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

Updated on January 28, 2018
AliciaC profile image

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.

Knitted scarves
Knitted scarves | Source

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.

If you like to knit and want to help other people, you'll discover that there are a variety of ways to combine the two activities. You'll also find that 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.

Knitting Basics

Learning the basic stitches needed to create items for charity requires a bit of practice but isn't hard. Many websites and YouTube videos teach people how to knit.

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 | Source

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 also accept knitted donations.

If an organization doesn't have a local office and you don't want to mail your knitted 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.

The Knit a Square website; screenshot by AliciaC
The Knit a Square website; screenshot by AliciaC

Knit a Square

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 eight inch by eight 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. However, there is a cost involved in mailing the squares to the Knit a Square organization in South Africa, 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 Knit a Square Organization

Making a blanket with friends could be an alternative to mailing squares to an organization. If each person brings their own squares and shares in the sewing, the event could be both a fun social get-together and a useful activity. The finished blanket could be donated to a local charity, such as an agency for the homeless.

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).

The Project Linus website; screenshot by AliciaC
The Project Linus website; screenshot by AliciaC

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, Blinky Patrol has social media accounts.

Blinky Patrol website; screenshot by AliciaC
Blinky Patrol website; screenshot by AliciaC

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 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 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 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.

The Mother Bear Project website; screenshot by AliciaC
The Mother Bear Project website; screenshot by AliciaC

Teddies for Tragedies

Other websites that collect teddy bears for charities exist. One is called Teddies for Tragedies. As its name suggest, its goal is to provide a little comfort to children who have experienced a tragedy or a disaster. The headquarters of the charity is located in Canada but it has a collection depot in the United States. It's a partner of the Samaritan's Purse organization.

The charity provides free patterns for the bear, which must be no more than ten inches high. It wants each bear to have a happy face that is embroidered and has been created without any detachable objects such as buttons or pins. It also wants each bear to be placed in a sewn drawstring bag, though this isn't essential. The charity welcomes people to create just a bag, since it receives more bears than bags.

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 caps, sweaters, or blankets 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, however.

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.

The Knit For Kids website; screenshot by AliciaC
The Knit For Kids website; screenshot by AliciaC

It isn't necessary to work for online organizations in order to raise money for charity by knitting, though this can be very helpful. Knitted items can be sold at community events to raise money for charities or donated to local organizations such as hospitals and care homes.

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. | Source

References and Resources

The charity websites described in this article are listed below.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Linda Crampton

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      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

      • Brinafr3sh profile image

        Brinafr3sh 

        21 months ago from West Coast, United States

        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.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        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!

      • techygran profile image

        Cynthia 

        4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

        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!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        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 profile image

        breakfastpop 

        4 years ago

        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.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

      • jennabee25 profile image

        Jenn Dixon 

        4 years ago from PA

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

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

      • misslong123 profile image

        Michele Kelsey 

        5 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

        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

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        5 years ago from England

        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!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        5 years ago

        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.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        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 profile image

        drbj and sherry 

        5 years ago from south Florida

        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.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

      • kashmir56 profile image

        Thomas Silvia 

        5 years ago from Massachusetts

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

        Vote up and more !

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

      • aviannovice profile image

        Deb Hirt 

        5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

        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.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        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!

      • Seeker7 profile image

        Helen Murphy Howell 

        5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

        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!!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

      • breakfastpop profile image

        breakfastpop 

        5 years ago

        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.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

      • Gypsy48 profile image

        Gypsy48 

        5 years ago

        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.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

      • Mhatter99 profile image

        Martin Kloess 

        5 years ago from San Francisco

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

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        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!

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        5 years ago from Olympia, WA

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

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        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 profile image

        prasetio30 

        5 years ago from malang-indonesia

        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.

        Prasetio

      working

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