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.

Save 50% at Interweave during the Labor of Love Sale3) 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?

Giving Tuesday – The Crochet (and Knitting) Way

Today is Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving. I’m sharing some of my favorite crochet and knitting related charity links today in honor of this event, which encourages us to put aside the shopping for a moment during the holiday season. I hope this roundup with inspire you to share your talent (or money!) with charities that are important to you.

If you’re looking for a crochet-a-long, Sunset Family Living is hosting the annual 12 Days of Christmas Charity Challenge (also known as the NICU charity challenge). She is challenging people to crochet 12 hats for preemies in their local neonatal intensive care unit. Last year, over 26,000 (!) hats were donated as part of the challenge, which runs through January 6, 2015. 20 crochet designers have donated hat patterns, and if you’d like to sign up to participate, you can read more about the project here.

Dozen Baby Hats (in the round), a free knitting pattern by Denise Balvanz. Image (c) Denise Balvanz.
Dozen Baby Hats (in the round), a free knitting pattern by Denise Balvanz. Image (c) Denise Balvanz.

If you’re more of a hat knitter, check out Denise Balvanz’s free patterns, Dozen Baby Hats (in the round) and Dozen Baby Hats (knit flat). Both patterns were inspired by the Afghans for Afghans June-July Baby Shower, and are great projects to donate to a local charity, too.

Some designers sell specific patterns to raise funds for a favorite charity. Some of my favorites are the Mitered Cross Blanket (knitting) by Kay Gardiner. All proceeds from the sale of this pattern are donated to Mercy Corps, an international emergency response/disaster relief organization.

Mitered Crosses Blanket by Kay Gardiner. Image (c) Kay Gardiner.
Mitered Crosses Blanket by Kay Gardiner. Image (c) Kay Gardiner.

Dawn Hansen donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales of her Autism Awareness Puzzle Hat (knitting) pattern to the Autism SocietyCharity Windham’s Ten Stitch Twist for loom knitters pattern raises funds for Frankie Brown’s (interviewed here) favorite charity, the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.  And speaking of Frankie Brown, she has has over 240 (!) free crochet and knitting patterns. She would greatly appreciate a donation to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation through her Just Giving page.

Wheels within Wheels, one of my favorite patterns by Frankie Brown. Image (c) Frankie Brown.

Anastacia Zittel uses the same model, and appreciates a contribution to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in exchange for her free knitting pattern, Armwarmers, or for any of her over 65 free crochet patterns. (I also interviewed Anastacia here.)

Alexis Winslow’s Caring Cowl (knitting) is another fundraiser pattern. Alexis donates proceeds from this pattern to the American Red Cross.

Caring Cowl by Alexis Winslow. Image (c) Alexis Winslow.
Caring Cowl by Alexis Winslow. Image (c) Alexis Winslow.

I donate $1 from each sale of my 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets ebook, which includes 20 crochet and 10 Tunisian crochet patterns that are great for pet blankets, to a local no-kill pet charity each year.

A selection of stitches included in 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets.
A selection of stitch patterns included in 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets.

I also donate pet blankets in the sizes suggested by the Snuggles Project. (I interviewed Deborah Green from Bideawee about blanket donations here, if you’d like to hear how local shelters use these blankets.) The website allows you to search for a local pet charity that accepts handmade blankets. The Snuggles Project is a program of Hugs for Homeless Animals.

Another organization that accepts handmade goodies is Project Linus. Their mission is to “provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer ‘blanketeers.'”You can find out more about donating a crocheted or knit (or sewn) blanket to a local chapter, contributing funds to help defray shipping costs or volunteering on their website.

The Kitty Cap by Bella Crochet. Image (c) Bella Crochet.
The Kitty Cap by Bella Crochet. Image (c) Bella Crochet.

If donating an entire blanket is out of your crochet comfort zone, Warm Up America is another charity that distributes blankets and accessories to a variety of social services agencies. You can send a blanket square, or accessories such as hats or scarves to them for distribution. The Kitty Cap by Bella Crochet is a great free crochet pattern for making children’s hats for charity.

Twisted Cable Scarf and Headband, a free crochet pattern by Kim Guzman. Image (c) Kim Guzman.
Twisted Cable Scarf and Headband, a free crochet pattern by Kim Guzman. Image (c) Kim Guzman.

You might also be interested in the Red Scarf Project from Foster Care to Success. Each year, they coordinate the delivery of Valentine’s Day care packages, including handmade scarves, to young adults who have aged out of foster care as they experience life on their own at college. You can learn more about this charity in the current issue of Crochetvolution here. There are also two great free crochet patterns in this issue, Big Red and Vino Scarf, that would make great projects for the Red Scarf Project. You can also try some of Kim Guzman’s many great free winter patterns. (I interviewed Kim here.) Two of my favorites that would be perfect for the Red Scarf Project are the Reversible Pinstripe Scarf (double-ended crochet) or the Twisted Cable Scarf.

What are your favorite charities to share your crochet and knitting with?