Crochet & knitting for charity

Posted by on November 2, 2012, in crochet & knitting, ,

Martingale's Knit & Crochet Friday

Though I’ve been knitting for many years, I still get a special little thrill when I finish a project and think, “Wow, I made this.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a scarf, a pair of socks, or a sweater, there’s magic to be found in the working of simple tools and a strand of fiber. I’m sure you know the feeling.

Scarves ready to shipBut when I give a project away by donating it to someone who needs it more than I do, I sometimes think, “Wow, I just made a difference in someone’s life.” That simple piece I just stitched is going to warm a child’s head, or comfort a grieving mother, or give a homeless person shelter from the cold. Now that’s a powerful feeling!

Knitters and crocheters have always been generous with their time and talent. Two well-known examples are the huge efforts in support of the soldiers during the first and second World Wars. Women and children around the world were encouraged to knit socks, sweaters, and even bandages. During World War II, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was frequently photographed with her knitting in hand. Organized and run by the American Red Cross, the US effort generated donations of countless sweaters, socks, scarves, fingerless mitts, and helmet liners. Knitting in support of troops is still popular, and sadly, still necessary.

If you knit or crochet for charity, you already know there’s a long line of organizations eager to accept your donations. Some of the better-known campaigns include:

  • Binky Patrol: knitted or crocheted blankets for children in hospitals and shelters
  • Warm Up America: knitted or crocheted squares, or completed afghans, for neighbors in need
  • Afghans for Afghans: knitted or crocheted afghans, sweaters, hats, mittens, and more for the people of Afghanistan
  • Red Scarf Project: run by Foster Care to Success, this program provides handmade scarves to foster students

Knowing that those are just the tip of the iceberg, I went to my favorite resource, Ravelry, to see what else might be out there. I found an impressive 114 groups dedicated to knitting for charity. But then I hit the motherlode: Charity Knitting, a “group for those who knit or crochet charity projects of any kind,” has more than 4100 members and a very active discussion board. Within this group’s pages and discussion threads is a wealth of information about knitting for charity: patterns, guidelines, organizations, and more—further proof of the awesome generosity of stitchers.

My own charity knitting output is modest compared to many, but I do my best to do my part. I keep the patterns simple so I can (hopefully) produce more. My go-to pattern for blankets is the “No-Gauge” knitted blanket from the book Blankets, Hats, and Booties by Kristin Spurkland. Seriously, I’ve made this great, two-sided blanket at least a dozen times. It’s fast, easy, can be stitched in any weight yarn, and is great for knitting while visiting.

“No-Gauge” knitted blanket from
Blankets, Hats, and Booties

I also use Kristin’s patterns for hats. Her “Rolled-Edge Hat” and “Striped Hat” from Knits from the Heart are fast, easy, and adaptable.

Rolled-Edge Knitted Hat Striped Knitted Hat
“Rolled-Edge Hat” and “Striped Hat” from Knits from the Heart

When I’m making sweaters or vests for children (including my beautiful granddaughters), I turn to Grammy’s Favorite Knits for Baby. The “Comfy Cozy Cardigan” and “Quick-Knit Vest” can be finished in an evening or two. When I’m in the mood to make a scarf or a garment for an older child, I find no shortage of patterns online to inspire me.

Comfy Cozy Cardigan Quick-Knit Vest
“Comfy Cozy Cardigan” and “Quick-Knit Vest” from Grammy’s Favorite Knits for Baby

Whether it’s a preemie cap or a wheelchair blanket, a warm mat for an animal shelter, or a pair of mittens, your efforts will be received with gratitude. And in return, you get that great feeling that comes with doing something good for someone.

So how about you? What’s your favorite charity to knit or crochet for? Tell us your story in the comments.

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18 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I knit preemie caps for a local hospital.

    —DebrafromMD on November 2, 2012
  • I make stump covers for amputee soldiers at Bethesda. Also hats and mittens for local collections at Christmas and baby blankets for our local Dept of health where my cousin works.

    —Shirley on November 2, 2012
  • I am a Chapter Leader for Binky Patrol! It’s a wonderful charity and it allows me to show my creative side while helping others.

    Crystal on November 2, 2012
  • I make hats for Chemo patients at one of the hospitals in one of our poorer counties but I cheat and us a knitting loom. This way I have already given 25 and have 15 more done.

