Warm Up Together with Knit Picks and WeCrochet

Update! WUA has made the difficult decision to suspend accepting donations. In the meantime, keep crocheting and knitting those squares and blankets so you’re ready to send them in when they’ve reopened their submissions! 

A purple background with white text that reads: Warm Up America! Join us, Knit Picks and WeCrochet. The charity that warms peoples' lives. #WarmUpTogether

Knit Picks is teaming up with our sister brand WeCrochet 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″ squares (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!

Left: An image of a group holding up a finished afghan for Warm Up America. Right: Hats hang in trees with tags that say "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.

Left: A group of 6 people, the office staff for Warm Up America. Right: a display of 7x9" knitted rectangle panels.

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. 

Warm Up America! always accepts these knit and crochet items: 1. Finished adult, child, and baby size blankets and lapghans for wheelchairs. 2. Adult hats. 3. Scarves. 4. Baby clothing. 5. 7"x9" knit and crochet squares.

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!


36 comments

  1. R Anderson (nurse) / March 27, 2020 / Reply

    I don’t think that you will be able to disinfect these blankets well enough to make them safe to give to seniors. It’s a kind idea, but you may be donating Covid 19 as well as a blanket. Please don’t do this!

  2. Ada / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    FYI their website says do not send anything now until their offices are open again. From the current needs page:
    “ UPDATE: Due to COVID-19 and the shelter in place order for the county, we have made the difficult decision to close our Warm Up America! office and stop all operations until further notice. We ask that you continue making donations but hold onto them until we announce that we are taking donations again. ”

  3. Nancy Osberg / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    How do you decide where to send them? There are so many places across America that could use this kind id help.

  4. Jane R. / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    I love this idea, but I’m confused. The WUA website asks folks NOT to send finished donations to their main office, but rather directly to projects they support. Can you confirm what we should do? Thanks!

    • Stacey / March 30, 2020 / Reply

      Hi Jane! Yes, we’ve updated the blog post, WUA asks we continue to work on the blocks, and to send them when they are able reopen!

      • Rhonda Echavarria / April 13, 2020 / Reply

        Yes, I have made note of this. But I notice others have concerns that the items could have the virus on them unintentionally. Is this really safe??

  5. Joan / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    Can you connect me with your members in Phoenix ,AZ ? I just learned about this and I am excited ?????

  6. Cheryl / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    You should add the information that Warm Up America is currently not accepting donations due to COVID19. It is on their current needs page.

    • Stacey / March 30, 2020 / Reply

      Post is updated, thanks so much!

  7. Nancy / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    Sounds like a good program. Where do you send the squares?

    • Stacey / March 30, 2020 / Reply

      Hi Nancy, WUA asks we continue to work on the blocks and projects, and to send them when they are able to accept submissions again!

      • Rhonda Echavarria / April 13, 2020 / Reply

        Hi, It’s Rhonda Echavarria again. I don’t mean to be negative & I posted a statement asking if it’s safe to donate items if the items themselves could be infected. I know there are precautions for the boxes that will eventually be sent, & unpacking volunteers wearing masks & gloves, etc. But I just remembered that you can launder the items prior to mailing them. Also since the virus doesn’t last too long on any type of surface, you could also leave them out to air before washing them & then packing them up. I would feel safe doing that when WUA reopens.

  8. cashmere sailor / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    hi I will like to help you guys

  9. Dotti / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    I am doing my part to warm up America right here in the Bangor Maine community. My sister and I knitted over 40 hats for one homeless shelter last Christmas, along with 15 baby hats for the natal unit at EMMC. We are know knitting for the homeless again as they have closed the “Warming Shelter” due to the virus. So warm hats, scarves and mittens are in order. Also donating paperback books to the local jail as no one is allowed inside. Already have 6 newborn hats done for the natal unit this year. If everybody gives just a little we can all make a big difference and at this time when we are all suppose to stay in, some charitable knitting, crocheting and sewing is a great thing to do to give back to the community or America!!!!

    • Stacey / March 30, 2020 / Reply

      Thanks wonderful!

