I’m Marie Segares from Underground Crafter and I’m happy to be back on Oombawka Design for the third post in my charity spotlight series. Each month, I’m highlighting a charity that accepts crochet donations and sharing a free pattern, so read on for details.
A Back-to-School Challenge
In August, many children are thinking about the start of the school year, shopping for new clothes, and looking forward to returning to old routines and spending time with friends again.
Each year, over 1.6 million children in the U.S. and Canada experience homelessness. For homeless children, the “back-to-school” season often means learning a different, longer route to their prior school from a shelter, or being introduced to a new, temporary school environment. Whether they are living in a family shelter or temporary housing, “doubling up” with friends or family, or even seeking shelter on the streets or in a vehicle, homeless children face food insecurity, safety concerns, and more.
Adjusting to new school routines without having a quiet place to study and while dealing with complex survival issues makes this time of year especially challenging.
August’s Featured Charity: Project Night Night
One organization that has been working to provide comfort to homeless children for the past ten years is Project Night Night. Partnering with shelters and other organizations providing services to homeless families in almost every State in the U.S., Project Night Night’s goal is to provide Night Night Packages, including a comfort blanket (handmade, when possible), a book, and a stuffed animal to homeless children. Each year, they distribute over 25,000 Night Night Packages with the help of crocheters like you!
Before donating blankets, books, or stuffed animals, check Project Night Night’s regularly updated product donation page here for details and mailing locations. You can also browse participating homeless-serving organizations by state here. Some accept delivery from crocheters directly while others prefer to coordinate donations through Project Night Night. Due to storage limitations and concerns about pest outbreaks, many local shelters do not accept clothing or blankets. When working with a local charity, always be sure to ask what types of donations are accepted.
Tips for Making Great Comfort Blankets
Project Night Night limits blanket measurements to 50” (127 cm) x 60” (152 cm). Not only can larger sizes become unwieldy in tight quarters or with frequent moves, but most family shelters have age restrictions for children, and the smaller sizes are more suited for children under the age of 12.
Easy care yarns that can be machine washed and dried are best. Hearty yarns that stand up to frequent use and darker colors that extend the time between washing are great, too. Using gender-neutral colors and stitch patterns when possible allow Project Night Night staff and volunteers the flexibility to distribute your blanket to any child.
It’s a School Night Night Child’s Blanket
Crochet Pattern by Underground Crafter
- Throw: 36” (91.5 cm) length x 43” (109 cm) width.
- Lion Brand Heartland (5 oz/142 g/251 yds/230 m/100% acrylic) – 2 skeins in 109 Olympic (CA) and 4 skeins in 105 Glacier Bay (CB), or approximately 360 yds (329 m) in CA and 1,000 yds (914.5 m) in any medium weight yarn.
- US Size I-9 (5.5 mm) crochet hook, or any size needed to obtain gauge.
- Yarn needle.
- 16 sts x 7.5 rows = 4” (10 cm). Exact gauge is not critical for this project.
Abbreviations Used in This Pattern
- CA – Color A
- CB – Color B
- ch – chain
- dc – double crochet
- rep – repeat
- sc – single crochet
- sk – skip
- sp – space
- st(s) – stitch(es)
- * Rep after asterisk as indicated.
- Ch-1 sp counts as st throughout.
- With CA, ch 177.
- Row 1: Turn, sk 5 ch (counts as dc + 2 skipped ch), (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in next ch, sk 2 ch, dc in next ch, *sk 2 ch, (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in next ch, sk 2 ch, dc in next ch; rep from * across. (175 sts)
- Row 2: Turn, ch 3 (counts as dc, here and throughout), sk 2 sts, (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in next ch-1 sp, sk 2 sts, dc in next st, *sk 2 sts, (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in next ch-1 sp, sk 2 sts, dc in next st; rep from * across.
- Rows 3-4: Rep Row 2 twice.
- Row 5: Rep Row 2, changing to CB in last yo of last dc, fasten off CA.
- Row 6: Turn, ch 1, sc in first st and in each st across.
- Row 7: Rep Row 6, changing to CA in last yo of last sc, fasten off CB.
- Row 8: Turn, ch 3, 2 dc in same st, sk 2 sts, dc in next st, *sk 2 sts, (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in next st, sk 2 sts, dc in next st; rep from * across to last 3 sts, sk 2 sts, 3 dc in last st.
- Row 9: Turn, ch 3, 2 dc in same st, sk 2 sts, dc in next st, *sk 2 sts, (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in next ch-1 sp, sk 2 sts, dc in next st; rep from * across to last 3 sts, sk 2 sts, 3 dc in last st.
- Rows 10-16: Rep Row 9, 7 times.
- Row 17: Rep Row 9, changing to CB in last yo of last dc, fasten off CA.
- Rows 18-19: Rep Rows 6-7.
- Rows 20: Turn, ch 3, sk 2 sts, (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in next st, sk 2 sts, dc in next st, *sk 2 sts, (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in next st, sk 2 sts, dc in next st; rep from * across.
- Rows 21-28: Rep Row 2, 8 times.
- Rows 29-30: Rep Rows 5-6.
- Row 31: Rep Row 8.
- Rows 32-40: Rep Row 9, 9 times.
- Row 41: Rep Row 7.
- Row 42: Rep Row 20.
- Row 43-50: Rep Row 2, 8 times
- Row 51: Rep Row 5.
- Row 52-63: Rep Rows 6-17.
- Rows 64-65: Rep Rows 6-7.
- Rows 66-74: Rep Rows 20-28.
- Row 75: Rep Row 2, fasten off CA.
- With yarn needle, weave in ends.
If you’d like to make a smaller blanket for Project Night Night, check out my Rectangular Sampler Blanket pattern.
© 2015 Marie Segares (Underground Crafter). Published with permission on Oombawka Design.
Marie Segares is a crochet and knitting designer, teacher, and blogger, and the Proprietress of the Underground Crafter. Please visit her at one of the following links:
On behalf of the Oombawka Design readers, and myself, I would like to Thank Marie for sharing this information about Project Night Night and for designing this free crochet pattern for a blanket you can use to donate to the Project. It’s a School Night Night Child’s Blanket will make a fantastic donation blanket for a homeless child; a tangible gift that will bring warmth and comfort for years to come.