Friday, November 11, 2011

Knitting for Charity

So here's a question that nearly all knitters ask themselves at one point or another (and for some of us it's asked quite a lot): What should I do with my yarn stash? For some this question may be more pressing than it is for others.

In some cases, it's only a question of picking which color or which pattern to work on next. In other far more desperate case (myself included), in addition to asking which pattern to work on next or which yarn to use, one must also consider several other mitigating factors. These include, but are certainly not limited to: an overabundance of scarves/socks/sweaters/other knitted items in your home; family and friends who have threatened you with certain bodily harm if you attempt to give them just one more knitted item; and/or you have a bunch of single skeins of yarn that you thought might be fun to knit with but you have since discovered a) one skein isn't enough to knit anything, b) the yarn is a big ol' pain in the patoot to knit with, and/or c) the color puce (or whatever) no longer hold any appeal to you what so ever. So, again, the question is - what to do with your yarn stash?

Well, for some, myself included, the answer is to knit things to sell to people who have some odd need for more handmade things in their life (see: Etsy). But for others - and I include myself in this category as well, there is the option of donating your knitted items. There are literally hundreds of organizations out there that are ready and willing to accept you handknit sweaters, scarves, blankets, hats and other items for the less fortunate.  

Now, I know there will be some out there who will be a little weary of this option - so many of us are incredibly busy and barely have time to go grocery shopping (hey - ranch dressing is a food, isn't it?), let alone knit blankets and sweaters for complete strangers. Never fear!

There are knitting charities out there designed to fit your busy schedule, including one of my favorites Knit A Square. All they ask is that you send them in knitted (or crocheted) 8 inch squares that they in turn use to make blankets for AIDS orphans in southern African. Not only is this a great way to test out yarn or new stitches, but it's super fast and easy. I try to send them a few every month.

Other such charities are those that collect hats - which are super quick and easy to make - for either soldiers or for chemo patients. A great charity for soldier's caps (helmet liners) is The Ships Project, among several dozen. And for chemo caps, check out Head Huggers. Be aware, if you would like to contribute to these causes, there are often restrictions on what can be donates, color and fiber for example.

As the holidays near, its always nice to turn your thoughts to those who are in need of a little bit of help, even if its just a scarf or a hat. In addition to the options I mentioned above, you might find these lists of Knitting Charities helpful: Lion Brand Yarn: Charity Connection and Interweave Knits: Knitting Charities

Do you have a favorite charity (knitting or otherwise) that you contribute to? And what do you do with your extra yarn stash?

Casting off,


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