10 Tips for Running a Knit/Crochet Charity Blanket
There are several charities that accept knitted and crocheted afghans to provide comfort to those less fortunate (examples are Warm Up America and Blankets for Canada). And there are many people who are happy to knit or crochet the blocks that make up such afghans and blankets.
The goodness of these donors' hearts must not be underestimated! We need people to use up their yarn stash to help others.
If you find yourself in charge of the get-together in which all of these blocks are joined together to make the afghans and blankets, you may find the information in this article useful.
1. Define and advertise the Drop-Off point. For example, many Michaels stores will accept the blocks and provide space for the joining party.
2. Make sure that the knitters and crocheters know what kind of blocks to make. For example, Warm Up America wants 7x9' blocks, while Blankets for Canada wants 8' squares. Of course, your block donors will give you whatever they have made - and many of them appear to use an unusual ruler! Which leads to the next point...
3. Prior to the joining party, sort the blocks into piles containing the same size - if you are going to join them into blankets, it really helps to have more or less identical blocks. If you are fortunate, you will have enough blocks of a similar size to be able to make a complete blanket (for example, 24 blocks makes a 4x6 block blanket, or 35 blocks makes a 5x7 block blanket). If you don't have enough blocks for a complete blanket, just set them aside for the next joining party, in hopes that another donor (or even the same one) will provide blocks the same size.
4. If you have enough blocks, sort the piles of same-size blocks into color families, such as pastels, jewel tones, earth tones, and so on. That way, the resulting blanket will have a 'planned' scrappy look.
5. Be prepared for any number of helpers to show up on the appointed day, from zero to a whole bunch. It might be wise to convince (maybe even bribe!) one or two of your knitting and crochet friends to come along. You might be doing the joining on a table in the yarn department of the sponsoring store - if shoppers notice that you and your friends are having a good time, they might decide to join in, either right there or at the next joining party.
6. Your helpers may not have any experience with knitting or crochet, and may not be aware of how to join squares. So be prepared to teach them a basic seaming technique (such as whip stitch) and how to weave in the ends.
7. Bring a few large-eyed needles for your helpers to use for joining. If you are doing this party in a yarn store, it would be convenient if the store gave you some of their from-the-rack needles if a lot of people show up.
8. Bring an assortment of yarns with which to do the joining. This could be from your personal stash, or the yarn store may contribute some to the cause. (In an ideal world, the donors have left long yarn tails, so that you don't need to dip into your stash; often the donors provide you blocks with the yarn ends already neatly woven in, unfortunately.) The stash of joining yarn should be of an appropriate weight to match the blocks that are to be joined. The colors should be compatible with the color families you used for sorting the blocks. You don't need a whole lot of colors for joining. The neat thing about these scrappy blankets is that you really only need to match half the blocks: for example, if you are joining a red block to a blue block, all you need is either red or blue for the seaming. The other benefit of making scrappy blankets is that you do not need to match the block colors - close is good enough.
9. Some of your helpers may pay a bit too much attention to the word Party, and bring along some beverages that could impact their abilities! It would be wise to let people know that water is the only acceptable beverage, because if any other beverage is accidentally spilled on the blanket, it could be difficult to wash out.
10. A nice finishing touch for these blankets is to work a round or two of single crochet as a border, because the edges of the blanket could be a bit uneven.
And a bonus tip:
11. After the joining party is over, take a photo of your helpers and the resulting blankets. These photos could be used in advertising for the next party.
With the guidance provided above, your Knitted/Crocheted Charity Blanket Joining Party should be a success.
For more information on charity blankets, check out these websites:
Warm Up America
Blankets For Canada