Send Cheer: A Cancer Support Knitting + Crochet Drive

Send Cheer

Hello, Heather here. Cancer is something that unfortunately touches all of us in one way or another. For the last four and a half years my mom has been fighting metastatic breast cancer and sadly this year she got news that it spread to her lung and liver.

My mom's body is tired but she is a fighter. Yesterday she began her third round of chemotherapy and the doctors expect that she'll lose her hair again. 

All this news right in the middle of the holiday season got me thinking that my mom is not alone in getting a diagnosis this time of year. There are many, many people dealing with cancer.

How can we as knitters and crocheters help people in this type of situation? A patient's health and treatment plan is between them and their doctors which can often make the rest of us feel helpless, but we're not. We can provide cheer and encouragement through our hand-craft. A hat or shawl may be just the thing to brighten a person's day!

That's why I'm asking you to join me in making a hat, shawl or lap blanket as token of support to a cancer patient this holiday season. We will be supporting the John and Dorothy Morgan Cancer Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Cedar Crest in Allentown, PA. Donations sent to Make Give Repeat will be sent on to their facility and given to the patients there as they come in each day for treatments. If you have a cancer center near you or even a patient that you would like to support, please do so!

What to make:

As the owner of Ewe Ewe Yarns I am making all of the hat, shawl and blanket patterns 50% off through the end of December 2016. Use code: SENDCHEER on eweewe.com or Ravelry to download the pattern of your choice to use for this charity drive. You can also browse our free patterns!

Some Hat Patterns:

Clockwise From Top Left: Criss Cross Cable Hat (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe), Pinapple Expressions (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe), Ripple Effect (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe), Sand & Sea Hat (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe)

Some Shawl Patterns:

Clockwise From Top Left: Groove Cruise (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe), Mint Julep (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe), Radiant Wrap (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe), Saturday Stripes (Ravelry | Ewe Ewe)

What yarn to use:

Easy care yarns are always best when donating knitted garments. NobleKnits.com is generously offering 15% OFF these easy-care yarns through 12/31/16 plus they have free shipping in the US! Use code: SENDCHEER.

Sock + Sport weight yarns: Wisdom Allegro Wool Free Sock Yarn; Ewe Ewe Yarns Ewe So Sporty superwash.

Worsted weight yarns: Aalta Core wool/acrylic; Plymouth Baby Beenz acrylic, Coffee Beenz wool/acrylic, Jelli Beenz wool/acrylic; Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted merino superwash.

Bulky weight yarn: Ewe Ewe Baa Baa Bulky merino superwash.

Visit NobleKnits.com and use code: SENDCHEER.

How to donate:

Download and print this hang tag and attach one to each garment you plan to send. Be sure to fill out your name and email address (in case the recipient would like to send a thank you!) along with circling the garment care instructions and fiber content.

Download the Send Cheer hang tag PDF file >

Where to send: 

Make Give Repeat -- Robyn Devine, Omaha. Robyn just moved, and is in the process of setting up a new PO BOX - she will share the address for sending knitted and crochet items on Tuesday (or Wednesday)!!

Holiday Make-Along: Preemie And Baby Hats

Most of us can agree that babies are all precious and amazing, and come into the world with no baggage but that which we place on them.

So let's love on some babies this holiday season! There's a lot of charities that accept baby hats - you can donate to most local hospitals, so long as your yarn is acrylic. You can also donate to Salaam Cultural Museum, which will take the hats to the hundreds of babies being born in refugee camps every month.

Before I start bombarding you with charity options over the next few weeks, let's talk patterns, though!

Pictured above are some free knit favorites ... plus one sewing pattern!

TOP ROW:
Quick Knit Chevron Baby Hat, by Kayla Pins
Hello Preemie! Hat, by Heather Walpole
Rainbow Baby Hat, from Little Red Window

BOTTOM ROW:
DIY Baby Hat Sewing Pattern, from Coral & Co.
Simple Newborn Beanie, by Casey Braden
Tegan Baby Hat, from Love Knitting

What other patterns do you love using when you knit for babies? Share hat patterns for sure, but I'd love to hear about other patterns you love to use!

