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Monday, February 04, 2008

Charity Knitting Updates

Here are a couple of ideas for charity knitting that have come my way recently:

Sarah-Hope at whatifknits is having a Blogiversary Raffle to raise funds for animal welfare and protection groups! The prizes include A Swallowtail Shawl knit in Louisa Harding Cinnabar yarn, a signed, limited-edition prints by Melissa West, two skeins of Socks that Rock in the Undertoe colorway, a full bag of Southwest Trading Company Twize (100% bamboo) in the Twack colorway, a full bag of clover green thick-and-thin cotton, seven hand-knit dishcloths—one for each day of the week, a copy of the original Sensational Knitted Socks, a short-attention-span knitting gift pack, including abridged versions of Knitting for Dummies and Cocktails for Dummies, along with a knitted applique kit. And maybe more! If you're an animal lover and a knitter, you should definitely think about participating.

Knitting Hats for Nuns, affiliated with String of Gems, a foundation dedicated to the financial welfare of Buddhist Nuns in and around Lhasa, Tibet is collecting knitted hats. Their goal is to complete 250 hats by March 3, 2008 to be hand-carried to Tibet by a group of Buddhist practitioners. Any hats completed after this date will be gladly accepted and delivered during a future trip or donated to other Buddhist nuns and monks. They have a free hat pattern, and they recommend an inexpensive superwash yarn from KnitPicks.

Posted by Donna at 12:00 PM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Holiday Charity Knitting for New Orleans

Guest post from Dez Crawford. In case you haven't heard, Gail, the list-mom from Knit-U and Knit Design, passed away the other day after a short illness. Her death was a shock to everyone. This message was posted on Knit-U by Dez Crawford shortly after we heard the news:


I am as thunderstruck as everyone else. I simply cannot believe Gail is gone.

Gail put her best into KnitU to make this a thriving online community. I know that I have made many real, solid friendships -- including Gail's -- over the many years I have corresponded on this list. I know that the daily work of monitoring and managing such a large list was a major task, but Gail took it in stride, and made it into a thriving network of real people, and not just another online Q&A group.

As a result, KnitU is not a virtual community. It is a REAL community.

Gail was one of the bright lights who stepped up after Hurricane Katrina to realize that there would be a great need in New Orleans the winter after the storm. Shortly after the storm, she said, "People tend to underestimatehow miserable a person can get in a place where winter is short, chilly and wet. I'm afraid that people in New Orleans won't get enough donations of WARM clothes when winter comes."

She was correct, and the need continues. Our winter is not long, and it is not severe -- but it's not tropical, either. And if you ask anyone in Seattle, if it's 35 or 40 degrees, and it's windy, and rainy -- you are cold! Especially if you are camping out in a gutted and unheated house undergoing repair, or if you are living in a drafty FEMA trailer.

And especially if you are homeless and out on the street. Covenant House in New Orleans serves homeless kids and teens. Gail's goal this year was to get at least a thousand garments shipped to Covenant House in time for the holiday season this year. Of particular need are hats and scarves, items that can be taken on and off as needed, and which are easily portable for kids who might be on the street with just the clothes on their back, a small backpack or tote bag, or just a plastic bag tohold their few belongings.

As for most homeless programs, garments needing to be handwashed are impractical. Think in terms of practical colors suitable for either boys or girls. Bright colors are great but avoid light colors that show dirt easily.

As for fiber choices, think in terms of:

Superwash wool
Washable wool blends

Also, please stick to the above-listed WARM fibers. I've seen people in the northern realms specualting on what they think might be better for New Orleans: "I should donate something that will get more year round wear," or "Maybe I should use cotton instead."

Please don't second-guess the guidelines. Covenant House knows what they need, and they have adequate donations of mild-weather wear. What they need in the winter are warm accessories and garments for kids who are living on the streets, and a cotton scarf is not warm, especially when it's damp.

Let's help Gail meet that goal of one thousand donations. Please do the following:

In order to assure arrival in time for the holidays, mail your donations within the US and Canada by DECEMBER 14. If you are late, that's fine -- Covenant House needs goods all year. But in order for your gift to arrive in time and for me to tally up the totals, mail your item by December 14.

Send your knitted donations to:

Covenant House New Orleans
611 N. Rampart St.
New Orleans, LA 70112

Also, there is an ongoing need for toothbrushes, travel size toiletries andfor clean underwear in teen sizes. If you are seriously strapped for time and you don't have time to knit a garment, consider sending those tiems. THEN, also by the 14th, send me a short email, listing what you donated. I will keep a tally and post the totals as soon as I can after the 14th. Send to: dezcrawford@hotmail.com

I likely will not have time to reply to each email right away but the results WILL be tallied.

Thanks to you all.


Dez Crawford

(Reposted with permission.)

Posted by Donna at 2:03 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Charity Knitting Updates

Yesterday I cleaned out my closet, my sweater armoire, and my box of warm winter accessories that lives in the bottom of the hall closet. I don't need any more knitted clothes. That's what I've decided. I actually decided this when I was putting all of my projects on Ravelry (I'm not done yet) and I realized I was making everything for myself. I like knitting and am often inspired in two ways 1) by a project I would like to have and 2) by a project that has interesting techniques I would like to try. I'll no doubt continue to make one or two things a year for myself, but I just don't have any more room to hoard sweaters and accessories.

As I mentioned on my main blog the other day, I'd like to work on spinning and on knitting-as-art projects, but I also want to do more charity knitting. Sometimes I just enjoy making very simple items that work up quickly, and these are the perfect items for charity donations. I may also sell some of my art projects on etsy or ebay and give the money to charity. I can't help it--I make enough money to pay my bills with enough to spare to remodel my kitchen (with my husband's sweat equity) and to travel to Europe. I just can't get into the mindset that I should do more things to make more money to leave to children that I don't have. Instead, I'd like to help children that are in need right now.

