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Handmade Gifts for Giving Back -- Our Favorite Patterns for Charity

Have you ever knit or crocheted for charity? Mixing a hobby you’re passionate about with the act of giving back to others is a delightful way to make yourself and others feel appreciated. As you search for your next project, consider patterns for chemo caps, prayer shawls, or warm afghans. Gifts like these let those in need know that you’re thinking of them – a good feeling for all!

We’ve rounded up a list of charities that could benefit from your handmade gifts, as well as suggested patterns for each one. Whether they’re in your local community or across the nation, we hope you’ll consider using your talents to give back.


Beanies 4 Buddies

This project not only supplies patients at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles with knit chemo caps – they also give each child a “buddy” (a small stuffed animal) with a matching cap.

We like: Crochet Next Generation Hat made with Heartland®. Pattern for buddy's cap here.

next generation hat

Pathways to Spirit

This group’s volunteer efforts directly benefit the future of Native Americans in Colorado and the Dakotas. Among several projects, “One Heart One Mind” offers support to young mothers at the Lakota Tiwahe Center in Rosebud, SD.

We like: Learn to Knit Baby Booties & Hat made with Vanna’s Choice®

learn to knit baby booties

Tikkun Olam Nicaragua

This group’s mission is to bring medical care and education to rural villages in Nicaragua. Their Ravelry group collects prayer shawls to give to women they visit on their mission trips.

We like: Crochet Zephyr Shawl made with Landscapes®

zephyr shawl

Handmade for the Homeless

Uniting in the months of October – December, this Boston-based Ravelry group collects and distributes cold-weather items to 3 local organizations that help the homeless.

We like: Knit Starboard Socks made with Wool-Ease®

starboard socks

Halos of Hope

Directed by Pamela Haschke, a breast cancer survivor herself, this group organizes the donation of chemo caps to patients across the country.

We like: Knit Lace Beanie made with Cotton Ease®

lace beanie

Knit for Peace

This month, the U.K. recognizes both Voluntary Arts Week (dedicated to how creativity benefits well-being) and Dementia Awareness Week. Combining these events is Knit for Peace, whose mission is to use crafting for good. Among projects they collect to distribute are "Twiddlemuffs", decorated hand muffs designed to keep restless hands busy in patients with dementia.

We like: Pattern for Twiddlemuff, by Knit for Peace. Make one with Vanna's Choice®



Red Scarf Project

A project of Foster Care to Success, volunteers help assemble Valentine’s Day care packages to college-bound foster youth, red scarves included.

We like: Knit Brisbane Scarf made with Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®


Warm Up America

Featured by Lion Brand in the past, we have designed several patterns for this organization, which distributes afghans to homeless shelters, hospices, and American Red Cross centers, among many other organizations.

We like: Knit Morris Park Blanket made with Wool-Ease®

morris park

Knit for Kids

Working with World Vision, this organization provides blankets and sweaters to children across the globe.

We like: Crochet Easy on Baby Pullover made with Vanna's Choice®

easy on baby

Tagged In:
  • Deb Wirtel

    I make baby hats and booties for Nurses for newborns, a nonprofit that works with pregnant and new moms in need.

  • Angela Jones

    I create custom crochet dolls for children with cancer or other illnesses for a non-profit called Feel Better Friends.

  • Janet McDowell

    I'm part of a group that knits for three or four different charities a year. When making squares for Warm-Uo America, adapting dishcloth patterns to the correct size works great. Change yarn gauge, add or subtract repeats, makes it more fun to knit and a more interesting finished blanket.

  • June Watson

    I crochet beanie hats for grade school children and donate to schools and other organizations.

  • Analiese Fammler

    I concentrate on local hospitals -Most newborns go home only with whatever the hospital supplies which means a receiving blanket and the striped hat that they put on at birth-I try to send a large quantity of blankets and hats and sweaters every 6 months-More around cold weather time

  • Joan Z Dufresne

    I knit blankets for the local dog and animal shelters!

  • nuts4fiber

    My favorite is the Mother Bear Project! Knit and crochet bears for kids (usually in Africa), whose lives have been impacted by the Aids epidemic. I use my scraps of LB Vanna's Choice yarn to make my bears! motherbearproject.com

  • Lloydine Greschaw

    I do scarves , hats for the needy .

  • Gaye N. Barclay

    Hi, my Needlework group makes several things for Charity. One of our big requests now is for small knitted or crocheted squares with a half square added to it. These are called Burial cloths. Our group calls them Heavenly Bundles. We are knitting them now, but are looking for a crochet pattern for the same thing. Actually, most of us use the knitted dishrag pattern and make it larger. Does anyone have a crocheted dishcloth pattern? some of our group do not knit, and would like to make Heavenly Bundles also. Can anyone help me?

  • Merry Miller Moon

    My Yarn Arts Group has been knitting and crocheting nests for birds that need to be rehabbed.

  • Deb

    My mother-in-law lives with demtia and I thought the Twiddlemuff was a great idea. Unfortunately, the link to the pattern isn't active and there isn't anything on their website. I'm a new knitter so any help will be greatly appreciated.

  • Jane Beville

    I knit 8" squares for Knit A Square ( I saw them on this site years ago). They sew the squares together to make blankets for Aids orphans in South Africa. Check it out! A good charity for basic knitters like me. You can also crochet your squares.

  • Rochelle

    I donate knitted scarves, mittens and hats I make just to keep my hands busy in the evening and when we are in the car. It makes me feel like I'm doing something good for others while I do something good for myself. I donate my creations to a neighborhood multi service center for the holidays so people can have gifts to give to their loved ones. I'm sure I get more out of this than I give.

  • Lizzie

    I like to knit for charity, I shop the charity shops for wool, I knit toques,and mitts, and scarfs, when I have a few I take them to my church, we have a food bank there and the people that run it hand them out, the wool at the "good will" some time is not a full skein ,sooo I have some really colourfull things LK