Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hats for the Homeless 2017

Thank you for your beautiful contributions of hats and scarves to help those in need in Minneapolis this winter! Once again, we are floored by the generosity of knitters. We have a couple of reminders, FAQs, and a bit of a new direction this year, so read on for some great tips on knitting warm hats!
Spotlight on Kids

We have been taking hats to local elementary schools over the years to share with kids in need. The teachers, social workers, and school administrators have been so grateful for the bags of hats from you all. The great news about knitting hats for kids is that bright colors and patterns are welcome...a knitter’s dream! So use up your wool scraps, combine colors for patterns, and whip up some fun hats for the kids. We’ll get them out there.

Heads Are Bigger Than You Think

When in doubt, knit your hats larger. For kids, for women, and for men. With Minnesota winters being so cold, we need these hats to be functional garments that cover the ears and foreheads--not just fashionable accessories that sit atop heads. So knit that extra inch or two in length at the beginning of the hat, knowing that you’re helping someone keep the wind out this year. It can always be folded up at the brim! 

Here is a general rule of thumb for head sizes:

Babies - 17-18” circumference, 7” length
Little kids - 19” circumference, 8” length
Big kids - 20” circumference, 8.5” length
Women and teens - 21-23” circumference, 10-11” length
Men - 23-24” circumference, 11.5” length

Plain is Still the Name of the Game for the Guys

Our male homeless friends at various local shelters have repeated the same thing to us over and over each year: they really prefer hats that are dark colors, simple, and without patterns. No pompoms needed, either. Large, plain gray and black ribbed hats are ideal for these guys. Stockinette hats work great too. Folks living on the fringe in unstable housing situations may not like to stick out with a brightly colored or patterned hat. Let’s help keep them warm without making them feel uncomfortable.

Scarves and Mittens and Cowls, OH MY!

Many of you have asked if other items are needed beyond just hats, and the answer is a resounding YES! Try to make sure that your scarves can be wrapped around a couple of times and tied; mittens and cowls are great too. 

What Pattern Should I Use?

You can use any pattern you like! Just keep the size and recipients in mind:
  • bigger is better, but tight gauge for warmth is best
  • kids and teens like patterns and colors
  • women like both patterned and plain hats
  • men are all about the plain ones
Here are some of our favorite hat patterns:

Barley Hat from Tin Can Knits

Grand Marais Hat from Katie Chameleon

What Material Should I Use?

Whenever possible, please use wool. There is nothing like wool for keeping the cold out and regulating temperature (it wicks sweat away, and actually keeps skin cool and dry too). Superwash is great if you have it, but handwash-only wool is fine too.

Where Can I Drop Off My Hats?

We are lucky to have many local yarn stores as collaborators! Please drop your hats off at any of these locations:

Thank you for donating your time, skills and resources to this project. We are grateful for your gifts of love!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Day of Charity Knitting at SteveBe

Friday, November 10
11:00 am - 6:00 pm

We're just like you. We're teachers, business executives, parents, retirees, name it. But the one thing we all have in common is our dedication to those in need. Join us at StevenBe for this day where we combine our Passion, our Neighbors, and our Community in the ultimate acts of charity.

Barb Melom and Joan Gilbertson head up this charity knitting day bringing groups and individuals from all over the city to support Hats for the Homeless.

We will have a selection of needles and yarns available for a minimal fee to cast on your hat or scarf, as well as patterns that can serve as a jumping off point for your charitable project.
We look forward to seeing you for this amazing day, whether you drop off a hat or knit all day. See you at StevenBe on November 10th.

Click Here to register at StevenBe that you plan to attend (there is no fee). Scroll through the classes to "Day of Charity Knitting" and click on this class and add your name.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Events and Updates

Knitters arrived on Labor Day with yarn and needles in hand to work on hats and scarves to be handed out this’s not that far away.  Knitters have been dropping off donations all summer so we are off to a good start. Eleven years ago when this project started, our mission was to knit dark colored watch caps for men, but as the project evolved and more and more hats were being knit, our mission has expanded to include hats for women and school age children. Remember kids heads are larger than you think...use a pattern for an adult size head. We do not need hats for infants or newborns; other knitters in our community knit for this cause.
Boxes of hand knit hats come in from all over the country!

 I would like to introduce you to some of the knitters in Minneapolis:
Georgia is working on her 68th hat for this year.
Joan and Dyan are teaching teens to knit when they are not busy knitting hats.
Mary loves knitting hats for kids, but is taking a break from hats and working on cowls for teens.
Gail likes adding a bit of pizazz to her hats.
Barb is always on the lookout for new patterns and manages the blog when she is not knitting a hat
Kathy likes knitting big hats and then felting them.
Karen likes the waffle hat pattern.
Michele has an eye for color and is always combining scraps of yarn and coming up with colorful creations.
Jeni knits warm and wooly hats by combining mohair and worsted weight yarn.
Ingrid puts her Scandinavian knitting skills to work on her favorite hat pattern..the Grand Marais Hat.
Raquel is knitting her first hat.
Yvonne is our fastest knitter and designer of the Minnesota Hat. Everything she knits is donated to a good cause.
Barb organizes the events, knits hats and delivers them to the schools and shelters.

Our next big all day knitting event is 
Friday, November 10th
at Steven Be’s
3448 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN
This is also a drop off site for finished items.

Knitters also get together at Butter Bakery over on 37th and Nicollet, the 3rd Saturday of every month  from 11:00 to 1:00.

We like to start delivering hats in November and continue through the winter as hats/scarves continue to arrive.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Charity Knitting

Join kindred spirits for a day of charity knitting at StevenBe's over on 35th and Chicago on Wednesday, July 12th. Doors open at 10:00 am and we will be gathering throughout the day until closing time at 6:00 pm. Charity knitters knit items to be given away and our focus is knitting hats...and scarves...actually I like to tell people "Give the Gift of Warmth". We are getting more requests from schools to knit hats for kids. So colorful hats...and remember that kids heads are the same size as an adult head. We will have patterns and bins of yarn available at give away prices.

Last year this generous community of knitters knit over 2200 items that we distributed to shelters, schools and hospitals. The Head Start program, not far from the shop, has already contacted us asking for hats and diapers. It would be great if you would consider donating a package of diapers...size 3 and 4.

One more thing...bring along a snack to share. We will provide beverages throughout the day.

Packs your needles and yarn and invite a friend.  See you July 12th.

Barbara Melom

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Knitters Cap Another Great Year

I look forward to every winter when my front porch turns into a distribution depot for hundreds of Hats for the Homeless, and it gives me joy to bring them to shelters, hospitals, schools, community agencies and other sites where people struggling to deal with Minnesota’s winter get assistance, encouragement and proof that there are people all over the country who are willing to reach out.  I make a point of telling staff at these sites that the caps they are receiving for distribution come from all over the country, often with notes of compassion and encouragement.

So I offer you greetings and thanks from folks all over Minneapolis who know the value of community and compassion.