The other day L'Tanya Durante, editor of Black Purl Magazine, and I were talking about how sad it is that we, as a society, just don't seem to care. About anything. L'Tanya said, "Either we don't care enough or we don't believe we could make a difference. But the truth is that if we wanted to stop homelessless, hunger, AIDS, global warming -- we could."

"That's so, so sad," I replied.

Here's L'Tanya's response, wich which I agree completely:

Yep. It is what makes me cry.

I was looking at a Diane Sawyer special a couple of weeks ago. She visited some city in So. Jersey that has 7x the national crime rate and crushing poverty and she told the stories of a few families. People reached out from everywhere and BAM -- some of the kids that were homeless aren't anymore, one family got nominated for the home makeover show, etc.

I was telling my husband that I do believe that people are basically good (sounds kind of Anne Frank-ish, but that's what I believe). So I guess if you tell people exactly what they can do and they can see that their efforts make a difference, they'll gladly reach out. I think that we have been brainwashed to buy into the political system that doesn't give a damn about people and we've forgotten about our own power to make things happen.

I think that the need for personal and private charity is a sign that society and our government is failing us. In a civilized society, there should not be any people who fall through the cracks and who need to receive charity. Our society as a whole -- and that means through goverenment programs that we all invest in with our taxes -- should be working to make sure that all people have a warm home, plenty of nutritious food, adequate medicale care, and a good education. But since American society is failing when it comes to meeting the needs of all of its citizens, we, as individuals, have to pick up the slack. And sadly, we will have to pick up the slack more in the future if the right-wing trends to dismantle FDR's New Deal continue to make this country more about catering to the rich and to corporations at the expense of the rest of us.

Now that the year is drawing to an end, I am making plans to have more time to work on this site next year. I've been so busy this year that I've had to let some of my personal projects sit idle, but I think I've adjusted my workload so that won't happen again in 2008.

To get started, I'd like to kick off with the idea of having a charity knitting party this winter, in lieu of one of your other annual holiday gatherings. If you need help planning a party, I wrote about this in an article in the Holiday Print Issue of Black Purl magazine. This issue is only $4.95US.

Here are some charity and knitting updates to get your creative juices flowing:

Holiday Gift Knitting for Strangers from About.com -- Sarah White asks, "While you're thinking of family and friends you'd like to make knitted items for, might I also suggest you consider doing some knitting for strangers? There are many, many charities that accept hand-knitted items to give to sick children, soldiers, cancer patients, homeless people, and many others who could use a little bit of warmth and comfort." The page has a link to a list of several suggested charities that accept knitting donations.

Knitting for others will warm the holidays for everyone -- Catherine Hollingsworth, columnist for the Anchorage Daily News writes about charity knitting in Alaska. Catherine says, "I encourage you to knit for others during this holiday season. It will give you a chance to work up a simple project, use up that yarn stash and possibly give you an excuse to buy more yarn, that's true. But, more importantly, it's good for the soul." She also lists charities accepting knitted donations.

Holiday Charity Knits? -- Kristie in California blogs about charity knitting and lists an interesting charities she likes to donate to: Knit Unto Others, who holds a holiday charity knitalong every year.

Knit Christmas Ornaments for Charity -- Knitting for charity lists five places that will accept knitted ornament donations. "Want to knit Christmas ornaments? There's lots of great knit Christmas ornaments you can make - easily and inexpensively - for charitable organizations. And what a great thing to do when you're in the Christmas spirit."

And don't forget all of your local charities. Groups in your area are probably collecting gifts for families in need. They ususally get lots of toys, but not very many gifts for the moms and dads who also would like to receive a bit of cheer at this season.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Baby Love Blanket Drive

Here's a neat charity Knitalong that I wanted to share. Thanks to Ann for sending this information!

What is the Baby Love Blanket Drive?

The Baby Love Blanket Drive is a month long, charity knit-along (Nov-Dec) where knitters in the Portland, Oregon Metropolitan area (and beyond) will knit blankets for newborns in need.

Why are we doing this?

We believe that an item made by hand and with love is more valuable than a store bought one, and we believe that all babies deserve to have something special made just for them. Each of us has the power to create something lovely, but if we band together, we can create a thousand lovely things, a thousand loving hands creating comfort for newborn life.

Who are the charities?

Outside/In addresses the changing needs of homeless youth and other low-income and marginalized people as they work toward self-sufficiency and improved health by provide them innovative social, medical and mental health services and material resources.

Yolanda House is an emergency shelter and service program for women survivors of domestic or sexual violence and their children. The house is a confidentially located, modern two-story structure in a quiet Portland neighborhood that shelters about nineteen women and their children. The house was named for a beloved YWCA staffer, Yolanda Panek, who was murdered by her ex-partner.

Thank you!

Posted by Donna at 2:27 PM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Friday, June 22, 2007

June has come and gone

Hi All, June has come and gone and I am still running behind on everything. I am working on the next topic to post, but it's not ready yet and I'll be offline for the next few weeks. So with that in mind, here are a few knitting charities that you can check out in June. Summer is a great time for charity knitting, because you can make lots of small projects that don't make you overheat the way a large wool sweater would. Please stop by in July for our next project and lots of information on green knitting and how environmental issues intersect with women's health.

Stitches of Strength: Yesterday I received an email from Laura Burton, the PR Coordinator at the YWCA Battered Women Task Force in Topeka Kansas telling me about a new knitting program that they have set up to support victims of domestic violence. According to the website, "We are asking community members to knit or crochet 6 inch by 6 inch straight-edged squares including the color purple to be put together into a blanket of support, hope and strength for survivors. The blanket will be displayed in public to raise awareness of domestic violence and at the YWCA Battered Women Task Force shelter to comfort survivors." According to Linda, "This blanket is similar in purpose to a prayer shawl, with all of the hope and strength of the creators being passed on to survivors and their concerns expressed to people in positions of power. I think it will be a powerful symbol." If you have time to knit one or two small squares before the end of September, it's a worthwhile investment of your time and energy. More details are online.

