Warm Up America is a charity organization that began in 1991 in the state of Wisconsin. It started as groups of neighbors making afghans for those in need. Evie Rosen is the founder of Warm Up America. She implemented the concept of having each volunteer crochet or knit a 7 x 9 rectangle and having other volunteers join them together to make a blanket. Warm Up America now gives afghans, caps and other items to those in need across the country. Their afghans are donated to homeless shelters, hospitals and women’s shelters among other charities.
Warm Up America prefers the items to be made in the community and given in the same community to promote “neighbors helping neighbors”. Crocheting a blanket for Warm Up America is a great group project for scouts, church groups or any social organization. If you do not have a group to crochet with, check your local craft or yarn shops. These stores sometimes have a drop off box for knitted or crocheted rectangles.
Choose a yarn that is machine washable so the afghan can be washed easily. An acrylic yarn is probably the best choice for an afghan because it can be tossed in the washer and dryer. Appoint someone from the group to purchase the yarn so the colors can be coordinated.
The Warm Up America website has patterns for both crocheted and knitted rectangles or you can design your own rectangle. One tip they suggest is making a cardboard template that is 7 x 9 inches. The template makes it easier for everyone to measure the size of their rectangles.
An average size afghan for Warm Up America is 49 inches by 63 inches which means each afghan needs 49 rectangles. Depending upon the size of the group, an afghan could be completed in two or three afternoons. Once all the rectangles are crocheted, lay them out on the floor and decide on the placement. When you like the arrangement, begin sewing the rectangles together. Each section should have seven rectangles. Be sure to have the rectangles all in the same direction. Sew the rectangles together either using a backstitch or you can also crochet the seams.
Once the afghan is complete, take a picture of it, along with your group. Your afghan just might be featured on Warm Up America’s website. Send your photo to:
Warm Up America! Foundation
469 Hospital Dr., 2nd Floor Suite E
Gastonia, NC 28054
Donate the afghan to your local hospital or shelter. Even if your group does not crochet or knit, you can still contribute to Warm Up America with a financial donation. It’s definitely a worthy cause.