As you probably  know if you’ve been following the blog for very long, I committed at the start of 2016 to donate 200 items to organizations serving Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota during 2016. I expect I will come up short in terms of handmade items but will complete the commitment with purchased items which are always needed on the reservation too.

I started out making hats as I was inspired by the mental image of a playground full of Indian children toasty warm in their hats of many colors. I have made quite a few hats…in a great many colors. You can see the ones I’ve finished so far at the Pine Ridge page. I still have a tub with 30 or more hats that I need to finish, and I will get to them soon. The crocheted part is finished, but I need to sew up the backs, gather the tops, and attach pom-poms to finish them up. There is still a lot of time before the weather turns cold. I will get to it — soon!

I got a bit bored making hats so decided to take a break and do something else for a while. I found some gorgeous blue, yellow, white, and aqua baby yarn and decided it would make a beautiful baby blanket. I decided it was time to learn a new crochet stitch…having only known single crochet up to that point. So I watched some YouTube videos and learned how to do the half double stitch. This baby blanket/afghan is done totally in half double crochet. There is no pattern…just half double crochet and variegated yarn. I used Lion Brand’s Ice Cream Yarn– lemon swirl. Something similar can be done by someone very new to crochet.  I’m currently working on a second blanket using Lion Brand’s Ice Cream — cotton candy. The cotton candy version is done totally in single crochet…very easy…mindless…great for doing while watching TV.

This blanket is VERY large for a baby blanket…more the size of a toddler afghan than a baby blanket. I did get a bit carried away, and will make subsequent blankets a bit smaller, but I do think the added size will be a benefit on the reservation where winters are cold and many people do not have heat in their houses. I used two of the big scoop skeins to make the blanket but have quite a bit of the second skein left over. I will use it for making hats.

The commitment to make 200 items has kept me busy this year and I’m glad I committed to  make so many items for Pine Ridge. The commitment has kept me focused and has kept me busy looking around for patterns for handmade items that would be welcome there. (Really, about anything you can think of is needed there.) The counties making up the reservation are the poorest in the country, with 80% unemployment and a per-capita income of $4,000. Many homes are without sewer systems and running water. Items are definitely needed.

Even so, I may spread the donations around more next year. I feel a bit constrained by the commitment to make a certain number of things. To make 200 items, with my work schedule, pretty much all of them would have to be small–a smaller commitment could mean more blankets or more more quilts or other larger items.) I may make a smaller commitment next year and make more blankets rather than hats…but I may not. I will definitely continue to donate to Pine Ridge though may donate more to other places as well.

In any case, there are many organizations that collect and distribute blankets and afghans in various sizes. I’ve listed a few of them below for anyone who might be inspired to make a baby blanket…or a larger blanket and be looking for a place to donate it. There is a larger list of organizations collecting all kinds of handmade items on this page.

This particular blanket will be donated through Friends of Pine Ridge. I belong to their Yahoo Group which is a great resource as if you send a message to the group those leading the group will tell you which organization on the reservation is in the most need of what you have to offer.

If this post inspires you to make something I’d love to hear about it. One of my biggest pleasures in writing the blog is hearing from others who’ve been inspired to make something. Creating beauty and joy is at the heart of who we are as spiritual beings…or at least it seems so to me.

 

Afghans For Afghans
Sends hand-knit and crocheted blankets and sweaters, vests, hats, mittens, and socks to those in need in Afghanistan.

Binky Patrol
A binky is a sewn, knitted, crocheted, or quilted blanket. They can be anywhere from 2 feet by 2 feet for preemie babies up to twin size. Blankets are donated to children with chronic or terminal illnesses, those in foster care or experiencing trauma.

Blankets For Canada
Blankets For Canada members participate in making and distributing blankets for Canada’s homeless. Members can make and donate squares or can join squares or make entire blankets. Check out the Facebook group for more information.

Blankets of Love
Is an Australian based group which collects beautifully handmade quilts for distribution to those who have lost a baby.

Bridge And Beyond
This group has a blog and a Facebook Group. The mission of the group is to create, collect and distribute, quilted, crocheted, knitted, and loomed items to help the homeless in Central Ohio.

Carewear
Care Wear is a nationwide group of volunteers who knit, crochet, and/or sew, providing handmade baby items to hospitals for distribution to families in need. Their site includes a long list of hospitals and other agencies and the items they need.

Forever Warm
Provides parents of stillborn children with a blanket that they can wrap their children in for pictures and/or burial. Parents may keep the blanket as a personal keepsake to remember their child.

Friends Of Pine Ridge
Friends of Pine Ridge acts as a central point for collecting and funneling much needed items to the various organizations that serve the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The needs on the reservation are vast and include hand made as well as store bought items. Check out the Friends of Pine Ridge website for information on what is needed or join the Yahoo Group for daily updates and new challenges.

Knit4Charities
This is an Australian Internet based association of dedicated knitters, crocheters, sewers and other crafters, who give warm clothing and comforting items such as blankets and toys to needy people throughout Austral

Knitters and Natters Facebook Group
This is an international group of Facebook friends who work together to knit/crochet various items for charities in the US and abroad. They make baby clothes, squares, granny squares, hats and more.

Knitting For Brisbane’s Needy
Is an online group focused on knitting, crocheting, sewing, and crafting items for the needy of Brisbane. Many types of items are welcomed.

Knit With Love
Knit With Love is dedicated to providing knit or crochet items to people in need, whether they are homeless, impoverished or sick. Knit With Love accepts donations of afghans, blankets, caps, beanies, prayer shawls, and etc.

Knots Of Love
Knots of Love’s primary goal is to brighten the lives of those in need with kindness and love. All Knots of Love creations are given free of charge to people who are battling cancer or other life-threatening illnesses or injuries.

Newborns In Need
Newborns In Need provides care care necessities to agencies and hospitals serving premature, ill, or impoverished newborns.  Newborns In Need distributes items free of charge to babies in the United States.

Warm The Homeless
Warm The Homeless provides warmth to people in need through hand made blankets. Knit, crocheted, or quilted items are welcome. Hats, scarves, and mittens are also welcome.

Warm Up America
Warm Up America collects and distributes complete afghans or baby blankets, mittens, hats, scarves and 7×9 rectangles to be joined together to form afghans. Items are donated broadly to women’s shelters, nursing homes, children’s hospitals, hospitals and hospices, daycare centers, veterans homes, churches, AIDS facilities, homeless shelters and American Red Cross Chapters.


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