What to Crochet for Charity

Sep 24, 2012

The most impressive characteristic I have observed in crocheters is their charitable nature. There is always an in-progress project in their craft basket for a sick neighbor, a relative that needs a little lift, a friend, or a charitable organization.

Candy Cloche by Linda Permann

Crocheting for charity seemed to me, at first, an overwhelming endeavor. There were so many charities, so many possible projects to make. I was happy to know I wasn't the only one who felt this way. Betsy Greer talks about how she felt the same overwhelming feelings.

Hats Off to Craftivism

I thought about all the items I could craft and who could use them. I was struck by just how long both lists became. There is always going to be someone shivering who needs a sweater or a hat, a child who wants a blanket, an ill person wishing for the beauty and comfort of a shawl. The need is endless. What initially seemed daunting and overwhelming became instead a bevy of opportunities to help through the power of craft.

Crocheting an item for donation brings up several questions. What kind of yarn do I use? Do I make something lacy or rugged? Should I use bright pink for its cheer, or tan, which goes with everything? 

Galen's Manly Hat and Scarf by Anne Lecrivain

Begin by consulting the guidelines of the individual hospital, charity, home, or organization. Some are specific about using nonwool, washable items, others need wool only, and some just welcome a handmade donation, period. Then you need to decide whether to buy new yarn or use something from your stash. This question may be primarily about personal economics, as everyone has different price points.

Yes, charitable crochet is great for using up odd bits from your stash. But there is also a case to be made for making something lovely and expensive. Just because it's going to be worn by a stranger instead of a friend or relative, should it be less special? Think of the recipient as a friend you may never meet.

Consider, too, who will receive the item. A newborn baby? Perhaps something washable will ease a new mother's mind. Someone homeless? A more rugged, densely crocheted wool will keep in the heat better.

— Hats Off to Craftivism by Betsy Greer (Interweave Crochet Fall 2009)

Diana's Blossom Scarf by Andrea Sanchez

I still have a list of more charities to crochet for than I will ever find time, but I no longer feel overwhelmed. Instead I leaf through each new issue of Interweave Crochet with excitement, adding hats, scarves, shawls, and afghans to my list of projects to make and donate. I will never be able to make them all, but each finished project makes a difference, and that's what matters.

Subscribe to Interweave Crochet today and start your own collection of quick innovative projects, perfect for charitable giving.

P.S. What is your favorite charity?


Featured Products

Candy Cloche Knitting Pattern

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Price: $5.50


Go back to the 1920's with this colorful cap.


Galen's Manly Scarf and Hat Crochet Pattern

Availability: In Stock
Price: $5.50


Simple stripes, classic looks, and sturdy construction make this scarf and hat crochet duo the perfect accessory for any man.


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LisaD@7 wrote
on Sep 24, 2012 12:03 PM

The biggest thing about crafting for charity is that the item MUST BE SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD WEAR YOURSELF OR BE HAPPY SEEING A LOVED ONE WEAR!!! Charity crafting is not the place for junk.  I'm not saying use only high end materials (I think basic acrylic has its place in the fiber world due to its strength and ease of care), but there's no excuse to skimp on style, color or usefulness.  For pity's sake, if the item is going to a homeless men's shelter, it's not a good idea to use pastels and lacy, open patterns!  Save those for a baby charity!  Just because the recipient isn't paying for the item, they shouldn't be expected to be "grateful" for something totally worthless to them at that time in their lives.  And also for pity's sake, MAKE SURE IT FITS! Don't send baby/child size hats to a group collecting for adults - try it on your own head to make sure it's comfortable!

Toni Rexroat wrote
on Sep 24, 2012 12:37 PM

These are great tips LisaD@7. Thank you for sharing them.

Susan_Oregon wrote
on Sep 24, 2012 1:10 PM

I crochet hats, scarves and fingerless mitts for the United Gospel Mission's program for homeless men. They prefer washable, durable items, crocheted in dark colors. I use black, dark green, dark brown, dark red and navy blue. I try to make each set a little different, with two colors, so they are recognizable to their owners. Our church also makes hats for medically fragile children, and those can be very fanciful, with bright colors and stripes, flowers---anything, really.

neuwife wrote
on Sep 24, 2012 6:49 PM

I am interested in making items for the homeless and/or those serving in (the US) armed forces.  Can anyone share links to possible recipients for these specific items?  

kayemc wrote
on Sep 26, 2012 12:59 AM

You could try yahoo groups as there are lots of knitting and crochet charity groups online.  As I live in Australia I contribute to knit4charity yahoo group and also a group in my local area. We make lots of items for homeless/needy people such as hats, scarves, fingerless gloves and blankets.  We also make items for children, women's refuges, pet shelters etc etc.  I am coordinating a challenge at the moment to make crochet squares for blankets in our local area and  will be collecting trauma teddies for Red Cross in the new year.