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3 Tips for Making the Biggest Impact with Your Charity Crochet or Knitting, plus a free pattern roundup!

Today is International Day of Charity. This annual event was first established by the United Nations in 2012. The date was selected in honor of the passing of Noble Peace Prize winner, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who devoted her life to helping others.

3 Tips for Making the Biggest Impact with Your Charity Crochet or Knitting, with a roundup of 10+ free #crochet patterns for charity on Underground CrafterThe UN invites everyone to commemorate the day by encouraging charity and raising awareness of charity. As a longtime charity crocheter, I thought the best way I could share this day with the Underground Crafter community was to share how you can use your knitting and crochet skills to support charities, and to do a roundup of 10+ free crochet charity patterns.

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3 Tips for Making the Biggest Impact with Your Charity Crochet or Knitting

Most crocheters and knitters can create something more valuable with their hands than any financial contribution they can donate, so crocheting and knitting for charity is really appealing. On the other hand, the purpose of a donation is to support the final recipient and the charity, so here are my suggestions for making the most out of charity crochet or knitting.

1) Donate locally when possible.

Save on postage, minimize the environmental impact of shipping, and improve your community by donating locally when possible.

If you decide to contribute to a charity outside of your local area, consider organizing or participating in a drive in your community.

Craftsy2) Always follow instructions from the charity or organizer.

As crocheters and knitters, we love to be creative. However, when a charity or a charity drive organizer shares guidelines or deadlines, they should be followed to the letter.

  • Check the charity’s website, or contact the organizer, before starting a project. Many charities maintain a list of current needs on their website. If a list isn’t posted, contact an organizer to make sure your donation is still needed and will be accepted.
  • Use the recommended fiber content. Charities may recommend different types of fibers for reasons as diverse as making washing easier or avoiding allergies.
  • Use the recommended colors. Charities may request specific colors for a variety of reasons including making a statement or avoiding culturally offensive colors.
  • Use recommended measurements. Many organizations have specific size recommendations for practical reasons of fit, or due to storage restrictions or ease of joining pieces from multiple donors.
  • Follow the finishing instructions. Organizers may ask you to leave long yarn tails for joining blankets, or to weave ends in securely with a yarn needle to avoid choking hazards for pets.
  • Meet the deadline. When a charity only accepts donations seasonally, or when an organizer is planning a drive, be sure to meet any deadlines.

If you follow these guidelines, your project will be put to use by the organization and won’t end up being thrown out or kept in storage at the charity’s expense.

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3) Join up with other crocheters and knitters

Not only will you have fun meeting like-minded people, but you’ll also be able to contribute so much more with a group!

In your community, local crochet and knitting guilds often have charity drives. You may also find that a local house of worship has a charity crafting group.

There are many options for teaming up with other crafters online, too.

  • Crochet Mitten Drive is a crochet-a-long featuring 15 designers and 15 new patterns for crochet mittens. This even starts on September 11 and runs through December 18, 2015. You can find more information in the Facebook group.

Crochet Mitten Drive 2015. For more details, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/mittendrive/

You may also want to consider starting your own Facebook or Ravelry group if you are organizing a charity drive.

2015 Leisure Arts Labor Day SitewideRoundup of 10+ Free Crochet Patterns for Charity

3 Tips for Making the Biggest Impact with Your Charity Crochet or Knitting, with a roundup of 10+ free #crochet patterns for charity on Underground Crafter

I designed 6 free crochet patterns for charity projects.

Many of these patterns were originally designed as part of a monthly charity spotlight I write on Oombawka Design Crochet. You can read all of my Oombawka contributor posts here.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to follow my Crochet for Charity board on Pinterest.

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet for Charity on Pinterest.

Have you crocheted or knit a project for charity?

#Crochet #TipsTuesday: 5 easy ways to reduce your yarn stash… perhaps so you can get more!

5 easy ways to reduce your yarn stash so you can get more on #crochet #TipsTuesday on Underground Crafter

As crocheters (and knitters), we’re always on the hunt for amazing yarns that inspire us. But let’s face it – most of us have far more yarn then we can actually use in our lifetime. You may have heard (or used) the acronym, SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) to describe this phenomenon.

As a New York City apartment dweller, I definitely have to prune out my stash periodically, or there’d be no room left for me, MC, and the cats.

Whether you’re reducing your stash as part of a move towards a minimalist lifestyle, to prepare for a move, or because you just want more space for the yarn you want to own RIGHT NOW, here are 5 easy ways to reduce your yarn stash.

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Share it with your local crochet or knitting guild chapter

Many local guilds offer yarn swaps and related activities. If you aren’t already a member, you can find a list of Crochet Guild of America local chapters here and The Knitting Guild Association affiliated guilds here.

Drop it off with an organization that crochets or knits for charity

Groups that crochet or knit for charity are often looking for yarn. These organizations may have specific requirements based on the type of charity projects they work on regularly. For example, some organizations that make children’s projects prohibit the use of black yarn and other organizations may have a ban on wools due to allergies.

You can find a searchable list of these organizations through Lion Brand’s Charity Connection. Always check with the contact person about updated requirements before dropping off or shipping yarn.

Bring it to a local school, hospital, or retirement community

Many local schools, hospitals, and retirement communities include yarn crafts in their recreational and educational activities.

  • If you don’t have a relationship with a local school, check out DonorsChoose.org. This search for the keyword “yarn” brings up some really interesting projects seeking yarn donations!
  • Contact your local hospital and ask to speak with the “Child Life Specialist,” a person who helps promote coping for hospitalized children through play and other activities.
  • Your local government may have a department of aging that can refer you to retirement communities, government centers, and non-profit organizations that provide recreational activities for retirees.

