Monday, February 04, 2008

Charity Knitting Updates

Here are a couple of ideas for charity knitting that have come my way recently:

Sarah-Hope at whatifknits is having a Blogiversary Raffle to raise funds for animal welfare and protection groups! The prizes include A Swallowtail Shawl knit in Louisa Harding Cinnabar yarn, a signed, limited-edition prints by Melissa West, two skeins of Socks that Rock in the Undertoe colorway, a full bag of Southwest Trading Company Twize (100% bamboo) in the Twack colorway, a full bag of clover green thick-and-thin cotton, seven hand-knit dishcloths—one for each day of the week, a copy of the original Sensational Knitted Socks, a short-attention-span knitting gift pack, including abridged versions of Knitting for Dummies and Cocktails for Dummies, along with a knitted applique kit. And maybe more! If you're an animal lover and a knitter, you should definitely think about participating.

Knitting Hats for Nuns, affiliated with String of Gems, a foundation dedicated to the financial welfare of Buddhist Nuns in and around Lhasa, Tibet is collecting knitted hats. Their goal is to complete 250 hats by March 3, 2008 to be hand-carried to Tibet by a group of Buddhist practitioners. Any hats completed after this date will be gladly accepted and delivered during a future trip or donated to other Buddhist nuns and monks. They have a free hat pattern, and they recommend an inexpensive superwash yarn from KnitPicks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pattern: Gail's Easy Cable Scarf

Here's an easy cable scarf to match last month's hat. Both are dedicated to Gail, the former listmom of Knit-U and Knit Design, who passed away suddenly after an illness. She will be missed by many knitters around the globe.

Size

Approx 6" (15 cm) wide by 64" (162 cm) long, without fringe

Gauge

27 sts = approx 5" unstretched and unblocked in Cable Rib patt

Materials

Yarn: 369 yards (326m) of chunky weight yarn. I used 3 balls of Plymouth Galway Chunky (100% wool, 100 grams = 123 yards per ball), 1 ball each in MC (turquoise), A (green) and B (hot pink). For a machine washable scarf, Plymouth Encore Chunky or Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky would work well.

Knitting needles: Size 10 (6mm) needles

Cable needle and tapestry needle

If you've never knitted cables before, check out this quick lesson.










Instructions

Body

With MC, CO 27 sts.

Rows 1 and 5 (RS): *(K1, p1) 3 times; k4 for cable, p1, (k1, p1) 3 times, k4 for cable, (p1, k1) 3 times.

Rows 2, 4 and 6: Work in patt as est, knitting the knits and purling the purls.

Row 3: (K1, p1) 3 times, sl 2 sts to cable needle and hold to back, k2, k2 from cable needle, p1, (k1, p1) 3 times, sl 2 sts to cable needle and hold to back, k2, k2 from cable needle, (p1, k1) 3 times.

Repeat rows 1 - 6 another 4 times with MC.

Change to A. Rep rows 1 - 6 another 5 times.

Change to B. Rep rows 1 - 6 another 5 times.

Rep stripe pattern, working 5 repeats of Cable Rib patt with MC, A, and B another 2 times, then work 5 repeats of Cable Rib patt with MC.

BO all sts.

Finishing

Weave in ends.

Use remaining yarn to attach fringe to ends of scarf.

Wash and dry flat, stretching scarf to measure 6-7" (15-18 cm) wide, and pinning in place to open up ribbing if desired.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pattern: Gail's Easy Cable Ski Cap

Here's an easy cable ski cap that is dedicated to Gail, the former listmom of Knit-U and Knit Design. Gail was a very generous soul who gave of her time voluntarily on both lists, and she also was a strong supporter of charity knitter. She passed away recently after an illness and she will be missed by many knitters around the globe.

Ususally I make hats in the round but I knit this one back and forth for those of you who don't like circular and double-pointed needles. It knits up quickly in chunky yarn on size 10 needles. Check back next month for a matching scarf.

Size

Adult, fits heads up to 22" (56cm) in circumference

16" (41cm) circumference, unstretched

Gauge

One 11-st repeat of Cable & Rib patt = 2 1/2" (6.35cm) wide unstretched, cap stretches a lot as shown in the photos

Materials

Yarn: 123 yards (112m) of chunky weight yarn. I used 1 ball of Plymouth Galway Chunky (100% wool, 100 grams = 123 yards per ball). For a machine washable hat, Plymouth Encore Chunky or Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky would work well.

Knitting needles: Size 10 (6mm) needles

Cable needle and tapestry needle



Cable & Rib Pattern (multiple of 11+1)

If you've never knitted cables before, check out this quick lesson.

