Knitting for Charity: Organizations that Help the Less Fortunate

Knitting for CharityKnitting for charity is a great way that many knitters have found to give back with their time. Some knitters love to create items for themselves or their families, which is rewarding in its own way. However, there are some knitters with the urge to go above and beyond with their stitching and have begun knitting for charity. These knitters have found organizations that support causes close to their hearts and have chosen to help out in a substantial way. No matter what your skill level is, knitting for charity can be a great way to help others in need with your craft. The first step is deciding whom you want to help.

Why Choose Knitting for Charity

While it is fun and rewarding to use your knitting as a way to create clothing and accessories for yourself, your friends, and your family, it is even more rewarding to know that your stitches have helped an individual in need. That need can be emotional, physical, or financial, but either way, by knitting for charity, you have helped someone that needed it greatly.

Depending on the organization you choose, you could donate items to a great number of people in need, including:

• Patients undergoing chemo treatments and suffering hair loss.
• Siblings of a new baby that need to feel special again.
• Soldiers deployed to the Middle East.
• Patients recovering in hospitals from long illnesses.
• Babies born too soon.
• Children and families in third-world countries.
• Veterans disabled in combat.
• Senior citizens in homes or hospitals.
• Families suffering the loss of a loved one.

There are many reasons to donate your knit goods to charity. You could be warming the head or the heart of a great number of people, whether they just suffered a great loss or are battling an illness or injury. There are even charities that donate goods to the homeless people in each city so that they have hats, mittens, and scarves during the winter. There are organizations for just about every cause you might want to support, so the next step is choosing where to send your goods.

Choose Knitting for Charity

Organizations for Different Charities

No matter who you want to help, you can find an organization to send your knit goods to. Some great organizations that are always looking for hand made donations include:
• Afghans for Afghans: sends hand-knit and hand-crocheted blankets and garments to the people of Afghanistan.
• Chemo Caps: sends caps made from knitters all over to patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments and suffering hair loss.
• Cubs for Kids: creating gifts for less fortunate children to cherish forever.
• Forever Warm: provides parents of stillborn babies a blanket for photos and burials, or to keep as a keepsake to remember their child.
• Hats for Homeless: collects hats, scarves, and gloves throughout the year to donate to the homeless in New York.
• Heartmade Blessings: sends hand-crafted items to people suffering loss or tragedy to remind them that people care.
• Knit with Love: provides scarves, caps, and other knitting clothing for people in need.
• Knit4charities: donates knit and crochet goods to homeless people, shelters, hospitals, animal shelters, old folks homes, cancer patients, and anyone else who needs it.
• Knots-of-Love: donating hand-knit and hand-crocheted hats to those battling cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.
• Project Linus: distributes handmade blankets to children in need everywhere.
• Socks for Soldiers: sends gifts of love to deployed soldiers.
• Warm Up America: creates blankets for those in need.

There are many more organizations to choose from if you do not find the organization that suits you in this list. Many communities have their own organizations that send hand made items to those in need. You can also choose to send your items directly to those in need by donating to hospitals, homes, or soldiers that you know personally.

By knitting for charities, you can share a piece of warmth with those in need. Whether you want to knit for the homeless, the ill, the suffering, or the lonely, there are countless ways to knit for charities around the world. By donating to those in need, you can use your knitting for a better cause, while still saving time to knit for yourself and your friends in the process. Knitting for charity doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does take a lot of caring.

Advanced Knitting Techniques for Experienced Knitters

Advanced Knitting TechniquesOnce you’ve been knitting for a while, you’ll find that the basic knitting techniques are second nature. If you’re wondering whether you’re ready for advanced knitting techniques, you probably are. Once you’ve begun searching out patterns written for more experienced knitters or changing up a more basic pattern, you’ll know you’re ready. This is how you know you’ve become an advanced knitter. At this point you’ll be ready for some more advanced knitting techniques to expand your knitting repertoire. Some fun advanced knitting techniques to try include knitting cables, lace or knitting with double pointed needles.

Knitting Cables

Cable knitting is the technique of crossing one group of stitches over another on your needles. Cabling creates the twisting rows and knots that you see on many knit goods like sweaters because they are so popular. Standard row cables are the most popular style, with a single column of twisting stitches.

Cables are knit with a cabling needle in addition to your standard knitting needles. You use the cabling needle to suspend the stitches, which can be any amount that you like, and knit the same amount of stitches off your left hand needle before returning the suspended stitches to your left hand needle to knit. This creates the twisted design that is so well recognized in knitting.

