Tag Archives: warm up america

Stitch Away Stress in April with WeCrochet and Craft Yarn Council

April is National Stress Awareness Month and WeCrochet and the Craft Yarn Council want to share how you can stitch away stress and UNWIND with crochet (and knitting.)

An infographic that says "Stitch Away Stress -- Read more about all the amazing health benefits of these crafts. Learn more (click on image). A woman sits on a yoga mat in a meditation pose. Underneath, text that says "85% of knitters and crocheters experience reduced stress with their craft." Another woman is knitting a block, and text above her says "93% experience a feeling of accomplishment."

Crocheters: Take the
Stitch Away Stress Survey Now!

Click here for the Survey!

Craft Yarn Council research survey of 3,100 crocheters and knitters reported that their craft contributed to:

  • 93%: a feeling of accomplishment
  • 85%: stress reduction
  • 68%: mood improvement
  • 56%: a sense of confidence
  • 43%: better concentration
  • 27%: better problem solving
  • 23%: increased memory

Harvard Medical School Study led by Founder of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Dr. Herbert Benson, found that the repetitive motions and focus of needlework elicit the famous relaxation response (a calming, meditation-like state that causes heart rate and blood pressure to fall).

Read more about the scientific research behind the therapeutic benefits of crochet at the Craft Yarn Council’s site.

In an article on Interweave.com, “Therapeutic Knitting Is a Thing,” author Suzan Colón wrote: “There’s a scientific version of a swatch that shows how effective repetitive motion can be at calming the mind. ‘Repetitive motions and focus of needlework elicit the relaxation response [the opposite of the stress, or “fight or flight” response], a calming, meditation-like state,’ reported researchers at The Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Harvard Medical School. More proof was all around them; a 2010 Harvard Gazette article counted over 20 knitting circles on the Ivy League university’s campus.”

“People start to knit and crochet for different reasons—a family member taught them, or they’re naturally drawn to crafts—but the meditation association is universal. “Knitting is a way to chill out, but also tune inward . . . It’s very meditative,” says Krysten Ritter, star of the Marvel/Netflix series Jessica Jones and knitwear designer.”

“’Knitting is rhythmic and calming and entirely in my control, even when the rest of the world feels like it might not be,’ says Alanna Okun, author of The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater. ‘I reach for it to quiet my brain and prevent myself from fidgeting, like on the subway, during movies, even in some of my work meetings.’”

#WarmUpTogether to help people while you crochet

A green background with the Warm Up America Foundation logo ("The charity that warms peoples' lives.") and text that says: Let's Give Back. Want to learn to crochet? At WeCrochet, we've got you covered. #WarmUpTogether

WeCrochet is teaming up with our sister company Knit Picks to encourage people to stitch up 7×9″ blocks to donate to Warm Up America.

Learn more about #WarmUpTogether.

Use hashtag #WarmUpTogether on social media to share your projects!

Crochet Patterns to Help Reduce Stress

WeCrochet has many free crochet patterns for you to download, but here are some that will bring a smile to your face as you stitch:

An image of a crochet block with a lemon design on it. A crochet hook and scissors.

Lemon Block Pattern by Twinkie Chan

When life gives you lemons … crochet one! #StitchAwayStress this April by crocheting a cute lemon blanket block for your donation to Warm Up America and bring awareness to National Stress Awareness Month.

Catfish Purr-Maid Pattern by Brenda K. B. Anderson

A crocheted toy with a white cat body on top and a dark green mermaid tail on bottom.

It’s just so hard to choose between mermaids and kittens, but now you don’t have to! This super-cuddly catfish purr-maid is practically begging you to hug her, but be careful—once you start, you won’t be able to stop.

Glimmer Sisters Unicorn Slippers by Brenda K. B. Anderson

Two feet model a pair of crochet slippers that look like unicorns.

These super cozy, extra squishy slippers will transport you to a magical place where you can indeed be a unicorn… actually you can be twin unicorns and what is more magical than that?

#TogetherWeCrochet Blocks for Warm Up America!

The WeCrochet team has been using up our leftover yarn and making blocks for Warm Up America. If you’ve been following along with our blog and our emails, you’ve probably noticed that we are working to create afghan projects or 7×9″ squares to go to those in need in our communities. #TogetherWeCrochet to keep us creating and collaborating!

The Warm Up America offices are temporarily closed. For now, hold onto your blocks and we’ll be ready to send in a lovely box of blocks when they reopen.

Stacey, Knitting Outreach Coordinator

5 rectangles of crochet in the granny stitch in a range of blue and white colors

Stacey has been using the Granny stitch (3 double crochet, and a chain) to create her 7×9″ blocks for Warm Up America! We love her blue color palette!

