Charity Spotlight – Knots of Love

Hats are such quick and satisfying knit and crochet projects, we often end up with more than we can use or gift. If your hands have the urge to make more hats than your wardrobe requires, donating hats to charity is a wonderful way to support and comfort someone going though a tough time. While the donation may seem small, recipients treasure their handmade hats, knowing that someone was thinking about them and took the time to make them a one-of-a-kind gift.

heart yarn

Knots of Love is an amazing organization that donates handknit or crocheted hats to chemo patients and others facing life-threatening illnesses. They also donate blankets to NICU patients as another meaningful gift given to tiny newborn babies. If you want to donate a cap or blanket to Knots of Love, be sure to check out their donation criteria and approved list of yarns.

If you’re searching for the perfect hat pattern to send to this incredible charity, the free Imperial Yarn Snowflake Hat pattern is an easy knitting project that would definitely be treasured. The free Spiral Cloche crochet pattern is another great option to donate to this important cause.

Have you ever knit or crocheted a hat for charity? What about a blanket? Tell us your experiences here or on Facebook – we can’t wait to hear from you!

Charity Spotlight – Knit or crochet for baby birds with WildCare

Spring is here, and while that means blooming gardens and warmer weather, it’s also “baby bird season” for wildlife hospitals all over America. These hospitals care for abandoned nestlings by feeding them and providing makeshift nests to keep them warm. If you’re a crafty bird lover, you can help these precious baby birds by knitting or crocheting nests and donating them to WildCare!

Wildcare logo

Photo by Melanie Piazza

WildCare is an incredible organization that educates people about wildlife and treats sick or injured animals. Later this month, they’ll put out a call for wool nests that will either be used in their own animal hospital or donated to bird rehab centers across the country. Sign up for their email list so you’ll know when they start accepting nests this spring.

These adorable nests are fantastic stash-busters, and since felted nests are best, they’re a great way to hone your felting skills! Birds’ feet can get caught in loosely knit or crocheted fabric, so tightly stitched nests are preferred if you can’t felt them. The nests work up in a flash, and you’ll feel good knowing that your yarn scraps went to good use!

Have you ever knit or crocheted a nest for charity? Tell us your experiences here or on Facebook! We’d love to hear your story!

A note about baby birds – It can be difficult to tell if a baby bird has been abandoned. If you find a young bird you think may be an orphan, you can contact WildCare’s hotline or your local wildlife center, and they can assist you in determining if it needs help or not.

Charity Spotlight – The Preemie Project

The Preemie Project is a wonderful charity that comforts critically ill premature babies in Iowa’s Newborn Intensive Care Units, as well as their families, by providing handmade hats and booties. The seemingly small gesture of donating a handmade baby item offers incredible support for parents and families of preemies, and the cozy hats and booties help these tiny babies stay warm. The Preemie Project is currently experiencing some urgent needs, and you can find a detailed list of the projects they are seeking on their website.

Preemie Project

It’s important to mention that they are no longer accepting donated blankets because The American Society of Pediatrics does not recommend them for newborns. However, they have put out a call to charitable crafters asking for several cute and quick-to-make items.

The Preemie Project needs

  • Blue hats and booties for baby boys
  • Red, white, and blue hats and booties for their Fourth of July donation
  • Hats for their Christmas donation

By taking just a bit of time to knit or crochet some adorable baby items, you can make a big difference for a family in their time of need. Knitters, the Breath of Spring Baby Hat is an adorable and classic design, perfect for boys or girls. Crocheters will love the quick and easy Fishbowl Beanie, which is sized for preemies, newborns, infants, and toddlers.

Have you ever knit or crocheted baby items for charity?

Needle Arts Mentoring Program – Sponsored by The National NeedleArts Association

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and we would like to encourage knitters and crocheters to celebrate in an unconventional way, by sharing their love of crafting with children who are eager to learn. Crafters often teach kids or adults in a casual setting, and many want to branch out and share their skills more regularly but are unsure of how to begin. The National NeedleArts Association sponsors a phenomenal program that provides mentors with the supplies and resources they need to do just that.

TNNA mentoring program

The Needle Arts Mentoring Program focuses on sharing the skills we love with children in order to inspire a new generation of crafters. They suggest that one volunteer mentor works with a group of 3-5 children and recommend that the kids are at least 8 years old. Once you have found enough mentors and children for a class, you can request your supplies and decide on a time and meeting place. The supplies are generously donated by yarn and notion manufacturers who understand the importance of passing crafting skills, tradition, and passion on to others.

The National NeedleArts Association has found that a one-hour session once a week works best, and they recommend that each program runs for 6-10 weeks so each child gets a good foundation of knowledge about their new craft. There is no set curriculum, but some handy resources are available to help every mentor feel confident and successful. Each set of supplies also includes a helpful book to guide young knitters and crocheters as they learn.

Even if you can’t commit to a full program, by teaching just one child the craft you love, you are giving them a priceless gift that includes hours of entertainment, relaxation, and fun. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day… except eating chocolate – and you can take breaks from your stitching to enjoy some!

Blocks blanket
Blocks Baby Blanket

If you’re looking for some great patterns for beginners, knitters should check out the free Animal Washcloths. They only require simple knits and purls, and their small size gives a beginner instant satisfaction. The Blocks Baby Blanket is a larger project, but it only uses the knit stitch and is worked in a soft and chunky yarn.

two wordy

Beginning crocheters can try the “Two Wordy” Game Bag as an easy flat project, then make the free Vintage Hot Pad to practice working in the round.

