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Knitting for Charity: How to Use Your Craft Hobby to Help Others

Linda Crampton is a writer who is concerned about social issues. She hopes to encourage anyone who is able to do so to help people in need.

The Joy and Uses of Knitting

Knitting is a fun, useful, and creative craft that can be a wonderful method of self-expression. It can also be a great way to help others. Knitted items can be donated to help people in need or sold to raise funds for charities. Many organizations accept knitted or crocheted items and send them to where they are very much appreciated.

Knitting doesn't have to be an expensive hobby. While yarn sold in a craft store is often expensive—especially the gorgeous, luxury versions that are available—some plainer yarns may be on sale when you visit the store. Cheap yarn of reasonable quality can also be found in home stores or even in dollar stores.

Knitting a large item like an adult's sweater can be expensive since it requires so much yarn, but it's not necessary to create such big items to help charities. Charitable organizations are very happy to receive small and medium-sized items as well as larger ones. In this article, I give an overview of five charities that accept knitted (or crocheted) items.

An Old and Valuable Fiber Art

Knitting is a practical hobby that enables a person to create a wide range of items, including clothing, accessories, toys, decorations, and household items. It can also be used as a fine art medium. Some people discover that the rhythmical action of creating stitches is relaxing and can act as a form of meditation.

Knitting is my favorite type of fiber art. It's an old craft that is thought to have been started by males but is more popular with females today. The craft is increasing in popularity in some parts of the world. Both females and males are discovering—or rediscovering—its joys.

Some of my knitting

Some of my knitting

Charities That Accept Knitted Items

Apart from Knit a Square, the charities described below are based in the United States or Canada. Equivalent organizations exist in many other countries. Other charities in the United States and around the world also accept knitted donations.

It’s important to check a website before sending them items so that you can view all of the current requirements and rules. It’s also important in order to see whether the charity still exists before a project is begun. The five charities that I discuss in this article have been in existence for a long time and seem to have staying power. I had to delete a review of a charity that once existed but has since disappeared, however.

If an organization doesn't have a local office and you don't want to mail your finished items, you can still use knitting to help charities. Some hospitals, care homes, and other organizations in your area may be very happy to accept your creations. Another way to support a charity with knitted items is to sell the items at a craft fair and then donate the money that you earn to the charity.

Screenshot of the Knit a Square website

Screenshot of the Knit a Square website

The Knit a Square Organization

Knitted squares are versatile pieces of fabric that can be sewn together to make other items, such as blankets. The Knit a Square organization in South Africa accepts 8 x 8 inch knitted or crocheted squares. Volunteers sew the donated squares together to make blankets. These are given to children who have been orphaned and are living in poverty, often due to the death of their parents from AIDS.

The squares are quick and easy to make. A simple garter stitch square is good, although you can use fancier stitches if you prefer. The knitting supports a very worthy charity. There is a cost involved in mailing the squares to the Knit a Square organization in South Africa, however, which might be a drawback. If you can afford to mail the squares, though, the cost can be thought of as part of the donation to the charity. The organization has detailed packing instructions on its website to ensure that the squares arrive safely and that the charity isn't charged money to accept them.

The Knit a Square website has knitting instructions for squares as well as patterns for other items. They are looking for knitted hats and cuddly toys in addition to squares. The charity welcomes crocheted items as well as knitted ones. The organization has a Facebook page and other social media accounts. The link to the organization's website (and a link to the other sites that I review) is given in the "References and Resources" section below.

Project Linus

Project Linus is named after the character in the Peanuts cartoons. Linus loves his security blanket. The project asks people to create handmade, washable blankets. These are donated to children facing a traumatic situation such as a serious illness or injury or a frightening and upsetting event. The children are found in hospitals or shelters or through social service agencies. Blankets or afghans can be knitted, crocheted, or quilted and are accepted in all reasonable sizes. The organization asks that they be made in a smoke-free environment due to allergy concerns.

Blankets provide warmth to their recipients. They can also provide psychological comfort, especially if a child knows that an item was hand-knitted by someone who cares. Colorful and patterned blankets can bring some cheer into a child's life. If a knitter is unable to afford the purchase of a large amount of yarn to make a big blanket, a smaller one will probably be much appreciated by a young child. The organization's website contains links to patterns, but any style of blanket is accepted.

The head office of Project Linus is located in Bloomington, Illinois, but there are Project Linus chapters and blanket drop-off sites in every state. The project's website has links to helpful sites for their "blanketeers". The project also operates across Canada (see the Project Linus Canada website) and in the UK (Project Linus UK).

Screenshot of the Project Linus website

Screenshot of the Project Linus website

Binky Patrol

Binky patrol also collects handmade blankets for needy children and has chapters in many areas. You might find that you live nearer to a Binky Patrol chapter than a Project Linus chapter, or vice versa. Blankets can be mailed to Binky Patrol if necessary.