Kerry, Crochet Outreach Coordinator

A collection of crochet rectangles spread out on the table in 14 different colors

Kerry has discovered if you get the gauge JUST right, you have just enough yarn in a Brava mini 25g skein to make a 7×9″ block. She has committed to working her way through an entire Brava Mini-Pack! That’s 24 blocks going to Warm Up America! Go, Kerry, Go!!!!

Kerry’s Block Pattern:
Yarn: Brava Worsted (will work with a 25g ball from mini-packs)
Hook: H (5.0 mm), or size needed to obtain gauge
Gauge: 14 sts and 12 rows = 4″ in HDC

Ch 26
Row 1: HDC in 2nd ch from hook, HDC in each ch across, turn. 24 HCD.
Row 2: Ch 2, HDC across, turn. 
Rep Row 2 until block measures 9 inches long, cut, and fasten off. 

Sarah, Digital Content Creator

3 yellow rectangles of crochet in Tunisian simple stitch and treble crochet stitch

Sarah took advantage of the opportunity to make small blocks and learn a new skill! Check out this awesome block from Sarah in Tunisian Simple Stitch!

Heather, Crochet Marketing Coordinator

A rectangle of crochet in gray and mint next to a cute tape measure, owl-themed scissors, and crochet hook

Heather created an awesome mix and match block out of bulky yarn so it went fast! This is a great way to use up any yarn leftovers you have around the house!

Sara, Crochet Brand Director

Six crochet rectangles in varying colors and patterns, one with a purple heart, in front of a llama-shaped planter filled with crochet hooks.

Sara’s been trying out different stitches, patterns, and techniques for a few of her blocks. So far the intarsia crochet heart (color chart is in WeCrochet Magazine, Issue 2) is the favorite!

Share your projects with #TogetherWeCrochet!!!!

We want to see what you’re making! Share your projects or blocks for donating with #WarmUpTogether on all your social media channels.

Share any other projects you’ve been working on while staying home with #TogetherWeCrochet! We want to share all the goodness that is keeping is creating, making, and collaborating!

Keep crocheting, and we will too!
-The WeCrochet Team

Share the Love, Join Us, #WarmUpTogether
A teal box that has white text that says: Warm Up America! Join us! Knit Picks and WeCrochet. The charity that warms peoples' lives. #WarmUpTogether

If you’re longing for connection to community right now, join us! WeCrochet and Knit Picks have partnered with Warm Up America to create afghan and blanket projects to go to seniors and others in need in our communities. If you’re home and looking for something to do, let’s share the love and #WarmUpTogether!

Warm Up America accepts knit and crochet projects and squares made in machine washable yarns. If you would like a full list of washable yarns we offer, scroll to the bottom of this post. Here are the ways you can help . . .

Make a Square to Donate

Warm Up America needs 7×9″ squares in knit or crochet. This is the perfect little project if you have a small amount of yarn at home and need to use it up or if you’re looking for a small craft project to keep the kids engaged. Ship your squares to Warm Up America and they will facilitate getting it to a volunteer who will seam into a blanket for a person in need. Here are 3 free patterns you can use to create your squares (just remember these patterns might need to be slightly altered to reach the required 7×9″ dimensions).

1. Hipacious Houndstooth Dishcloth
This fun dishcloth pattern uses two colors of Dishie yarn, a worsted weight cotton and will work with any worsted weight yarn you have on hand. It’s finished size is 7″ square; simply continue the rows until the square measures 9″ long and is suitable for donation.

A dishcloth crocheted in peach and mint yarn with a houndstooth pattern

2. Fruity Loops Dishcloth
The Fruity Loop Dishcloth uses 7 colors of Dishie or any worsted weight yarn, making it perfect for any yarn leftovers around the house. The finished dimensions listed in the pattern are 5.5″ square. To adjust for Warm Up America, begin with a ch. 27, and repeat the rows until you reach 9″.

A dishcloth crocheted in an interesting stitch, made in bands of rainbow color

3. A Chance of Rain Dishcloth
The Chance of Rain Dishcloth uses Dishie yarn, but any worsted weight yarn will work. The finished dimensions for this cloth are 9″ square. To make this project fit the requirements for Warm Up America, reduce the number of starting chains to 27.

A crocheted gray dishcloth with a crocheted cloud applique and embroidered raindrops

Make an Afghan to Donate

Warm Up America also accepts completed blankets and afghans in most sizes. If you want to launch into a larger project, consider creating from one of these free patterns and donating to Warm Up America!

A floral, rainbow colored crocheted throw on a pink chair
A cream-colored crocheted throw with a textural border, draped on a wicker chair
A gray textural crocheted blanket draped on a white bench
A red and black plaid crocheted blanket  draped on a bed, next to hands holding a coffee cup
A model wears A brightly striped blanket on her shoulders

Learn to Crochet

If you’re hoping to learn to crochet, or want to teach your kids to crochet, follow along with all of our learning content. Beginners will love learning these basic stitches. We also have video tutorials to help you get started. The WeCrochet team will work to get more content added to our learning center over the coming weeks so you can work toward making your first project or expanding your crochet knowledge. Reach out with any questions, we’re here to help!

