As we begin a new year, it’s an excellent time to clean out our stash of yarn. Before you vow to knit every last scrap regardless… I have an idea for you.
Instead of feeling guilty that you haven’t made anything with the yarn you bought ages ago, instead of feeling pressure to find something to do with that yarn, instead of trying to figure out how to make all of the left over colors and weights work together, just don’t.
Put it all in a bag and take it to your local nursing home.
Come home to a clean space and think about what YOU want to knit. Then pick out your pattern, buy fresh yarn and start the year right.
Yarn shop owners need your business and isn’t it good to support your local economy after all?
Most nursing homes, retirement homes, and senior centers offer arts and crafts classes and can always use the yarn. But also think about those lifelong knitters and crocheters who find themselves in a retirement home or nursing home, unable to jump in their car and dash out to their LYS for yarn to start a new project. Just because they’re limited in their mobility, doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten how to knit. They may not be able to purchase yarn, but if you gave them enough yarn to actually make something with they would be thrilled.
Small projects are great! Mittens, gloves, fingerless mitts, hats, baby clothes, dish cloths, and so many other quick knits are perfect for small stashes and short attentions. I talked with a woman named Marie who had knitted her whole life. She had hand knit the most beautiful sweaters and had many pictures of her work. But today, she didn’t have the patience or desire to embark upon a cardigan. She didn’t want to do finishing. She didn’t want to have to follow a detailed pattern. She just wanted to knit. After giving her some yarn, she worked up a hat from memory, without a pattern! It was quick, it was fun, and it was lovely. Best of all, she could move on to a different color of yarn and something new without getting bored.
Scarves, shawls, blankets and throws may take more yarn and time, but they usually don’t require the precision with gauge to get the right size and attention to details of fitted projects. These forgiving projects are good when knitting skills, eyesight or nimbleness of fingers may not be what they used to be. A knitter can still work up a project to be proud of.
It’s a good feeling for retirement home and nursing home residents to be able to give handmade gifts to others. They think of family and friends often and would love a chance to give them something. They also make new friends at the nursing home and the giving of a gift is fulfilling, kind, and necessary for our souls.
If you have leaflets, old books or magazines of patterns consider donating them as well. They don’t need to knit up the hottest thing in the knitting world today. And we all know that the vast majority of knitting is timeless. A cabled hat from 1919 is just as gorgeous 100 years later.
While you’re cleaning out your stash, don't forget to donate unused knitting tools too. Tools are great to donate because each knitter doesn’t need their own supply. A community supply of knitting tools can be used by all of the resident knitters.
Be sure to call your local retirement home, nursing homes or senior centers first to make sure they can take your yarn. And if you are in a position to donate your time, an offer to teach a supplemental knitting or arts & crafts class would probably be appreciated.
Now this is an idea that everyone can get excited about.
Hello! I'm Donna Estin, knitwear designer, certified master knitter and instructor. I enjoy designing artistic knitwear that is comfortable. I specialize in sweaters with a contemporary silhouette.