The holiday season is a wonderful time to knit for others and to be thankful for all that we have. In the spirit of the season, we decided to interview one of our favorite charity bloggers, Robyn Devine. Robyn Devine is the knitter behind the popular blog, She Makes Hats.
Who taught you to knit?
I learned to knit in the fall of 1999 from a co-worker when I was just 20 years old! She’d been showing off her hand knits for several months, and finally convinced me to venture into a yarn shop with her. The smell of the wool, combined with all the gorgeous yarn and projects, dug their sheepy hooks into my heart, and that very night my co-worker taught me how to cast on, the knit stitch, and how to bind off! Not a day goes by that I don’t thank her for it!
Tell us about how you got into charity knitting. Was there a specific instance in your life that motivated you to knit for others?
From the first projects that left my needles I was giving away the things I made, to be honest. From family and friends to folks I knew around town, I never managed to keep anything for myself! I didn’t start “formally” giving things to charity until I launched my One Hundred Hats project in the fall of 2009, however. By that time, everyone I knew had drawers full of knitted goodies, and the thought of giving 100 hats seemed the way to go. Since that project I’ve given about 90% of the hats I make to charity, with the rest going out either through my small Etsy shop or to the heads of friends and family.
Tell us a little more about the charities in which you’re involved.
I spend most of my time these days knitting for local organizations right here in Omaha. I run the Nebraska Hats For Hope Initiative (which is a branch of Emily’s Hats For Hope Initiative), and through that group I collect hats for our local VA Hospital’s Homeless Outreach Center, for babies being born in our many hospitals, and for the local at-risk school children in my neighborhood.
When I’m not knitting hats for these local groups, I send hats to Nest: Maine as often as I can, as well as to Hats For Sailors. Both of these are organizations I was connected to through Ravelry, and I try to get hats into the mail for them as often as possible.
This holiday season I am also sending hats down to Phoenix, Arizona, where a friend is collecting hats for their growing homeless population. Each winter the southwestern states see in influx of homeless and transient folks looking for warmer climates, and Kelli (who works in public health) tries to help keep as many of them healthy and warm as possible! You can read more about this particular drive on my blog!
Selfishly, I just love making hats! I love how fast they come both on and off the needles, I love that I can try out new yarns and techniques without too much time or financial commitment, and I love that you can make a hat in one of three or four basic sizes (usually) and know it will fit someone!
I also love knowing that the things I create are doing good for the world. There is so much ugliness and darkness out there, and it’s comforting to know that something as simple as a handmade hat can make a difference. Knowing that someone took the time to hand make a hat they’ve given away, rather than pick one up on clearance and dropped it into a donation bin, makes the difference. I have witnessed the light spark in someone’s eyes when they put a handmade hat on their head; I know that the added warmth a hat brings can mean the difference between life and death, sometimes quite literally. It’s both exhilarating and humbling to be part of this.
Has knitting taught you anything about yourself?
Most definitely! I’ve learned how to complete a goal, thanks to my One Hundred Hats project. I’ve learned the smallest and simplest things can sometimes do the most good, thanks to knitting hats for babies. I’ve learned most of the folks you meet are kind and gentle and generous and, even if they have fallen on the hardest times you can imagine, will go out of their way to help others. I’ve learned just how good the people in my city and this world are, and I’ve learned that my two hands can actually change the world.
Check out some of Robyn’s popular patterns on AllFreeKnitting:
Watch out for Robyn’s new book coming out in Spring 2014! Learn more about her journey into knitting, how she became a ‘crazy hat knitter’ and her love of babies!
It’s wonderful to be able to share your knitting with others, so treat yourself with an I <3 Yarn Mug! We are giving one mug away to one lucky winner. The deadline to enter is December 18, 2013 at 11:59:59 PM Eastern Time. Enter here to win!
Will you be knitting for charity this season?