Dec 9, 2013

HAT | GIVE | REPEAT 2014

If you’re anything like me, your yarn stash has begun to get a bit out of control. Whether you’ve got rooms dedicated to your stash or one small bag, thanks to a love of all things yarn-related I’m sure most of us have more yarn on-hand than we can find places for!

If you’ve got a firm handle on your stash, with every bit of yarn accounted for and a pattern assigned to it, with all your scrap yarn stored properly for use in striping and color work, I envy you! I know at one point I thought I was almost there with stash organization … and then I had a baby boy, and then I got sidetracked by a million other projects, and now I’m looking around, pregnant again no less, and wondering what happened!

In an effort to get my yarn stash under control, I’m claiming 2014 as the year I will knit from my stash as exclusively as possible! Lucky for me, I am mostly a charity knitter so this should be much easier than it sounds. So long as I stay out of the yarn shops and craft stores (hah!) things will run smooth as can be!

To give myself a bit of organization, I’ve decided to make this year-long stash-knitting odyssey a year-long knit-along on the blog, called HAT | GIVE | REPEAT 2014!! Because life is about to get all sorts of hectic and crazy by adding a new baby to our family (just a few months to go!), I've had to fight the urge to do monthly challenges and different charities. In fact, many of you may notice this post has changed quite a bit from when it was first published - originally, I had a much grander and broader plan ready to be set in motion. However, a few gentle reminders from some very important folks in my life helped me realize that having such elaborate goals for 2014 might not be the best way to go.

By summer things may well have reached a "new normal" and I may be ready again for some more focused challenges, but between now and my birthday in June life is going to move at a very different pace than I'm used to. Having a toddler and a newborn will do that! So to keep me knitting hats for others while acknowledging the bulk of my time will be spent with two adorable little ones most days, I plan to focus on one charity, and use those patterns I know and love best!

HOW MANY HATS?

I wouldn't be me if I didn't set myself a goal, however! While I won't always know just how many minutes I can spend with knitting needles in my hands each day, I also know myself well enough by now to know I do love to set goals, check boxes off on lists, and watch myself inch closer to self-imposed deadlines and goals.

Because of this, I'm setting a goal to knit 250 hats for HAT | GIVE | REPEAT 2014!! I won't be writing a new post for every hat as I finish it, because after seven posts of the same pattern made from the same yarn, that will get old for all of us! Instead I'll share mid-month and at the end of the month, hopefully showing off a stack of hats each time!

 I will also be sharing photos of each hat as I finish it on Instagram (I'm @shemakeshats, and I'll be using the hashtag #HGR14 the entire year), sometimes wearing the hats, sometimes tossing them onto our wooden bench on the front porch. But each hat will be photographed separately for Instagram (and for posterity)!

WHAT ABOUT PATTERNS?

While I love to try out new hat patterns, and will most certainly do so throughout the year, for this big challenge I plan to focus on a few old favorites. This means I'll be working lots of Casie Hats, Sandoval Hats, and Waffle Hats off the needles in the next year. I can make hats from these patterns practically blindfolded, and despite my best efforts I don't find myself getting tired of them, even after making 20 or more in a row! Some months I may switch things up by choosing a different pattern to focus on, but these three patterns will make up the bulk of the hats I knit this coming year.

WHERE THE HATS WILL GO

For 2014, I will be focusing my hat donation efforts to Completely Kids.

Early in December I had the pleasure of taking them 200+ hats through the Nebraska Hats For Hope Initiative. The hats were both made by me and donated by amazing folks from around the country, and have already been distributed to some kids in my very own neighborhood!

After dropping those hats off, however, I learned the organization actually works with 2,000+ kids each year, ranging from pre-K through middle school.

THAT'S A LOT OF KIDS, PEOPLE.

And most of them live in and around my very own neighborhood.

Now, I'm not totally crazy. I know I can't make 2,000 hats in one year on my own, and thankfully I'm part of the Nebraska Hats For Hope Initiative, so I won't have to! However, I also know I have bin after bin of yarn that can quickly be made into hats for these kids; hats in all sizes and shapes and colors, hats for littler kiddos and about-to-be teenage kiddos.

INVITING YOU TO JOIN IN!

And because these sorts of things are always more fun in groups, you all will be invited to join in on the fun! With each HAT | GIVE | REPEAT 2014 post there will be a “linky exchange tool” thing at the bottom of the post for you to use - link up to your blog, your Ravelry page, your Flickr, or just about anywhere else you’re sharing your goals for that month, your hats in progress mid-month, and your finished tally at the end of each month!

While I'd love for you to join in with me and make hats for Completely Kids, I know many knitters already have their favorite charities to donate to -- so keep making hats for those folks if that's where your heart leads you!

This challenge is about getting hats on people's heads, wherever you may be and however that looks for you! For me, it means hats for kids in my area, using a few specific patterns. For you it may mean something completely different!

With all the changes and challenges a new little brings to any family, I’m excited to have this bit of structure in place for my knitting life for the year. I’m sure there will be months where less will get done (March with a newborn, as an example) but I’m also sure that by giving myself this challenge I will end up with far more charity hats off the needles to show for my year than I would otherwise! So who’s with me?

Comment below if you’re in, and let me know if you know of some good charities to feature throughout the year! Are there any of my hat patterns you can’t wait to work through?

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