Knitters and crocheters are blessed with skills that can be shared in many ways to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Before you begin, however, here are some tips that may help you avoid some of the problems that can arise:
Before you begin knitting, make a plan.
Consider the following:
1. Which charity or charities are you going to support and what are you going to make? There are many charities that need knitted items; homeless shelters, hospitals, care homes, charities for the elderly, animal rescue centres, premature baby units, children in developing countries, etc. All will have specific requirements at any given time and many will have certain “rules” to ensure safety as well as cultural considerations.
A search online will produce lots of ideas or click here for a list of charities by region . Many of these charities will publish knitting patterns that suit their requirements or search online for free patterns. Remember, however, that websites are not always updated regularly so, before going into mass-production, do contact the charity by email or telephone to check they are still collecting the items. Remember too that requirements can change so make sure you keep up to date.
2. How will you fund your knitting project? You may well have a stash of wool left over from earlier projects but, if not, are you happy to buy more? Consider asking knitting friends and family for donations of wool or post a request on one of the community websites such as Freecycle or Freegle. Most people like to donate their over-stocks to a charitable enterprise.
3. How will you get your knitted items to the charity? If your chosen charity is local, then the cost of delivery will be minimal but if it’s in another part of the country or overseas, the cost of postage needs to be considered. Very few charities have local collection points or can afford to fund collection, and postage can be expensive.
4. Keep safety in mind. For a professional looking and safe donation, be sure to weave in ends, keep seams neat and, if you use pins and/or sewing needles, make sure they are removed. We have found (by chance) pins embedded in jumpers intended for newborn babies so please check and double-check.
5. Consider working on projects with a group of knitting friends. Working as a group is sociable and fun but do keep in mind that a group will make more than an individual. If you need to post your knitting to your chosen charity, the cost will be greater and it may be necessary to think about fundraising or asking for financial donations. Be prepared for your group to grow – do you want to be the sole organiser or can you delegate some of the responsibilities to other members of the group? Don’t take on more than you can manage or it will become a chore …. it’s meant to be fun! If you do decide to form a group, it may be possible to apply for grants from local charitable trusts for the purchase of wool, rent for your meeting place etc.
6. Deliver with pride. Take or send your items to your chosen charity as instructed. Some charities will allow photographs of the items being delivered which can be used for publicity in a group newsletter or in a local newspaper.
Whatever you decide to do, please:
A Knit items that you know are wanted and needed by your chosen charity
B Make sure you can afford or can raise the cost of the materials and postage
C Have fun and enjoy your knitting