Put your crafty skills to good use and do your bit for charity with a little help from Sewing Bee’s Stuart Hillard.
Anyone who has ever tried crafting has had a variety of reasons for doing so. Maybe you’ve been inspired by a friend who wears beautiful handsewn clothes or fabulous handmade jewellery. Perhaps you were bored or anxious and needed something to occupy your time, hands and mind or you saw something that spurred you to try something new. Whatever the reason for starting a craft, finding fulfilment, pleasure and pride in making something unique is pretty hard to beat. Putting your crafting skills to use for the benefit of others, particularly for those in a time of crisis or need, is a wonderful way of giving something extra special and there is a whole range of organisations who need our help. Before you cast on, hook up or thread your sewing machine, make sure you read the requirements carefully. Most, if not all organisations, have strict dos and don’ts, particularly in regards to the materials, fibres and sizes that you use or make. Everyone wants their time to matter so if you’re going to create something for charity, ensure that the organisation can and will accept it.
DAYS FOR GIRLS collects and distributes hygiene products including a shield, liner, washcloth, pants and a drawstring bag along with providing education to girls and women all over the world. Their aim is to improve the lives of every woman by giving them access to safe, clean and effective menstrual care. The sewing patterns to make up the kits can be found on their website – they are easy to sew, fast and beginner friendly for sure! daysforgirls.org
PROJECT LINUS… has coordinators and groups all over the world, including many in the UK who are making and distributing knitted or crochet blankets and quilts to children of all ages who are experiencing loss, hardship, trauma or a life-threatening illness. I make a quilt every year for Linus and have done since I learned of their work in the early 2000’s. I was particularly moved by the fact that many youngsters leave foster care or children’s homes with almost no possessions. A quilt or blanket is a tangible gift which shows someone in crisis that other people are thinking about them. One of the most comforting things in my home are the blankets and quilts I’ve made; there’s nothing like snuggling under one when it’s chilly, and sharing my passion for sewing with someone else feels like such a natural thing to do. projectlinusuk.org.uk
KNITTED KNOCKERS… are based in the US but have distributors all over the world. Their aim is simple and very special, they knit and crochet prosthetic breasts for women who have undergone breast cancer surgery,
mastectomy and or radiation treatment. We’ve all been close to someone who has had or is living with breast cancer and although many choose to have reconstructive surgery, there is sometimes a delay and not all women want or have the option of a surgical reconstruction. The ‘knitted knockers’ are soft and light woolly creations that can be re-shaped and made fuller or flatter as the wearer needs, plus they are incredibly easy to mould to a natural shape. I’ve already cast on my first pair of knockers – trust me, I never thought I’d say or write that! I knit a lot on the train, usually socks which are always a great ice-breaker – let’s hope my new project works just as well! knittedknockers.org
MIND, THE MENTAL HEALTH CHARITY… has been running Crafternoons on 1st December for several years to raise money and awareness of mental health through crafting activities and parties. Nothing says ‘I love you’ or shows that you care like a handmade gift, but Mind’s initiative cleverly combines a number of important goals. Firstly, there is the sheer joy and tonic that is crafting with friends, old or new and getting together to make something that’s going to a worthwhile cause. The events also raise money for the charity and there’s no getting away from the fact that what charities need most of all is cash. Finally, group events help to raise awareness of those needs and provide a supportive and fun environment in which to get involved. When you feel like your small efforts are a drop in the ocean, gather together with other people and pool resources – it’s amazing what can be achieved! mind.org.uk