Do you charity knit?

My dear Aunt Sandy and Aunt Donna who taught me to knit work closely with the New England Seafarer's Mission based in Boston. Each year the mission collects hand knit hats, toiletries, and handmade drawstring bags which they assemble into ditty bags to give to the seafarers at Christmas time. My aunts and I knit hats, and my mother sews bags.

2013 Watch Caps, chronologically
Watch Caps in chronological order

My Aunt Sandy was closely involved with the charity. Her most recent visit was only a week or two before she passed away. This year she had finished 21 hats and had a 22nd in progress (mostly done, too)!! In past years I've provided a handful of knit hats; however, earlier this year I made a goal to knit at least one a month. In comparision to Aunt Sandy's hat collection, my hats are not impressive; however, I'm proud I made my goal. I preloaded early in the year to make certain that holiday knitting wouldn't hinder my goal. By early November I was finishing my twelfth hat.

2013 Watch Caps, by type

Since there are a few ships the mission provide the hats to, it's nice for the hats to be unique and easy to identify. I often add in stripes to accomplish this goal. As the hats are all knit at the same gauge, I've noted how many rows I have to play with and have a few favorite designs to add in. This year I tried something new: adding in colorwork. The orange and blue hat, my first attempt, is kind of a mess. It is definitely unique, and if it can fit on my large head, I know it will fit a sailor's and keep him or her warm. My second colorwork hat came out much better. I was waiting until I had a few sucesses to show them to my aunt; however, I never got the chance. I finished the third colorwork hat shortly after she passed away.

13th hat

During the time I was helping my family before Aunt Sandy's funeral, I knit this 13th red hat which really helped me rein in my emotions. I started the hat while we were planning her funeral and finished it on the car ride from her internment ceremony. Knitting this hat helped me calm down during those rough times. This bonus hat was knit for her.

If you don't charity knit, I would suggest you try it: many charity knitting patterns are quite simple, so you can completely relax while knitting them; you'll always be able to have something to knit between larger projects; and your knitting isn't just helping those you know, you'll be knitting for the greater good.

Project on Ravelry: Watch Caps 2013