Hi makers! Kelly here, hoping your 2018 is off to a fabulous start!
Like many, I think of January as a time to reflect on the previous year and an opportunity to plan for the new one. And, like many, my planning usually involves some serious goal setting. While I have made my obligatory hefty "new-year-new-me-goals" list in my shiny new 2018 planner, I'm considering these goals more as small pieces of a bigger picture. Whether I cross off one of these goals or 10, whether my list stays the same or changes halfway through the year, I want each of them to encourage and motivate me to be a better maker and a better person. To help me grow, to be the change, to be happy with my path with no pressure from the outside world (or the inside one - we're our own worst critics!).
One of my general 2018 goals is to downsize. And that includes (gasp) my yarn.
The yarn stash of a maker is often EPIC. As fibre-obsessed beings, we dream of those perfect shelves filled with gorgeous balls and skeins of fibres in our favourite colours. We are always on the hunt for goodies to add to our ever-growing stash, and jump at the chance to fill our baskets and carts at Michaels when a major sale hits. Brand new yarn released by our fav fibre company? Why yes, we'll take some.
But how much is too much? I'm guilty of "stocking up" for later, buying yarn with no project in mind just because it's pretty (and OK, sometimes it HAS to be done), taking yarn when someone offers it to me because it's free and soft...and here I am, eight years after I picked up knitting, with tubs and shelves and bags and boxes and baskets full of yarn I know I'll never use. Plagued with the nagging thoughts of "what if I need that some day" and "I'll probably use that for ____ next year."
So, I've started my destash. I've set quite a bit of my soft/washable yarn aside to make McMaster NICU baby blankets for The Snugglebugs Project, headed by my sip and stitch pal Marlee of @mbym.knitwear. While I was fortunate enough to have several causes fall into my lap last year (including a destash party with donated yarn going to Hammer City Paws Rescue Inc.), I'm realizing there may be many makers out there looking to contribute but have NO idea where to start.
If you're one of those makers, consider connecting with a local or national organization or charity in need of finished knitwear. There are plenty to choose from, and a simple donation of anything from hats to blankets will go a long way.
Project Linus Canada | Project Linus USA
Project Linus is probably one of the most well known organizations out there collecting handmade blankets. There are hundreds of chapters across Canada and USA providing handmade blankets to children going through a crisis in their lives. From young children who have lost a parent or sibling, to a youth watching his home burn down, to teens diagnosed with cancer or other debilitating disease.
Snuggles Project (Worldwide)
The Snuggles Project was founded by Hugs Society president and founder as a way to help abandoned and homeless animals find comfort by way of handmade blankets while they're waiting for a forever home. The security blankets are called "Snuggles," and help frightened and/or difficult-to-handle animals become calm. Crochet, knit, quilt or sew blankets in the following guideline sizes:
Knitted Knockers Canada | Knitted Knockers USA
Knitted Knockers are special handmade breast prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. Traditional breast prosthetics are usually expensive, heavy, sweaty and uncomfortable. They typically require special bras or camisoles with pockets and can't be worn for weeks after surgery. Knitted Knockers on the other hand are soft, comfortable, beautiful and when placed in a regular bra they take the shape and feel of a real breast. Their website provides patterns and a list of approved yarns to knit or crochet knockers, as well as a list for local chapters and drop-off locations.
Warm Hands Network (Canada)
Families in northern Canada often struggle to balance the costs of warm clothing against other essentials, such as food and shelter. The goal of Warm Hands Network is to provide children with hand-knit clothing, which warms them through long winters, while also conveying the message that others wish them well. WHN supplies children in these communities with hats, mittens, neck warmers (no scarves please), socks, sweaters, vests and blankets. Preference is for wool items and large sizes.
Comfort for Critters (USA)
Helping furry friends is as easy as knitting or crocheting a washable blanket. Comfort for Critters is a volunteer program that creates free handmade blankets to comfort homeless pets living in animal shelters across the US. The organization is in need of finished blankets of all sizes, yarn to make blankets, and cash donations to help ship them. If you want to drop off blankets or supplies, Comfort for Critters has a list of associated shelters.
Of course there are countless organizations you can connect with to offer your crafty duties to, the above are just some suggestions of well-organized projects.
If you're not feeling those DIY vibes right now or don't have time to make something yourself, many of these organizations also accept yarn donations for their volunteers. Additionally, you could try reaching out locally to any of the following.
Simply shoot them an email or give them a call. Your local independent yarn stores may also be able to provide some insight on what community programs and organizations are looking to add to their own stash - I work part time at Spun Fibre Arts in Oakville, ON and they're a drop off centre for both Project Linus Canada AND Knitted Knockers Canada. You may be surprised at who in your community is in desperate need of some yarn!
Happy making (and destashing),
Do you know of an organization in need of cozy knitwear or yarn donation? Share them in the comments below and tag @ourmakerlife on Instagram, to let us knitters and crocheters know all about the causes we can contribute to with our DIY abilities!