Generally I do not blog about single fiber companies or their blogs but I am making an exception. Knit Picks is a growing company with a small company feel. Currently owned parent company Crafts Americana, Knit Picks has made a committment to charity.
I am not exactly sure how long ago KnitPicks.com came to my attention. I do know that I ordered some of my first lace weight yarns from them. A sampler of their beautiful luxury yarns... but NOT the luxury price tag. I have ordered high quality yarns, tools, and books from them ever since that first order.
This week I was thinking about what to write about this close to the Christmas/holiday season. Then I recieved a newsletter from Knit Picks in my email. Of course a Eureka! moment. :) Writing about a company that makes gorgeous yarns at an affordable price AND frequently offers great patterns to charity knitters/crocheters. In fact their Blog "Stash" is a great place to go for tutorials, ideas, free patterns, fun personal stories from the Knit Picks staff. I love their sense of humor :)
While I did not have time to personally participate in this campaign, the "Craft to Give Back" (#craft2giveback on Instagram) was a big success! You can read about it here. There was an impressive amount of money donated to both Woolaid and the United Nations Refugee Agency. Not only did Knit Picks donate money but they also created a downloadable ebook "Helping Hands" with patterns for both knitters and crocheters. Knit Picks is not a huge company so when they put together something and give it away for free it is cutting into their bottom line, yet the staff takes great joy in doing so.
The "Stash" archive articles about charity giving go back to 2010. Six years of giving and many more to come, I am sure. The articles in the archives talk about giving back to charities in Vancouver, Washington and through the United Nations, to the world. It's an amazing thing what fiber artists can do when we gather together. We can put aside everything to concentrate on a cause. I've seen it many times over the years.
If you follow Knit Picks at all on Social Media, you are aware of the many things they give away for free to everyone through the media and also in email. I get their newsletters in my email. There is a sign up for a member account (its free) here. At the bottom of every page on the website is a sign up for their email newsletter. Sometimes teaching someone the art of knitting or crocheting gives them a whole new perspective. Some of you, who know my personal story, know that knitting and crocheting helped keep me sane in otherwise crazy situations. The email newsletter is full of ideas and great sale prices. I encourage you to check that out when you have time.
I know first hand that at times learning a new skill is challenging and you might not want to sink a lot of money into it at initially. Knit Picks wants to make sure that folks who want to learn to knit or crochet have some free patterns from which to choose. It's not easy to produce patterns. They need to be written out, photographed, tested, put in download form, then the word goes out to email or social media. They actually do ALL of this while keeping the prices on their yarns reasonable. Amazing.
When people ask me to choose a good project for a beginner knitter/crocheter, I usually say dishcloths. They are small so the stitch count is low, the patterns teach new skills or patterns for skill improvement, and nearly instant gratification :). Knit Picks offers FIVE pages of FREE dishcloth patterns. FIVE! That's a lot of writing, testing, photographing, and time putting the patterns online. Looking for a first project? Why not start with the "Dreamy Spa Cloth" if you are learning to knit or the "Nice-n-Easy" Cloth if you are learning to crochet. (One cool thing that I should really mention is that they have a "Kit Builder" so that you can buy the materials to match the downloaded patterns. Great way to get folks started on their knitting/crocheting journey!) Of course the 5 pages of FREE dishcloth patterns contain patterns for every skill level and many different decor choices. If you put some thought into it, they might even make a good sampler blanket!
People start down their knitting, crocheting, or loom knitting journey for the purpose of giving thoughtful gifts without spending a fortune. I began mine because I needed to find a way to occupy my time while my husband was deployed with the Army. I had two babies only 16 months apart and I really needed something to do that was "for me" yet would help make gift giving easier. My first projects were blanket patterns. Like this "Rainbow Knit Blankie" (also available in the "Helping Hands" ebook) I remember how happy I felt that I'd done something with my own hands! Now that I am a more experienced and have worked with charities for a while I know that things like a "PICC Arm Band" is a really great way to help people who need to have a permanent way for doctors to give fluids or medicines to cover that access port. It keeps the port covered and discreet.
Other FREE patterns include gifts that bring comfort and joy... and this time of year, a little comfort and joy under the tree is always welcome. Certainly appeals go out from all kinds of charities for help but we all know that a lovely handmade gift to an elderly neighbor or a foster child is a beautiful way to keep the joy alive in your own neighborhood. This "Knit Beginner Blanket" is a fun take a long project that would be lovely to give as a gift. Easy enough for the beginner, super quick for the experienced knitter. Perfect! For women and girls there is the "Hyde Park Hat" is crocheted and super cute! (to match there is the "Simple Shells Cowl" also FREE) There are men, elderly gentlemen and veterans who might appreciate the "Benefaction Crochet Hat".
Be sure to check out the prices on the yarns at Knit Picks. If you want to do a special project for donation or perhaps a fund raiser, Knit Picks is really the place to find excellent quality yarns at fantastic prices. I want to thank this excellent company for all they do for those of us who love fiber arts and want to give back.
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**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.