Rows 1 and 5 (RS): *P1, k4, (p1, k1) 3 times; rep from * to last st, p last st.

Rows 2, 4 and 6: Work in patt as est, knitting the knits and purling the purls.

Row 3: *P1, sl 2 sts to cable needle and hold to back, k2, k2 from cable needle, (p1, k1) 3 times; rep from * to last st, p last st.

Repeat rows 1 - 6 for patt.



Instructions

Body

CO 67 sts.

Work in Cable & Rib patt until cap measures approx 6 3/4" (17cm) long, end after working row 6 of Cable & Rib patt.

Crown

Next row (RS): *P1, k1, k2tog, k1, p1, k1, slip 2 kw, k1, p2sso, k1; rep from * to last st, p last st.

Work 3 rows in patt as est (k3, p1 ribbing).

Next row (RS): *P1, slip 2 kw, k1, p2sso; rep from * to last st, p last st.

Work 3 rows in patt as est (k1, p1 ribbing).

Next row (RS): K2tog across to last st, k1.

Finishing

Cut yarn leaving a 6" (15cm) tail. Run tail through rem sts and pull tight to draw the top of the hat together.

Sew side seam. Weave in ends.

If desired, make pom-pom and sew to top of hat.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Holiday Charity Knitting for New Orleans

Guest post from Dez Crawford. In case you haven't heard, Gail, the list-mom from Knit-U and Knit Design, passed away the other day after a short illness. Her death was a shock to everyone. This message was posted on Knit-U by Dez Crawford shortly after we heard the news:

Knitterati:

I am as thunderstruck as everyone else. I simply cannot believe Gail is gone.

Gail put her best into KnitU to make this a thriving online community. I know that I have made many real, solid friendships -- including Gail's -- over the many years I have corresponded on this list. I know that the daily work of monitoring and managing such a large list was a major task, but Gail took it in stride, and made it into a thriving network of real people, and not just another online Q&A group.

As a result, KnitU is not a virtual community. It is a REAL community.

Gail was one of the bright lights who stepped up after Hurricane Katrina to realize that there would be a great need in New Orleans the winter after the storm. Shortly after the storm, she said, "People tend to underestimatehow miserable a person can get in a place where winter is short, chilly and wet. I'm afraid that people in New Orleans won't get enough donations of WARM clothes when winter comes."

She was correct, and the need continues. Our winter is not long, and it is not severe -- but it's not tropical, either. And if you ask anyone in Seattle, if it's 35 or 40 degrees, and it's windy, and rainy -- you are cold! Especially if you are camping out in a gutted and unheated house undergoing repair, or if you are living in a drafty FEMA trailer.

And especially if you are homeless and out on the street. Covenant House in New Orleans serves homeless kids and teens. Gail's goal this year was to get at least a thousand garments shipped to Covenant House in time for the holiday season this year. Of particular need are hats and scarves, items that can be taken on and off as needed, and which are easily portable for kids who might be on the street with just the clothes on their back, a small backpack or tote bag, or just a plastic bag tohold their few belongings.

As for most homeless programs, garments needing to be handwashed are impractical. Think in terms of practical colors suitable for either boys or girls. Bright colors are great but avoid light colors that show dirt easily.

As for fiber choices, think in terms of:

Superwash wool
Washable wool blends
Acrylic

Also, please stick to the above-listed WARM fibers. I've seen people in the northern realms specualting on what they think might be better for New Orleans: "I should donate something that will get more year round wear," or "Maybe I should use cotton instead."

Please don't second-guess the guidelines. Covenant House knows what they need, and they have adequate donations of mild-weather wear. What they need in the winter are warm accessories and garments for kids who are living on the streets, and a cotton scarf is not warm, especially when it's damp.

Let's help Gail meet that goal of one thousand donations. Please do the following:

In order to assure arrival in time for the holidays, mail your donations within the US and Canada by DECEMBER 14. If you are late, that's fine -- Covenant House needs goods all year. But in order for your gift to arrive in time and for me to tally up the totals, mail your item by December 14.

Send your knitted donations to:

Covenant House New Orleans
611 N. Rampart St.
New Orleans, LA 70112

Also, there is an ongoing need for toothbrushes, travel size toiletries andfor clean underwear in teen sizes. If you are seriously strapped for time and you don't have time to knit a garment, consider sending those tiems. THEN, also by the 14th, send me a short email, listing what you donated. I will keep a tally and post the totals as soon as I can after the 14th. Send to: dezcrawford@hotmail.com

I likely will not have time to reply to each email right away but the results WILL be tallied.

Thanks to you all.

Love,

Dez Crawford

(Reposted with permission.)