Warm Woolies: Check out this Denver charity site (I love to promote my knitting neighbors!) for ideas on how you can knit Harry Potter designs for charity! With the last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the fifth movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix both coming out this summer, our spectacled friend has never been hotter. And for knitters, there's more good news, Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel is here! I wanted to write a Harry Potter knitting book a few years ago, but I could not get a publisher to bite; they were all afraid of the legal issues. So I moved on to other projects, and have (obviously) been keeping busy. Alison's book is not authorized by J.K. Rowling or by anyone else, but it's still a ton of fun with all kinds of magical projects including the famous initial sweaters, house-color scarves, and even a pattern for your own owl. Right now, you can sign up for the Charmed Knits Knitalong, and get a free downloadable pattern if you don't have the book. I haven't bought a copy yet, but it's getting near the top of my book buying wishlist.

Square a Square: I've been bored with knitting lately and thinking about doing some crochet for a while. I've even bought a few crochet books! So here's a charity for others who like to crochet, and it's a perfect for summer knitting, too, because it's another afghan-square project. Blogger Shelly Kneupper Tucker is collecting granny squares to make afghans for all of the kids who go to Camp Sanguinity, a cancer camp in Texas, next summer. If you have some leftover yarn, a crochet hook, and 20 or 30 minutes, you can do your part to make a difference in someone's life. It's so sad when kids get cancer, and anything we can do to add a little sunshine and comfort to a young life is a blessing that will no doubt some day find its way back into our own lives. But in the end, giving is best done with no hope for receiving. It is, as the old adage goes, better to give than to receive. Hard to understand when you're a kid, but something that becomes more and more obvious with each passing birthday.

Well, that's it for now. I'm sorry I don't have more time to post this month, but I hope one of these ideas inspires you do click those needles for charity during the dog days of sumer.

Posted by Donna at 8:42 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A small charity knitting project for a busy season

Hi All,

The editor of Arctic Lace, Deb Robson, has made 43 baby caps for Save the Children's Caps for the Capital program. Oh my!

Most of us don't have time to make 40 caps during this busy holiday season. But if you can spare one evening while watching TV, you can knit one baby cap, and you can save the life of one infant who might otherwise die from exposure. Please take a miniute to download this action kit (PDF) and use a little smooth, soft yarn from your stash and join in, even in a small way, this holiday season. The action kit contains all of the information you need, including knitting and crochet patterns.

Posted by Donna at 8:38 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Message from Afghans for Afghans

Dear friends of the afghans for Afghans project,

We're now working on a campaign to make 900 wool (or other animal fiber) sweaters and vests for Afghan school kids, ages 7-18 years.

We're writing in the hopes that your can help us get the word out to involve more knitters and crocheters. We're very grassroots and count on the word-of-mouth.

By early October, our goal is to supply one sweater or vest for each child in three schools -- two in Kabul and one school in Wardak. The Wardak school has recently been rebuilt after being attacked twice by the Taliban. Nine hundred is truly a huge number for us. We just had to say yes to the kids, so we'll give it our best try.

Program details are on our website here: http://www.afghansforafghans.org/900kids.html

We are working in partnership with the San Francisco office of the American Friends Service Committee and the U.S.-based Afghans 4 Tomorrow to supply the students with these garments for the winter weather. The older kids deserve attention, too. (Generally, it is much easier to generate garment donations for babies and toddlers.) Each warm and colorful handmade garment is a one-to-one, tangible expression of friendship and respect toward the Afghan people. The need in Afghanistan remains.

Spreading the word is the easiest way to contribute. Getting the word out to more knitters and crocheters in North America is a big help in reaching the number 900. Thank you for being an advocate!

Please share our program information link with fiber friends through emails, your blogs, online forums, and other appropriate spots.

Please download our PDF flyer and make a few copies to share with your local yarn shop, guild members, community centers, house of worship, etc.

Click here to get the flyer (downloading starts when you click): http://www.afghansforafghans.org/afghansforAfghansflyer.pdf

If you have trouble downloading the flyer, please email us at afghans4Afghans at aol dot com, and I will email the PDF as an attachment.

We appreciate the help in spreading the word. We must continually work harder to involve new volunteers and to keep our momentum in remembering the Afghan people.

Thanks much,

Ann and colleagues

Ann Rubin

Join Our Campaign to Make 900 Sweaters & Vests for Afghan School Kids


Due Date: Early October

San Francisco, CA

Posted by Donna at 2:03 PM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Monday, August 28, 2006

Fun, free mitten patterns on the web

These pictures need no text to explain what they are! Click on each photo or link below it for the free pattern on the web....

mittens from lion brand

From Lion Brand, with some great info on knitting mittens. Unfortunately, you need to register to get the pattern, but it is free.

Lovikka Mitten

Knitting Traditions offers this Lovikka Mitten pattern for children in two sizes as a thank you for their Internet visitors.

left right mittens

These L & R mittens was designed to help those of us who are sometimes directionally challenged. The pattern price is $5.00, and $3.00 will be donated to Miriam's Kitchen in DC. Miriam's Kitchen provides food, counselling, clothing, support and even art classes for homeless people living in DC.

Pirate Mittens

These pirate mittens from Hello Yarn are just plain cool.

mouse mittens

For any little kid, these mouse-mittens from MagKnits are the ultimate!

ghost mittens

Boo! These are peek-a-boo mittens. The tops fold down so you can use your fingers. From craftster.org.

Posted by Donna at 8:30 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dishrags on the Web

If you still don't believe that knitted dishrags and washcloths are hot, here are some links to check out. There are literally TONS of patterns and pictures on the internet! All of these links will give you ideas. And there's no reason why you can't just make up your own design, using any stitch pattern you want to learn. What better way to make use of your swatches? Use cotton, terry-cloth, hemp, or linen.