  10. Sheri Miller / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    I would love to start donating to this wonderful organization. Thank you for sharing with us!!

    • Stacey / March 30, 2020 / Reply

      wonderful! Please note, we’ve updated our blog post, WUA asks we hang on to our donations until they are able to accept submissions again!

      • Linda / March 31, 2020 / Reply

        How can a 7″x 9″ be a square?
        That’s a rectangle.

        • Stacey / March 31, 2020 / Reply

          This is true! A “block” would be a better description and we’ll try to use that.

  11. Catherine Hoidal / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    I would like to help knitter with yarn from Knit Picks DK weight red and I might be able to find several others let me know what you need. I am going to knitting circle thru Black Sheep hmHillsboro Oregon

  12. Mary Ann Kenyon / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    I have drawers full. Do you want them all? Scarves, hats, blankets.

    • Stacey / March 30, 2020 / Reply

      That’s wonderful! We’ve updated our blog post, please hang on to them until WUA is able to accept submissions again!

  13. vicki weiner / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    where do you send the donations.

    • Stacey / March 30, 2020 / Reply

      Hi Vicki! we’ve updated the blog post, WUA asks we wait to send them when they are able to accept submissions again!

  14. Betty j Judd / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    Have been doing this for several years through my church’s “sew n sew” club. Donate finished items to local places that need them but I got the idea from WUA website. Thank you for all you do.

  15. Lluisa / March 28, 2020 / Reply

    As a newby knitter. I have yarn and needles. But what is the cast on for say: worsted and baby yarn to ge the dimensions you want ie 7X9
    /Thank you immensly.
    God bless and prosper your work

  16. Susan / March 29, 2020 / Reply

    I would like to knit rectangles!

  17. Beth Brooks / March 29, 2020 / Reply

    I’m so glad I stumbled onto this site. This does give me something to do during this sad time. I definitely have lots of supplies.

  18. Cherish / March 29, 2020 / Reply

    …it says right on the page you linked for Warm up America that they closed their office due to COVID-19 concerns, and that we should hold onto donations until further notice….it’s right at the top of the page, even, in a bold faced banner.

    Is it not irresponsible to recommend we mail things to them when they ask us not to on their own site?

    • Stacey / March 30, 2020 / Reply

      Hi Cherish! Thanks! Yes, we have updated our blog post! We are asking that folks work on them and hang on until WUA is able to accept submissions again.

  19. Naomi Brungardt / March 30, 2020 / Reply

    Great to see this project. I have been working with WUA for about 15 yeah. To date I have donated better than 800 completed Afghans.

  20. Debrielle / March 30, 2020 / Reply

    Then why don’t you join together in your own community and organize a way to make blankets locally.

    I’m sure there are homeless, abused women, and Vets in every community. Plus the elderly, home bound and people in wheelchairs.

    You can make squares and send them to each other to make blankets and give them to the police or firefighters to deliver.

  21. Debrielle / March 30, 2020 / Reply

    Wanting to be helpful is not irresponsible.

  22. Karen / March 30, 2020 / Reply

    You can still make the squares for them and hang onto them until the office re-opens. Just think about how many you can get made to send them when they do open! I see NOTHING irresponsible in encouraging us to take the focus off ourselves and reach out to those in need.
    I admit I’m a bit biased towards Warm Up America, it is because of them that I taught myself to knit and now crochet. My goal is an apple box of squares by summer.

    PS I have made some 7X63 stripes. This keeps me rolling along without as many ends to weave in and it has to help speed up the assembly process.

  23. cattery / March 30, 2020 / Reply

    Agreed, this is irresponsible. Should be plainly stated on KnitPicks email that you can continue making items, but they cannot be sent at this time.

    Also, beware of making squares and donating to a store to be put together. I worked for a large chain craft store where the store manager was in “clean-up” mode and I caught him about to throw out a large quantity of donated squares. I told him he was NOT going to throw them out and facilitated getting them sewn together by various store employees.

    • Stacey / March 30, 2020 / Reply

      Thanks! We’ve updated our post to let people know to continue to work on them and send them in when WUA is able to accept submissions again!

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