Nancy Thomas interviewed Susan Finch back in February. Susan had no idea that Nancy Thomas was a syndicated columnist – being “yarn ignorant”! The result — 3 new BP Chapters, 50 letters have arrived requesting info! Thank you Nancy Thomas. Since then Binky Volunteers have been asking for her column to be added to their paper if it isn’t already in it. Another article by Nancy Thomas featured Binky Patrol in Janaury 2000.
Updated July 12, 1999
The Needleworks
by Nancy J. Thomas 


There seems to be endless need for handmade items and an ever-growing number of volunteer organizations to support the need. Binky Patrol is a charity that has been in existence for several years, but hasn’t been as well-publicized as some others.

Named for a child’s security blanket called a “binky,” Binky Patrol is an all-volunteer, national, nonprofit organization that distributes handmade blankets (knit, crocheted and quilts) to provide comfort to children and teens who are seriously ill, abused or in foster care. The soft, washable blankets are distributed to a host of shelters, hospitals and other groups.

Founder Susan Finch began Binky Patrol in May of 1996. The group started with five volunteers and now numbers more than 3,000 in over 150 chapters. Susan says that some of the chapters are in rural areas where the volunteers have time but can’t afford yarn and material. If you aren’t able to make a blanket for Binky Patrol, contact them about material donations.

For more details about this fine program, go to the Web site at After June 15 you can write for information on the program at: Binky Patrol, 46 Santa Monica, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656. Don’t forget to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

I received a Christmas ’99 newsletter from Lamb’s Wool, a nonprofit knitting outreach organization with a mission to provide simple, hand-knit sweaters to needy children at Christmas through Operation Christmas Child. On Page 3 was this kind thank you: “Many, many thanks to Nancy Thomas, who has done a wonderful service of publicizing our program in Knitter’s Magazine and in The NeedleWorks newspaper column.”

If you missed our previous column and want to contact Lamb’s Wool, write to: P.O. Box 250, Roseland, VA 22967.

Reader Norma Shearer writes: “I’m a long-time knitter and member of a group that meets on Tuesday mornings to knit, sew and crochet for charity. Like most of us who knit for charity, I just make whatever comes out of the yarn on hand and send it off for someone else to guess at the size! I’d find a standard-size chart handy. Meanwhile, I make hats, shawls and lap robes that fit many.”

Regarding the column last year on making blankets for cats and dogs in animal shelters, I received this from Paula M. Day of Kennebunkport, Maine: “I called my local animal shelter and they are in need of both cat and dog blankets, so that will be a great project for winter when the snow gets deep and I don’t go out as often. I’ll also be able to use up a lot of my surplus yarn!

“I knit quite a few baby blankets for friends, for raffles and some for sale and have a helpful hint that I use very often. One of my favorite patterns is the feather and fan stitch. To keep the 18-stitch pattern repeats properly aligned, when I set up the pattern I cut a number of contrasting yarn markers to separate the repeats.

“One of these markers is a different color and I place it at the beginning of my pattern row. Therefore, I know it is time to do the pattern every other time this piece of yarn comes at the beginning of the row. Since I’ve used this method, I have to do much less pattern correcting.”

Alice Petri writes: “I’ve knit teddy bears (157 of them) and crocheted overalls for all of them. I would like to make them again for the children’s hospital, but in moving a box of patterns was lost. I’d appreciate it if someone has the pattern and would send it to me.” You can reach Alice at 111 Finderne Ave., Bridgewater, N.J. 08807-3100

The floral-patterned dresses that are popular now will be greatly enhanced by this crocheted, lacy, floral-banded cardigan. You’ll wear this raspberry-toned beauty throughout the year. It’s made with a size F/5 (4.00mm) crochet hook and is available in small (medium, large, extra-large) with a finished chest size of 35 (38, 44, 47) inches and is 20 (20, 21, 21) inches long. It comes in Red Heart “Super Sport” in 100 percent Acrilan acrylic. Refer to kit HM890606. For the pattern only: Send $2 and an SASE to Herrschners, 2800 Hoover Road, Dept. M, Stevens Point, WI 54492. To order a kit for size small/medium ($19.99) and large/extra-large ($22.99), postage included, call (800) 441-0838 (Dept. M) or send to above address.

(Nancy welcomes your comments or questions about the column or any needleworking subject. However, because of the volume of mail, she cannot answer every letter individually. Hints or questions of general interest will be used in the column when possible. Please send them to The NeedleWorks, 113 Pavonia Ave., Suite 189, Jersey City, N.J. 07310. The NeedleWorks is also on the Web at