April 27, 2009

Your Craft Hobby Can Benefit Others

A few years ago, I learned about the Knit for Kids: Handmade Sweaters from the Heart organization promoted by Guideposts magazine. I was looking for simple patterns to crochet: my family had all the scarves they needed... So I visited Knit for Kids and found that they have patterns for crocheters too. I bought a skein of bright multi-colored yarn and began working on a sweater for to fit a four-year-old. My sweater looked slightly different than the example in the pattern. A male friend laughed at it! But I kept on, finished it, and mailed it off with good wishes.

Months later, I received a postcard from Knit for Kids and there, right on the front, was a young boy wearing "my" sweater. Well, I think it was mine. It was the same yarn; but of course Red Heart is a common brand. And I am sure many, many other crocheters submitted similar sweaters. But I like to think that child was wearing the one I made.

Today, I'd like to share with you some other organizations that can use your knitting, crocheting or sewing skills. There is something wonderful about creating a handmade gift to benefit another person. Sometimes that person doesn't even have to be someone you know.

Last year I met a women in a hair salon whose husband had died unexpectedly, tragically, and much too young. I asked her if she did any knitting. She said she did knit and was working on a prayer shawl for someone because she had received a prayer shawl when her husband died and it had meant a lot to her.

As you are looking at your stash of yarn and the pile of afghans, sweaters, scarves, socks, and other handmade items throughout your home, think about making a gift for someone else. It will mean a lot to them, and, to you.

The SHIPS Project: Supporting America's Troops Deployed on the War on Terror, One Stitch at a Time. You can see a list of the patterns (hats, slippers, and more, for knitting and crochet) HERE.

Warm Woolies: "In 2009, we're continuing to knit for children living in orphanages in Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia and on Reservations throughout the northern United States. Our goal for 2009 is to knit 10,000 pieces of warm wool clothing for these children!"

Binky Patrol: "We make blankets and give them away to children in need of comfort. It's as simple as that."

Blankets of Gratitude: "Since we can't visit them all in person, our goal is to wrap 25,000 of these Veterans in lap robes, representative of our support and appreciation, called "Blankets of Gratitude." The lap robes will be a physical reminder that they are not alone." (crocheting, knitting, loom weaving)

Blankets of Hope: "The Blankets of Hope team creates unique, handmade blankets to send hope, support and gratitude to America's wounded and veterans. Used on hospital beds, wheelchairs, and transport litters on medevac flights, Blankets of Hope bring the message that each servicemember is loved and not forgotten. They are included in our First Response Backpacks and Vet Packs sent to Combat Support Hospitals in the war zones, major medical facilities in Germany and around the world, and selected military hospitals and veterans centers here at home." (sewing) Note: the website for Blankets of Hope and Blankets of Gratitude explains that crocheted/knitted/woven items are best for veterans and sewn/quilted blankets are best for wounded, hospitalized vets as medical personnel state the sewn blankets do not get caught on the medical equipment as crocheted/knitted/ items can. Hence the reason for two organizations which seem so similar, but are specifically geared to the needs of the recipients.

Hats for the Homeless: "Hats for the Homeless grew out of the heart of one young man who cared about those less fortunate. He died suddenly in 1998. Hats for the Homeless was created in his memory to continue the tradition he started." (crochet, knitting; scarves and mittens too)

Project Linus: Providing Security through Blankets. "Project Linus is comprised of hundreds of local chapters and thousands of volunteers across the United States. Each volunteer and local chapter all work together to help us achieve our mission statement, which states:

  1. First, it is our mission to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.”
  2. Second, it is our mission to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children."

"Together we have distributed over two million blankets to children in need since our inception in 1995."

Chemo Caps: "Wherever you live, somewhere in your community there are cancerpatients in need of hand knit chemocaps. Get together with other knitters, get school groups, scouts and other young people involved. It's a great community service project for everyone...." (knitting patterns online)

All Free Crafts: "Crafters are generous, warm-hearted people. Here we try to link you with charitable sites and organizations that would appreciate donations of homemade knitting, crochet and craft works for people in need all over the world." This website lists many outlets for crafting for charities.

The Mother Bear Project: "The Mother Bear Project is dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear."

The Snuggles Project: security blankets for shelter animals

Sewing Charities: A huge, huge, alphabetized list of various charities seeking sewn items. (Also includes knitting and crocheted as well).

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