others. I would love to help, but I have to take care of my own, first.
All this to say I need suggestions. Suggestions of what to do with all this acrylic. I would LOVE to knit piles of stuff for the local people that need it, but that's hard for me to do. Since I count on some income from my knitting, it's hard to force myself to knit for charity. Also, I don't do hats or mitts. If any of you could suggest some super easy scarf patterns, or anything else I could make, that would be awesome!