Charity Knitting Updates

Yesterday I cleaned out my closet, my sweater armoire, and my box of warm winter accessories that lives in the bottom of the hall closet. I don't need any more knitted clothes. That's what I've decided. I actually decided this when I was putting all of my projects on Ravelry (I'm not done yet) and I realized I was making everything for myself. I like knitting and am often inspired in two ways 1) by a project I would like to have and 2) by a project that has interesting techniques I would like to try. I'll no doubt continue to make one or two things a year for myself, but I just don't have any more room to hoard sweaters and accessories.

As I mentioned on my main blog the other day, I'd like to work on spinning and on knitting-as-art projects, but I also want to do more charity knitting. Sometimes I just enjoy making very simple items that work up quickly, and these are the perfect items for charity donations. I may also sell some of my art projects on etsy or ebay and give the money to charity. I can't help it--I make enough money to pay my bills with enough to spare to remodel my kitchen (with my husband's sweat equity) and to travel to Europe. I just can't get into the mindset that I should do more things to make more money to leave to children that I don't have. Instead, I'd like to help children that are in need right now.

The other day L'Tanya Durante, editor of Black Purl Magazine, and I were talking about how sad it is that we, as a society, just don't seem to care. About anything. L'Tanya said, "Either we don't care enough or we don't believe we could make a difference. But the truth is that if we wanted to stop homelessless, hunger, AIDS, global warming -- we could."

"That's so, so sad," I replied.

Here's L'Tanya's response, wich which I agree completely:

Yep. It is what makes me cry.

I was looking at a Diane Sawyer special a couple of weeks ago. She visited some city in So. Jersey that has 7x the national crime rate and crushing poverty and she told the stories of a few families. People reached out from everywhere and BAM -- some of the kids that were homeless aren't anymore, one family got nominated for the home makeover show, etc.

I was telling my husband that I do believe that people are basically good (sounds kind of Anne Frank-ish, but that's what I believe). So I guess if you tell people exactly what they can do and they can see that their efforts make a difference, they'll gladly reach out. I think that we have been brainwashed to buy into the political system that doesn't give a damn about people and we've forgotten about our own power to make things happen.

I think that the need for personal and private charity is a sign that society and our government is failing us. In a civilized society, there should not be any people who fall through the cracks and who need to receive charity. Our society as a whole -- and that means through goverenment programs that we all invest in with our taxes -- should be working to make sure that all people have a warm home, plenty of nutritious food, adequate medicale care, and a good education. But since American society is failing when it comes to meeting the needs of all of its citizens, we, as individuals, have to pick up the slack. And sadly, we will have to pick up the slack more in the future if the right-wing trends to dismantle FDR's New Deal continue to make this country more about catering to the rich and to corporations at the expense of the rest of us.

Now that the year is drawing to an end, I am making plans to have more time to work on this site next year. I've been so busy this year that I've had to let some of my personal projects sit idle, but I think I've adjusted my workload so that won't happen again in 2008.

To get started, I'd like to kick off with the idea of having a charity knitting party this winter, in lieu of one of your other annual holiday gatherings. If you need help planning a party, I wrote about this in an article in the Holiday Print Issue of Black Purl magazine. This issue is only $4.95US.

Here are some charity and knitting updates to get your creative juices flowing:

Holiday Gift Knitting for Strangers from About.com -- Sarah White asks, "While you're thinking of family and friends you'd like to make knitted items for, might I also suggest you consider doing some knitting for strangers? There are many, many charities that accept hand-knitted items to give to sick children, soldiers, cancer patients, homeless people, and many others who could use a little bit of warmth and comfort." The page has a link to a list of several suggested charities that accept knitting donations.

Knitting for others will warm the holidays for everyone -- Catherine Hollingsworth, columnist for the Anchorage Daily News writes about charity knitting in Alaska. Catherine says, "I encourage you to knit for others during this holiday season. It will give you a chance to work up a simple project, use up that yarn stash and possibly give you an excuse to buy more yarn, that's true. But, more importantly, it's good for the soul." She also lists charities accepting knitted donations.

Holiday Charity Knits? -- Kristie in California blogs about charity knitting and lists an interesting charities she likes to donate to: Knit Unto Others, who holds a holiday charity knitalong every year.

Knit Christmas Ornaments for Charity -- Knitting for charity lists five places that will accept knitted ornament donations. "Want to knit Christmas ornaments? There's lots of great knit Christmas ornaments you can make - easily and inexpensively - for charitable organizations. And what a great thing to do when you're in the Christmas spirit."

And don't forget all of your local charities. Groups in your area are probably collecting gifts for families in need. They ususally get lots of toys, but not very many gifts for the moms and dads who also would like to receive a bit of cheer at this season.