This design, called Ms. Funky, is by Naomi Dagen Bloom, and is featured on her blog, A Little Red Hen. Made in stockinette stitch with natrural hemp, this washcloth has couple of garter ridges of red hemp here and there to spruce up the simple background pattern. The flower is 50/50 hemp/wool, knitted from Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments on page 21, "5 Scallop Garter-stitch Flower." A border of single crochet in a variegated hemp yarn finishes off the piece.

 This mitered square design, called a Right Angles Dishcloth, was also knitted by Naomi. The dishcloth was designed by Dilys Sutherland and the pattern is on her Blossom Knitwear website, along with several other free patterns and some knitting lessons.


The Dishcloth Botique website has 5 pages of links to dishcloth patterns. Wow, that's amazing. They are made in all different kinds of stitch patterns. Some are rectangles, knit back and forth. Some are circles, knit in the round. There are texture patterns, lace, and colorwork. Whatever your skill level and tastes, you're sure to find something you'd like to knit here.

Knittingforcharity.org has a page with information about using cotton yarn for charity knitting, along with a brief discussion of how you can use your knitted dishcloths for charity. There's a lot more info on the site, too, so it's definitely worth checking out.

Page by Page of Maui is a site that sells handmade gifts from Hawaii. The site has a page with several free dishcloth patterns, including this cute lace heart design.

And last, but not least, there's a cool Yahoo! Group that has a monthly dishcloth pattern and knitalong. It sounds like a lot of fun. It's at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/monthlydishcloths/. The group also has a blog with photos of the dishcloths.

Posted by Donna at 7:21 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Comfort Shawl Links

Whether you call them comfort shawls or prayer shawls, there's no doubt that receiving a hand knit shawl brings love into the life of someone in need. These resources include patterns as well as information on joining or starting your own shawl knitting group. To find a group in your area, try a local Google or Yahoo! search, or check out the search engine on the Lion Brand link below.

  This Comfort Shawl Pattern is for an easy triangular shawl. It's a very interesting pattern and the contrasting color trim outlines the shape, making it visually appealing.

The Prayer Shawl Ministry was started in 1998 by Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo. According to their website, the two women are "graduates of the 1997 Women's Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut, [which] gave birth to a ministry as a result of their experience in this program of applied Feminist Spirituality." Through this program "Compassion and the love of knitting/crocheting have been combined into a prayerful ministry and spiritual practice which reaches out to those in need of comfort and solace, as well as in celebration and joy." The site includes suggestions for shawl giving, patterns, and tips on starting your own shawl program.

Knitting into the Mystery: A Guide to the Shawl-Knitting Ministry by Susan S. Izard, Susan S. Jorgensen is a beautiful book written by a United Church of Christ minister and a Roman Catholic laywoman. The book is chock full of stories that will inspire and energize you to get involved. It is not a pattern book. On page 8, the authors say, "This book will be part instruction, a passing on of all that we have learned in the years that we have been involved in knitting shawls for others. It will be part reflection, as we attempt to put into words what actually happens when we knit, when we pray, when we gather, when we give away, when we receive. It will be part story, as we tell you what has happened to us and to many others who have been involved in this ministry. And it will be part prayer, as we pass on to you the prayers that we have written when we have given shawls away and that we have invited others to write specifically for this book."

Lion Brand Yarn has stories about knitters who have given and received prayer shawls, as well as a free pattern for a shawl. They also have a search engine you can use to search for prayer shawl groups in your area. A great resource. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the links.

On the website Fiberarts for a Cause, is a photo and story about a beautiful prayer shawl made by fiber artist, Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman. About the shawl, she says, "Click of needles, rhythm of hands, quiet contemplation. / Stories of hope, young and old. Stories of love, rich and poor. / Knit within the stitches thoughts for well-being, for healing, for comfort. / A Prayer Shawl to wrap warm thoughts around someone special." It's a beautiful sentiment and definitely worth taking a look at the lovely design. The stitch detail doesn't show on a thumbnail, so I haven't included one here.

Heartmade Blessings is "a not-for-profit, world-wide group of volunteers dedicated to providing hand-crafted items to those people suffering a loss, tragedy, or going through a rough time that need to be reminded of the simple fact that people care." Their website includes a page of guidelines for contributing a comfort shawl or comfort afghan along with information on where you can send donations.

Posted by Donna at 10:17 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Links to Animal Charities

The Snuggles Project was founded in 1996 to do something to help comfort all of the unfortunate animals who end up in shelters. Many times these are kittens and puppies born because pet owners are not responsible and don't spay and neuter their pets. Other times, families move, lose jobs, or find themselves in other unfortunate situations where they don't feel they can continue to care for thier pets. I find this very irresponsible. A pet is a member of your family and should not be discarded because you have decided it is too inconvenient to care for the animal any longer. The Snuggles Project collects security blankets for these abandoned animals to provide them with comfort while they are confined in cages, and to give them something familiar and cuddly to take with them should they be lucky enough to find a new home.

Second Chance Cats, run by Charlotte Wright of Robertsdale, Alabama runs a special program under the Snuggles Project to provide homes for FeLV- or FIV-positive cats. Knitted blankets are given to the kitties in shelters, go along with the cats when they are adopted. (This site has annoying music and flashing graphics, so you might want to to directly to the Snuggles page.)

Knit 4 Paws was established to provide blankets to abandoned animals in New York City's animal shelters. In 2004 they held a Knit-A-Thon in conjunction with Critter Knitters (sorry but their website seems to be gone), and collected over 1,700 blankets from knitters around the world. You can knit or crochet a blanket to donate, or you can send in yarn and K4P will pass it on to a Senior Care Center for the residents to use to knit blankets. They have free patterns on their website as well as links to patterns on other sites.