Knitting with Double Pointed Needles

Many knitters consider using double pointed needles an advanced knitting technique. These needles are used for knitting in the round but since circular needles are so much easier to use, they are more popular among beginners. However, once you’ve been knitting for a while you may realize that there are many circular patterns you want to try that are too small for circular needles, such as newborn baby hats or skinny tubes. For these projects, you will want to use double pointed needles.

Double pointed needles, or DPNs, are needles used for creating circles without the plastic cord that holds the stitches. These needles are shorter than standard knitting needles and have points on both ends rather than on just one end. They come in sets of four or five, which are all used in the course of knitting in the round.

Knitting Lace

Knitting Lace

Knitting lace is considered one of the most advanced knitting techniques around, due to it’s complexity and attention to detail. Most knitters consider knitting lace to be the ultimate goal to show off their skill, because this transcends the typical knitting techniques and becomes a form of art. True lace is a piece that is reversible, and where the holes are separated by only one strand of yarn and no more. However, there are many ways to create a lacey pattern in your knitting without it being true lace. The biggest aspect of lace knitting, and the part that makes it so difficult, is the holes. Since woven fabric is not made to have holes in it, this makes lace a very advanced technique because you not only have to have the artistic eye to create a lace pattern, but you have to have the ability to create the holes and stitches in a functional and aesthetic way.

In order to create lace in your knitting, you need to combine a series of yarn-overs and decreases in a way that creates a design of stitches and holes in your piece. Some popular lace motifs include:

• Leaves
• Flowers
• Ferns
• Rosettes
• Diamonds

Once you’ve learned enough about knitting to go beyond the basic knitting techniques, you may want to begin to expand your repertoire. By doing this you can continue to broaden your knowledge of the craft and keep pushing your skills. Since many knitters are striving to challenge themselves daily, they are excited to learn about new techniques to try. You can try your hand at these advanced knitting techniques to start with, or you may just find a technique in a pattern that you’ve never heard of and decide to try it. That is how most knitters learn about new techniques to try. Don’t second-guess yourself when it comes to knitting. Once you have mastered the basic stitches and decided to change things up, you’ll know that you are ready for the more advanced knitting techniques.

The Beginners Knitting Glossary

Knitting GlossaryMost knitting patterns use a lot of abbreviations and phrases that only experienced knitters will know. As a beginner knitter, it can be extremely helpful to have a knitting glossary handy to help you read your first few patterns. You shouldn’t need to keep a glossary on hand for too long, since the abbreviations are pretty simple, but it is helpful while you get used to the common knitting terminology. There are countless abbreviations and knitting phrases used in knitting patterns, but as a beginner you will only need to know the most common ones.

Knitting Glossary of Common Abbreviations

While some knitting patterns include a knitting glossary for those new to reading patterns, not all designers think to include one. If you have avoided reading patterns because of the abbreviations in the past, you can now refer to this knitting glossary when you are confused and you’ll be able to complete basic patterns.

Here are some of the most common abbreviations you need to know to read a knitting pattern.

• CO: Cast on
• BO: Bind off
• Beg: Beginning
• CA: Color A
• CB: Color B
• CC: Contrasting color
• MC: Main color
• Ch: Chain (using crochet hook)
• CN: Cable needle
• Cont: Continue
• Dec: Decrease
• DPN’s: Double pointed Needles
• G st: Garter stitch
• Inc: Increases
• K: Knit

read a knitting pattern
• K-wise: Knit wise. (Insert right hand needle into loop as if to knit)
• P-wise: Purl wise. (Insert right hand needle into loop as if to purl)
• RH: Right hand
• LH: Left hand
• K2Tog: Knit 2 together (Decrease)
• P2Tog: Purl 2 together (Decrease)
• M1: Make 1 (Popular increase)
• PM: Place marker
• Rep: Repeat
• Rib: Ribbed Stitch
• YO: Yarn over
• WS: Wrong side
• RS: Right Side

Common Knitting Phrases

Knitting patterns are full of phrases that common people wouldn’t understand. Even if you’ve taught yourself how to knit and never use patterns, you may not know what these phrases and abbreviations mean. Here are some of the most common knitting phrases explained.

