Do you want to knit for a good cause? Maybe the only place you heard of knitting for is Oxfam?
Well, there are lots of charities, local, national and international that need your help, whether you knit, crochet or sew. Whether you could knit a hat for a premature baby, crochet a blanket or even knit a toy teddy, someone out there needs your help!
Below are UK, US and South African based charities who accept knitted and crocheted items, as well as other handcrafted items.
If you know of a charity which needs knitted, crocheted or other hand-crafted items, please Contact Us so that they can be added to this list.
Grenfell Tower Survivors who have lost everything need all sorts of items, not just now but later in the year when the weather starts to get colder. Knit for Peace are collecting knitted items for the survivorrs. Visit Knit for Peace's website to find out what they need most urgently. They also have some patterns for sale for which the proceeds will be donated to the Grenfell Tower survivors.
Octopuses for Preemies is the UK branch of an organisation to provide crocheted octopuses for premature babies. The tentacles are comforting for the children, as it reminds them of the umblical cord which they will have played with in the womb. Octopuses should be crocheted in 100% cotton so that they can be washed at high temperatures. This is the octopus pattern in English with UK Crochet notation. The pattern is also available in Danish, Italian and Spanish as well as US crochet notation.
The Donkey Sanctuary, based in Sidmouth, Devon, need donations of knitted donkeys to sell in their gift shop to raise funds for the sanctuary. Visit their website to register your interest in donating a knitted donkey.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home need a regular supply of blankets, knitted cat wands and cat-battlers and if you can sew they also appreciate dog bandanas. Patterns are on the website.
Oxfam no longer send knitted tops or blankets abroad, but if you want to knit blankets they will accept them and sell them at music festivals such as Glastonbury, where they are very popular. Sewers could also make bunting which is becoming increasingly popular with fans of vintage style. They also accept hand knitted goods to sell in their shops in the UK and have some patterns on their website for items that will go down well.
Teddies for Tragedies A central contact point for charities who send teddies to children in need. Contact them to find a local collecter for your knitted teddies, or if you are a charity who would like to send teddies to children. They offer their own pattern, as teddies need to be a specific size.
Preemies UK is small group of volunteers that knit and crochet clothing for premature babies, who find it particularly difficut to keep warm.
Charity Clowns Knitted clowns and patchwork blankets are needed for the very poor children of Kosovo, on behalf of Hope and Aid Direct.
Algerian Action provide clothing and toys to needy children aged between 0-12 and ‘baby packs’ to mothers who have nothing for their new-borns. They are also collecting 5" knitted or crocheted squares.
Loving Hands A charity knitting, crocheting and sewing group based in the UK which has over 160 members who work away helping lots of different charities (Feed the Children, Save, the Children, UK Maternities, Boobs for Breastfeeding, Blythswood care, Burundi Bears, Baby Pack Project, British and International Sailor's Society and Blankets for Animal Shelters at the moment).
Bonnie Babies sends premature baby outfits and blankets to special care baby units around the UK and to parents who need support.
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Volunteering Matters (Formerly Community Service Volunteers) Volunteer knitters attend their local knitting groups where they can purchase low cost wool and other decorative goods, and sit down for a knit and a natter. Some groups even provide transport for knitters who may not be able to get around so easily.
Cuddles supports families who have lost a baby to still birth or miscarriage and need clothes and blankets for the tiny babies. There are patterns and information on the website and a running totals of the items donated each month.
Ray of Hope ask you to send patterns, knit for your local hospital or help Leighton Hospital, Crewe Cheshire, UK. They have patterns, news about charity knitting and message boards for knitters.
Project Linus UK Named after the Snoopy character who famously went nowhere without his blanket, Project Linus aims to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new home made patchwork quilts and knitted / crocheted blankets.
Baby Beanies need you to knit a Baby Beanie, or even a batch of beanies for babies in neonatal units. They will help babies who are born too early, with a low birth weight or who have a medical condition requiring specialist treatment. A selection of patterns are available on the website.
Many civic and church organisations will also have their own links with groups that accept knitted items to send to local hospitals or overseas. You could also try contacting your nearest volunteer bureau to see if they have any requirements. The Knitting Guild Association has a big list of charities who accept knitted items, mostly in the US and Canada.
Afghans for Afghans US Charity sending blankets to Afghanistan. The country has been devastated not only by the original Soviet invasion in 1979 then by the recent war initiated by the US after 9/11. Outside the US you can support their work by purchasing knitting patterns from their website.
Knitting & Giving Connecticut based charity group that has been established to provide warm hand knit or crocheted items to those in need. They deliver donated items to local hospitals, homeless shelters, and more, as well as ship donations to those in need throughout the United States and abroad.
Snuggles Project This charity asks you to donate a little of your time and your leftover scraps of yarn or fabric to make snuggles for your local humane societies and animal shelters. Crochet, knit, quilt or sew cloth blankets.
Related: 7 Tips for Teaching Kids to Knit
The Ruth Mailbag Group who have been knitting baby items for "fish and chips" premature and newborn babies has sadly closed and are no longer able to accept knitted items.
The Baby Pack Project South African charity which provides a pack of the most basic items needed for a new born baby under-privileged mothers of newborn babies on the lower south coast of Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. They say that anything you can knit for a baby would be gratefully received, and have a couple of suggested patterns on their website.
Knit-a-Square South African charity that asks you to knit squares 8" X 8" which they will then sew together into blankets for children, particularly in Africa. They also have patterns for a square vest, a hat, toys and a roomy pullover for children, all of which they would appreciate donations of.
Please let us know about any charity knitting events or campaigns and we will be pleased to list them here. Contact Us.
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.