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Home : Community : Newsletters & Stories

Newsletters & Stories

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Stories from the Prayer Shawl Ministry
Charity Stories

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Warm Up America and Vanna's Choice

Afghans. Our American icon of hearth and home. We drape them over our couches and reach for them on a cold winter's night. We wrap them around a sick child. Or a friend with a broken heart. We cuddle under them when we take a quick snooze. We send them with our near and dear to camps and colleges, to hospitals and nursing homes.

We have a million uses for our afghans because we understand what they mean to us. Warmth, security and love. And that's why Warm Up America is such a great charitable knitting organization. It asks you to make a 7 by 9 inch section, knit or crochet, any stitch, and help turn them into afghans for those who have "lost homes, fled abusive relationships or are being cared for in hospices, shelters, hospitals and nursing homes." Warm Up America has made and distributed more than 250,000 afghans since it began in 1992. Although it is a national project, Warm Up America likes you to think locally; produce and distribute your afghans to the souls in need in your community.

Click for Warm Up America Square Patterns

Click for knit and crochet Warm Up America patterns
Get Involved with Warm Up America! Foundation
  • You can knit or crochet one or more 7 by 9 inch blocks to send to Warm Up America or to sew together and make afghans to donate to local charities. Hospitals, shelters, and nursing homes are just some of the local places that benefit from your afghans.
  • Join a local Warm Up America group or, if there isn't one in your area, start one. Get a group of knitters and crocheters together, gather blocks, and sew them together. Even non-knitters/crocheters can help by sewing the blocks together or preparing afghans by choosing out pieces that go nicely together.
  • Find out more -- visit Warm Up America! Foundation's website by clicking here.

If you decide to take up your needles and work for homeland warmth and security by knitting for Warm-Up America, there are many good choices of yarn for you to use. But Lion Brand has a great one. Vanna's Choice. Soft, lofty, and with great stitch definition -- it's available in muted colors, which work magically together.

I have been in love with Vanna's Choice since I met my first skein of Dusty Rose on a visit to Lion Brand's headquarters last January. As I held it my hand, I knew it would be a great match with Warm Up America. I couldn't wait to receive my shipment of the complete palette. And when it finally arrived on a cold snowy day, the colors were so inviting that I wanted to brew a pot of strong coffee and spend the next few weeks knitting Warm Up America pieces with it.

But as usual I was in the midst of a many knitting projects and then there was my work as a children's book author. I knew should put Vanna in my stash storage until I had more time. But I just couldn't put those colors out of my sight. Off my radar. Not when the outside world was a colorless, wintry landscape of black and white and grays.

I found two long wicker baskets, and arranged the skeins so that every color was visible. I stored them under a coffee table in my living room so I could see their pretty little heads as I sat in my knitting chair. Despite all my other obligations, I fell into the habit of knitting a few Warm Up America patches a week. I like experimenting with Vanna and watching my rainbow pile of afghan pieces grow. It's fall now, and I have almost worked my way through all 23 colors and 5 prints.

I live in Iowa City, Iowa, a small university town surrounded by cornfields. There's not much Hollywood type glitz around here, but since I have been knitting for Warm Up America with Vanna's Choice, I feel like I have a glamorous buddy in this venture. I've grown to like being greeted by Vanna White every time I open a new skein. And I think you will, too.

For more on Vanna's Choice yarn, click here.

For charity stories submitted by our readers, click here.

[Michelle's blocks were made by alternating two rows of seed stitch with two rows of k1 p1 rib. For more on stitches, visit our StitchFinder.]

Michelle's Warm Up America BlocksMichelle's blocks, made
with Vanna's Choice

Authored by

Michelle Edwards is the author/illustrator of A KNITTER'S HOME COMPANION and many award-winning children's books including CHICKEN MAN and STINKY STERN FOREVER. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys talking about books in schools throughout the US and beyond. Her newest book, Room for the Baby, will be available from Random House in Fall 2012. Visit Michelle Edwards at her website or on Facebook.
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