Have you ever taught anyone to knit or crochet? We’d love to hear your stories!

Charity Spotlight – Binky Patrol

Binky Patrol is a fantastic charity for crafty afghan aficionados who want to make a difference in the life of a child. Whether you make sewn quilts, tie blankets, or knit or crocheted throws, you can donate your handiwork to this inspiring cause.

Binky Patrol

Binky Patrol has donated handmade blankets to the Children’s Lifesaving Foundation, children’s hospitals, preemies, and children of soldiers serving in the military. However, this amazing organization donates these thoughtful items to many other children who can use some warmth and comfort. Their main goal is to give binkies to children who are ill, abused, in shelters, or homeless – those who may feel they are invisible or forgotten. They want them to know through the gift of a handmade blanket that they are loved and that they matter. It is this far-reaching approach that makes Binky Patrol so unique.

Binky Patrol2If you would like to donate a handmade blanket, go to their website to find a chapter near you or mail your donation directly to them. Some chapters also accept donations of yarn. Whatever you choose to donate, this incredible charity is a wonderful way to let your skills and creativity bring joy to those who need it most.

Charity Spotlight – Knit (or crochet!) for Kids

During this magical time of year, many of us are searching for ways to give back by helping those in need. Knitters and crocheters can give a child the gift of warmth by donating a handmade sweater, hat, or blanket to Knits for Kids.

Knits for Kids

Your donations will help children around the world stay warm and healthy during the cold winter months. Because Knits for Kids serves children world-wide, they accept donations all year round. Acrylic yarn is strongly preferred because it holds up in the wash and does not shrink. Donated items will see a lot of love and use, and we want them to last as long as possible.

This holiday season, join us in fighting poverty with our knitting needles (and crochet hooks!) by donating a handmade blanket, hat, or sweater to this wonderful organization!

Help break the world record for the largest Christmas stocking!

Our friends at Spinrite are planning something huge for the holiday season of 2015 – they are enlisting charitable knitters and crocheters to come together to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest Christmas stocking! They are already accepting donations of 3′ x 3′ blankets that will be sewn together to form the stocking, so you can imagine how big the finished piece will be by the end of 2015.

Children of Fallen PatriotsThe best part is that everyone is encouraged to use their fabulous new yarn, Caron United, and 15 cents of each skein sold goes directly to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. This wonderful organization provides college scholarships to the children of military heroes who lost their lives serving our country. Then, after the stocking is assembled and measured for the world record, it will be taken apart and each blanket will be cleaned and donated to a military charity.

World's largest stocking

We here at the Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet office are excited to contribute to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation by being a part of this amazing endeavor! If you’re participating too, be sure to share this cute button to raise awareness of the world record attempt and the amazing charity it supports.

Charity Spotlight – Warmth for Warriors

In honor of Veteran’s Day, we would like to introduce you to a wonderful charity that donates handmade knit and crocheted hats to comfort both active duty and retired soldiers. Warmth for Warriors is a great organization that is dedicated to thanking soldiers for their service by giving them a small but incredibly meaningful token of appreciation.

This note from a soldier who received a handmade hat says it all:

Warmth for Warriors“I just wanted to say thank you! What a great surprise to have received the hats the other day. I came back from a mission dirty, hungry, and tired; you brought a great smile to all of our faces. I think most of my soldiers slept with your hats on the same day/night. God bless you all, and thank you for what you do.” SFC K. F.

If your craft group would like to knit or crochet a few hats to thank these brave heroes for everything they do, please use wool or another natural fiber in a dark color to ensure your donations will stand up to the wear and tear our soldiers experience.

Our soldiers do so much for our country, and it is an honor to have the opportunity to give them a thoughtful gift that will be greatly appreciated.

Charity Spotlight – Alice’s Embrace

Alice’s Embrace is a wonderful charity that makes a difference in the lives of those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease by donating lap blankets and prayer shawls. We would like to invite you to join the cause and knit or crochet one of these items to provide comfort to the memory impaired.

Alice's embraceBefore you make your lap blanket or prayer shawl, be sure to check the guidelines for acceptable yarns and patterns. The good people at Alice’s Embrace take care to ensure that every donated item can be machine washed and dried because these items will get a lot of use and love every day. This means that these treasured lap blankets and shawls will last a long time and become familiar items to the recipients.

Knit or crocheted with chunky yarn, these projects will work up in no time and help to enrich the life of someone affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. We hope you will join us in supporting this cause by using your talents to create a handmade item that is destined to be cherished.

Charity Spotlight – Little Hats, Big Hearts

The American Heart Association is preparing for 2015’s American Heart Month by collecting red knit or crocheted hats to be donated to babies born in February in participating hospitals. This inspiring project, Little Hats, Big Hearts, will raise awareness of heart disease and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country.

Little hats big hearts

To participate, send red yarn or a handmade red hat to the American Heart Association’s office in Chicago. Be sure your donation meets the requirements described on their site because cute bows and beads can be hazardous to little ones. For this project, simpler is better!

The deadline for sending hats is January 15, 2015, so you have plenty of time to get started. This project would be a great way to get a group of charitable crafters together to raise awareness about heart disease and heart defects in both children and adults.