Two of Wands

Yarn Heroes: Crafting for Charity

Collaborations, Free Patterns, Yarn HeroesAlexandra TavelComment

Over the last eight months I've had the absolute honor of working with Lion Brand Yarn on some super fun collaborations. One of my favorite parts about the Lion Brand Yarn Company is their mission statement - to create a more colorful, connected, and giving world. How wonderful is that?! Founded in 1878, LBY is the oldest yarn producer in the United States and still a family-owned business, now in its fifth generation. They have always been passionate about giving back and educating people on the benefits of yarn crafting. They have partnered with Warm Up America and other charities that accept hand knitted and crocheted items, donated yarn for use in public exhibits and museums, and helped raise over $1,700,000 for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through the sales of their yarns with spokeswoman Vanna White. In short, this is a company with which I am SO PROUD to work.

Each month I've designed a free pattern using one of their iconic yarns and they've offered kits at a discounted price for each design to our customers. Behind the scenes we've been working on a huge project that I'm so thrilled to finally introduce to all of you: Yarn Heroes

To celebrate giving back, Lion Brand has assembled a super team of 15 inspirational knitwear bloggers and designers, including yours truly, to design simple, creative patterns that you can craft to make an impact on real people in need. As a Yarn Hero, I've designed a free pattern available here on my site as well as on Ravelry, that I encourage you to download and use to make a special handmade gift for someone in need. Whether it's donated to a major organization like Warm Up America or a local church or shelter, gifting a hand knit or crocheted item to someone in need is one of the best acts of kindness. It's always a good time to give, but particularly as it starts to get colder in many parts of the world and as the holiday season is approaching. 

The pattern I've designed is called the Frozen Lake Infinity Scarf and it is made using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Tonal. You can wear it just draped open to add an extra layer to the chest or double it up to keep your neck and head extra warm. The design was inspired by the feeling of ice skating on a lake as a child. That sensation of freedom and excitement and happiness in the cold air. Twirling in circles and laughing and gliding. That image just seemed like such a cheerful, innocent idea and I wanted the scarf to reflect that. I added a sprinkling of bobbles onto it for extra pops of joy and cozy and to represent snowballs and big fluffy snowflakes.

Lion Brand wants every yarn crafter to know that they can become a Yarn Hero, making the world a more giving place by by crafting for a good cause. They are generously offering $5 off of every purchase of $20 or more on lionbrand.com using the code YARNHEROES2016 throughout the course of the campaign, November 15 - December 15, to help with the purchase of the yarn to make all of the wonderful items designed by the Yarn Heroes. I will also be hosting a giveaway for all the yarn needed to make the Frozen Lake Infinity Scarf, along with a pack of Lion Brand Bonbons, that will be sent to two lucky winners during the campaign.

Every week, Lion Brand will post interviews with the Yarn Heroes on their blog, The Notebook, discussing the power of charity crafting and the causes dearest to us. Please share your own stories with us at yarnheroes@lionbrand.com – over the next four weeks, we will be selecting four charity crafters to each receive $250 worth of yarn for the cause of their choice.

Follow @twoofwands on Instagram for updates on giveaways, interviews, and opportunities for you to get involved and become your own Yarn Hero!

Looking to donate some cozy knits? The organizations below will all happily accept your handmade items!

Warm Up America is always accepting knit and crocheted adult, child, and baby size afghans, adult hats, scarves, baby clothing and 7" x 9" knit and crochet sections to turn into afghans. Warm Up America distributes warm afghans, caps and other items to tens of thousands of people, thanks to the generosity of knitters and crocheters around the country.

Knit for Peace is a UK organization that promotes peace through knitting and crocheting in war torn areas, bringing people together through the art of crafting. They accept any and all hand knit and crochet items, and also have an appeal for monetary donations to help with shipping costs of these items and yarn/needles/hooks that have been donated to be sent to women's camps in refugee areas to be used for therapeutic reasons and so that they can make things for themselves and family members and possibly sell. Finished pieces are accepted in all fibers, but wool is preferred as acrylic can be a fire risk for people living without electricity and in close proximity to open flames.

Christmas at Sea is a program sponsored by the Seamen's Church Institute to provide gifts to mariners who are miles away from home during the holidays. The gift consists of a hand knit garment, a personal letter, information on SCI’s services for mariners, and several useful items like hand lotion, lip balm, and toothbrushes. Knitters and crocheters may choose any of the patterns published by SCI. Please use machine-washable yarn for your projects—washable wools and wool-blends are preferred. The projects require worsted weight yarn, except for the sock pattern, which calls for sock-weight yarn.

Head Huggers provides hats for cancer patients who have lost their hair from chemotherapy. You can mail them to a central location for distribution or find a local organization through their network. For these hats it's best to use soft, washable yarns and make them as smooth and seamless as possible for comfort.

Hats 4 the Homeless distributes knitted goods to the homeless population in New York City every winter. You don't have to be in NYC to donate; they have an address where you can mail your goods. It's not just hats, either -- they'll also take scarves, socks, and gloves.

Snuggles Project is great for anyone who wants to help animals. You make a little blanket for an animal -- knit, crochet, or sew -- and give them to a participating shelter. The Snuggles provide comfort and warmth to the creatures in the shelters while they wait for their forever homes.

Project Linus provides comfort blankets for kids who need them due to illness, trauma, or other reasons. They accept homemade blankets from smoke-free environments, which can be donated in person through a local chapter.