Charity Knitting

knitting for charity

Knitting for charities is a rewarding experience.

And it’s something any knitter can do!

Maybe you love to knit, but have no one to knit for. Maybe you’ve been given a lot of yarn that doesn’t quite suit your current needs. Or maybe you’ve just just learned to knit, and don’t want to stop! There are many organizations to help match up your skill level to a  charity knitting project. Knit a Square only requires the knowledge of casting on, the knit stitch, and binding off. A simple beginning class can teach you the basics and then you’re good to go!

Many of the organizations that have a web page will also have links to patterns, making it easy to get started. Usually both a knit and crochet version will be listed, so if crochet is your forte, you will not be left out!

It’s hard to say how long knitters have been doing charity knitting, but I’m guessing as long as they’ve been knitting. Giving just seems to go hand in hand with knitting.

Want to get started?

Charity begins at home.

So why not start locally?

You might check with your local shelter and see if anything is needed for starters. Sometimes hospitals will also take items such as chemo caps or caps for newborns. Or larger hospitals with neonatal units might be interested in preemie caps for their nursery.

Here at Wildflower, we try to contribute to several organizations throughout the year. In the summer and early fall, we collect for Click for Babies. Around the holidays, we drop off items to the Manhattan Public Library for their Mitten Tree. And year round, we’re happy to collect chemo caps to distribute. Several of the churches around town also have small groups working on prayer shawls.

If you are in a rural area or need to look beyond your immediate community, there are plenty of options out there.

 National Organizations

Any quick search for charity knitting or knitting for charities will bring up results. I’ve compiled a brief list with links here. I’ve tried to limit this list to the national level. Be sure to check your region for more options!

  • afghans for afghans  -sends hand-knit and crocheted blankets, garments, and accessories to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan.
  • blinky patrol -distributes homemade blankets to children ages 0-18 experiencing trauma and/or chronic and terminal illnesses.
  • click for babies – organized by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (NCSBS) in partnership with hospitals, public health and child abuse prevention groups to create awareness of the leading trigger for infant abuse, frustration with infant crying.
  • knit a square -collects squares to assemble and send to AIDS orphans of southern Africa (worldwide organization)
  • knots of love -collects hand crochet and knitted caps for chemo patients and others facing life-threatening illnesses.
  • project linus -provides homemade blankets to children in need.
  • seamen’s church christmas at sea- distributes hand knit or crochet garments to warm mariners hearts and bodies.
  • shawl ministry- provides shawls for those in need.
  • snuggles project- provides blankets for homeless animals in shelters as a part of Hugs for Homeless Animals.
  • stitches from the heart- supplies knitted hats, bootees, and blankets for newborns.
  • warmth for warriors-distributes hats to active duty soldiers overseas, to medical units, and to VA hospitals in the United States.
  • warm up america- distributes afghans, caps, and other items around the United States.

If you decide to go with any of the larger organizations, do be sure to check with their guidelines. They may require a certain size, fiber consideration, or even color.

Most organizations will have guidelines.

  • Squares may need to be a certain dimension. This is often to aid in sewing the squares together. If they are the same size, the finishing will be much more even.
  • Hats may have a suggested circumference. For instance, preemie hats will need to be much smaller (11 or 12″) and chemo caps will be less than a normal hat (generally 16″ for child or 18″ for adult).
  • Color may be important as in knitting for the troops. They have certain colors that are accepted and nothing else will be allowed.
  • No smoking or perfume! Cigarette smoke can be an issue. Some charities specify they prefer items unwashed to avoid perfumes.
  • Fiber content may be specified. Some will need to be acrylic. Others stipulate wool.

Most organizations will have any of these special considerations on their website. If you have any questions, just send them an email or give them a call.

Pattern resources

While there are many options for patterns, I thought I’d include a few links I wouldn’t want you to miss!

Chemo Hat Patterns using Jeannee, a nice washable worsted weight yarn.

Preemie Patterns- this is from the Preemie Project. I especially like this Mock Rib and Eyelet Preemie Hat  by Elizabeth Wilson. Preemies hold a fond place in my heart, having had two myself! This is a regional organization, supplying items to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Because it is not national, I didn’t include it in the list above. If you use any of these patterns on their website, please consider making an extra one for their hospital!

In fact, with that said, I hope you’ll consider donating to any of these organizations when you use their pattern links!

That’s just the generous thing to do and we all know knitter’s are generous folks!



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