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!