Crafting for charity is how I spend a lot of my free time. Sometimes I crochet, other times I knit! Today, let’s learn about knitting for charity!
Hello again! It’s been a great summer so far, right? It’s warm, sometimes too warm, but hey, when it gets too hot outside, you gotta find something inside to do. Remember when I went over how to crochet for charity? I told you guys I was going to go over knitting too, and here I am! Today, I’m going to go over the basics of knitting, items you can knit for charity, and some ideas on where to donate those items. Are you guys ready? Let’s talk about knitting for charity!
So, like with the other charity crafting post, I’ll start with the basics. Remember how in crocheting, there were many stitches? Well, to make pretty much anything in knitting, you need to know 4 things: casting on, the knit stitch, the purl stitch, and casting off. Boom. You can make almost anything on the knitting planet with the knowledge right there. All the videos linked are for a right handed knitter. I myself knit left handed, and have found many wonderful tutorials on knitting left handed on the glorious website that is YouTube.
There are fancier stitches that are easy too, like elongated or drop stitches, but you don’t have to know that to make anything I’m going to mention in this post. You can keep them as reference for later crafts, though!
I do want to briefly talk about types of knitting needles. There are tons out there. Some are metal, some are wood. Others are plastic or acrylic. Some cost a dollar or so. Others are more expensive. So. What should you buy? Well, that all depends on your preference. To give you an idea, I’ll go over my experience with knitting.
I started out on acrylic needles, and honestly they are not bad. Cost efficient, and easy to use. I caught a clearance on aluminum needles once, and stocked up on them to try. Metal isn’t my favorite. You do get to here that awesome click-click sound as you stitch, but the mix of the yarn on the slick needles meant I was always dropping stitches. Then one day, I came across a set of really cool wooden needles and bought them. I was in love. Easy to use, stitches moved well, and I wasn’t constantly dropping stitches. The only downfall to wooden needles, especially the smaller sizes, is that they do break easier. So, you have to be careful where you set them, because they could get sat on or a dog might think they’re her chew toy (true story). Now, I pretty much buy all my needles from here, but you can find good ones to start with at any craft store, or other places online like here.
In my crochet post, I went over what types of yarns to use, and how to read a yarn label. It’s the exact same principle when it comes to knitting. The same types of yarns are accepted, and the label is read the same. Except, on the yarn label you read the part that has the crossed needles to get your needle size, not the part with the crochet hook! You can find knitting yarns almost anywhere: craft stores, online, etc. You just have to find a color (or colors) you like and go from there!
Via The Chilly Dog
Knitting gauge swatches are very similar to crochet ones, and within the community, they're treated the same. You don’t have to do one, but if you’re particular about the item you’re knitting, and need it to be the exact size of the pattern, by all means, swatch away. To make a knitting swatch, you follow the guidelines on the yarn label. If it says a 4 inch by 4 inch square, which is typical, you would knit a 4 inch square. It will say on the label how many stitches and how many rows you should have. If you have too many of either, you need larger needles. If you don’t have enough, bump down a size. The thing I love about this picture here is that it really shows how different the yarn will look depending on the size of the needles. Neat, huh?
Knitting scarves is one of my favorite things to do. In January, my friend (and fellow blogger at FurnishMyWay, everyone say hi to Heather!) and I started knitting and crocheting scarves for the 2017 Special Olympics Texas Scarf Project. At the Special Olympics Winter Games, they hand out scarves in the colors of that year’s games to all the competitors. We just loved that idea, and when we heard that some years, not everyone gets a scarf because not enough get sent in, well we decided we were going to make a lot.
As of now, I think we’re closing in on 30 combined, and we still have the rest of the year! You should definitely check and see if your state is doing something similar! Some of the patterns I have been using, and others I just like, can be found here, here, and here. Oh, and this one is pretty too! I like too many patterns, and then make up my own, so sometimes it’s hard to choose!
Knitting hats for charity is another fun thing to do. They make up fast. However, most of them use double-pointed needles (dpns), or circular knitting needles. Do not be scared; I know they look intimidating at first, but here are some fantastic tutorials I found that walk you through using dpns and circulars.
I go back and forth on which I prefer, but cables do seem to be easier to manage when knitting hats. Plus, there are less needles to accidentally drop stitches on. Though, I do enjoy carrying around a project with dpns on them because I feel like I’ve got a tiny little spiky hedgehog in my bag. Okay, I feel you judging me.
One of the first things I started knitting for charity were slippers. I have mentioned before that I work with a pediatric cancer foundation, and since they get cold in the hospitals during their treatments, we decided they needed some cute slippers. I use this pattern mostly (I altered it to suit my liking) and it whips up nicely. It’s pretty easy, and it can be done on straights. To make them bigger or smaller, all you need to do is use different sized needles. Some other patterns like this one are also cute.
You can check with local cancer charities and hospitals and see if there is a need in your area! Do note that you’ll need to put something on the bottom of the slippers so they don’t slide across the floor, like you see on house slippers. You can buy the fabric for that, or you can use puff paint or hot glue on the bottom to get that non-slip feel!
Knitted blankets for charity are really fun to make. This patchwork one here is one of my favorite patterns. Why? Because it uses up scraps! I like that aspect of knitting blankets for charity because I can use the leftover yarn from the scarves, hats, and slippers I made, and donate them as well! No scrap of yarn is left behind! Blankets can be donated to nursing homes, hospitals, and other places like that. Lap and throw blankets are the best sizes to knit in this case. Other patterns that are simple and fun to make are these ones here and here.
Don’t forget, you can always find free knitting patterns on sites like Ravelry, Craftgawker, Red Heart, Lion Brand, Caron, and all the other yarn brands. Just search for charity knitting patterns and many will pop up, or you can search by type!
There you have it, folks! My final installment of the charity crafting series! I hope you enjoyed learning about these crafts, and that you decide to take one up! Have any of you started knitting or crocheting? If so, what have you made? Share your projects with me in the comments section. Don’t forget to share this post with your family and friends, and maybe some of y’all can start crafting together, like me and Heather do! As always, stay creative, my friends!
**Featured image via PAVE Seattle