The organization accepts knitted, crocheted, and sewn blankets or blankets made from fleece. The blankets are given to children born with the HIV virus or AIDS, abused children, ones with a chronic or terminal illness, ones in foster care, and ones who have experienced a traumatic event. The smallest sized blanket that's generally needed is three feet by three feet, although the organization says that they sometimes get requests for two feet by two feet blankets.

Like the other knitting projects in this article, creating binky blankets can be a social activity. It can be fun for a group of people to socialize and work on blanket creation at the same time. Binky Patrol suggests that people hold "Bink-A-Thons" events. In these events, a large number of people gather together with the goal of creating as many blankets as possible within the specified meeting time. Bink-A-Thons could work well in schools, guide and scout groups, church groups, and service organizations. Like the previous two organizations, Binky Patrol has social media accounts.

Screenshot of the Blinky Patrol website

Screenshot of the Blinky Patrol website

Mother Bear Project

The Mother Bear Project provides knitted and crocheted teddy bears to needy children. The children are usually located in emerging nations and are generally affected in some way by the HIV virus and AIDS.

The bears must be made from the pattern provided by the organization, which costs five dollars (or seven dollars for people outside the United States). Although the bears are all made from the same pattern, they look very different from one another due to the different yarns and colors that were used to make them. Some people add accessories like scarves or skirts to make their bear even more distinctive.

The Mother Bear Project is based in Minneapolis. The bears have to be packaged and mailed to the organization, unless the knitter lives near a drop-off site. These sites are listed on the project's website. The knitter attaches a tag with their name to the teddy bear and is also asked to include three dollars to help pay for the shipping to the bear's final destination.

The organization runs knitting groups, which enables people to create bears in social groups. It gladly accepts donated items that help the project, such as needles, yarn, and postage stamps. Like the organizations above, it also appreciates monetary donations. The details are listed on the project website.

Screenshot of the Mother Bear Project website

Screenshot of the Mother Bear Project website

Charity Projects for Knitters and Crocheters

Knit For Kids

Knit For Kids is run by World Vision, which is an Evangelical Christian organization. It collects knitted or crocheted blankets, caps, scarves, and mittens for children in poverty or in difficult situations in the United States and around the world. The website provides patterns which are free to download. The organization says that their preference is for people to use the patterns supplied by the organization, but they will accept items based on other patterns. They say that they like uniformity so that all the children in the donation area are treated the same and nobody feels that they have a "better" piece of clothing than other children.

Once the items are created, they must be mailed to the Knit For Kids organization, which is located in Pennsylvania. People who live in the Eastern United States can drop their creation off at an A.C. Moore arts and crafts store instead of mailing it.

The Knit For Kids organization encourages people to sponsor a child, but this isn't necessary in order to donate knitted items. According to the organization, sponsors know which child receives their gift and can communicate with the child. These features aren't available to non-sponsors.

Screenshot of the Knit For Kids website

Screenshot of the Knit For Kids website

Using Knitting to Help Others

Knitting has always seemed like a magical activity to me. I start with a long strand of fiber and end up with a fabric, which has a different appearance depending on the yarn and the stitches that I use. It's wonderful to be able to use some of the magic to help other people.

Another benefit of knitting is that it's a convenient activity. I can work on a project when I have time and then leave it and return to it later if I have something else to do. I'm careful to make a note of where I am in a complex pattern before I leave the knitting, though.

Knitting is a great way for people to create items for their own use, items as gifts for friends and relatives, and items to help other people. It doesn't take long to create a square for charity. The square can be worked on in odd moments such as while traveling on public transit or waiting for an appointment. Knitting can also be done while listening to music or during television advertisements.

Even if you don't know how to knit right now, the basics can be learned quickly. Once you've learned these basics, you'll probably be hooked and want to learn more advanced techniques.

Many different yarn types, textures and colors are available today.

Many different yarn types, textures and colors are available today.

References and Resources

The charity websites described in this article are listed below.

© 2013 Linda Crampton


Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 05, 2019:

What a great idea. Thank you for sharing the information.

Kerri Bee from Upstate, NY on March 05, 2019:

I remember seeing some animal rescue places looking for people to knit little "nests" for bird's eggs to rest in to keep them from rolling and to keep them warm.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 18, 2017:

Thanks, Brinafr3sh. I like your ideas for sharing crocheted items!

Brinafr3sh from West Coast, United States on January 18, 2017:

Really cool article. Now I know what to do with the many crochets I have, I may give them to a women's shelter or Salvation Army. Thank you.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 04, 2014:

Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the share, techygran. That's the nice thing about knitting squares - even knitters without much experience can create them. I would find it hard to create flawless sweaters, too!