Donate Here:

While Warm Up America has paused accepting samples while their offices are closed, we’re working on our stacks of knit and crochet blocks so we’re ready to send a lovely package when they’re open!

Send finished projects or squares to:

Warm Up America
3740 N Josey Ln Suite #152
Carrollton, TX 75007

Learn more about the organization here:

Warm Up America Website

More to Make

If you’re looking for more patterns geared toward making a difference, be sure to check out all of the free patterns available for download from our book Helping Hands: Made with Love, Given with Heart by Stacey Winklepleck.

Suggested Yarns

All projects donated to Warm Up America should be machine-washable. Most donations are in a medium/worsted weight, but any weight yarn will work. We suggest sticking to acrylic, easy-care cottons, and superwash wools. If you’re familiar with WeCrochet and Knit Picks yarns, here are a few we recommend:

Mighty Stitch
Wool of the Andes Superwash

Featured Non-Profit Organization: Warm Up America #WarmUpTogether
A teal green box with white text that reads: Warm Up America! Join us! Knit Picks and WeCrochet. The charity that warms peoples' lives. #WarmUpTogether

WeCrochet is teaming up with our sister brand Knit Picks to encourage our community to craft for a cause. We are supporting Warm Up America! (WUA), the charity that warms peoples’ lives, and encouraging donations to this important organization. To participate, knit or crochet any of the following:

  • 7″ x 9″ rectangle (any gauge, any stitch)
  • Finished blankets, from throw and lapghan size and larger
  • Or choose from WUA’s list of current needs

Then send your finished donations to Warm Up America!

Warm Up America
3740 N Josey Ln Suite #152
Carrollton, TX 75007

Learn more about Warm Up America!

On the left, A picture of volunteers holding up an afghan made of various knitted and crochet squares. On the right, hats hang on a tree, with a tag that says "take me, I'm yours."

In 1992, Evie Rosen had an idea. 

How Warm Up America! was founded

A yarn shop owner who made blankets for homeless people, Rosen spent her spare time knitting afghans for her local shelter. “I can’t knit them fast enough to fill the need,” she said. “But I have an idea: What if we break down the task of making blankets to manageable parts so we can involve lots more people?” Warm Up America! was born. 

Warm Up America! Foundation (WUA!) is a non-profit organization that donates knit and crochet blankets and accessories to a variety of people in need. They train volunteers to work together to craft blanket panels, join them, organize them, and ship them to people who need them. The organization that started as one woman’s small vision has grown into more than she ever could have imagined.

On the left: Volunteers from the Warm Up America Makers Group sit with afghans on their laps. On the right: colorful knitted rectangles.

Warm Up America’s 7″ x 9″ rectangle panels

One key component of Rosen’s original plan was to encourage yarn crafters to make 7” x 9” knit or crochet panels. Rosen chose this very specific size because the panels could be joined together to make afghans in various sizes as needed. 

With a small panel size, the pieces could be completed quickly by crafters of nearly any skill level, and in any stitch, color, or gauge they liked, provided it met the final measurements. The small sections could then be joined all at once by volunteers and made into useful blankets. People loved this idea and she quickly had more donations than she could handle on her own.

With support from The National NeedleArts Association and Craft Yarn Council (CYC), the program became a national success, and the CYC now runs the foundation as their primary charitable organization.

How to get involved with WUA! or donate

Hundreds of thousands of people in need have received donations from WUA! over the years. The foundation receives requests from a variety of social service agencies, including homeless shelters, battered women’s shelters, American Red Cross chapters, veterans homes, senior centers, hospices, and religious organizations serving families and individuals in communities around the country. 

Text: Warm Up America! always accepts these knit and crochet items: Finished adult, child, and baby size blankets and lapghans for wheelchairs, adult hats, scarves, baby clothing, 7" x 9" knit and crochet sections.

Volunteers for WUA! can join their Facebook group, where crafters can share tips and tricks, and each Tuesday at noon central time the WUA! office does a live video unboxing in the group, sharing some of the donations that have arrived.

If you’d like to get involved, you can donate completed knit or crochet blankets, hats, scarves, gloves, and baby clothing, as well as the 7” x 9” blanket panels that WUA! is most known for. They also accept (and need) monetary donations (which have the added benefit of being tax-deductible). 

Find out more about WUA! and how to make, donate, and share at their website: Warm Up America!

About this Article

WeCrochet Magazine cover - Issue 1

This article was originally printed in Issue 1 of WeCrochet Magazine.