The Knitbloggers Knitting Basket Project at Wendy Knits has information about the "knitting basket" gift that can be purchased at Heifer International. This charity doesn't give comfort to animals, it gives animals to impoverished familes around the world. Instead of containing knitting needles, yarn, and other notions for yourself, this unique "knitting basket" gift provides a family with "two llamas and two sheep — one male and one female of each — four animals famous for their warm, income-producing wool." According to the website, "From shearing to spinning, weaving and finally selling woolen goods at market, your gift of a Knitting Basket will help four struggling families earn extra income to break free from the grip of poverty and hopelessness. Over time, as your gift multiplies and more animals are passed on to help others in need, entire communities will be warmed by the precious wool of your Knitting Basket."

Posted by Donna at 2:58 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Friday, March 31, 2006

March Mini Update

I've been so busy this month that I almost forgot to post a monthly update! I didn't get a new project designed in time to add a pattern, but I do have a couple of updates.

Breast Cancer Charity Updates

My cousin, Emily Druchunas, is participating in the AVON Walk For Breast Cancer this October in New York City. Her mom had breast cancer and has been cancer-free for six years. Emily sent this email to me:

Hello friends and family!

I've recently been approached by a friend of mine with the brilliant idea of participating in the AVON Walk For Breast Cancer. As many of you may know my life was affected by breast cancer when my mom was diagnosed with it six years ago. Many of us know someone who has struggled with breast cancer, and the toll it took on their lives or someone close to them.

As it stands, I have registered myself as an AVON walker, but to participate in the 39.3 mile marathon I need to raise $1,800 by October of this year. I know it's a hefty sum, and that all of our pocketbooks are lighter these days, but if we could all pitch in a little then maybe we'll end up with a big ol' bundle. Every dime will get us another step closer to a cure (no pun intended...okay, well I am my fathers daughter too)! If I fail to make the goal of $1,800, whatever money we have raised will still go to Avon's cancer research, however I will not be able to join in the two day marathon in NYC. I'm hoping I'll be there with my running shoes on on October 7th and 8th, but I will need everyone's help.

I've never attempted anything like this before, and you all know me...I would never ask for help if it wasn't desperately needed or for something I care very deeply about. Please help me to help others.

donate to emily

If you know of anyone that would be interested in helping me achieve my goal would you please forward them this e-mail. You can visit my personal page that I have set up for myself. There you will be able to track my progress, read my reasons for participating and make a donation if you so choose. I'll keep it updated as often as possible with new information and pictures of me and my cohorts in training. Please don't be shy, pop in for a visit!

Thanks so much for your time and support.

I'd be thrilled if some Knitting for Change readers would contribute to help Emily reach her goal.

Knitty's Breast Cancer Awareness Mini-Issue. I didn't have time to get a new project finished for this month, but I found this fantastic Knitty mini-issue to support breast cancer awareness. The issue is a special PDF pattern booklet that you can download and print. It includes these patterns:


Stitch to WIN Against Breast Cancer (TNNA)

In 2004 at Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN, the National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) launched their program " Stitch to WIN Against Breast Cancer." Since then over 70 retailers have had events in their own communities. TNNA's charitable partner Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a Philadelphia based, national organization offering direct support, information, and education for breast cancer survivors and their families.

Last month, TNNA had a booth at the 6th Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer in Denver, CO where over 650 women— breast cancer survivors, supporters and health professionals — came together in Denver CO to learn valuable information, gather support and share their incredible spirit.

From TNNA's press release:

TNNA shared the benefits and joy of needlearts with these courageous women, as well. Throughout the weekend, the Stitch to WIN Against Breast Cancer booth was surrounded by these new stitchers as they enjoyed learning to knit, crochet, needlepoint and cross stitch during their breaks from the scheduled programming. A few only needed a refresher course as they had learned to stitch as children at their grandmothers’ knees. Most always wanted to know how but had never had the opportunity. Each of them walked away with a smile and a new-found passion for the needlearts.

Many women stopped by the booth just to share their stories about how stitching helped them get through some very difficult times. They talked about the emotional, spiritual and therapeutic benefits of the needlearts – how their knitting or needlepoint kept their fingers nimble and their spirits up during the long hours of treatment.

Local retailers Carole Jacobs of Ewenique Yarns and Denise Seale and twin sister Danielle of Cherry Tree Needlepoint came and brought along volunteers from their shops to help support the event. Joined by Pam Aman, an independent Yarn Sales Rep based in Denver, these TNNA members and customers shared their time and needlearts talents with what seemed to be a never-ending stream of enthusiastic new stitchers. “I’m amazed by the energy and vitality of these courageous young women,” commented Carole. “ . . . and they’re taking to stitching with a real excitement and determination!”

Sherry Mulne, marketing consultant for TNNA, says, "I can't even begin to express the spirit of these events. I saw women crying (happy tears) about their newfound passion for the needlearts. I've been embraced by women and told how much we've enriched their lives. And I've heard amazing stories about how the needlearts have helped both patients and supporters get through terrible times."

The info on their website is a little out of date, but the program is going strong and there are more plans for events in 2006. Ask your LYS owner if they are a member of TNNA and find out if you can help bring a Stitch to WIN Against Breast Cancer event to your area.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Dangerous Knitting Part

OK, this month's links aren't really about charity. But this is the activist part of Knitting for Change. Sexuality is healthy and we should enjoy our bodies. These articles and sexy knitting projects can help you and your parnter practice!

Sex & the Knitty. Knitty.com's sex issue from summer 2004 will never go out of style. It includes a whole collection of articles and sexy knitting patterns including home made edible undies knit with red licorice! Knitty is currently my favorite knitting magazine, but so far none of my designs have been hip enough to be published there!

White Lies Designs. This site has patterns and kits for all kinds of sexy lingerie including thongs, babydolls, camisoles, and corsets. I just ordered this kit. Designer Joan McGowan-Michael says, "This site is dedicated to the concept that large is just as lovely as little, and there are many styles here that show off your shape while remaining comfortable and flattering."

