Life is so much better when you have a knitting or crocheting project on the go - but what should you make? Crafting for charity is a rewarding activity to do if you have the time and means to. You don't need to be proficient in either craft to get started. Many knitting for charity projects are designed to be quick and easy so that anyone can take part including newbies. For experienced crafters, charity knits are a chance to share their skills by putting their talents to good use.
What is knitting for charity?
It's a form of volunteering where you give you time to create a handmade item for someone or even an animal in need. You'll need to provide the materials too, so if you're someone that has a large stash of yarn it's a great way to put it to use. Sometimes they are gifted directly to those in need. Other times they are sold to raise generate much-needed funds.
There are so many good causes you can support located all across the UK which means you could support someone local or further afield.
Here's how you can put your skills to use and help with knitting for charity...
Prima's Get Britain Knitting campaign
We've teamed up with Knit for Peace to get readers knitting or crocheting blankets for families living in poverty.
Founder of Knit for Peace, Dame Hilary Blume says: "Blankets are always needed by our charity. Many families are on the poverty line and these blankets make a huge difference."
Find out how to get involved with the Get Britain Knitting campaign here.
Knitting for charity: get involved
From tiny hats for juice bottles and individual squares to entire blankets, there are different types of projects for everyone that will suit your experience and the time you have available. We've done the easy part by listing some of our favourite charities who need support from crafters. The difficult bit is choosing who to support first...
The blankets go with the cats to help them settle into their new home. Cats Protection advises that when knitting a toy or blanket, it's best to avoid the use of stretchy yarns or small plastic items – such as those that can be used for mouse eyes – to reduce the risk of injury to cats and kittens. Loose weave blanket patterns involving the use of large needles are best avoided, too.
If you have knitted goodies for cats and are looking at ways to get them to the charity call 01227 686191 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knit for Syria
Knit for Syria says tens of thousands of knitted and crocheted items volunteers have made already have made a huge difference to the lives of internally displaced people, or to children in hospitals. They regularly transport the knitted and crocheted items to Syria where they are distributed according to seasonal need.
They require volunteers to knit jumpers, blankets, scarves. gloves, mittens and teddy bears.
You can post your knitted or crocheted items to: Hand in Hand for Aid and Development, 15 Auckland Road, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, B11 1RH.
The Big Knit for Age UK
Innocent sells special smoothies with woolly hats on, donating 25p from each purchase to Age UK. The campaign is run every year, with information and important dates released on the Age UK website.
Every hat is important, so whether you knit one or loads, you'll be making a difference. Take a look at all their knitting patterns to help you get started – there are some fantastic ideas! Once made, you can send them to: Big Knit innocent drinks, 342 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 5BU.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home are always on the lookout for donated items such as pet-safe blankets and knitted mouse toys for cats to play with. They even share some how-to guides for safe pet toys you can make, like in the video above.
However, they do say: "If you would like to knit or crochet blankets or toys for our animals, please keep in mind that large gaps in material can be dangerous as little paws and claws can get stuck. Please look into pet-safe patterns first to ensure your thoughtful donation is fit for purpose."
Donations can be posted or dropped off at one of their three centres.
Project Linus UK
A meticulously stitched and cuddly soft THANK YOU to @ProjectLinusUK for donating a beautiful bundle of handmade quilts for patients here at @AlderHey. Warrington Crazy Quilters & Knitters you are wonderful humans! 🧵🧶👧👦 pic.twitter.com/0cGqfcrLEw
— Alder Hey Children’s Charity (@AlderHeyCharity) October 30, 2018
Project Linus aim to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new homemade patchwork quilts and knitted blankets.
It also gives volunteers across the UK the opportunity to contribute to their local community. To contact them your nearest Area Co-ordinator – click on their email address or telephone them. More here.
The Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary is looking for animal-loving supporters to knit woolly donkeys to sell in their gift shops to raise much-needed funds. Named Woolly, these donated donkeys are sold in the visitor's centre.
If knitting isn't your thing, you can crochet a Neddy or sew a felt donkey filled with lavender, cinnamon or cloves.
Fill in your details here, and the sanctuary will send you the patterns.
Woolly Hugs is a friendly, busy online community making special blankets, and is run entirely on a voluntary basis. There are a number of ongoing projects, including Angel Hugs for bereaved families and the recently launched Peony project, which aims to provide blankets for patients on the Elderly Care ward at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
They also do special projects, their most recent was knitting blankets for children in Chernobyl.
To get in touch, you can email them at email@example.com.
Francis House Children's Hospice
Get a head start on Spring. Each year, Francis House asks the public to knit as many little chicks as you can manage for their Easter appeal. The chicks are filled with donated chocolate eggs and sold around Greater Manchester to raise funds for the hospice. In 2023 they raised over £48,000.
The deadline for making chicks for 2024 is 26th February. Download the pattern. You can post them in to: Fundraising Office, Francis House Children's Hospice, 390 Parrswood Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 5NA, marking your parcel 'Easter Chicks'.
Many Tears Rescue - Animal Knits
Animal charity Many Tears Rescue are based in South Wales. Each years they require two types of charity knitting. Finger gloves for adults that can be sold to dog walkers to raise funds and knitted coats to keep dogs warm over the winter. They recommends using any pattern you like for these and they can be posted to: Many Tears Animal Rescue, Cwmlogin House, Cefneithin, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire SA14 7HB. You could try our wrist warmers which are similar to finger-less gloves but cosier!
Oxfam is one if the UK's most recognised charities with the largest high-street presence. Did you know that they are always in need of handmade crafts they can sell to raise money including knitted and crocheted items? There's more details on their website which includes free knitting patterns including a knitted hat with flaps, a corsage and handwarmers. All knits and crochet pieces can be dropped to your local store. They also welcome sewn products too.
SiMBA - Memory Boxes
Scottish charity SiMBA support families after the loss of a baby and will assist anyone who is affected in the UK. One of their initiatives is to gift memory boxes which contain small knitted bears and blankets. Head to their website to download free knitting patterns.
Finished donations can be sent to Zoey Linton, SiMBA, Unit 7 Colliery Court, McSence Business Park, 32 Sycamore Road, Mayfield, EH22 5TA.
QMCG - Queen Mother's Clothing Guild
The most established charity in our round-up, QMCG launched in 1882 and they've worked with volunteer knitters since then. Each year they release a list of the knitted items they require to help support some of the most vulnerable people such as those is hospices, child refugees and the homeless. For 2023 the call out includes bed socks, knee blankets and twiddle muffs for those with dementia. They request you contact them before you get started and welcome knitting groups.
Stitches of Support - The Nightingale
The Nightingale Cancer Support Centre is calling knitters and crocheters of every skill level to get involved with their Stitches of Support project.
This community-based project aims to take knitted squares sent in by volunteers to create blankets for patients going through active cancer treatment. Squares can be in whatever design you like but need to be 8 x 8 inches in size and use a double knit stitch, they will be joined together to create blankets by the organisation's Knit and Natter group.
Download one of their Stitches of Support forms here, to include with your squares so that they know where they've come from.
If knitting or crocheting a large item like a whole blanket is too much then opt for single squares, which are easy to carry around and knit on the go. Knit-a-square is an organisation supported by a community of compassionate crafters to help make the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa better, one square at a time.
They are in need of volunteers to knit, crochet or loom 8-inch squares that can be turned into colourful blankets to gift to children.
Full details on how to package and where to send finished squares can be found here.
We've also complied a list of organisations specifically needing charity knits for babies.
Do you love knitting? Share your creations with us by tagging @primamag in your pictures on Instagram!
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