Good Yarns – tune into charities with your knitting and crocheting skills


Love crafting with yarn – or want to learn how to?  Or perhaps you’re looking for another way to spend time in the company of like-minded individuals. If this sounds like you, we have six great reasons to get out the crochet hook or knitting needles and team up with others to support some very important charities at home and abroad.


Make Give Live – designer beanies

This well-organised social enterprise exists to nurture community and the mental health and well-being of those who knit and crotchet for the charity.  As it does, it also benefits those who are less fortunate than its members. The brainchild of co-founders Claire Conza and Becky Smith, the enterprise knits gorgeous designer-beanies (and other products) for adults and children. The hats proudly display the ‘Make Live Give’  brand and sell for around $50-70 each. For every item sold, another is donated to partner charities such as ‘I Got Your Back’ and ‘Give a Kid a Blanket’. Make Give Live shot to fame in January 2020 when The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’ (aka HRHs Harry and Meghan) posted to social media a photo of their baby (Archie) wearing the enterprise’s Cocobear beanie. With 11 groups comprising over 200 yarn crafters, there’s bound to be one near you. If not, enquire about knitting or crocheting remotely.

Pregnancy Help – where babies benefit

As part of offering practical support and advice to those preparing for parenthood, Pregnancy Help (which goes way back to 1975) supplies parents-to-be with, among other items, knitted baby clothing. If you want to volunteer your services, Pregnancy Help offers a nifty knitting kit comprising a baby’s singlet knitting pattern, and ball of wool. Once you’ve completed the garment, you send it to Pregnancy Help which then passes it on to a family in need. So satisfying.

Operation Cover Up – reaching out to the other side of the world

Temperatures as low as -25°C are no fun for the streets’ homeless or families living in extreme poverty. That’s why, each year, Kiwi yarn-crafters reach out to those in need in Eastern Europe. Hundreds of items from hats, scarves and mittens to soft toys and blankets, are crafted by Operation Cover Up’s dedicated band of volunteers then sent abroad in two huge shipping containers. Whether you want to craft in the company of others or knit and crotchet at home, Operation Cover Up has all the information you need to get you started.

Hospital helpers – when home is a hospital ward

Each year, dozens of children spend countless days, weeks and even months in hospital. They range from babies to teens, and they all appreciate help from the various hospital knitting organisations that exist to provide it. Contact a hospital near you for details, and in the meantime, if you live in the Auckland region, go to the Middlemore Foundation’s website for further details. If you’re a Dunedinite, ED Kiddy Distraction Packs can use your help.

Supergrans – for the teacher at heart

When knitting or crocheting is your passion, you may want to share your skills with others. Supergrans is a volunteer organisation which teams seniors who have home-based skills with those who want and need to learn from them. If you would like to be a volunteer yarn-craft teacher, give them a call. Check out locations to see if a Supergran is operating near you.

SPCA – good yarns for animals

It’s not only humans who appreciate wool-crafted items. While cats and kittens, and puppies and dogs in the care of SPCA (Society for the Protection of Animals) await their forever homes, they appreciate the distraction of toys and the warmth of blankets. Patterns for knitted and crotcheted toy mice are supplied by SPCA. For pet blankets to knit and crotchet, look All Natural Pet Care’s site. Before embarking on a project, always phone your local SPCA to check out where the greatest need for yarn-crafted items currently lies.