March: Gallatin Shawls For Pine Ridge Reservation

March has started already, but seeing as I've just finished knitting the Gallatin Scarf and already want to cast on another one, it seems like the perfect knit-along for the month!

WHY THE GALLATIN SCARF?

The Gallatin Scarf, designed by Kris Basta, is perfect for charity makers for many reasons. First, it's free - which we all know is ideal when knitting items you're going to give away!

But more than that, this scarf is perfect for almost every type of charity knitter! Knit with worsted weight yarn on US size 10.5 needles (6.5mm), this is a quick knit that uses less than 200 yards of yarnfrom start to finish.

My favorite part of the Gallatin Scarf? You can make it with just about any fiber yarn you choose! I made my first one (pictured above) in acrylic, but you can make this scarf in wool, and even cotton!

WHY THE PINE RIDGE RESERVATION?

The Pine Ridge Reservation, located in South Dakota, is one of the poorest places in America. With a 90% unemployment rate, people die incredibly young, and live their short lives in crazy terrible conditions. It makes me sad and angry that people live like this anywhere, but that it happens so close to home is especially hard to fathom.

There's a group on Ravelry that constantly donates items for the people living on the reservation, and they request items of all types, sizes, and for a variety of needs. Items can be made from ANY FIBER YOU CHOOSE, so long as you tag your items when you send them!

THE KNIT-ALONG DETAILS

This month, we'll be focusing our efforts on the on-going women's shelter project for the reservation. In an area of extreme poverty and addiction, the women in the shelter have seenmore than I can imagine. By making a scarf in your choice of fibers, you are reminding these ladies that they are seen, they have value, they are loved.

Please knit your scarves with stash yarn, in any fiber you choose. Remember to tag them (we've got a MGR specific tag you can use if you want!) so folks know what they're made of, and then check with the Ravelry group for the shipping address!

And don't forget to follow along all month on Instagram (@makegiverepeat) as we make shawls to send! If you tag yours #makegiverepeat, they might even get featured on our feed!

January: Vests For Refugee Children

Robyn here!

Winter has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, and cold is settling in, even on the shores of Greece in the Mediterranean. According to my friend Alison, the temperatures feel freezing as the volunteers stand at the edge of the water pulling refugees off boats, and children are being hauled to the medical tents freezing to death thanks to a combination of wind, being soaked through their clothes from the waves, and exhaustion from their travels.

One of the easiest ways to provide some extra warmth is with vests made from 100% wool, and that's where the Mini Thermal Vest pattern comes in. I shared a bit about this at the end of last year, but vests are uniquely perfect for refugees, especially when made in wool - they keep the body's main organs warm by covering the trunk of a person, all while keeping extremities free of the bulk of sweaters and blankets and such. This means vests can be layered over or under other long sleeved clothing and provide one extra layer of warmth, and when made with wool there's the added advantage of some amount of protection from the weather.

And so, for January, Heather and I will be knitting Mini Thermal Vests with our wool stash. The pattern is written to create different sizes based on the yarn weight and needle you use, and the waffle pattern means your vest will almost certainly fit a refugee child perfectly. Made long and skinny, these vests can keep babies through toddlers and younger children warm all winter long as they hunker down in refugee camps or travel on after landing in Greece, hoping to find safety and freedom from fighting.

As you make your vests, send them on to Salaam Cultural Museum, which is a well-known and much-respected organization doing refugee work, and which has collection addresses both in the US and in London!


Salaam Cultural Museum
℅ Rita
3806 Whitman Ave N
Seattle. WA 98103

Knit for Peace (Refugee Appeal)
Radius Works
Back Lane
London
NW3 1HL

I'll be back early next week with my first vest, either in progress or ready to share, and some of the hints I may come up with as I've been knitting! Happy new year, and happy knitting!

Sliver Knit-Along: Working The Dropped Stitches

One of my favorite parts of the Sliver hat is the dropped stitch section - it seems super difficult, but it's actually super easy to do! If you've never worked dropped stitches before, don't be afraid of them ... Jen, the pattern writer, made a quick tutorial for us to help get through those rows!

