On a brisk, sunny Saturday in late September, crafters met at Fulton Farmers Market to knit and raise awareness about their project, Hats for the Homeless.
Barbara Melom, from Southwest Minneapolis, said that the project started in 2009 when a group who was serving a meal at Simpson housing shelter wondered if they could get knitters to make 50 hats to bring to the shelter as gifts on Christmas Eve.
Word of the project traveled fast and the group ended up receiving over 300 hats from all over the Twin Cities and beyond. In 2010, the group gathered over 900 hand knit hats. This year, the goal is 1500.
“We’re all people who like to knit; we have good hearts and want to make a small difference in our community.” said Melom, one of the group organizers.
Barb Finn knew Melon through other craft-based charity projects before getting involved with Hats for the Homeless. Finn likes knitting hats because they’re quick. She also enjoys the community of knitting in a group. “It’s fun to see people trying different things,” Finn said, “Everybody’s going to knit something different.”
Contributing to the cause is simple. Melom says the greatest need is for solid colored, wool hats in dark colors. While women and teens may appreciate color and pattern, typically male hat recipients overwhelmingly prefer hats with no pattern.
Yvonne Cherne from Tonka Bay heard about the project through Ravelry, a social networking site for knitters, and thought she could help. “Basically I read the description of what they wanted and came up with this hat,” she said, speaking of the knitting pattern she named the “Minnesota Hat”.
Cherne’s Minnesota Hat pattern has a tight gage to better retain heat and a double brim, which means twice the thickness over the ears.
Hats can be dropped off at several participating locations such as Ingebretsen’s Scandinavian Gifts and StevenBe’s Yarn Garage, or mailed to Melom herself. For more information, readers can go to hats4thehomeless.blogspot.com