• Knit-wise: when you are instructed to insert your needle knit-wise, this means to insert your right hand needle into the first loop on your left hand needle as if you were going to knit. This means that you insert your needle from front to back and left to right.
• Purl-wise: when you are instructed to insert your needle purl-wise, this means that you insert your right hand needle into the first loop on your left hand needle as if you were going to purl. This means that you insert your needle from back to front and right to left.
• Knit 2 Together: Knit 2 together is pretty self explanatory, in that you simply put your right hand needle knit-wise into the first 2 loops on your left hand needle at the same time and perform a knit stitch. This turns 2 stitches into 1.
• Purl 2 Together: Purl 2 together is also pretty self explanatory, in that you insert your right hand needle purl-wise into the first 2 loops on your left hand needle at the same time and perform a purl stitch, so that you turn 2 stitches into 1 purl stitch.
• Make 1: Make 1 is the act of creating a knit stitch where there was no stitch before. To make one, use your left hand needle and grab the bar in between the stitches from front to back. You can then knit with your right hand through the back loop.

This knitting glossary is a basic place to begin. It doesn’t contain every single abbreviation that can be found in knitting patterns; but it does include the most common ones to give you the basic knowledge needed to read your first patterns. Knowing the common knitting phrases and abbreviations can make reading knitting patterns much easier. If you’ve been intimidated to try out knitting patterns because of all of the abbreviations and strange phrases, you have nothing left to fear. By knowing what these abbreviations mean, you’ll be able to move forward with the confidence needed to complete even intricate tasks. If you simply refer to this knitting glossary whenever you come across a new term you’ll have no problems completing a pattern.

Understand the Art of Graffiti Knitting

Graffiti KnittingSince it’s invention eight years ago, graffiti knitting has had many different names. Whether you call it yarn bombing, yarn storming, guerilla knitting, or graffiti knitting, the idea is the same. All of these names describe the art of using something handmade from yarn to create street art, similar to graffiti on walls. However, the difference is, yarn storming is a softer, more cheerful type of graffiti intended to make passers-by smile and remember a simpler time. These graffiti artists, known as yarn bombers, want to bring a personal, friendly touch to industrial and urban surroundings. What began as a few granny squares turned into cozies for street signs has now branched out into something amazing and diverse that has spread worldwide.

Types of Yarn Bombing

Yarn bombing can be done in several different ways. It can be knit, crocheted, or even created on a loom. It can be as simple as knitting a cozy for a telephone pole or as elaborate as crocheting a huge spider web full of victims to attach inside a tunnel. That is the beauty of graffiti knitting, that it is completely individualized, and there is really no way to do it wrong.

Yarn cozies are the most popular and original form of yarn bomb. The idea is attributed to Magda Sayeg because of the doorknob cozy she created to put on the door of her local boutique on a slow day. Passers-by were so excited and interested that it spurred her to make yarn cozies for other things outdoors, starting with a stop sign near her shop and expanding from there. Today, she is so popular as a yarn bombing artist that she has even been commissioned for such projects as creating cozies for the exposed duct-work in’s Brooklyn offices, as well as car “sweaters” that have appeared in many commercials in the last few years.

Another popular form of graffiti knitting is the art of creating stitched stories. These artists use amigurumi, which are stuffed animals and dolls made from knit or crochet, to create stories or landscapes. Some examples of this are the popular giant squid that has been seen on many statues, a spider web full of bugs and fairies and other such creatures, a group of “wild” animals crossing a bridge, a Cheshire cat in a tree, and other similar ideas. These landscape type yarn bombs are usually organized through groups of knitters who all contribute to the larger picture. You can find many examples of this if you look at their blogs, where they document each excursion with photos and videos.


Purpose of Graffiti Knitting

There are many speculations about the purpose of graffiti knitting. Some people feel that this must be some sort of feminist protest. Others believe that there is some sort of hidden message behind these fuzzy squares of yarn. In reality, though, there are no burning bras or picket lines full of protesters carrying posters. As far as anyone can tell, these yarn bombers haven’t made any sort of united message public. Instead, if you search the blogs of various yarn bombing groups, you’ll find the same message over and over. It’s fun! There is an exciting rush to be had by doing something that is technically illegal, even if they almost never get in serious trouble. Most of these artists create their yarn bombs as a way to have fun and loose themselves in a fun hobby. Some do this because they love knitting but feel that they simply can’t knit another sweater. Instead, they turn to something fun and exciting that can be done in a night and make an impact on society at the same time.

While there may be a little bit of a political message behind this yarn-bombing fad, the majority of it is purely an artistic escape for those doing it and nothing more. Whatever the real reason behind this growing art form, it has certainly spurred a larger change in the world. Crafts that were once considered completely outdated are coming back with a vengeance since the beginning of yarn bombing. The younger crowd is now getting into things like canning, gardening, raising chickens, sewing, quilting, crocheting, and knitting, which all used to be considered “grandma crafts.” All of these crafts are now cool and growing in popularity since knitting resurfaced in the form of graffiti knitting.