Knitting for Charity
Posted on February 04 2019
I love it when all the Christmas decorations have been taken down and the New Year celebrations are over. It feels like a clean slate with a year ahead full of opportunity. I have wanted to start a 'Knit & Natter' group for a while but I have also been really keen to do something which will also benefit others. I felt that the way forward was to start up a community based group, knitting for various charities. Sometimes it is too easy to 'talk the talk' but not actually do anything and so this year I decided to commit!
My studio is on the outskirts of Harrogate and can probably hold 8 people comfortably so, the first thing I needed to do was to find suitable premises that were easy to access. I found a perfect room at St Peter's Church, Cambridge Street in the centre of town. Following a £2 million redevelopment, the church offers a variety of meeting rooms, exhibition space and staging facilities. We have taken one of the larger rooms which has lots of natural light perfect for knitting, together with an adjacent kitchen area to serve tea and coffee. I am hoping that a small fee towards refreshments will help to cover the cost of the hall which we have currently booked the last Monday of the month between 10.00am and 12.00pm.
My other criteria was to offer a wide selection of charities so that knitters/crocheters could choose for themselves the project they wanted to work on. Searching the internet and then speaking to the various charities to check their priority requirements, I found that there is enormous scope to do something I enjoyed (knitting) whilst at the same time, making a small difference.
The first session takes place on February 25th and there is of course the worry that I will turn up and have a very large room to myself!! I have contacted the local press, local radio, WI groups and local knitting groups but, at the end of the day, I have no idea how good/bad the response will be so please feel free to join me if you live in the Harrogate or surrounding area. My aim is that the session is enjoyable, an opportunity to meet some new people whilst doing something worthwhile. Beginners are also very welcome because knitting scarves or blanket squares offers the perfect introduction to the craft.
If you are unable to attend but are able to donate some wool or spare needles then they would both be very welcome. I would like to thank Laxtons, Rowan and Thomas Ramsden for their kind donations of yarn towards the project.
Should you be interested in knitting for charities yourself then here are a couple of sites I would recommend:
I have spent the last few weeks knitting some samples for the charities we are currently supporting. Harrogate Homeless Project require hats, scarves and blankets. The only problem with knitting blanket squares is the sewing-up at the end. However, thanks to Graeme Knowles Miller this is no longer a problem.
The picture shows a couple of ribbed beanies and the first line of a potential blanket. I used to cast off each square and then pick up stitches for the next square. However, Graeme's method is even better. I make 6in squares and if using double knit I cast on 36 stitches, knit 6 rows and then knit 3 stitches at the beginning and end of each row. I then finish the square with 6 rows of garter stitch and simply add the next colour by starting the 6 row garter stitch pattern again. In this first line of my blanket I have alternated between stocking stitch and moss stitch in the centre of the blanket squares. At the end of the project I will then just have 7 long strips to sew together rather than 49 separate squares!
I would recommend that if you are thinking of knitting for charity that you check to find out their current requirements. The premature baby unit at the Harrogate & District Hospital required hats and cardigans and so I used Graeme's free Ravelry pattern for premature baby hats which I adjusted slightly as I was using a double knit yarn. The cardigan and hat are a free download from Sirdar.
Whilst undertaking my research, I came across the charity Knit-for-Nowt and got in touch with them. This is a charitable service based in Yorkshire and requires knitted, crocheted or sewn hand puppets, 'worry puppets' and 'worry monsters' - all of which are used by therapists to help children suffering from abuse, neglect, bereavement or other serious problems. There is a huge and unfortunately, increasing need for these which are donated to Social Work teams across the UK. The patterns are great for using your imagination and for using those odds balls of wool. These are my two attempts: the first one is reversible with 4 different faces to enable the child to show how they are feeling; both have pockets for 'worries'.
My final knit this month has been a Twiddle Muff designed to provide a stimulation activity for the restless hands of patients suffering from dementia. I used the basic pattern and then just knitted different patterns and different textures by knitting in fabric, nylon string and adding buttons, tassels etc. Another easy knit with lots of creative opportunity to help finish off odd balls.
Age UK currently has the 'Big Knit' sponsored by Innocent and that's next on my list .......
Hopefully, the above few examples indicate just how many charities could potentially benefit from your knitting and/or crochet. So, if you are in-between projects or have lots of odd balls of wool, I hope this newsletter has inspired you to have a go at knitting for others.
Finally, if you know of anyone in the Harrogate area who could be interested in joining our monthly sessions then please forward this newsletter or suggest that they take a look at our website.