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?

F.O. Friday and I Love Yarn Day!

Happy Friday everyone!  I’ve been thinking for a while about how to celebrate I Love Yarn Day, since I first read about it on the Craft Yarn Council website.  The CYC has several suggestions about what to do to celebrate (and several projects from famous designers, too!).

My post for today is a celebration of my favorite yarns and also about yarncrafting for charity.  If you have been crocheting or knitting for any amount of time, you have probably found that we yarncrafters are a generous lot.  I even have some Finished Objects to share, in the form of charity crochet projects.

My Favorite Yarns

My current favorites are Cascade Eco Duo, Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Alpaca Love, Dream in Color Classy, Patons Classic Wool, and Spud and Chloe Sweater.

Top (from left to right): Eco Duo, Alpaca Love. Bottom (from left to right): Classy, Classic Wool (ombre) with Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool (solid), Sweater.

Cascade Eco Duo

Like most of the yarns on my list, I discovered this super soft yarn in my LYS, Knitty City.  As the name implies, Cascade Eco Duo is an eco-friendly yarn made of undyed baby alpaca (70%) and undyed Merino wool (30%).  Since it is undyed, it is offered in a relatively limited range of colors (mostly browns, blacks, whites – very gender neutral) and it is marled.  The softness is incredible and it is really nice to work with.  There is a kind of self-striping effect with most of the colors.  The one drawback for me is that it isn’t machine washable, and since I hate handwashing, I only use this yarn for small accessories.

Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Alpaca Love

This is my favorite big box store yarn. Alpaca Love is also a wool (80%) and alpaca (20%) blend.  I love the feel of the yarn – a great combination of softness with firmness.  It comes in some very fun coordinated colors.  This yarn is very affordable (especially when purchased at Michaels using a coupon!).  The drawbacks for me are the handwashing issue again, and the limited color range.  I usually get around the handwashing issue by felting projects made with this yarn :).

Dream in Color Classy

Dream in Color Classy is another great yarn that I first tried out at Knitty City.  This yarn has recently made several appearances on the blog (in my crocodile stitch project and my yarn haul post).  Classy is a 100% superwash Merino wool yarn that is spun and hand dyed in the U.S.  The colors are variegated and are really fabulous.  The only drawback here for me is the cost, which means that I have to save it for slightly more special occasions.  At least there are 250 yards in each skein, which makes me feel a little less guilty when splurging!

Patons Classic Wool

Patons Classic Wool is another big box store yarn.  It is 100% wool and it is available in a great variety of colors, including both solids and ombres.  (A few colors are also available as tweeds.)  The  solids have 210 yards in each skein and are reasonably priced.  It isn’t the softest wool I’ve felt, but it isn’t scratchy, either.  It is a great, firm, workhorse yarn which doesn’t split.  The only real drawback for me is that it isn’t machine washable.

Spud and Chloe Sweater

Sweater is probably the yarn in this group that I’ve worked with the most.  It is a blend of 55% superwash wool and 45% organic cotton.  I also found it at Knitty City 🙂 about a year ago.  I first picked up a skein of Turtle for a design submission which wasn’t accepted.  I loved the yarn so much that I submitted two more designs with it, which were both accepted.  The first was my Sunshine Blanket, published in the August, 2011 issue of Inside Crochet.  I am also in the middle of a top secret project using these colors for Cooperative Press‘s Fresh Designs Crochet (Kids) book, which should be published in 2012.  I honestly can’t think of any drawbacks to this yarn: the colors are great, it is machine washable, and it feels nice :).

You may have noticed that all of these yarns are worsted weight – yes, I am one of those American yarncrafters that prefers a heavier weight yarn!  You may have also noticed that all of these yarns are made with natural fibers.  I am by no means a “yarn snob” – I work with Red Heart Super Saver, too.  But recently, I have really tried to limit my purchasing of acrylic yarn.  I just don’t feel comfortable buying a yarn made from crude oil anymore.  This is my own personal choice as part of changes I’ve made in my life to be more environmentally conscious.  On the other hand, I can’t just let the existing acrylic yarn in my stash go to waste (that’s  not too eco-friendly either), and so that is where some of my charity crafting and experiments with freeform crochet come into play.

Charity Crafting

One great way to use up your stash while finding a home for some of your creations is through charity crafting.  I especially like to make items for infants and pets (because they are fast and cute, and because my very own special cat was adopted from the Humane Society).

I was inspired by the phrase “Think globally.  Act locally.” and decided to make up a list of local NYC charities that accept handmade donations.  I checked in with all of these organizations, and the list is current as of October, 2011.

Snuggles Project sites:

  • ASPCA, the first humane organization in the Western hemisphere, has a wishlist of donated items for their Manhattan adoption center which includes handmade bedding or toys.  Items can be dropped off during regular adoption hours.
  • Bideawee, the oldest no-kill animal humane organization in the U.S., welcomes Snuggles in any size for cats and dogs in its adoption center.  These can be delivered in person, or mailed to the attention of Lauren Bonanno at the Manhattan location.
  • S.A.V.E., a pet rescue organization in Queens, is looking for small or medium sized bedding.  Email the organization at savepetNY@aol.com to arrange pick up.

Knits for Infants is looking for hats, booties, sweaters, and blankets in soft, machine washable yarns for newborns and infants being treated at the North Central Bronx Hospital.  Having worked in the health care industry in the Bronx for years, I can say that families served by this hospital would really benefit from the donations.  They also accept yarn donations (no novelty yarns or “scratchy” yarns like Red Heart Super Saver, please).

For those of you who live in the U.S. outside of New York, some great organizations you might consider donating to are one of the organizations listed on the Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation website (Oglala Sioux Tribe families and elders), Knit Your Bit through the National WW II Museum (scarves for veterans) and  The Red Scarf Project through Foster Care to Success (scarves for foster care students in college).  Internationally, you can find a participating animal shelter/pet rescue organization that accepts handmade donations through the Snuggles Project.  Of course, this is just a small sampling of organizations, and there are many more out there!

Finished Objects


Today, I’m showing off some of the projects that I’m donating to charity for I Love Yarn Day.

Six scarves for Lakota Oyate Wakanyeja Owicakiyapi, Inc. (LOWO).
Two scarves, a hat, and mittens for toddlers via Knits for Infants. I have two other hats in the works, too.
This is a close up of my snuggle for Bideawee. I plan to make a few more using scrap yarn (I doubt the doggies are too concerned about the colors).

My post yesterday was a reflection on my craft goals for the year, and I’m thinking that when I update them, I will add some charity crafting goals.  I used to donate a lot of projects to charity, and I would like to make more crocheted donations in the coming months.

For more finished objects, don’t forget to stop by Tami’s Amis!

A Final Word on Awesome Yarn

A few weeks ago, I won a giveaway from Danielle at A Stash Addicts Ramblings for my choice of sock yarn from her Jane & Michael Etsy shop.  This lovely skein arrived yesterday, just in time for I Love Yarn Day!

 

The colorway is called Emerald Forest.

 

(On a side note, I remember being totally confused by The Emerald Forest as a kid, since I was, of course, way too young to have any real sense of what the film was about!)

There’s a good chance that this may eventually transform itself into a gift for my mom.

Thanks, Danielle!

To find more blogs participating in Blogtoberfest 2011, visit Tinnie Girl.  For Blogtoberfest 2011 giveaways, visit Curly Pops.