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 04, 2014:

Wonderful hub! I have never heard of knitting squares for charity, and always thought that one would have to put together flawless little sweater sets like I see in the hospital gift shop... out of my league (I can knit straight out but really suck at lovely finishing touches). I'll have to look into that! Voted up and shared!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 10, 2014:

That's such a moving story, breakfastpop. It was certainly a very fine thing that you did, even though it was so difficult for you. Best wishes to you.

breakfastpop on September 10, 2014:

I have knit for children with terminal illnesses. I cried the entire time I was doing it, but I knew I was doing the right thing. I knit blankets and made a pocket in the middle for a Beanie baby. I think it was one of the finest things I ever did.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 10, 2014:

What a kind activity, jennabee25! That is such a good use for knitting. Thank you very much for the comment.

Jenn Dixon from PA on September 10, 2014:

Wonderful hub! I actually knit chemo caps for cancer patients.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 25, 2013:

Thank you very much, Michele! It's great that there are ways for people who love knitting to help charities.

Michele Kelsey from Edmond, Oklahoma on May 25, 2013:

This is an excellently written Hubpage! I wrote down all the projects that you listed. I started and still do knitting for charities, but most of the ones you named I don't know about so I am excited to look into them. Also, I had NO idea that Lion Brand had a charity page. I can't wait to check that out too. I love volunteering! Thank you for sharing your information. Michele

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 31, 2013:

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, Nell. That was a great knitting effort from your gran!

Nell Rose from England on January 31, 2013:

Such a great idea! I used to love knitting back years ago, but haven't done it for some time. My gran used to knit in the first world war for the troops, my mum said she always had loads of knitting throughout the house! great hub, and voted up!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 31, 2013:

Thanks for the visit and the comment, Dianna. Knitting is a great way to help charity! It's fun, too.

Dianna Mendez on January 31, 2013:

This is such an interesting post and so inspiring. I didn't realize this could be done, but I certainly support this type of charity giving.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 30, 2013:

Thank you, drbj. The Knit a Square Organization is a wonderful idea. Knitting squares is a great way for someone who is new to knitting or who is returning to knitting to get started.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on January 30, 2013:

The Knit a Square organization - what a great idea, Alicia. Eons ago I knitted a sweater for my first child - fit perfectly except for the sleeves - they would have fit an orangutan. But one day I'll knit again and start with squares. In the meantime I'll let everyone I know about this worthwhile site to visit. Voted up, m'dear.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 29, 2013:

Thank you, Tom. I appreciate your comment and the vote!

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on January 29, 2013:

Very interesting and great ideas to help out charities. Well done !

Vote up and more !

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 28, 2013:

Thanks for the comment, Deb. I've never tried making a rug. That would be an interesting project!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on January 28, 2013:

I tried knitting, but I made an awful mess of things. Latchhook rugs I can do. This is a great piece on lots of wonderful charities.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 28, 2013:

Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the share, Seeker7! I love the idea of making clothing for premature babies. I decided to refer to U.S. organizations in this hub, but I've seen some great UK websites for charity knitters. There are lots of ways that knitters can contribute to charities with their hobby!

Helen Murphy Howell from Fife, Scotland on January 28, 2013:

What a fabulous and inspiring article. Along with cross-stitch, Knitting is my favourite pass time. I have knitted clothing for charity for premature babies - its surprising just how little clothing there is for these wee ones and expensive to buy, especially for Mums who don't have a lot of money.

But reading your hub, I hadn't realised just how many organsiations there must be that a knitter can make things for. I'm from the UK but will definitely have a look!

Great hub + voted up + shared!!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 28, 2013:

What a beautiful story, breakfastpop! Thank you so much for sharing it. Your blankets were a generous and compassionate gift.

breakfastpop on January 28, 2013:

I have knitted for charity and I can't tell how rewarding it is, but then again I am sure I don't have to. I used to knit blankets for terminally ill children. I would put a knitted pocket in the center of the blanket and lovingly place a Beanie Baby inside. I was told the children loved it.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 28, 2013:

Thanks for the votes, Gypsy48. I hope you enjoy knitting if you try it. It's a creative and useful hobby.

Gypsy48 on January 28, 2013:

Interesting hub. I don't know how to knit but after reading this hub, it seems like something I should try to do. I know art and craft stores have classes, I will check them out. Voted up and useful.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 27, 2013:

Thanks for the comment and for sharing the interesting information, Martin.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on January 27, 2013:

Thank you for this. The Masonic Homes in Union City, CA does this, Big time.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 27, 2013:

Thank you very much for the comment, Bill! I was very happy to refer to H.O.W. in this hub. Humanity One World is a wonderful organization!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 27, 2013:

What great ideas, Alicia! Thank you for writing this and including H.O.W. in the hub! Excellent write!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 27, 2013:

Thank you so much, Prasetio. I appreciate your lovely comment and all your votes. I love your idea that knitting is more useful if we make something for others instead of making something for ourselves!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on January 27, 2013:

Very inspiring hub. I am glad to found this hub from you. Like my motto "helping others". Knitting is wonderful activity and it more useful if we can give it with others. How lucky I am to have found this article this morning. You brought happiness for us. Voted up and pressing the buttons, except funny.


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