How to Keep From Losing Your Mind With Charity Knitting

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed with charity knitting? If so, here’s some help–you don’t have to quit!

No matter how much you love charity knitting, it’s possible to get overwhelmed.

It happens to me far more often than it should, especially after I’ve been working on this site for any length of time.

Suddenly I find myself with…

  • a hundred different charities I want to help
  • a thousand knitting patterns I want to try, and
  • three angry family members who want to eat dinner.

Does any of that sound familiar?

Who hasn’t felt like this?

When I first discovered knitting for charity, it consumed my life. So many charities… so many amazing people dedicating their times and talents to helping others… so many in need. How, I wondered, could I possibly spend my time on anything but charity knitting?

If you’ve been there, of course, you know that the joy of charity knitting can have limits. When you do nothing but knit for charity, it can lose its appeal.

That’s why, over the years, I’ve developed some strategies for balancing knitting for charity with my own peace of mind. If you’re struggling with this as well, keep reading!

Maintaining Your Balance While Enjoying Charity Knitting

If you have an obsessive personality like I do, this may sound pretty familiar.

And even if you don’t–I’ve heard some people can balance their other activities, friends, and overall lives with charity knitting without stressing out about it!–some of these tips may apply to you.

Here are some lessons and tips I’ve learned over the years.

1. Remember that you are only one person.

You can’t save the world by yourself. What you can do is make yourself part of a network of charity knitters, and together you can make a huge difference.

Nuturing a future charity knitter?

Knitting one scarf won’t change the world, but if a thousand knitters each make a scarf, suddenly there’s a big impact.

Try not to look at your charity knitting activity as if you have to singlehandedly support each charity. Think of it this way instead: you’re part of a team. Even if you’re not part of an actual knitting group, you are part of a network of charity knitters, possibly all over the world! Each of you has a part to play.

2. Focus on what you can (and do) accomplish rather than what you don’t.

I used to get frustrated because I couldn’t contribute to every charity knit organization I supported. Over the years, though, I’ve learned to contribute based on what I enjoy knitting and on who seems to need the most.

Knit what brings you joy!

Everyone is different; what you think is most important may be different from what others think is most important. Be sure to choose based on your own values and perceptions. That’s what will make it most rewarding.

Sometimes I also make financial contributions or donate old yarn. Anything I do helps, and beating myself up over not doing enough is pointless.

3. Take time for yourself and your family.

If you’re snapping at everyone because you’re frustrated and exhausted, you’re not doing anyone any favors. Be sure to take a break to spend time with your family, or by yourself, when you need to.

Taking care of strangers is a great thing, but if you allow it to consume you, you won’t be able to help the way you want. And if you’re too anxious about caring for strangers to care for the people closest to you, your benefit to the world is minimized.

That goes for caring for yourself as well!

4. Don’t forget why you started knitting.

Has your knitting stopped being fun? Has it stopped relaxing you? Has it become just another job? If so, it may be time for a break. There’s nothing like knitting for charity, but when those knitting patterns remind you of your tax returns, you’re working too hard.

Sometimes, this can be as simple as setting down the needles for a bit and doing something else you enjoy. Partake in another hobby you love, or get a change of scenery, or maybe just go outside for a few minutes and breathe in fresh air.

Other times, you may need to reevaluate your current project; sometimes that’s what causes the issue.

  • Is it complex at a time when either your mind or your fingers isn’t enjoying the challenge?
  • Is it the opposite–mindless at a time when you need to be stimulated?
  • Is it taking so long that you’re getting frustrated?

There’s no point in continuing to knit a project if it’s no longer enjoyable!

Reevaluate to Get Back on Track

Knitters are selfless, giving people–sometimes to their own disadvantage!

Don’t get caught up in self-recriminations if your knitting isn’t bringing you the joy it once did. Thank yourself for what you do, take a step back, and do what it takes to and learn to love charity knitting all over again.

Are you struggling with overwhelm in your charity knitting? You might want to consider signing up for my free email course, “Getting Started with Charity Knitting.” You’ll learn how to find the joy in your charity knitting–perhaps for the first time. Sign up here!

enjoy charity knitting

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12 Comments

  1. Perfect timing!
    A good reminder as plans are being made for a new year. It’s a good idea to plan what you can really do as opposed to what you want to do, which is everything.

    1. Gosh, how true is that? We want to do everything, but we usually can’t. It’s *essential* that we remember that time and energy are finite resources.

  2. Thanks again, Nicole,The truth has been spoken–and, reminds each of us all the above! I have discovered that I can “save the world”–If I could, I would!!! I must admit, however, the I choose my charities
    carefully, I get overwhelmed–and, prefer to knit for those I truly enjoy. My favorite is
    ” Operation Gratitude each year. Recently, I decided to knit SMALL bookmark size crosses for the Senior Citizens center in Marion–knit a total of 50–and 40 were give to them for Easter. I pressure myself for having a “deadline” date–but, fortunately except 10, I gave everyone a cross the day before Good Friday–and, am finished the next ones that were requested for family members! I DID enjoy this project–but, happy I’ll be finished today! As I have said before, family/friends often do NOT even acknowledge receiving their gifs. I know that charity recipients ARE appreciative!!

    1. Thank you so much, Sandra! I agree that charity recipients are often more appreciative since the *need* is so much stronger. And that’s why it feels so wonderful!

  3. Thanks Nicole – this hit home with me today. It’s too hot to knit, and I have a ton of other things that are falling behind, but I’m still knitting and it’s become a ‘have-to’ instead of a ‘want-to’. Time to take a break… and not feel bad about it!

    1. Absolutely, Nancy! As I mentioned to Maggie earlier, it’s important to practice self-care even while you’re caring for others. 🙂

  4. So true! I knit with two charity groups. One is the Eastern Region Oddball Baby Blanket group on Ravelry. The other is a hospice group I started which does twiddle muffs and blankets. I’m backing off the Ravelry group for a while to concentrate on the other AND to make some things I want to make for me! It’s important to find a balance.

    1. I agree, Maggie — balance is important! We’re taught not to neglect self-care in our drive to care for others, but that goes for knitting as well, in my opinion. 🙂