So, Christmas is over and like many of us you might have spent the last few months knitting Christmas presents for friends and relatives. It’s something we all do from time to time when we feel the need to be creative and need an excuse to make things. Plus, it’s nice to give presents that you’ve made. But then suddenly, after Christmas, you have fulfilled all your gift requirements and no longer have any projects to make. Panic!
You need a new project, fast. But what?
Well, nobody you know needs anything and you already have a full wardrobe of woolly goodies, so how about making something for somebody unknown? Somebody who needs anything you can give because they have nothing. Or, somebody who needs a bit of a hand up in life. After all the excesses of Christmas maybe a bit of charity would be good for the soul.
Knitting, or crocheting for charity is a lovely thing to do. There is nothing more soothing when you’re in a bad place than something warm and cosy, handmade by somebody else and filled with love. It offers comfort and sometimes a bit of hope that the future is not always going to be bleak. Plus of course, the good feelings and sense of well being that it generates for you. Sometimes you can be in need of that warm cosy feeling just as much as the person receiving your knitting, you just don’t realise it. Like I said, it’s good for the soul.
So, there are many different ways you can join in. Blankets, hats, clothing, twiddle mats, toys to name but a few. There are lots of organisations out there asking for donations and it’s up to you to decide how you think you could best contribute, but here are just a few things to consider before you go leaping in headfirst.
Check your Charity. By this I mean do a bit of research and find out about the charity that you are going to donate to. Make sure they are real, that their motives are genuine and that all your hard work is going to get to the people that need it the most and not be wasted or worse. Most organisations have websites and you can also check their status using the charities register and similar.
Make sure that the charity wants knitted or crocheted items. (Some don’t). Look for any specific requirements they have for particular items or sizes and make sure that what they want is something that you want to make. Don’t put yourself in a position where the making suddenly becomes a burden for you. Also check if they have any specific yarn requirements, such as acrylic or machine washable or similar that you need to consider before starting.
Lastly, be aware that they are not going to pay you to donate your work to them. You are going to have to cover the cost yourself. Don’t set out to create a pure wool blanket for refugees in Syria for example, without taking into account not only how much the yarn is going to cost you, but also any postage costs you might have to incur to get your item to the charity! If you’re lucky you may be able to get somebody else to donate you some yarn. Local businesses or a friend who has her great grandma’s stash in the loft but never learnt to knit maybe. Don’t be afraid to ask around, give somebody else the chance to get in on the act and you may be surprised how many people will want to contribute. You could also team up with others, spread the cost and the work and make it a group project!
So, if you fancy a go, here are a few ideas for you to think about and websites that you might find interesting.
This is a great organisation, which I have worked for on several occasions. They always have lots of projects on the go, for a large variety of different causes, often with patterns available for you to use for free and loads of interesting stuff on their website. I can highly recommend going and having a peek. It might just spark your interest with projects you never knew existed.
The knit a square group is a great one to get involved in if you would like your projects to be really quick and simple. Lots of my regular customers from the Wool Monkey shop used to bring me squares on a regular basis to send away to these guys. They have ladies who then sew all the squares into blankets to be sent away and handed out in places where they are needed. They also have requests for other items too, always with instructions and patterns to help you get started. This is a great project for beginners, knitting squares is a good way to practice.
Loving Hands is a bit more of a forum type group, who focus onbringing like-minded crafters together to create for charities. They aim to make sure that all handmade work goes directly to the people/animals who need it. They have lots of information on local groups, free patterns and projects to join in with.
I could go on listing all the charities that need knitted items all day, but then this blog would become rather long. But, you get the idea, that there is more out then than what you perhaps first thought. A simple google search brings up hundreds of different ones. Or, you can visit the UK Hand Knitting Association website, where there is a list of charities for you to have a nosey at.
I hope some of this sparks a new interest for you, so that your crafty hands don’t get bored. If you need anymore help or are unsure with any of it, get in touch and I’ll see if I can help you out.