Chirped by Tina
I’m guessing most crafty people love a good cause into which they can pour their creative energies. When you’re passionate about creating stuff, you start to run out of places to display your masterpieces around your own home. And there are only so many hats and scarves that you can reasonably knit for your extended family (or Blog Dog)! That’s why, when a non-profit or community organization issues a public request for handmade items, they tend to get an enthusiastic (and sometimes overwhelming) response, at least once word really gets out there. There are lots of organizations that could use the help of a hoard of crafters. Here are just a few that our own craft groups have set our sights on…
The Carolina Waterfowl Rescue Group’s annual spring announcement about needing knit or crocheted rescue nests for baby birds apparently went viral this year. Folks from as far away as Japan sent them thousands of baby bird nests. They had to dedicate part of a storage unit to their exploding collection, and have started sharing their bounty with other animal rescue operations. Amazingly enough, they’re telling people to keep ’em coming! Joy of joys! Easy crafting and helping baby animals at the same time! The links above have more information, including patterns and where to send the nests, but you might want to check with your local animal shelters, as well. Nests in varying sizes are good for other baby animals, like possums, and the cup shape is actually important to the development of birds’ legs, so this really is a valuable way to use your crafting powers for good! (Thanks to my crocheting mentor Jennifer for this pic of one of the bird nests, modeled by her fluffy companion!)
Crowns for Kids
Of course, baby birds aren’t the only ones in need of some handmade love. You may remember in March’s Cheep Trills post, we mentioned the “Crowns for Kids” that our craft groups are crocheting for Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. This crown ear warmer pattern by Erangi Udeshika has inspired over a hundred colorful pick-me-ups for children being treated at Shriner’s – and that’s just in our first wave of donations. (Stay tuned for a breakdown of why these crowns might be the perfect introduction to crocheting, if you’ve always wanted to give it a try!)
Blankets for Babies (and Bigger Kids)
Project Linus is a great nationwide organization that we have our eye on for a future group effort. They collect comforting homemade blankets for very sick, traumatized, or otherwise at-risk children. Since 1995 they’ve delivered more than seven million blankets to kids in need! Blankets can be knit, crocheted, quilted, weighted, fleece – whatever your medium! I did learn last year that they only accept new blankets. When we were looking for homes for some amazingly pristine (and thoroughly laundered) blankets that had been part of the Yarn Bloom, they couldn’t take them. Luckily the local thrift stores had no such reservations, and a dog shelter was happy to take the more beat up, torn, or faded pieces for puppy blankets.
On a more local scale, our Pennsylvania Masons have been teaming up with the March of Dimes every March to throw a big baby shower for lower income military families that are expecting. They like to include handmade baby blankets along with a year’s worth of diapers, bottles, breast pumps, car seats, strollers, monitors, etc. Our “Stitch and Bitch” group has decided to make a bunch of blankets for the next wave of gifts, as we plot new ways to put our skills to use in the community in the coming year.
Hearts Full of Love
The Peyton Heart Project is a global suicide prevention and awareness campaign. Each handmade heart represents a life lost to suicide, and is paired with an uplifting or encouraging tag bearing a quote that always starts with a heart and the words: “Take Me!” The tags bear messages like “The good things in life are better with you,” or “When the skies are dark, look for the stars.” The hearts are scattered across the globe in public places, where someone who might desperately need an encouraging word could find them, and hopefully feel a little less alone or unloved. Check out the link above for more information, patterns, and printable tags. You don’t need to use any particular heart pattern, though this video by Crochet Lovers helped me make these two-inch hearts this afternoon for an upcoming heart-making party with friends. They don’t even have to be crocheted! The website has instructions for cardboard hearts wrapped in yarn and hearts cut from cloth.
Yarn Bombs, Blooms, and other Granny Graffiti
Let’s not forget the local park that got its colorful makeover in 2018 for a community-building “Yarn Bloom” on Earth Day. Crafters from the area answered the call and joined forces to cover the trees, benches, pavilions, fences, and anything stationary in crocheted, knitted, upcycled, donated and re-purposed fiber arts. Our own “Hilltown Haberdashers” craft group formed around this common goal, and gathered weekly for several months, preparing adornments for our adopted pavilion and tree. The town then hosted an Earth Day celebration in the park, with earth-friendly craft stations, demonstrations, games, vendors, and information booths. When the creations stopped looking their best after a couple of months, we helped take it all down and donated or salvaged as many of the materials as we could.
A Yarn-less Craft Cause – Kindness Rocks
Not all crafty causes require knitting or crocheting skills! Similar to the Peyton Heart Project, the Kindness Rocks Project invites people to “leave rocks painted with inspiring messages along the path of life”. The premise is that one kind message at the right moment can profoundly impact someone’s day, outlook – or even life. And each rock is destined to be found by a person it speaks to. My aunt painted these messages on the backs of some of her gorgeously decorated rocks. They don’t have the hashtag on them, so they’re not technically Kindness Rocks, but the effect would be the same if you stumbled upon one during the course of your day.
Opportunities abound to share your gifts, if you keep your ears and eyes open for them. We’d love to hear about the causes you’ve crafted for! Tell us about them in the comment section!
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