I’m sure I’ve mentioned it in a previous post, but I started up a crochet program at work. I work at a public library as the Administrative Assistant. This job doesn’t provide a whole lot of creativity, which is why I decided it was time to do something about it.
The first thing I wanted to do is offer beginner crochet classes. I started these Crochet 101 classes last September. While these classes are intended for beginners, people that already know how to crochet are welcome to attend, too. Sometimes people just need a refresher on how to do a certain stitch. Looking at my schedule, I picked a day and time that would work best. This class meets every 3rd Wednesday of the month from 10-11AM and again from 3-4PM. People are welcome to come to either one of the sessions or both sessions.
At these Crochet 101 classes, which are free of charge, I provide written instructions, a crochet hook, and a skein of yarn. I go over each of the stitches with them and also provide individual help. At the back of the instruction packet are a few simple patterns to try out. The Library provides the crochet hooks while we try and work off yarn donations. Before these classes began, we included a little blurb in our newsletter asking for yarn donations. We wanted to be able to work off yarn donations rather than the Library always having to purchase some. Wow, was this popular! We received huge bags of yarn from some generous people. Because of this, we are able to continue these classes.
However, I wanted to take this crochet program one step further. I wanted to have a crochet program where people are able to donate finished items to different charities. To get this program started, I first had to decide which charities to donate to. I wanted something that even beginner crocheters can participate in. In the end, I decided on two different charities: Comfort for Critters and Warm Up America. Comfort for Critters provides pet blankets to animals in shelters. These pet blankets provide comfort to the animal as its awaiting adoption. Once the animal is adopted, the blanket will go with the animal as they have something familiar while they adjust to their new forever home. Warm Up America provides blankets to all babies born in hospitals, specifically the Parkland Memorial Hospital. Participants can either crochet or knit a 7” by 9” square to be sewn together to make a blanket or they can make a baby blanket using any stitch or pattern they like.
In order for this program to get started, I wanted to provide all of the materials needed to make these items. On behalf of the Library, I was able to purchase tote bags and the rest of the materials. I purchased ten tote bags in all, five for each charity. Inside each tote bag I included a pencil case, crochet hook, yarn needle, tape measure, and a pair of scissors. I also included some donated yarn, some information about the charity, and some basic patterns to get started. Participants are able to check out these bags and use all the materials provided to make either a few pet blankets or squares, depending on which bag they chose. Once they use up all the yarn, they return the bag and their completed projects to the Library. I will then refill the bag with more yarn so another person can check it out, unless of course that person wants to check out the bag again. Of course someone doesn’t have to check out a bag. If someone has yarn at home, they are more than able to use their own materials to make the pet blankets or baby blankets. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback both from the Crochet 101 classes and the Crochet for Charity program, which makes me happy.
Fast forward a year later. I have increased the Crochet 101 classes to twice a month due to high demand. We now meet on the first Wednesday of each month from 10-11AM and on the third Wednesday of each month from 10-11AM and 3-4PM. People have shown great enthusiasm as they are excited to finally be able to learn how to crochet and interact with others learning alongside them. A few people have been with me since the beginning, but I’m always getting new people joining us each month. We continue to get yarn donations, which allow us to continue with this program. Since the start of this program, and as of writing this, we have donated a total of 458 pet blankets and 74 baby blankets. I think that’s amazing!
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