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The Charity Knitting Challenge

I’ve written before about how much I love making New Year’s Resolutions. Not the kind you forget on the second day of the year, but the kind that you can look through and tick off gleefully all year. You’ve probably heard that about a third of people will have broken their New Year’s Resolutions by the end of January, but you’ve also heard that it takes 30 days to pick up a new habit (like writing every day). That’s why 30 (or 31) day challenges are my favourites. You don’t have a horrifyingly long time frame to contemplate, and a “challenge” is far more exciting than a “resolution”. So, with that said…

Your Mission

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to knit 30 (or more) items for your charity of choice in the month of January (if January’s no good for you, feel free to choose whichever month you like). My inspiration for this challenge was Donna, who wrote to tell me about her amazing charity knitting:

“My New Year’s resolution, every year since 2003, has been to make an average of at least one item for charity each day. Every year I have beat that goal. For many of those years, I have made over 1000 items. That goal has been beaten while dealing with fibromyalgia. One year I had shoulder surgery and this year, I did it after dislocating and fracturing my shoulder last December.

Who have I made these items for and what have I made? NICUs (booties, hats, afghans, sweaters), infant loss programs (burial outfits, afghans), hospice (magnets, ornaments), nursing homes (lapghans, scarves, hats), the military (hats), animal shelters (cat toys – from otherwise unusable yarn like stained yarn). I think those are the main groups.”

AMAZING, or what?

I’m going to be recording my progress on Ravelry by tagging relevant projects “charityknittingchallenge”. If you’re taking on the challenge, please let me know in the comments where you will be recording yours, so we can all inspire & encourage each other!

Also, as a small incentive, if you complete the challenge with me in January, I will send you a copy of the KnitLove collection so that you can wrap up and label your charity handknits! :)

Grab a Button

<a href=""><img src="charityknittingchallenge-sm.png"/></a>

Find a Few Patterns You Like

Because of their size, baby items (especially preemie and newborn) are the easiest to complete in a day, and they will probably make up most of my challenge knitting, but there are other charities out there (as Donna mentions) that also require small, quickly-knitted items. Here’s the search I used to find some free baby patterns on Ravelry, but in case you don’t want to spend hours trawling through patterns, here’s a list of some that I thought looked useful. Feel free to suggest more in the comments!


  1. Simple Newborn Hat with a touch of lace
  2. Frantic Mama Knitted Soaker Pattern
  3. Baby Rollin’ Beret
  4. Mini-Reversible Duck to Bunny
  5. Baby Mittens
  6. Bonnet and booties – Hat
  7. Newborn Norwegian Sweet Mitts
  8. Little Seedling Soaker
  9. WW Cardigan Vest
  10. Stretchy Ribbed Newborn Hat – In the Round
  11. Baby Hearts
  12. Baby Cable Cap
  13. Lark Rise
  14. Confection Baby Shrug
  15. Simple Shrug with a Twist


  1. Presto Chango
  2. Snug
  3. Swirled Ski Cap
  4. Hooded Baby Wrap
  5. top down garter stitch yoke vest (short rows version)
  6. Twiggy

I think knitting one pattern several times would be a good strategy, since it takes time to acquaint yourself with a pattern, figure out what yarns and needles will work with it, etc.

I know many of you have spent December knitting holiday gifts, and have been looking forward to January as a “selfish knitting” month, but I hope you join me in this challenge. Feeling like we’re contributing something good to the world around us is a basic human need, and one we easily forget when setting resolutions, which is why I think getting accustomed to giving every day is a wonderful habit to acquire. Also, it’s a great opportunity to use up some of those holiday leftovers! ;)

30th December, 2011  // Inspiration // tags: , , .

Knitting in the Rain

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knitting in the rain

Did you knit outside over the weekend? I cast on a few stitches on the balcony during the rain & was just about to move outside when it started hailing very hard & the front of our apartment turned into a square lake. I tied a few knitting needles together and vaulted across anyway. The weather’s been so much like Wales recently, it’s almost uncanny. Sunday’s weather was so nice that record numbers joined in the Eurasia Marathon in Istanbul. As the runners were crossing the Bosphorus Bridge, in a scenario similar to the Milennium Bridge, it went into resonance and started swaying wildly. You can watch a clip here. Yikes!

I picked up a copy of Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running on the way back from work today. I love Murakami, running, and writing, so I was highly delighted that the bookstore had this (especially as I had only 5 minutes to get up to the 4th floor of D&R, remember what I was looking for, find it, walk all the way down, and pay); it isn’t all that easy to find English books in Ankara, though it’s certainly way way easier than it used to be. I was a huge bookworm when I was little, but cross country was the bane of my life. I mean, PE was bad enough, but once every semestre, when the teachers decided I ought to be able to suddenly, magically jog up a steep hill and around the barren countryside, I really really wanted nasty things to happen to them, Matilda-style (note that they never came running with us). So I was really surprised last autumn in England when I discovered the Couch to 5K program and realised that running could be enjoyable. In hindsight, it seems like a silly time to start running, but somehow I found the motivation to run through drizzle, downpours and snowstorms. I even got chilblains for the first time in my life.

What kept me going wasn’t some external reward, it was that the challenge was just crazy enough to make me want to do it really bad, for myself. November, of course, is also the highlight of the Novelling Season.

“What’s crucial is whether your writing attains the standards you’ve set for yourself. Failure to reach that bar is not something you can easily explain away. When it comes to other people, you can always come up with a reasonable explanation, but you can’t fool yourself. In this sense, writing novels and running full marathons are very much alike. Basically a writer has a quiet, inner motivation and doesn’t seek validation in the outwardly visible.”

What I love about both Nanowrimo and C25K is that they’re personal challenges that are built on actions you take “day after day”, that help “raise the bar.” Whether it’s running for an hour, writing 1667 words, knitting 20 rows, whatever. NaNo takes 30 days, C25K takes 9 weeks. Deciding to step outside your comfort zone, outside your door, into the rain, takes only one moment. You might get a cold, or you might just feel profoundly alive and aware.

I haven’t been running regularly since I moved back in with my parents (too many people about), but my circuit takes me near my old school, and I’m just glad those PE teacher don’t work there anymore…

Are You a Twitter Knitter?

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If you follow Laylock on Twitter, you may already have seen that I’m holding KniTwit Wednesday every week. The idea is simple: I tweet knitting patterns that are less than 140 characters. You can then knit them, re-tweet them (just add ‘RT @laylock’ to the beginning of the pattern I tweet and people will know where you found it), or write your own succinct little patterns so I can re-tweet them. I’ve written a few of the patterns already and find it a great thinking & knitting challenge, so I strongly urge you to give it a go!

For convenience I’ll link to all the KniTwit Wednesday pattern tweets here:

  1. Knit Bracelet (Re-Tweet)
  2. Lace & Shell Scarf (Re-Tweet)
  3. Dishcloth (Re-Tweet)
  4. Shawl (Re-Tweet)
  5. Scrunchie (Crochet) by @DesignsbyKN (Re-Tweet)
  6. Pencilcase (Re-Tweet)
13th May, 2009  // Knitwear Design // tags: , .
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