Maker Monday: Ginny Sheller Knits Small Gestures into Something Bigger

Two of Ginny Sheller's children run through an explosion of Spring petals.

It was the joy that got me. Two children running through a spring explosion of petals danced across my screen. This is what I want for the people of Iraq, I thought.

Ginny Sheller’s blog is titled Small Things, but the emotions evoked through her stunning photography and gentle narrative are anything but diminutive. Life is depicted as it should be: earthy, peaceful and handmade. Through her blog, Ginny connects her love of the homespun with her faith, creating a community for like-minded women across the country. 

How did a woman digging her roots deep in the Virginia countryside decide to broaden her scope to include the women of Iraq? Here is Ginny’s story in her own words: 

Ginny Sheller, a knitter and mom with a giant heart, poses outside with some of her young children.

“After reading my friend Ann’s (Voskamp) stories about the women and children whom she spent time with on her trip to Iraq earlier this year, I sat stunned and crying. These women have experienced what for most of us is unimaginable. I clicked over to Preemptive Love’s website and made a donation while wishing I could do more.  

As a mom to seven young children, my primary mission field is within the walls of my own home right now, but I was still left with a nagging feeling that I might be able to help beyond my donation.   

Ginny Sheller's children, standing in tall prairie grass.

I am a knitter, and share photos about my knitting projects on my blog, Small Things. I also write about family life and my faith, but rarely about world affairs. I do not frequently share articles on social media either, but I felt compelled to share Ann’s story, feeling that others needed to know what was happening in Iraq, no matter how painful.  

A few days later, I shared photos on my blog of a shawl I had just finished knitting. I usually knit shawls as gifts, and I mentioned that this shawl did not have a recipient yet. One of my readers suggested that I raffle it off to raise money for our sisters in Iraq.  The thought had crossed my mind, as I did something similar last year, raffling off one of my finished pieces to raise money for a friend whose husband is unemployed.

I felt that raffling off a group of shawls might be a bigger draw, and I sent emails to a couple of knitters whom I thought might be willing to donate a knitted shawl. They both responded with an emphatic ‘Yes!’ That gave me the confidence to put out a request on both my Instagram and Facebook accounts, asking for knitted shawls in gift giving condition, to be raffled off to raise money for the displaced women and children of Iraq through Preemptive Love.  

There were many shawls offered, and I ended up limiting the raffle to one dozen shawls. My goal was to have $5,000 dollars donated after I saw that $1,000 provided for small business grants for women. I loved that.  

The shawl Ginny Sheller knit that kicked off a generous fundraising campaign for women and children in Iraq.

I thought about all the women here in the U.S. wishing they could help, and realized that in small ways we can. Women, though divided by ocean, language, faith, and so much more, united still, simply as women and as mothers.  

Women supporting women. I just love that, and I am so thankful that Preemptive Love is standing in the gap, providing an avenue for each of us to do something small. I think most of us want to help; we just don’t know how.  

Based on the raffle entries I received, I think those twelve hand knitted shawls raised over $8,000. I was reminded that all of our small gestures can come together becoming something bigger, something for the greater good.”

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Thank you, Ginny, and all the other knitters and purchasers, for reminding us that by working together we can turn small things into a new world! Your contribution will enable many women who fled ISIS to start small businesses, bringing food to their tables, and ultimately stability to their families. 

Let us unite as mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons to reach across the world with hands of love. Give today

Ginny Sheller, wrapped up in the shawl she knit and used to raise funds for women and girls in Iraq.

About Cristina Williams


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Maker Monday: Ginny Sheller Knits Small Gestures into Something Bigger
Maker Monday: Ginny Sheller Knits Small Gestures into Something Bigger
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