Always check with the local organization to see if there are any restrictions (for example, by fiber content) on the yarn you can donate.

Bring it to textile recycling or a local thrift shop

Another way to keep your yarn out of the landfill is to bring it to your local textile recycling drop off. In New York City, we are lucky enough to have several weekly options for textile recycling.

If your local area hasn’t yet instituted a textile recycling program, most local thrift shops (also known as secondhand stores, charity shops, or opportunity shops) will accept yarn donations.

Post a listing on your local Freecycle message board

Freecycle is “a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own” communities. Membership is free and most local groups have an online message board where you can post offers.

I have listed yarn on Freecycle many times and it is always claimed quickly. (In contrast, I’ve also listed brand new appliances, furniture, and other items that might take weeks to get picked up.) While sharing yarn on Freecycle allows you to meet some great crafters, for safety reasons you may not want to arrange to meet in your own home. I usually set up a meeting a few blocks from my apartment.

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But what about…?

You may have noticed that I haven’t listed any ways to sell yarn. In my opinion, that isn’t as easy as you would think. In fact, selling yarn is often very time consuming – especially if you are actually trying to recoup your initial purchase cost or something close to it – and, it can even be more costly (in terms of your time, sellers fees, and storage space) than donating or giving away yarn.

I also didn’t recommend tossing large amounts of yarn into the trash. It isn’t very environmentally friendly, and, in some local areas, it’s also illegal.

Here’s one more tip (a freebie)

Yarn makes great packing material! If you have something fragile to ship or are moving, consider using some of your unloved yarns as cushioning!

What are your favorite yarn de-stashing tips?

If you enjoyed these tips, follow my Yarn Tips and Tutorials Pinterest board!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Yarn Tips and Tutorials on Pinterest.

Mini interview with Tammy Hildebrand

Hairpin Lace, the Crochet Speciality of the Month for May, 2015 on Underground Crafter
Welcome to my themed blog series, Crochet Specialty of the Month! Each month in 2015, I’ll feature a specialized crochet technique, stitch pattern, or project type through several posts.

As part of this month’s focus on hairpin lace, I’m sharing a mini interview today with Tammy Hildebrand from Hot Lava Crochet. Tammy is a crochet designer, author, teacher, and blogger. She’s also the current Vice President of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA)

This post contains affiliate links.

You can find Tammy online at the Hot Lava Crochet blog, and on Craftsy, Facebook, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Twitter.  (By the way, May 18 just happens to be Tammy’s birthday, so don’t forget to wish her Happy Birthday on social media!) After reclaiming her health 22 months ago using a nutritional cleanse program after 7 years of illness,Tammy is also a health and wellness coach. You can find her health and wellness Facebook page here

I had the pleasure of interviewing Tammy before here as part of her blog tour for Crochet Wraps Every Which Way, and you can find more details about her background there. Today, we’re all focused on hairpin lace, one of Tammy’s favorite techniques. All images are used with permission and are copyright Tammy Hildebrand unless otherwise noted.

Tammy Hildebrand, wearing her Celebration 2015 Hat, a free crochet pattern.

Tammy Hildebrand, wearing her Celebration 2015 Hat, a free crochet pattern.

Underground Crafter (UC): You have several designs featuring the hairpin lace technique. How did you first learn about hairpin lace? 

Tammy: A number of years ago I attended a Stitches West show to work in the CGOA booth. Jennifer Hansen (Stitch Diva) was giving a demonstration of hairpin lace on the show floor. She is such an amazing teacher and made it so easy that I picked it right up and loved it immediately. 

3 hairpin lace designs from Tammy's book, Crochet Wraps Every Which Way. Left: Irish Jig. Top right: You Are My Sunshine. Bottom right: Shimmering Pearls Wrap.

3 hairpin lace designs from Tammy’s book, Crochet Wraps Every Which Way. Left: Irish Jig. Top right: You Are My Sunshine. Bottom right: Shimmering Pearls Wrap.

UC: What do you enjoy about designing with hairpin lace? 

Tammy: I love how quickly it works up and it is very methodical and relaxing. Plus the end result is beautiful!

Hairpin Lace Vest, free crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand. Image (c) Red Heart Yarn.

Hairpin Lace Vest, free crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand. Image (c) Red Heart Yarn.

UC: Do you have a preferred loom or other specialty tools for hairpin lace? 

Tammy: I do! Jennifer sells a handcrafted Walnut frame on her site that is the best loom I’ve ever used. It adjusts to more sizes than the typical metal and plastic looms and it is much sturdier. 

Abstract Treasures Shawl, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

Abstract Treasures Shawl, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

UC: Are there any crochet websites or blogs that you frequent for inspiration or community?

Tammy: Well, obviously Stitch Diva! Ha, Ha. I also love to search for inspiration on Pinterest.

Amelia Broomstick Lace Long Vest, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

Amelia Broomstick Lace Long Vest, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

UC: Do you have any new or upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Tammy: I will have a design in the upcoming issue of Interweave Crochet that I am rather proud of. It is unlike anything I have ever done before and it was a bit challenging but very rewarding!

Tammy, thank you for sharing your love of hairpin lace with us! We’re looking forward to seeing that upcoming pattern!

If you love these patterns, you may enjoy my Crochet Lace Board on Pinterest.

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet Lace on Pinterest.