Want to knit for homeless people? In this series, learn how to knit items so you can provide the greatest benefit to homeless people
Would you like to knit for homeless folks? It’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular charity knitting causes. It’s a great way to show love and comfort to truly needy people.
Imagine how the cold months feel when you’ve no place to lay your head. Then imagine going without a hat or a scarf or mittens or even socks to stay warm. Imagine feeling alone, forgotten, even like you’re a lazy burden on society.
Now imagine how it would feel to know that a total stranger cared enough about your suffering to create an article of clothing, or a blanket, to warm you.
This is why so many of us knit for homeless people!
Maybe you have questions about the best ways to knit for homeless folks. I did too! So I went directly to the experts. I e-mailed the founders and directors of several such charities and asked: what advice would you give charity knitters who want to knit for the homeless?
Five of them wrote back! In this post I’ll share the advice of two such directors. In part 2 I’ll offer advice from 2 more, and in part 3, I’ll offer advice from the 5th and summarize all the advice they gave us.
Ready, set, read!
Carol of Relief Share said, “God loves all of his children and wants us to help each other. The first thing to realize is that most of the sick and needy people you are helping have little to nothing so they are not picky about color or style – they simply want to be comfortable and warm.”
Her guidelines for knitting for the homeless:
1. “Consider donating through a charity that handles these types of donations, as they are well versed on what is needed and can quickly get your donations to where they are needed the most.”
2. “Yarn to be used should be easy care, washable. Wool is nice for those who know how to take care of it, but unless the wool that is used is high quality (and unfortunately, expensive), it is scratchy and can cause problems.
“Many people think they are allergic to wool, but, in fact, wool is hypoallergenic. What most folks experience is stiff fibers poking the skin, which causes irritation.
“Having said that, acrylic is often the best yarn to use in charity knitting. Hobby Lobby carries their own house brand called I Love This Yarn and it is very reasonably priced – Relief Share volunteers use that kind of yarn a lot.
“Use the ‘feel’ test when choosing yarns. If it feels stiff and scratchy, walk on by, if it is soft and supple – it may be a good choice.”
3. “While any pattern will do, you may want to check with the charity of your choice to see what patterns they suggest and use. It could save a knitter a lot of time.”
“Some of the most needed items are: – blankets, all sizes – hats, baby to adult – gloves, mittens and fingerless gloves – slippers, socks, booties – soft toys.
“Good luck. This is a worthy endeavor and we strongly suggest everyone become involved in charity work. We ARE our brother’s keeper.”
Thank you, Carol, for your outstanding advice!
Project Night Night
Leah is the Michigan coordinator of Project Night Night, an organization that offers knitted blankets to children. She had this to say.
“We would LOVE to have people knit for us. My advice would be that gender neutral colors or ‘boy’ themed colors are best. We tend to get a plethora of pink and yellow and purple blankets and then a few that are red or blue and often they will have some pink thrown in them. Those poor fellas!
“I would also avoid brown and black colors. The kids are young, so we want something bright and fun vs. a throw that compliments one’s living room decor.
“Also, gender neutral colors work best, as the shelters can then hand them out to anyone, and this makes their jobs much easier.
“As for size, a smaller sized throw blanket is ideal, otherwise I would stick to a baby blanket. If the blankets get too big, then they are heavy and cumbersome and will get left at the shelter vs. taken.
“I would also suggest using a softer grade of yarn vs. just the least expensive. Sometimes the blankets can be very stiff. We want the kids to snuggle them and feel safe and secure. In winter, the shelters always need hats and mittens and socks too!”
These are all terrific guidelines. Thank you, Leah!
Want to learn more? In part 2, you’ll hear from two more knitting charity directors about knitting for homeless folks. Check it out!