What You Should Know about Knitting Blankets for Charity
Your ultimate guide to knitting blankets for charity: the benefits, charities that accept blankets, guidelines, and lots of free patterns
Does anything offer the visceral feel of warmth and love like a handmade blanket? I’m not sure anything else does.
Sure, other items help keep us warm: hats, mittens, scarves, socks, slippers, even sweaters and shawls. But most of these items cover one particular part of the body.
When we knit a blanket, on the other hand, we’re working to cover so much more.
We can cover either the lower half of the body—lap blankets, for instance, are designed to cover the lower body for individuals who use wheelchairs. Or, we can cover the entire body with a throw blanket, or even a bedspread.
Blankets, of course, tend to be a little time-consuming to knit.
What Makes Blanket Knitting Special
But that’s a big part of what makes blanket knitting special on so many levels, isn’t it?
Blanket knitting is a true labor of love. When you offer a handmade blanket as a gift, its recipient knows that you spent a lot of time, effort, and love into creating this blanket. What a special way to comfort someone you love, someone in need, someone who is suffering.
You can pour so much of yourself into a knitted blanket. You have many choices to make when preparing to knit such a blanket: the colors, the patterns, the textures, even the method of creation.
There are three basic ways to make a blanket. You can go block-by-block, knitting each block individually before seaming it all together. You can knit it all at once, with one complete pattern from start to finish. Or you can create it in a modular fashion, adding bits of the blanket as you go, a little at a time.
And I can tell you this much about knitting blankets: there is nothing like the satisfaction of completing a blanket. I think the only thing more satisfying than finishing a blanket is giving it away!
You may already know this. You may be in the habit of knitting blankets as gifts as well as for charity. If so, thank you. Thank you for doing your part to cover the world in warmth.
(And, maybe, share this post with someone who needs to feel this joy for themselves!)
But maybe you don’t know this personally… but you can sense it, anyway. Do you feel like this is a form of knitting—both for gifts and for charity—that you would find rewarding?
If so, please continue!
Knitting Charities That Accept Blankets
If you’re already making blankets and are enjoying every moment of it, but you need someplace (or someplace new) to send your blankets, take a look at these charities!
(Note: I’m focusing here on the charities that accept only blankets in their entirety, rather than blanket squares. If you’re interested only in sending squares, be sure to look into this post, featuring such charities.)
Project Linus and Binky Patrol: These are at the top of the list as time-honored charities devoted to offering blankets to children in need. Note that both organizations have chapters not only all over the U.S., but also all around the world.
Blankets for Canada: If you’re a Canadian who would love to cover people in need with your knitting, Blankets for Canada is the place for you!
Alice’s Embrace: This amazing organization focuses on elderly individuals with Alzheimer’s. They offer blankets for the purpose of comfort and love.
HAPpy Stitchers Afghan Project: This organization accepts blankets and takes them to a veteran’s home in Sandusky, Ohio.
Welcome Blanket Project: This organization takes donated blankets and offers them to new families arriving in the United States from other countries.
How to Successfully Donate to Blanket Charities
1. Check the guidelines before you donate. I cannot stress this enough. Please, please check the guidelines of whatever group you wish to donate to. Nearly every blanket charity has guidelines of some sort, and when they do, there is always a good reason for those guidelines.
Just to take one example: Alice’s Embrace asks you to use only their approved patterns. Why? Because they don’t wish for some recipients to receive blankets that seem “nicer” than others. That could create conflict, stress, and a sense of being slighted.
Nearly every charity has guidelines about colors, yarns, and types of patterns. Be sure that your donation can actually be used and check first.
2. Contact the charity before you donate. Some charities actually require this. Others do not.
Regardless, it is always wise to ensure that the charity you wish to donate to is actually still operating, or even—not impossible, given the pandemic we’ve been living through!—not currently accepting new donations, even if they are still at work.
You may also find that a charity has recently changed an address or added a new one. These are all good things to learn before you actually go through the trouble of sending or dropping off a donation!
3. Wash your creations before you donate them. Be sure to use dye- and fragrance-free detergents and fabric softeners. Some people are sensitive or even allergic to dyes and fragrances.
Again, some charities will actually require this. But even if your chosen charity does not, it’s simply good donation etiquette to do so. Especially, again, in the age of COVID-19.
Free Knitting Pattern Collections for Blankets
Over the years I have compiled many, many collections of blankets for charity knitting! Here you’ll find some of my favorites, as well as the favorites of my readers.
8 Cuddly & Delightful Patterns for Chunky Knit Throws
12 Free Ways to Knit an Adorable Blanket for Children
How to Make a Beautiful Blanket Bursting with Color
5 Warm, Insanely Quick, and Free Blanket Knitting Patterns
8 Free Baby Blanket Knitting Patterns for an Unforgettable Gift
11 Free Ways to Knit a Beautiful, Beloved Throw Blanket
4 Super-Easy, Fun Knitting Stitches for Lovely Afghans
If you’re looking for a way to maximize the warmth and comfort of charity knitting, you really can’t go wrong with knitting blankets for charity!
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I prefer to crochet blankets to donate as I had a problem in the past with a knitted afghan that I made for a former home ec teacher. She was in the care center and it got caught in her electric wheelchair and burnt part of it, as well as a hole she had developed in another part of the afghan. Her daughter contacted me to fix it for her. I did what I could (luckily I still had some of the same yarn on hand), and the “patch” I wove in was noticeable as I could not reproduce the pattern in the afghan and still fix the holes and replace the burned part. Her thank you note to me simply said “I have food and shelter” which meant she wasn’t happy in her situation, but as a home ec student I knew that meant the hierarchy of needs was what she was referring to. I was happy to fix the afghan, and after that I decided no more knitted afghans as gifts or donations, just crocheted ones. They are less likely to “run” when damaged and less likely to snag on anything like a knitted piece would. I even say this in my classes that a large crocheted piece is more “stable” than a knitted one. I save my knitting for hats and scarves (that I donate).