UPDATE: Joan McGowan-Michael appeared on Knitty Gritty on March 6th. If you missed this episode on "Naughty Knits", it will be repeating on April 27th. Here's a description: Knitwear designer Joan McGowan-Michael, of White Lies Designs, visits host Vickie Howell to demonstrate her wearable knit lingerie. Never before have undergarments been so comfortable! Joan will show us how to knit a lacy camisole, which can be worn as lingerie for the coy and as outerwear for the bold!

The pattern for this camisole, along with tips on knitting lace and finishing are on the Knitty Gritty website.

Sexy Little Knits is a new book by celebrity swimsuit designer Ashley Paige. In the book she has both knit and crochet patterns for flirty, fabulous bikinis, one-piece swimsuits, miniskirts, tank tops, camisoles and more.

Danglie Bits has knitting patterns for, well, danglie bits. You'll have to see this hoo-hoo and willie warmer to believe them! Sorry no sneek-peak photos here!

A "Knitting is Sexy" thong is for sale on Cafe Press. Wear it if you dare!

Sex Advice From Knitters includes tips on knitting for significant others and answers the questions "Can knitting get me laid?" and "What public places are best for picking up chicks with my knitting?" Oh my! See what Lilly Chin has to say about how knitting can improve your sex life.

Citizen Skein's blog has a collection of knitted naughty bits that are anatomically correct body parts, both male and female. Are you brave enough to look?

Knit Porn. This brand new blog is looking for pictures of sexy knitters and sexy knitting. Regardless of the name "porn", you can be as risque or as modest as you want in your photos, as long as your photo includes knitting and is sexy.

Posted by Donna at 7:42 AM
Edited on: Thursday, March 09, 2006 6:41 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Bundle-Up New Orleans Knitting Project

Although Hurricane Katrina is now several months in the past, there are still many displaced people in need of extra warmth this winter. Here's how you can continue to help!

I recently received an email from Ray Whiting of Bundle-Up New Orleans. He said, "After discussing the options for providing hats and scarves for the people here in New Orleans who lost everything in Katrina, we are forming a project called Bundle Up New Orleans, largely with members from the New Orleans Knitting Meetup and anyone else who wants to participate. After what Katrina did, finding winterwear hasn't been a large priority, but now that winter is actually here, it needs to be done."

Ray has posted details at http://www.knitivity.com. The site includes the basics, such as links to free patterns, tips about what types of yarns are acceptable, and instructions on how to package and where to ship your donations. More info will be added shortly as the project grows and partners and supporters are added.

This is a great way to help, because your donations go directly to the people of New Orleans. If you have time to knit, great! If not, you can also donate yarn and knitting supplies or cash.

Here are a couple of additional "Knitting for Katrina" sites:

  • Knit for Katrina. This site is collecting 7 to 9 inch knitted squares that will be made into blankets. Using worsted-weight yarn and a size 7 needle, you cast on 35 sts and make a square using any stitch pattern you like. You can also crochet squares. That's all there is to it. They will sew the squares together into blankets, combining squares from many different knitters into one finished project. It's a great way to help if you don't have time to make larger projects.
  • Knitting Arts and Oprah's Angel Network are working together to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. One big need is items for the home, because so many people lost everything. This site is collecting knitted and crocheted blankets, pillows, curtains, rugs, and other accessories. Knitting Arts will collect these items throughout the next few months while the homes are being constructed & then ship them to their contact at Oprah's office.
Posted by Donna at 8:42 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Subversive Knitting Links

Here are a few fun links for ways to use your knitting to shake up the status quo a little bit!

The MicroRevolt web site includes the KnitPro software program that will turn any digital image into a knitting chart. You don't need to install any software. You just upload a GIF, JPEG, or PNG file, and the software makes a chart for you. It's very cool. If you're not careful, you'll spend hours uploading different photos just to see what the charts look like!

CitiPaper Online has an article about "countercultural knitting" with photos of some very unusual knitted items made by the Baltimore Stitch-n-Bitch group. The Baltimore Art Museum's contempory art curator, Chris Gilbert says, "In making, creating, doing, farming, even consuming, one is engaged in a political act."

The Knitty Winter 2005 issue features an article by David Demchuk called "The Only Boy." That alone makes his knitting subversive in the United States, where well over 90 percent of knitters are women.

Last January, The Guardian had an article about Debbie Stoller, editor of Bust magazine and author of the best-selling book, Stitch-n-Bitch. Debbie's work shows how knitting, once shunned by modern women as a relic of an older age, is being used by young women today as a declaration of newfound feminsm. No more the hobby of gray-haired grannies, today knitting is popular with college students, actresses, and women of all ages.

The KnitKnit Sundown Salon, held at Fritz Haeg's LA-based "Sundown Salon" in February of 2004 won a prize for being the "most subversive" because of its "monumental appreciation of handcrafted knitwear... The repetitive creative process of knitting, offset by the dramatic unraveling of labor so symbolic of forces in life and nature, and the depiction of neoprimitive knit costumes in action actually dare to suggest a new social order, to hint at some secret truth to be discovered in the knit and purl." You can order a video or rent a DVD of the event on the web page.

penguins We Make Money -- NOT! is a very cool website that features several articles about knitting, including one about knitting for penguins (if you can't believe it, here's a picture. Click the photo for more info). Just put "knitting" in the search box to see what other fantastic knitting stories they have.

The Royal College of Art in London has a bio of Freddie Robbins and some photos of her unusual knitting projects. On her Shockwave website, she compares knitting to using the internet. Freddie considers her knitting subversive, because she takes the traditionally tame and feminine craft, and turns it on its head by making bizarre and macabre art objects.