    —Linda Morgan on November 2, 2012
  • I knit caps for the troops and send them to The Ships Project

    They need black 100% wool caps for Afghanistan, colorful caps for Navy ships, and extra-soft caps for the military hospitals.

    —Dot on November 2, 2012
  • Our fair trade store, The Fair Trader, has recently added yarn to its product mix. Because we work with a global community, we decided to cask local knitters and crocheters to make 8″ squares for a South African grassroots organization called KasCare. They assemble squares into blankets for HIV/Aids orphansAnd also accept hats and sweaters. Our customers have responded enthusiastically, and we expect to have many warm goodies to ship off soon.

    Cindy Pardo on November 2, 2012
  • In the past I have knitted socky/booty’s for infants in Alaska where my former pastor fills in at the pulpit from time to time.
    It might be of interest to you that my Mother, who was born in 1910 & died 2010, belonged to a knitting club during the wars & they knitted scarves, socks,mittens, gloves, stocking hats, vests & rolled bandages. I was quite small but do remember being the two armed yarn holder so they could roll the yarn into balls as it came in a hank or skein back then. I too, learned to knit at that time & made several scarves at the age of 4 & 5…but I wasn’t fond of the khaki color so the ladies made sure I had red yarn to keep me interested. I still have the original patterns issued by the Red Cross for some of these projects.

    Dorothy I. Dishman on November 2, 2012
  • I am primarily a crocheter and would love to make smaller projects to use up my leftover yarns. Any organization that wants mittens, hats or scarves would be perfect and I would welcome suggestions for what patterns are most useful. Please contact me if you could use my help.

    —Annette Vise on November 2, 2012
  • I am the coordinator for a project called Earth Angels Mission Baby Project. We knit hats and booties which are put in a package with a gown and blanket for preemies who have passed away. We call it our Blessing package. There is such a need out there that I am glad that we can help in some way. Thank you for letting people know where they can help.

    Helen Clark on November 2, 2012
  • HI, I live in Australia, & am a member of Knit 4 Charities. We have over 700 members, & each month have at least 3 different charities nominated to support. We are not pressured into doing any more than we are able, but know that even 1 item will be a special gift to someone in need.

    —Sue Hardy on November 2, 2012
  • I knit for Operation Caregivers. This group provides hats, socks and scarfs for the USMC troops in the mountains of Afghanistan. They provide personal care items and holiday cards and candy for the troops who are far away for home and loved ones. Each member does what they are able to do and all is great fully accepted. We are sent updated and photos of the packing parties .

    Mary kirby on November 2, 2012
  • I make quilts for Quilts of Valor, lightweight blankets for our animal shelters, and quilts for homeless women. Sorry, no knitting or crocheting.

    Keep smiling,

    Lynnita Shipman on November 2, 2012
  • Project Linus (! Blankies for kids in need – hospitals, shelters, foster care, etc. The local chapter also accepts anything handmade and warm: scarves, sweaters, buntings.

    —Lynne on November 2, 2012
  • How wonderful that you all do so much. The volume is not important-just the love that goes into each piece. Think of your charity as one child/person who would do without if not for your kindness! I tell people to do what you can because even one act of kindness/charity matters!! It’s the little acts that add up. It puts a smile on your heart as well as the receipent.

    I donate to Project Linus-yes they do take knitted/crochet blankets. I make small hats for the neonatal ICU at the local hospital.

    —Cyndi on November 5, 2012

    —C.DUNFEE on February 17, 2013
  • I crochet and donate birdnests to wildlife rescue groups. Also, Cat toys, carrier mats and blankets to cat and dog rescue groups. I donate every month and keep in touch with the groups to help with fund raisers during the year also. My Etsy shop is to show off my designs and pay for the yarn and mailing costs for my donations. It keeps me busy.

    Ms Bekkah

    Ms Bekkah on November 29, 2013
  • please give me contact information for the soldiers ….
    i have a senior group looking to make the caps for amputees…
    how do i get in touch with Bethesda….

    Hi John, you may want to try this link at Lion Brand Yarns, which gives you a way to search for charities that accept knitted items: I hope this helps in your search! ~Jenny

    john on January 2, 2014
  • Do you still need knitters ?
    Can I get free patterns for children ?
    What is needed and where would I send it ?

    Hi Norah, if you click on the names of the organizations listed above, they’ll be able to tell you more about what they need. Thanks for your question! –Jenny

    Norah Keeling on July 25, 2018

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