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7 Ways to Knit or Crochet for Charity

Put your needles to good use and for a good cause.

baby's mohair knit red hat for "Little Hats, Big Hearts"
Photography by: Getty

They say that crafting is healthy for the mind of the crafter herself — but it's also beneficial for others in need. If you'd like to put your sewing, knitting, or crocheting skills to good use, we have a few humble suggestions. Crafting, it seems, can become more than a hobby; you can transform your art into an actual charitable cause. Ahead are a number of ways to craft in the name of local or national philanthropy.


Don’t miss out: Get Martha’s Guide to Knitting — it’s the exclusive resource for knitters of all skill levels.


1. Raise Awareness for Heart Disease


Cute babies in red hats — oh, my! The American Heart Foundation recently launched a "Little Hats, Big Hearts" campaign in which newborn babies don scarlet headwear to spread the word about heart disease and congenital heart defects (the most common birth defects in the United States). The AHF wants participants to use cotton or acrylic red yarn that's medium to heavy weight, and machine washable and dryable. The website urges you to contact your local American Heart Association office for deadlines and more info.


[HELP OUT: Babies Will Need These Knit and Crocheted Red Hats for a Special Reason]
crochet octopus toys for premature babies
Photography by:

2. Provide Comfort to Preemie Babies


Those precious tiny humans need a lot of comfort and warmth to grow healthy and strong. Doctors in Denmark reportedly discovered that premature babies who held a knitted octopus toy displayed regular heartbeats, better breathing, and robust oxygen blood levels. Propose the idea of knitting snug toys for these little ones to your local hospital. The concept may just take off in your community.


[HELP OUT: You Can Crochet an Octopus Toy to Help Comfort Premature Babies]
chicken in a knit sweater
Photography by: The Boston Globe via Getty

3. Keep Chickens Warm


Passionate about poultry? A retirement home in Milton, MA, partnered with a local charity to knit colorful sweaters for a few chilly chickens. Consider assisting local farmers who need to keep their livestock warm when the sun sets (it may be spring, but for many of us, temperatures are still dipping come nightfall). Let's face it: These fashionable birdies are both warm and adorable.


[HELP OUT: Local Retirees are Helping to Keep Chickens Warm in Knit Sweaters]
Scarf tied around a tree trunk
Photography by: Vast Photography

4. Provide for the Homeless


If you've seen trees wrapped in handmade scarves, there's a reason. Community groups and churches are banding together to provide some much needed warmth to those who need it the most and leaving their handmade gifts in public areas — some even come attached with a kind, encouraging note. In Minnesota alone, a group of people attached more than 1,000 scarves in 21 different parks. If you'd like to donate more than scarves, go to to find out how you can help those in need during the colder seasons.


[HELP OUT: Here's Why You're Seeing Trees Bundled up in Scarves this Winter]
Leonberger dogs in knitwear
Photography by: Eudyptula

5. Help Dogs Get Adopted


Throughout the years, animal shelters have faced a particular difficulty adopting out dark-coated canines. In fact, it's such a prevalent issue that it even has a name: "Black Dog Syndrome." To combat this prejudice and make the dogs more appealing to potential fur-ever homes, volunteers at the Scottish SPCA centers in Inverness and Caithness are knitting jumpers, sweaters, and hatwear for dogs up for adoption. So why not make something warm and snuggly for a puppy in need of a home? 


[HELP OUT: People are Knitting Colorful Sweaters for Discriminated Dog Breeds]
knit sweaters for rescued elephants
Photography by: Roger Allen

6. Comfort Animals Around the World


Here's a sweet story: The elephants in residence at the WildLife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center located in Northern India were experiencing chilly temperatures. To better accomodate them, the local villagers were quick to create several oversized blankets. You can research different wildlife sanctuaries and conservation centers, and ask if they are in need of warm goods. Who knew that you could put your creative skills to work for a good cause and help animals across the globe?


[HELP OUT: You Can Help Knit Giant Sweaters For Rescued Elephants]

7. Donate Your Time


Still unsure about how you'd like to give back? It takes discipline, love and time to knit, crochet or sew something for the underpriveleged. Find a program you truly care about via All Free Knitting, in which you'll find lists of local and national charities that accept sartorial crafts. What better way to spend your day than passing on the joy knitting brings to you?