Sunday, January 23, 2011

Charity Knitting Dilemma

I have been puzzling over how to establish a charity-knitting group at Artisan Knitworks – headed by the wondrous Elaine Clark, who knits continually for Russian orphanages and a number of other worthy institutions – and now find myself confronting an unanticipated problem.  The orphanages want woolen socks, sweaters, etc.  It lasts, and it’s warmer than anything we ordinarily use for basic garments.  But other institutions want acrylic.   So I told Elaine that I didn’t want members of her group buying yarn at the Big Box Stores.  Why?  Because the yarn people ordinarily buy for so-called charity projects at those stores is often of really poor quality – and I have been yelling and yelling and yelling for years now about how women should respect their labor sufficient to rule out that kind of knitting stock.  So the question becomes:  Why would I recommend nasty yarn for charity projects and not for other projects?  I can’t.  Either we use a worthy fiber or we don’t.  But I’m not sure that Elaine agreed or understood, so I need to think it out carefully and come up with something more intelligible than the sputters I managed to come up with the other day.  In the meantime:  I need to find some really good quality acrylic yarns from companies with whom I already do business.   That will be a challenge.   First, I really don’t like plain worsted-weight acrylic.  It feels like fishing line to me.  But, second, it will cost more than at our Big Box friends.  So I’ll give a discount – but – it still can’t cost VERY much.   And, no, I don’t deal with either Plymouth or Cascade.  Ideas?


  1. Check your email at the store for ideas on the topic of fibers for charity knitting from Jean Rudolph

  2. Personally, if I was going to do a charity project, I'd lean towards something nicer than acrylic. Besides not wanting to handle that junk, I would be a bit embarrassed to be donating an item made from Red Heart. I suppose I can see the point of the folks who have to keep these items clean, that perhaps something washable would be easier for them to take care of - but there are decent washable wool blends out there that are better than the typical craft store brands, right? It's also not like anyone is expected to go out and purchase $50/skein wool for a charity project either...but, likewise, using the bargain basement acrylic junk is just not....charitable. :)

  3. Jean, thanks. I certainly know the Debbie Bliss line, etc. That's not really the point. The point I was making was simpler: People seem to want to work with yarns that are NOT good yarns, and I find that curious. That's all I was trying to say. It is also true that some charities require that items be machine washable and dryable in industrial machines, and in those cases, all that will serve is good-quality acrylic. So I wanted some suggestions!!! The alternative, I suppoe, is to ignore those charities, but I don't think that's a solution. And I think my whole point about Big Box yarns was that I reject them. svb