Posted by Donna at 3:20 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

November's Links

This month I have a few links to other charity knitting sites that specifically donate gifts to children.

mother bear project Muench Yarn and the Mother Bear Project. Meunch Yarn works with an ongoing project to help children with HIV and AIDS. The project is run by a grass-roots, non-profit group who's goal is to provide children in emerging nations with comfort through the gift of a hand-knitted bear. Patterns sold for $3 each, and the cost goes to shipping bears to Africa and paying the customs charges for the recipient.

Binky Patrol is a national organization in the United States that sends knitted and crocheted afgans and sewn and quilted blankets to babies, children and teens who are seriously ill, in hospitals, in foster care, in shelters, abused, homeless or experiencing any type of trauma.

Cubs for Kids is an organization that dresses commercial teddy bears and gives them to homeless children around the country at holiday time. They have free patterns for sweaters, scarves, caps, and even overalls on their website. The sweaters are made in several different techniques, including a top-down design and a seamless yoke design. If you don't have time to knit a bear, this is a great way to contribute! Care & Cuddles International in Canada and Bears Who Care in Australia are similar charities.

Caps for Kids provides children in need with hats to keep them warm. Nearly one million caps and other children's accessories have been knitted and crocheted by volunteers since the program began. The hats are given to non-profit, non denominational agencies in the communities of the donors. Free patterns are on the website.

Artists for Children has a page on their website with information on donating handmade toys, garments, and accessories. They have links to a lot of free patterns for knitters and crafters of all skill levels. You can also use your own patterns. They are looking for cuddly, new items to send to children in hospitals. Check it out for some great ideas.

Posted by Donna at 8:08 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I'm trying to get these posts uploaded before the end of the month. Since tomorrow is Halloween, I'm coming in just under the wire. Here are some great links to websites that combine knitting with breast cancer awareness and charities:

ThiS Girl Knits This Girl Knits. On this fun and funky knitting site, designer Jenna Adorno features designs that have appeared in Stitch-N-Bitch, Stitch-N-Bitch Nation, Knitty, and on Knitty Gritty on DIY TV. The pattern for "Hopeful", a sweater featured on Knitty Gritty, is for sale on her website. To honor her partner of 11 years who recently was diagnosed with breast cancer, Jenna will donate 120% (yes, you read that right) of all proceeds from the sale of this pattern to the Susan Love Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Lion Brand. On their yarn website, Lion Brand features a story about a customer, Judith Christensen, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in January. During her treatment, Judith knitted 100 scarves, sold them for $35 each, and donated the proceeds to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute where she was treated with the most advanced treatments available, and where she also participated in a clinical trial for a new low-side-effect hormone treatment. Today Jenna's "cancer tumor markers have all improved, she feels good and is living a normal life because of the nature of her treatments." The article includes links to Jenna's scarf patterns.

Knit for the Cure Needle Arts Book Shop. Knit for the Cure - Scarves of Hope, is a small book with five scarf patterns by Canadian designers. For each book sold, $1.00 is contributed to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Make your purchase go further in the support of charity by knitting the scarves and donating them or selling them and giving the proceeds to your favoirte charity.

Tit-Bits Tit-Bits. Another Canadian website, Tit-Bits sells hand-knitted prosthetics that are more comfortable than commercial products and can be worn with a regular bra. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, and each one can be made with or without a bead or shell nipple piercing. If you want to make some yourself, the pattern is available at Knitty.

And She Knits Too. This article, on a knitting blog, is not about knitting at all, but about the way the media represents breast cancer in a sanitized manner. Very interesting reading if you are a writer or if you are concerned about the way important issues are covered in the media. While you are at the site, check out the knitting content, too!

Celebrity Scarves 2 Vogue Knitting. The Holiday 2005 issue of VK showcases the winners of their Breast Cancer Scarf Contest. These designs are flat-out gorgeous. The winning scarves will be auctioned on e-Bay in February 2006, and the proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, so make sure to keep an eye on the VK website so you don't miss the auction. I know I'm going to bid on one or two of these scarves. All of the scarves that didn't win were donated to the Women's Information Network Against Breast Cancer.

The issue also has a review of Celebrity Scarves 2 by Barbara Edelman that includes scarves made by 20 celebrity knitters from their favorite scarf patterns, all featuring pink yarn. Five percent of the proceeds from the book sales go to the Avon Foundation to help find a cure for breast cancer.

Knit Picks Cardigan Knit Picks. Celeste Culpepper, fromBritish Columbia, Canada, designed the Sweet Mary Jane Cardigan in honor of her mother, Mary Jane, who had breast cancer. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of this lace bed jacket pattern are being donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Celeste also donated a portion of her designer fee to breast cancer research. Knit Picks is looking for other charities to contribute to in 2006, so if you have a favorite charity, send an email to charity@knitpicks.com and make a suggestion.

Posted by Donna at 11:03 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Here are two wonderful responses I received this month. Thanks to Naomi and Sarah for sending this info!

Threads of Compassion

by Sarah Sullivan

Threads of Compassion is a loosely connected group of survivors of sexual violence who desire to offer comfort and support to recent victims. The idea is simple. Any survivor of sexual assault or abuse is welcome to knit or crochet a scarf which in turn will be given to an assault or abuse victim when they enter the hospital for emergency treatment.

Having been through similar experiences ourselves, our hope is to offer support at a time when a person is feeling most forsaken, fearful, and vulnerable and in a simple way let them know they are not alone. The scarves are tangible objects that can be held, wrapped around the neck or shoulders, with the deeper meaning known only by the wearer.

The scarves represent a couple of things. One, that the victim is not alone. The second is hope. The knowledge that other people have been able to move forward after facing similar situations, can in turn give the victims hope that they also will find the strength to move on.

The added beauty of the scarves is that the gift is actually two-fold. Through making the scarves, survivors are provided an opportunity of helping other victims (in a very non-threatening way). Those who knit the scarves never come in contact with the specific person who receives their scarf. That is all handled through the local rape crisis center. Most hospitals now contact victim advocates when sexual violence victims come into the ER, and it is through this staff that the scarves will be presented to the victims. Each scarf will have a small card attached to it that explains the idea behind Threads of Compassion and information on how to contact their local crisis center if they need further help or support.

