An unassuming group of NYU administrators gathered one recent Friday afternoon on the 10th floor of 726 Broadway to present a gift of 182 handmade baby blankets—more than enough to bury the large meeting table in a College of Nursing Conference room—to Care for the Homeless, a healthcare organization serving New York City’s children and families in need.
These are the Naughty Knitters, who meet twice a month to swap stitches, gab, and craft donations for charity. Funded by the NYU Office of Civic Engagement and the AMC, they’ve donated more than 3,500 knitted or crocheted items, including scarves for homebound seniors and those in U.S. military service, since the group’s founding in 2004. Making blankets for Care for the Homeless has become one of their annual traditions. NYU Stories dropped in to chat with some of these generous hobbyists as they celebrated a record yield of blankets. Meet them below.
Name: Jennie Tichenor
Day job: Former department administrator for anthropology, now retired
Inspired to knit by:
My grandmother. Every woman is taught by another woman. And now we’ve taught lots and lots of women at NYU. You pass the word along.
Started a charity knitting group because:
I knew so many women on campus who were crocheting or knitting all the time, and I knew there were organizations that needed the finished items. In my career I’ve always said “there’s a need over here, and there are resources over here. How do we get them together?”
Distributed at meetings:
Yarn and gossip!
Name: Tricia Voda
Day job: Project manager in applied psychology
Taught to crochet by:
My mom, on a family vacation to Pennsylvania, probably because I was being bratty and she wanted to give me something to do. I remember first working on something that was supposed to be a rectangle coming out like a triangle.
Loved it so much that:
In college I taught all my roommates to crochet. And then I was making scarves for all my friends, who were finally like, “I know you love me, but 20 scarves?” So it was good when I got an email about this group! It’s a really nice, friendly group of people, and now I’ve got a reason to learn new stitches.
Name: Raynika Trent
Day job: Research associate at Steinhardt
Heard about the Naughty Knitters through:
An MLK Week of Service email. I remembered a little about crocheting from when I was little, so I started doing scarves.
Stuck with it because:
It’s great to hear all the stories about learning to knit from family and friends—to have that connection even when you’re away from home.
One unexpected side effect:
Now it’s hard to even watch TV without knitting or crocheting. I’m sitting there, and I need my hands to be doing something! I’m always coming back to the meetings for more yarn.