"Rufus was the only one of the four Moffats who was
washcloth for the soldiers. Up in Jane's room at school they were
knitting gray and khaki scarves and helmets. Even sweaters. And Jane
was trying to learn how to purl. Not Rufus. You do not have to purl a
washcloth. Just straight knit it." - Rufus M. by Eleanor
In times of war and in times of peace, at schools, churches,
synagogues, coffee shops or wherever knitters gather together, chairs
have been pulled up and bodies seated for the task at hand: knitting
for others. It's a great tradition.
Reading about charitable knitting projects never ceases to drive
the weariness of the world's problems from my heart. These knitters are
busy people too. And yet, they have found a way to make giving a part
of their lives.
Over the years I struggled to join them. Hearing about
a need, I sometimes answer the call: scarves for Veterans Day, Warm Up
America! squares, the Preemie Project, afghans for Afghans. And then, I
settle back down with my own knitting. Maybe even something for me.
Often it’s for the heads and shoulders, the feet and hands of friends,
neighbors and family.
My community knitting has mostly been a private venture, done alone
my knitting chair, in spurts, and squeezed in between the cracks of
other obligations. Lately I've been wondering about how to get it to be
a more regular part of my knitting life. "Bird by bird," Anne Lamont
wrote. Break down your life's big and overwhelming tasks into
manageable pieces. It's the way I tackle my own work as an author and
an illustrator. Could that approach shape an ongoing charitable
Skein by skein. Month by month. A pledge starting
skein and taking it a month at time. Knitting up a skein’s worth of
washcloths, preemie hats, Warm Up squares. Or working as far as a skein
would go on a healing shawl or scarf or mittens. No real rules. No one
checking out if a month gets skipped or a skein is not quite finished.
September's my first month. I started simple: one skein of Lion
three washcloths. The leftover yardage was
deposited in my stash to use for edging future work. Or maybe adding a
stripe on next month’s batch.
The One Skein Charitable Knitting Commitment.
Want to join? Without knowing how to purl you can knit washcloths
too. Just like Rufus M. Bird by bird. Skein by skein. Month by
Be Prepared! Make yourself a charitable knitting bag. Take a simple
satchel and load it with the pattern, the skein, and the right size
needles. It’s ready to go with you while you wait for the doctor, sip
coffee with friends, listen to a book on tape, follow a political
debate, watch a movie or sit in your favorite knitting chair to
practice "the new yoga."
You can use knitting washcloth as a chance to try out new stitches.
Check out the StitchFinder
Michelle's Basic Washcloth Pattern
The easiest washcloth pattern is my favorite and the one I use
often. I just knit a square diagonally.
Lion Cotton, Lion Organic Cotton, and Cotton-Ease are all great choices
Pick your favorite needles to use with your chosen yarn
Exact gauge is not important to this project
Cast on three stitches, knit one, yarn over, knit to the end of row.
Repeat this row until there are 55 stitches.
Then knit two stitches together, yarn over, knit two stitches together
again, knit to the end of the row. Do this until there are only three
stitches are left. Then, bind off.
I like to blanket stitch the edges with another color.
here for more knit and crochet washcloth patterns.
Where to give a stack of washcloths:
Look on the Lion
Brand Charity Connection or check out your local
Habitat for Humanity, youth homes, halfway houses, family resource
centers, shelters, and more. Washcloths are also great contribution to
charitable bazaar. Give a washcloth with a bar of great soap tied with
ribbon as a gift to someone you know who is having a hard time.
My small stack is going to our local angel Mary Palmberg. She tells
me that kitchen items are always in need by those transitioning out of
shelters. I know she'll find the place where they should go.