* Cat mats for the stray neighborhood cats that have no good place to sleep on these cold nights
* Dog mats for shelter dogs or outside dogs that have to sleep on cement
* Sit-upons for homeless folks who spend a lot of time on the pavement.
* Play mats for shelter kids who spend a lot of time on a hard floor.
These are all the same basic pattern. Get out a large crochet hook or knitting needles, grab your "stash" of leftover yarn, use multiple strands for thickness, and go for it!
I've found that a 16" x 18" mat is ideal for all of these applications. Fancy stitches and matching yarn aren't necessary.
I use 3 or 4 strands of worsted weight yarn and #15 knitting needles. I cast on 36 stitches, then just knit until the mat is the right length, and bind off.
If you prefer to crochet, start with a chain about 1.5 inches long, then single crochet around it, using 2 stitches in 1 to navigate the corners. This makes an oval or hex-shaped mat. Continue until you reach the size you want, then finish as usual.
~ Pass these out to folks with outside cats that have nowhere to sleep. They make great box-liners to keep the cold wind away. They just need to be placed where they won't get wet.
~ Keep some in the car to pass out to street people -- especially if they have dogs with them.
~ Drop some off at shelters (for people and animals).
~ Thrift stores may be good drop-off locations if you're sure they'll give them away or if the thrift store benefits a good cause. The purpose, here, is to serve the community, NOT to line someone else's pockets.
** Another quick and easy project you can make from scraps is a crochet tote. Street people can use these for small items and shelter kids can use them to store their tiny treasures. This one uses nothing but chain stitch and single crochet and can be made in any size. Use your favorite pattern or mine, which is posted at the bottom of this listing.
~*~If these ideas don't appeal to you, here is a link to other handmade items on OLA, that might give you some inspiration for charity projects.
We still have lots of winter left, so let's get to work!