Crochet Hats On Repeat For Refugee Babes

beanies for babes, made on repeat.

beanies for babes, made on repeat.

Robyn here!

One statistic that makes me super sad? Hundreds of babies are born every month in refugee camps. Almost 100 alone in the biggest refugee camp in France. Babies born to families who were fleeing terror, are now being born into uncertain conditions.

I remember when I was super pregnant with both my babes - the last thing I wanted to do was travel, much less travel long distances through perilous conditions, not knowing where I'd be giving birth. NO THANKS. So for these women to leave everything, to take such a journey? Their lives must have been un-imaginable.

And so, as part of my holiday hat-making, I have been crocheting baby hats on repeat, using my leftover balls of wool. The pattern I've been using most often? The Basic Beanie, from Sweet Kiwi Crochet. (ravelry | etsy)

Two things to know about this pattern. One, it costs $5. That's a price that may turn away some crocheters, but I'm here to tell you it's worth EVERY PENNY. I use this hat all year long. It's got sizes from newborns through adults, directions for adding ear flaps or not, and tutorials for stripes, ties, and poms! Did I mention I've more than gotten my money's worth out of it?!

Second, I alter it a bit for true newborn hats. The smallest size in the pattern is for 0-6 months, so I do 9 instead of 10 for the first row, which gives me fewer increases and a more true newborn size. When made this way, the hat will fit for the first 6-8 weeks on the babes I know here in America, which makes them perfect for super tiny newborn heads all over the world.

These hats are tiny, for sure. They will not fit for an extended period of time, it's true.  But the bigger sizes don't always work on true newborns, and babes need so much extra warmth those first precious few days and weeks. So while I also donate bigger hats, I love to toss as many super tiny newborn hats into every package I send off to refugees.

Where do I send these hats? To the Salaam Cultural Museum, an organization in Seattle that regularly sends medical aide to refugee camps. There's a huge group of knitters and crocheters on Ravelry who send items to them regularly, and I trust my fellow knitters with just about everything, so I send things their way as well!

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!

Simple Stroller Blanket

Pattern: Simple Stroller Blanket, by Sara Gresbach (free Ravelry pattern)

Yarn: any bulky yarn works (see my notes for substituting yarn below)

Needles: US size 11 / 8.0 mm

One of the items Nest Maine needs in abundance this season is stroller blankets. Simple and small, stroller blankets are perfect for wrapping around little ones who are out in the frigid temps in their strollers (and car seats) during winter months.

For families without permanent housing, much of the daytime hours are spent outside moving from place to place, which means if there's little ones in the family, they're spending time outside everyday in freezing weather - often without blankets to keep them warm. A simple stroller blanket, smaller even than a crib blanket, can help keep these little ones snug and cozy, and provide comfort, security, and stability in a time of constant change.

Don't have any bulky yarn, but want to make stroller blankets? Just hold some worsted weight double!! That's right, if you grab two strands of worsted weight yarn and hold them together, you've got yourself bulky weight yarn! This is a great way to use up stash yarn and make some fun color combinations for these blankets!

December Featured Pattern: Sliver

Pattern: Sliver, by Jen Geigley

Yarn: super bulky yarn (used in the pattern: Wool And The Gang Crazy Sexy Wool)

Needles: US 15 / 10.0 mm

From the pattern notes:

Sliver is the basic hat everyone needs, and that’s why it’s been designed in five sizes – XS through XL. Knit in the round, Sliver is unisex and can be worn by kids, too. A yarn forward and dropped stitches create a ‘run’ in the hat. Sliver is named after one of my favorite Nirvana songs, and the first test sample of this hat was knit in olive green, inspired by Kurt Cobain’s memorable ragged green cardigan.

I always get panicky in December, feeling like I've got to make 50 hats to donate, but with no time to do it! As the cold sets in, I begin to worry that I haven't donated enough hats, that too many people will still be cold, and that there aren't enough hours in the day to help keep them all warm by knitting until my fingers get stiff.

Thank goodness for super bulky wool and hat patterns that I want to knit on repeat!! Jen's latest book Weekend is full of amazing patterns that can be knit super quick, and Sliver has quickly become my go-to charity hat pattern for this winter. Sized for kids through adults, worked up on big needles with super bulky yarn, and perfect for both men and women, this hat keeps people warm while also being a hat I can make in an evening while watching holiday movies!

UPDATED TO ADD!!

Jen has kindly offered a coupon code, so you can get Sliver for FREE through January 1!! Just enter the code MAKEGIVEREPEAT when checking out on Ravelry, and the pattern will be yours for free!

November Featured Pattern: Point Of Hope Hat

Pattern: Point Of Hope Hat, by Robin Celli

Yarn: see Knots Of Love approved yarn list for suggestions

Needles: Size 9 / 5.5mm

The Point Of Hope Hat is a free hat pattern meant for chemo cap donations. The pattern is reversible, which means the recepient can choose which side they like best. The pattern also works well for men or women, depending on the color yarn chosen.

When looking at people's project notes on Ravelry, several have suggested sizing down to a needle size 8 / 5.0 mm for a tighter gauge, so keep that in mind. If you are a looser knitter, this may be just the note you need to get the perfect sized hat!

Several folks also said they made one extra repeat of the pattern before decreases, so keep that in mind, as well.

Robyn and Heather will be working this pattern up and sharing it on Instagram throughout the month, and we invite you to knit along with us for Knots of Love!