We are thrilled to announce that Knit the Rainbow will be at h+h americas in June!
June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, so it’s both timely and very important to us to acknowledge the contributions, struggles, and accomplishments of the LGBTQ+ members of the crafting community at h+h americas.
What is Knit the Rainbow?
Founder Austin Rivers established Knit the Rainbow in June 2020 after discovering the housing disparities facing LGBTQ+ youth in New York City. Knit the Rainbow is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness around the LGBTQ+ population’s housing crisis. They provide warm garments for the community and create career opportunities for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
What does Knit the Rainbow do?
The group collects hand knit and crochet garments from volunteers from around the country to provide to those in need of essential winter wear. Crafters are welcome to work from any pattern they wish, bearing in mind that Knit the Rainbow’s focus is on scarves, hats, gloves, socks, and ear warmers.
In addition to collecting and crafting protective winter garments for LGBTQ+ youth facing homelessness, Knit the Rainbow works directly with nonprofits dedicated to providing housing and/or shelter for the LGBTQ+ community. They also conduct community outreach, giving knit and crochet lessons so that at-risk LGBTQ+ members can not only craft warm clothing for themselves, but also pursue careers and business opportunities in the crafting and fashion spheres.
Knit the Rainbow also provides educational services to spread awareness around the housing crisis LGBTQ+ youth face in America.
How can I help?
In addition to volunteering, Knit the Rainbow invites crafters to create warm garments for the LGBTQ+ community. Their volunteer resources include opportunities to donate garments at their drop-off locations in the United States and/or donate patterns crafters can use to create their donatable garments. Retailers can also volunteer to become drop-off locations for donations. Knit the Rainbow also accepts donations by mail to their New York City location. Additionally, during the fall and winter months, Knit the Rainbow holds in-person “Days of Action,” wherein they invite volunteers to join them in their NYC office to help unbox, sort, inventory, tag, and pack garments for distribution.
What should I expect for Knit the Rainbow at h+h americas?
Attendees will find Knit the Rainbow on the floor of h+h americas (view the floor plan here). We’re inviting everyone to come to the Knit the Rainbow booth and either drop off garments for donation or sit and knit with the Knit the Rainbow crew. Knit the Rainbow will also be a Sofatalk guest, spreading awareness about the importance of craftivism and social justice. Knit the Rainbow will donated crafted items collected at h+h americas in June directly to the LGBTQ+ community in the Chicagoland area.
We’re asking participating retailers at h+h americas to support Knit the Rainbow leading up to the show by encouraging customers to knit and crochet donatable garments and accessories. The Knit the Rainbow website includes a list of free patterns that can be shared with customers here. Both knit and crochet options are available! Bear in mind, volunteer crafters are welcome to use any patterns they wish to craft their donations. Retailers can also contact Knit the Rainbow to become a registered Knit the Rainbow drop-off location.
After the first full day at h+h americas, it’s time to celebrate! On Thursday night, Knit the Rainbow will host a tent at the Rosemont Entertainment District. There, they will accept donations and spread the word about their valuable work. A special thank you to our partner, Lion Brand Yarn, which graciously donated free yarn for crafters making donations for Knit the Rainbow. The yarn will be available on a first come, first served basis, as long as supplies last. We’re anticipating a fabulous get-together for the entire industry—retailers, consumers, and industry leaders—to meet, network, and share in the love of a worthy cause.
We hope to see you all on Thursday night at the Knit the Rainbow tent to knit, crochet, or drop off donations while enjoying the free Rockin’ in the Park concert series.Come enjoy the food, drinks, music, and camaraderie as you craft for a good cause!