Charity

Knitting garments for free distribution to others has become common practice among knitting groups. Girls and women knitted socks, sweaters, scarves, mittens, gloves, and hats for soldiers in Crimea, the American Civil War, and the Boer Wars; this practice continued in World War I, World War II and the Korean War, and continues for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the historical projects, yarn companies provided patterns approved by the various branches of the armed services; often they were distributed by local chapters of the American Red Cross. Modern projects usually entail the knitting of hats or helmet liners; the liners provided for soldiers must be of 100% worsted weight wool and be crafted using specific colors. Clothing and afghans are frequently made for children, the elderly, and the economically disadvantaged in various countries. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation accepts donations for the Lakota people in the United States. Prayer shawls, or shawls in which the crafter meditates or says prayers of their faith while knitting with the intent on comforting the recipient, are donated to those experiencing loss or stress. Many knitters today knit and donate "chemo caps," soft caps for cancer patients who lose their hair during chemotherapy. Yarn companies offer free patterns for these caps. Pen uin sweaters were knitted by volunteers for the rehabilitation of penguins contaminated by exposure to oil slicks. The project is now complete. Chicken sweaters were also knitted to aid battery hens that had lost their feathers. The organization is not currently accepting donations, but maintains a list of volunteers. Originally started after the 2004 Indonesian tsunami, Knitters Without Borders is a charity challenge issued by knitting personality Stephanie Pearl-McPhee that encourages knitters to donate to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). Instead of knitting for charity, knitters are encouraged to a week’s worth of disposable income, including money that otherwise might have been spent on yarn. Knitted items are occasional offered as prizes to donors. As of September 2011, Knitters Without Borders donors have contributed CAD$1,062,217. Security blankets can also be made through the Project Linus organization which helps needy children. There are organizations that help reach other countries in need such as afghans for Afghans. This outreach is described as, "afghans for Afghans is a humanitarian and educational people-to-people project that sends hand-knit and crocheted blankets and sweaters, vests, hats, mittens, and socks to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan."