General Charity Knitting

7 Ways You Can Knit for Charity & Make Lives Better

Ready to try charity knitting? Here are 7 projects you can try

7 ways to knit for charity

I am often asked by new knitters (or experienced knitters that have only just recently discovered charity knitting) what they can knit for charity.

The short answer is, almost anything! I’ve been writing about charity knitting since 2011. And I’m constantly amazed at the ingenious ways people use yarn to improve the lives of others.

The longer answer, of course, is that needy people seem to benefit most from a handful of items.

Below is a collection of 7 items that you’ll be most likely to find homes for. You’ll also find links to a free pattern collection, as well as a charity that can use what you’ve made.

If you’re looking for a jumping-off point for charity knitting, keep reading!

1. Afghan Squares

I often suggest that new knitters start their charity knitting adventures by knitting squares. Squares are fast; they’re easy; they’re a great way to practice stitches; and they’re extremely portable, so you can knit them anywhere!

And, if you’d like, you can also sew a bunch of them together to create a blanket!

Free pattern collection: How to Send Warmth Worldwide with Knitted Squares

Suggested charity: Warm up America

(Also, check out my free eBooklet that offers a square pattern! Click the button below to sign up for your copy.)

Want more free knitting patterns for charity? Click here for your copy of “4 Quick Charity Knitting Wins” and start making a difference today!

2. Afghans/Blankets

You can knit individual squares and sew them up, as mentioned above. Or, you can use full blanket patterns! One thing I personally love about knitting full blanket patterns, especially in the wintertime, is snuggling up under it while I knit. Such a double-win!

Free pattern collection: The Ultimate Guide: 8 Quick Blankets You’ll Love to Knit

Suggested charity: Project Linus

3. Preemie & Baby items

Preemie and baby items are among the most popular charity knitting projects. So many reasons why: they’re adorable, they knit up quickly, and they tug at the heartstrings like few other.

free knitting patterns for hats
Photo: Patti Pierce Stone

It would be nice if preemie and baby items’ popularity would mean they aren’t as desperately needed, but sadly that’s not the case. You may find that hats and blankets aren’t needed as much as other articles of clothing. However, that doesn’t mean they’re never needed.

If you want to make sure your items for charity are truly needed, try knitting items such as booties, bibs, sweaters, and so on.

(Also, be sure to check out my free eBooklet referenced above, for a super-quick-knit bonding heart pattern!)

Free pattern collections: 7 Free & Simple Baby Knitting Patterns, 21 Perfectly Precious Patterns for Preemie Clothes

Suggested Charity: Bella’s Babies

4. Mittens & Socks

These projects that come in pairs are often desperately needed.

In particular, children are often in dire need of mittens in the wintertime and in cold climates. Orphanages, homeless shelters, and schools love to receive mittens to keep small fingers warm.

And did you know that socks are the number one most-requested item of clothing in homeless shelters? That makes socks of all sizes a great knitting project choice.

Free pattern collections: Six Free Baby and Child Sock Knitting Patterns for Charity, 12 Free Ways to Make Practical & Fun Mittens for Children

Suggested Charities: Mittens for Detroit, Socks for Soldiers

5. Scarves & Cowls

The same places that need mittens and socks often also need scarves or cowls. In addition, scarves and cowls often make wonderful comfort items. Beyond the physical comfort, there’s something about a warm scarf or cowl that really communicates the depth of your love and concern.

Free pattern collection: Beyond Garter Stitch: How to Create Beautiful Scarves for Free

Suggested Charity: Special Olympics Scarf Project

6. Pet Items

In both the United States and the United Kingdom, pet overpopulation is a real problem. This means crowded shelters run almost entirely by volunteers on next to no budgets. It’s not hard to see why knitting for pets is such a wonderful choice.

Two popular knitting projects for pets include toys and blankets! Blankets, in particular, are a great choice for a charity project. Not only do they comfort shelter animals, but they also give a homier atmosphere to the shelter in general.

Free pattern collection: Delight Dogs & Cats with These 8 Free Knitting Patterns

Suggested Charity: Snuggles Project

7. Hats

free knitting patterns for hats

Hats may be the most commonly-knitted item for charity. And for good reason! You’ll find two big reasons to knit hats: to keep needy people warm, and to cover the heads of those who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy.

One thing I love about hats is that they can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. A hat is a perfect canvas for showing off both beautiful yarn and beautiful stitch patterns and/or appliques.

Free pattern collection: 7 Popular Ways to Knit Warm Hats You’ll Love

Suggested Charity: Knots of Love

Ready to really dive into charity knitting? Click the button below to sign up for my Knitting Nuggets Newsletter and get my free eBooklet, “5 of Your Charity Knitting Struggles Solved in 5 Minutes or Less”!

Get “How to Get Your Handknits to Local People in Need: What You Need to Know” FREE with your subscription to the Knitting Nuggets Newsletter. When you join this community, you’ll receive resources + inspiration to knit patterns you love for people you care about!

I believe there's someone who needs what you love to knit. If you'd like to knit patterns you love for people you care about, I can help!
Get your free guide, "How to Get Your Handknits to Local People in Need: What You Need to Know" with your subscription to the Knitting Nuggets Newsletter! When you join this community, you'll receive resources & inspiration to knit patterns you love for people you care about.

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    1. Hi Linda! There are suggestions for charities to which you can submit your donations in every project suggestion. If you need more suggestions, just let me know what you’d like to knit and I’ll see what I can suggest for you. 🙂

  1. Nicole I enjoy your newsletters and nuggets!! I make prayer shawls for our local cancer center. About 20 ladies get together every week and we knit and crochet the shawls….very rewarding. Do you have the pattern for the shawl pictured at the top of this blog? If looks like a shawl knitted with a beige yarn. Thank you for all you do to remind us of other’s needs.