The site information on where to send scarves, links to knitting lessons and free patterns for many beautiful scarves, and to The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)  -- the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization.

Knitted Condom Amulets

by Naomi Dagan Bloom

Condom Amulets  

Naomi designed these fun condom amulets to promote AIDS awareness among senior citizens. In New York City, where Naomi lives, approximately 27 percent of residents over 50 years old are infected with HIV. Many don't even know they have the virus.

In 1995, Jane Fowler, a 69 year-old grandmother founded HIV Wisdom for Older Women after learning that she had been infected with HIV. Fowler was a widow, and had never had sex with anyone except for her husband until after his death when, she told Dennis Duggan of New York Newsday, "I began dating a man I had known most of my life. I wasn't sexually promiscuous. I thought I knew him really well and I felt safe with him."

Unforunately, Fowler wasn't as safe as she'd thought. Duggan wrote, "Older people who feel they are inoculated against a sexually transmitted disease simply because of their age are walking through a minefield. Worse, even doctors who are capable of telling their patients the most dreadful things shrink from talking to older people about sex."

To contact Naomi and learn more about her Condom Amulets for awareness, visit her web site: City Worm. 

Posted by Donna at 8:15 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Knitting for a Cause

I've been very pleased to notice articles and essays about knitting for causes in so many books and magazines this summer. Here are a few that I found recently:

In Stahman's Shawls and Scarves by Myrna Stahman, I found a section called "Let's Make the World a Better Place for All" that includes patterns for several seaman's scarves. The patterns are dedicated to Matthew Shepard, a gay student from the University of Wyoming, who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in 1998. According to Myrna, "At Matthew's funderal his cousin, the Rev. Anne Kitch, asked the world to find in Matthew's life a lesson that transcends the evil of his death." In response to this request, Myrna has designed two patterns that she allows readers to photocopy for noncommercial purposes. Her only request, is that whenever you knit these scarves, you take some action to work against hatred and towards the understanding and acceptance of people who are "different from yourself". The Matthew and Matt patterns are on the web here. (Myrna also includes 3 patterns dedicated to the victims of the Columbine shootings in 1999 in her book)

In the Fall 2005 issue of Vogue Knitting Magazine, I found several interesting mini-articles. The first is about Joy Durham, one of the models in the issue. Four years ago, her young daughter, Sunshine, lost an eye in an accident, and faced with huge medical bills on top of the trauma of the accident, Joy started knitting scarves to give as Christmas gifts to save some money. The gifts were so successful that she went on to start a business that donates a portion of the profits to help families facing similar difficulties. Sunshine Scarves and The Sunshine Foundation are two arms of Joy's efforts to help children who have facial deformities gain access to the costly prostethics and surgery needed to give them normal lives.

Knit for Her Cure is an organization that sells kits to make scarves, blankets, and hats, that make perfect comforting gifts for cancer patients, and for anyone in need of a little extra warmth in their life. A portion of the profits is donated to the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation. All of the gorgeous projects are made from luxurious yarns from Muench, and there are patterns for knitters of all skill levels.

The Dulaan Project of the Flagstaff International Relief Effort (FIRE), collects hand-knitted clothing items--including hats, mittens, socks, neck gaitors, scarves and sweater--for impoverished people in Mongolia who live in areas where the winter temperatures often plummit to 40-degrees below zero. The FIRE web site includes information about packing and shipping items to them, as well as links to free knitting patterns.

The January 2005 issue of Family Circle Easy Knitting included a feature article entitled, "Knit Your Bit for the American Red Cross" that included a brief history of the organization and its traditions of providing handknit goods to U.S. troops in the two World Wars, as well as information about a retro sock knitting kit that includes the yarn and pattern to knit regulation military socks from the 1940s. The proceeds from the kits support the work of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross used to have the kits for sale on their web site, but that link seems to be broken. You can still buy the kits from Lion Brand. Other free historical knitting patterns are available at the Red Cross Museum web site.

Interweave Press is having Scarf Style contests at various Knit-Out and Crochet events around the country. The Philadelphia contest on September 18, 2005, is called the Go Red Scarf Style Contest. All scarves must be made in red yarn and the proceeds go to the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Campaign.

I love all of these ideas! I am working on a couple of ideas myself for later this year, so check back every month to find out what's new. Or better yet, sign up for my mailing list.

Posted by Donna at 3:43 PM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting

Friday, June 03, 2005

Thank you for your responses!

I announced this blog on Knit-U and the knitlist yesterday, and have already had an overwhelming response. A few visitors posted comments, but many others wrote to me privately. Here's a small sample of the encouragement I've received:

"What a great idea. Well done. I've been trying to set up a similar thing for children's orphanages in China." -- Best of luck! This is a terrific idea.

"I enjoyed looking at your blog, and want to thank you and support what you are trying to do. I started a knitting/crochet group at my church four years ago. It worked -- in the past four years, we've made over 4000 items for people -- and have women and girls knitting and crocheting from ages 12 to 85!" -- Congratulations! Keep up the good work.

"Please feel free to visit my site and link to whatever you need: www.charitablecrafters.org" -- Thank you for sharing this link. This site has lots of great information for kntiters, crocheters, sewers, quilters, and even soap makers! A great resource.

"I went to your new blog and it looks fantastic...You have some great ideas." -- Thank you! Please enjoy the site and feel free to share it with others.

Several people have also asked if they could pass the link along to their friends and other knitting groups. Yes, certainly! You may also print copies of the information and patterns on this site to use in your community and charity knitting as long as you include my name and the blog URL (Donna Druchunas, http://www.sheeptoshawl.com/charity) on the printed copies.

Posted by Donna at 5:59 AM
Categories: Ideas for Charity Knitting