It’s Hip to Make Squares

4 Y ears ago by

Warm Up America

You’re a blog reader – you know the score.  If I used the word ‘hip’ in my title (and I just did), this blog post is likely to be anything but.

That’s apt, though, because my holidays are usually a festival of dorkitude.  They may be fun, funny (intentionally or otherwise), loud, messy, silly or slightly too crisp around the edges, but they are not cool.  Of course, I still count them as perfect, because I’m with my family and friends, thankful for all the good things this year has brought us.

Not everyone is so lucky, at the holidays or year-round.  We all know people who are having a hard time – maybe we’ve had them ourselves – and could use a helping hand.  Fortunately, an extremely cool lady (and expert knitter) named Evie Rosen came up with a plan to literally blanket those in need with the comforting warmth of handmade afghans.  Her foundation, Warm Up America!, has been distributing afghans, caps and other cozy items to thousands and thousands of people since 1991.

The genius of Evie’s plan is that it divides the work of making an afghan between many, many crafters.  Do you have time to crochet an entire full-sized blanket this holiday?  I don’t!  But I’ve had time to make a few 7 inch by 9 inch squares (ok, ok, technically they’re rectangles) in between my usual Christmas projects.  I’m on square number four, right now.  Will you give a little of your time and help us share the love?

Need some patterns?

Square Patterns

Warm Up America! Foundation has those, for both knitting and crochet.

Maybe you’ve never tried crochet or knitting before, or you need a refresher.  Or, you’ve taken a solemn vow never to knit except in the company of others.  We’d love for you to join us in our stores, where we’ll be hosting Warm Up America! joining parties – just contact your local Michaels for the exact date and time.  We’ll be making 7 inch by 9 inch squares together.  Certified instructors from the Craft Yarn Council will be there, too, to help you along. And, don’t forget, you can also reserve our classroom so your own group can join squares together for this great cause. You’ll have to be the instructor there, but the space is available to you, free of charge. Call you local store to reserve!

Worried about finished squares cluttering up your home?  Michaels is the designated drop-off point for Warm Up America squares.  Just find your nearest store and bring them by.

Let’s be cool this holiday, and help Warm Up America!


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  • Christine

    Thanks for the links to information with the different patterns you can use for the ‘squares’. Makes good practice for the beginning knitter.

    • Denise Miller

      Last year I participated and the best part of the finished product was the variety of patterns, colors and techniques. Anything goes!

  • Pingback: Let’s Make it Together: Warm Up America’s Joining Party is January 25th - The Glue String | The Glue String()

  • MaryAnn

    I was wondering if there was still time to contribute squares to this project? I know the joining parties are coming up, but I’d also like to make the squares as well as help join.

  • Deb

    Do you do this every year? I’m working with some seniors and this would be a good project for us to do for next year…

    • Denise Miller

      My local store does it every January (they accept the pieces all year).

  • Joan Delgado

    This is for knitting. Can you tell me what size needles and how many stitches for my squares. Thank you, Joan

  • Janice

    So is the joining party for “Warm Up America” an annual event? I’d like to put this on my calendar for next year!!! Thanks, Janice

    • Jillian

      Yes, Janice, it’s an annual event; however, we accept squares all year ’round for Warm Up America!

  • Jennifer DeWitt
  • Susanne

    Does warm Up America take any other item like hats and mittens?

    • Jillian Rose

      Yes! They will accept any knitted or crocheted items that will keep a person warm, including caps, mittens, scarves, gloves, etc.

  • Denise Miller

    I enjoy being a part of this annual event. The afghans are so colorful and interesting. It’s a great way to use up leftover yarns, and the “squares” are portable. I often carry a ziploc bag in my purse with some yarn to crochet, just in case I’m stuck in a waiting room or something. Plus, the afghans are donated to local charities (so they help our area in need).

    • Jana

      Great idea with the ziplock bag in the purse!

  • Denise Miller

    This was one from last year.

    • Jillian Rose

      I love it!

      • Denise

        Has this tradition been discontinued? I was sad that my local store wasn’t involved last year, and this year it seems that no stores nearby even know what it is! I have a huge box made and nowhere to take them! If anyone knows the status I would appreciate an update! Thanks!

      • Hi Denise! We are still participating in Warm Up America! Please check with your local stores about square drop off. I know last year’s participation was down, but we should have many more stores participating this year. The joining party will be sometime in January (it varies by location). Thank you so much for being a part of a great cause!

      • Denise

        I sincerely wish the stores were keeping up with this. My local stores seem to have no interest. One said they never heard of the program. The other (where I previously participated) had boxes and bags of squares in a store room, from the past 2 years. I was told they had no time to “do anything” with them.

      • Oh Denise, this saddens me. Can you share the store locations with me? I can have our in-store events team follow up with them.

      • Denise

        Wilkes-Barre PA and Dickson City (Scranton) PA. Thank you, I’m sad about it too!

      • Thank you Denise. We will get in contact with them!

  • Stacey Toda

    What about loom knitting? I don’t know how to knit with needles, but I have knitting looms from Michaels. Would it be ok to use those? I didn’t see looms listed in the patterns.

    • Jillian Rose

      Hi Stacey, Warm Up America does accept loom knitted items as well. They are happy to take any items that will keep a person warm, including caps, mittens, scarves, gloves, etc.

  • Christine Sleight

    When is michaels collecting the rectangles?

    • Denise Miller

      You can drop them off all year. The joining date will probably be mid to late January, check with your local store if you want to attend that! We actually ended up finishing the afghans at home, due to poor weather and low turnout. Just ask at your nearest Michaels for the project manager.