One of the knitting groups I have joined knits bandages. You read that right - bandages. I thought hand knitted bandages went out with World War II, but apparently there still exists a need.
Our groups knits for the D.O.V.E. Fund Bandages Brigade, a charitable organization that helps people with leprosy in Vietnam. And again, you read that right. Leprosy. I thought the disease had been eradicated, but no - although it is now treatable, it is still rampant in third world countries.
The bandages are 3 to 4 inches wide and 48 inches long, and preferably knit from #10 crochet cotton. Yes, that's a lot of very unexciting garter stitch. Because they can be sterilized for reuse, and breathe better, they are preferable to gauze commercial bandages. And since lepers wear these bandages on their stumps as well as on sores, the bandages act like shoes as they move about on their stumps. Gauze would wear out too fast.
It certainly puts things into perspective. Last night, I effortlessly knit about 18 inches while watching the very funny movie "The Trip", in the comfortable luxury of my home. I think that cute sweater from the latest Knitty can wait.