20 Nov Giving Back – Crafting for Charity
As the holidays approach, we spend time thinking about how grateful we are for the blessings in our lives. Our attention also turns to those less fortunate than us. As crafters, it’s natural to want to give back via something warm and cozy that we’ve created. Today we’ve rounded up some wonderful causes accepting handcrafted donations if you’re so inclined!
Warm Up America
Warm Up America was founded in 1992 as a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to motivate, train and coordinate volunteers to knit and crochet afghans and clothing for those in need. Warm Up America serves as a collection point for blankets, blanket squares and cloth and distributes those items to a network of social service agencies, including homeless shelters, battered women’s shelters, American Red Cross chapters, veterans homes, senior centers, hospices and religious organizations serving families and individuals in communities around the country.
If you’d like to contribute, you have a few options! Warm Up America accepts blanket squares that are knit or crochet out of superwash yarns (easy care, non-shrinkable items are a priority) and measure 7” by 9”. They have free patterns for both knit and crochet squares that you can use or you can design your own square using whatever pattern you wish. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you can craft a full blanket of any size and any pattern (no need to stick to squares). If you want to start a group project, they also accept assembled blankets – have everyone knit or crochet a square!
If this sounds like something you’d like to get involved in, check out Warm Up America.
Note: A pro tip from one of our team – Create a cardboard template for your 7” x 9” squares and you’ll never need a measuring tape!
The Mother Bear Project
The Mother Bear Project is a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to provide comfort and hope to children, primarily those affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of hand-knit and crocheted teddy bears.
If you’d like to contribute you may either knit or crochet a teddy bear! The Mother Bear Project has patterns for each craft which you may purchase for $5.00 which covers the cost of mailing the pattern to you via the postal service (no digital patterns are available). The pattern arrives quickly and includes some tags for your first bears. The pattern calls for 3 colors of worsted weight yarn and Polyfill for stuffing your bear. Once you have knit your bear, you return it to The Mother Bear Project (along with $3 per bear to cover costs to ship to it’s forever home). If you’re interested in crafting some of these cute bears, check out The Mother Bear Project.
Hat not Hate
Hat Not Hate is an anti-bullying campaign launched by Lion Brand Yarns in 2018. Lion Brand asks knitters to donate blue knit (and crochet) hats and teams up with schools around the country to distribute hats to students in October of each year for National Bullying Prevention Month.
Hat not Hate had a very successful 2019 and for 2020, their goal will be 100,000, so they need crafters to get started early! Hats should be knit or crocheted in any pattern and shade of blue, using superwash, easy-care yarn. You can also embellish your hats with tags from Lion Brand.
If you’d like to contribute and you’re looking for a pattern, Stitchcraft’s own Laura Cameron designed a pattern this fall which is available for free on the Knitter’s Pride Blog!
Knitted Knockers is an organization whose mission is to connect volunteer knitters and crocheters with breast cancer survivors to provide them with Knitted Knockers (knit or crochet breast forms).
Knockers are needed in a variety of sizes and colors, but must be crafted from approved free patterns and approved yarns (yarns are selected with an eye towards allergens and comfort for the survivors). Knockers can be donated around the United States and internationally, so check the website to see if there’s a participating facility local to you!
Maine Access Immigrant Network
Back in September, knitting author and teacher Clara Parkes highlighted the Maine Access Immigrant Network, which was collecting warm clothing items (hats, scarves, mittens) for asylum seekers from Congo and Angola facing their first winter in New England. Clara emphasized a particular need for items for babies and children.
If you’d like to contribute to this cause you can craft from any pattern and any material (easy care wool is preferred). For more information, check out the Maine Access Immigrant Network here.
True North Aid
Recently we’ve become aware of True North Aid, an organization committed to serving communities in Canada with practical humanitarian support. The Hearts & Hands project asks for crafters to create layette sets to support families with new babies. Items can be knit, crocheted or sewn and should include baby garments or accessories including booties, hats, sweaters, baby blankets, washcloths and burp cloths.
Items should be crafted out of high-quality easy care materials, with attention to potential choking hazards. Fiber content of the items must be included in the package to avoid allergens, and items should be crafted in gender neutral colors. There are a number of collection points for donations, with some locations accepting partial layettes and some accepting full layettes. You can craft individual items, or get together with friends and craft an entire set together! You can find more information about the project and collection points in this post by Subculture Yarns. (information about the project is also available on True North Aid, but Subculture Yarns’ post is much more complete!)
We hope we’ve highlighted a few ways in which you can donate your crafty items. If you know of other organizations in need, please leave a comment on this post and share how we can help!