01. Place marker for dropped stitch (which will occur right after the marker.)

02 + 03. Bring yarn from the back to the front of your work, between the needles. (Yarn forward.)

04 + 05 + 06. Holding the yarn in the front, knit one stitch as you regularly would.

07. The yarn forward will create an extra stitch that will sit next to your marker.

08. Knit around in stockinette stitch for 10 (10, 12, 12, 14) rounds, knitting the yarn forward stitch as normal and slipping the marker each time. When you’ve finished these rounds, it’s time to drop the yarn forward stitch after your marker.

09. Remove that stitch from your needles.

10 + 11 + 12. Pull the stitch, dropping all the other stitches below. This will create the ‘run’ in the fabric. The dropped stitches will stop on the row where you made the yarn forward. Continue knitting the hat from there!

Thanks for the tutorial Jen .... I can't wait to work my dropped stitches!

Sliver Knit-Along: Choosing Your Yarn

All this week, we'll be knitting Sliver together - are you as excited as I am!?!? You'll want to have your needles ready to go, and don't forget about the coupon code Jen offered up to us, so you can grab the pattern for free!

Sliver calls for Wool And The Gang's Crazy Sexy Wool, which is a super soft and squishy super bulky wool that I want to rub on my face whenever I come near it. If you've got some in your stash, or your local yarn shop sells WATG, I say use this yarn. I always love using the yarn the pattern calls for as much as I can, because every yarn knits up a bit differently, and the pattern was written with this specific yarn in mind.

THAT SAID.

We all have different budgets, and different stashes. We all live in different types of cities and towns, with different access to yarn options. So if you aren't going to use Wool And The Gang for your Sliver hats (which is TOTALLY FINE), here's a few options for you to consider!

Always a fun choice for super bulky patterns, Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick N Quick is a staple in many knitter's stashes. You can find this yarn at almost any big box craft store (Michael's, Jo Ann, Hobby Lobby, etc), it is washable, and it wears incredibly well.

For those who don't want to use wool - allergies, you want the hat to be fully washer/dryer safe, etc - Red Heart Grande is another great suggestion. Also available in big box craft stores, you can be sure you can donate your hats to hospitals and homeless shelters when you use 100% acrylic like this!

Something to remember when choosing your super bulky yarn is that all super bulky yarns behave a bit differently. For whatever reason, there's a HUGE variety when it comes to this yarn weight - I've found yarns that call for size 11 or 13 needles that call themselves super bulky, sitting right next to super bulky yarns that call for size 17 needles!

You'll want to keep in mind you want a yarn that calls for size 13 or 15 needles, so your hat won't end up super tightly knit and stiff. You want your Sliver to have a little bit of drape to it, and the yarns listed above all have made some great looking Slivers!

So grab your yarn, and cast on! We'll be chatting one of the more fun features of this hat pattern on Wednesday - the dropped stitches!!!

December Featured Charity: Nest Maine

Is winter finally in full force where you live? Here in Omaha we've been getting snow on and off for the last few days, and it's been a good reminder that there are folks all over the US who will struggle to stay warm this winter.

With that in mind, our December charity focus is Nest: Maine. Nest is a charitable group started by Jen Lee back in 2008 as a way to help keep folks in the Ft. Kent area warm. Each year she's collected items from her PO Box and distributed them to shelters and clinics in the area, helping her neighbors survive the brutal Maine winters!

Nest collects all sorts of handmade items, but most needed are hats and mittens in sizes from babies through adults. They also need stroller blankets this year!

Nest prefers that items be made from 100% wool for maximum warmth, although stroller blankets can be made from acrylic and blends.

Along with their blog, Nest has a rather amazing Ravelry group, chatting regularly and challenging each other, as well as sharing photos of finished items and pattern recommendations.

Finished items can be mailed to:

Jean Lee
NestMaine
P.O. Box 6011
Falmouth, Maine, 04105