The world is currently in the largest refugee crisis. Ever. With the war in Syria, it is estimated that 4.9 million people have been displaced from that region alone (this doesn’t include those displaced from other conflicts!) It’s overwhelming, and it’s hard to know where to start to lend help. There are numerous organizations that are working directly to help with this phenomenal crisis. A unique project that I came across is the Welcome Blanket, which aims to have crafters of all types (knitting, crochet, sewing, etc.) to make blankets to be given to refugees and their families to welcome them as they make a new home in the United States.
Their goal is to have enough handmade blankets donated so that they can span the length of the proposed wall to border Mexico; that it can be a symbol of welcome, hope, and acceptance for incoming refugees, instead of the xenophobic, fear-filled sentiments that are seen far too often in response to the refugee crisis. All of the blankets are being collected at Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, where they will be on display (they have collected over one thousand blankets so far!) and then will be given to refugees settling in the US.
The blanket’s dimensions should be about 40 inches by 40 inches, and I couldn’t find a crocheted blanket that fit my crochet style, so I decided to make up my own pattern. Using two strands of yarn at once gives it a full, thick weight, while still bending easily and giving you that cozy, snuggly feeling that all blankets aspire to do. You can make it as one solid color, have a contrasting border color, or make it in stripes like the teal ombre one I have pictured below. No matter the style, be sure to make it with love.
THE COZY WELCOME BLANKET
- 4 Skeins I Love This Yarn® Acrylic, Hobby Lobby (355 yards each)
- Crochet Hook Size P
- Darning Needle (for weaving in ends)
- r = row
- ch = chain
- st = stitch
- sl st = slip stitch
- sc = single crochet
- dc = double crochet
- *instructions* = repeat around
Four Stripes: Change yarn color at R11, R21, and R31. You can change right at the start of the designated row, or you can be a little more whimsical and change mid-row. With mine, I changed at different points mid-row to make the transition a little more flowy and a little less linear. Maybe I’m trying to be too poetic with yarn, but the abruptness that refugees face as they are forced to leave their homes is something to be remembered. I thought showing those transitions in the design of the blanket was important.
Border Color(s): You can either have one yarn color as the entire border, or you can change colors to match the stripes as they change along the blanket. It all depends on how many ends you want to weave in! The blanket I have pictured I changed the border colors to match the stripes.
R1: With two strands of yarn at once, ch 70, turn, DC in each st across (68).
R2-R41: ch 2, turn, DC in each st across.
R42 (border): Finish your last row, cut and sew in ends. Re-attach two strands of the yarn in the middle of R1, ch 1, SC in ea st around, with 3 SC’s in ea corner of the four corners of the blanket, then sl st to the first sc to join. Finish and weave in ends.
Permission to Use this Pattern
You may use this pattern for personal or commercial use, but please reference this website as its creator and link back to this pattern page. The pattern (including any photos associated with it) may not be reproduced or posted elsewhere in any capacity. Thank you!
Each of the blankets will have an accompanying note describing the blanket attributes, and also words of encouragement written to the refugee who will eventually receive it. I have sent two blankets already to the Smart Museum of Art, and it felt strange to continue to write notes from my own perspective when I knew there were others who would enjoy writing their own note. So I offered up on my own personal Facebook page to see if anyone would want to “sponsor” a blanket – just covering the cost of yarn and shipping – and having them write their own note of encouragement to the refugee. The response was GREAT and I now have a wait list going for interested sponsors! I’m not certain I will be able to complete all of the requests, but I will try! If you are a crocheter and are interested in donating your time to make a welcome blanket, I would encourage you to seek out your own sponsors who would want to support this uplifting project.
This is just one small way to make sure our new neighbors are feeling welcome in our country. How can YOU love on refugees?