A Facebook post from the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue asking for knitted "nests" to house orphaned baby birds went viral this year, and the organization was inundated with thousands of donations. But they're not the only charity out there needing hand-knit items. Numerous nonprofits around the globe are seeking volunteers to knit a wide variety of products. Here are three to consider:
Knitters who are also animal lovers will appreciate the aim of the Snuggles Project: providing soft, warm "snuggles" blankets for animals living in shelters. Shelter workers say the comfy blankets help calm frightened new arrivals. This, in turn, means the adoption process can move forward more quickly. The cuddly blankets are also homey, which helps when an animal is placed in the rather industrial confines of a shelter. The charity has a wide range of free blanket patterns online, including a bamboo knit snuggle, easy-knit snuggle, fun fur snuggle and a spool-knitted giddy snuggle.
Who can resist helping a marsupial? Lovable mammals that are typically carried in a pouch (e.g., kangaroos, koala bears and possums), marsupials are mostly found in Australia and New Zealand. When disaster strikes through illness or injury, Australia's Wildlife Victoria jumps into action. The group helps more than 50,000 injured, sick and orphaned animals annually through various emergency response services. One of these services is to provide orphaned marsupials with knitted replacement pouches.
When the mother of a joey dies — "joey" is the name for any marsupial baby — the joey suddenly loses its comfy home in mom's pouch. That's detrimental to the joey's development, so Wildlife Victoria asks volunteers to knit marsupial pouches with sewn cotton liners that can be used to warm and comfort the joeys. If you knit but are not great with a needle and thread, simply knit the pouch and buddy up with a friend who can produce the liners.
No woman wants to learn she has breast cancer and needs a mastectomy. Even worse is to go through the surgery, then realize you can't afford a prosthetic replacement. Enter Knitted Knockers. The nonprofit organization taps volunteers to knit lightweight cotton breasts for use in women's bras.
The knitted prostheses look and feel like real breasts, and are often more comfortable than traditional silicone prostheses. And a bonus: Knitted Knockers distributes the cotton breast replacements free to those in need. Since 2010, Knitter Knockers has collected and passed out more than 5,000 knitted breast prostheses.
Learn more about "craftivism" in "Knitting for Peace" by Harry N. Abrams. HowStuffWorks picks related titles based on books we think you'll like. Should you choose to buy one, we'll receive a portion of the sale.