Crafters Dozen – week one

Hi everybody,

As I mentioned in my regional email and BLOG last week, we have an event called “Crafters Dozen” on the 12th of August, which will be the culmination of a 12 week long promotion which starts … now!

Over the next 12 weeks, I’ll be introducing ways in which you can get involved with the promotion, and it doesn’t matter where in New Zealand that you’re from.

Each week we have a theme – we will be letting you know about a product group and a grouping of charities that we will be supporting. We have even adapted a well known Christmas Carol to help us along the way. I’m sure you all know the tune to “The 12 days of Christmas”… we’ve just made a few changes.

Crafters Dozen – week one project

“On the first week of crafting, the people made with love… a bear for some children in need.”

At Crafty Volunteers we receive and distribute Bears (and other toys) to numerous charities. Last year in Wellington we teamed up with an organisation called STORYLINES, where the children made their own version of the Warren Bear. The adults helping on the day cut out the bear shape (for the front of the bear), and the kids cut out the shapes for the face and tummy as well as other patterns from the fabric, and pinned them in place. Some of the kids sewed buttons on for eyes, and one youngster (clearly a Batman and Robin fan) made his own “Robin” bear, being very specific about how it was to be sewn together.

After the Storylines event, some of our volunteers came along to a sewing session to make up the bears. It just happened to be a few weeks after the Kaikoura earthquake, so we ended up sending these bears down to the local Lions club in Kaikoura, and the bears were given to children in rural areas that had been affected by the quakes.

We give quite a number of bears to the Wellington Free Ambulance, because the ambulance drivers will give a bear to a child who is being transported that is noticeably upset, or to an older patient being transported just to provide some comfort. When we hear stories from the drivers about the patients that they have given bears to, and the impact it has on the patient, it’s very humbling to have been able to be involved in an act of kindness that makes a huge difference to a stranger. I’m told that in other regions it’s not only ambulance drivers that give toys to kids (and adults) in distress, but also bears ride along in police cars and fire engines to be given out at the appropriate time.

There are many young children and teenagers who have received bears and toys via charities like Foster Hope, Womens Refuge and various refugee services. We hear stories of big teenage boys carrying their bear in their school backpack with them, and of smaller children who don’t go anywhere without their bear tucked into their shirt or up their sleeve. Because these children have had so much trauma in their lives, often being removed from their homes with just the clothes on their backs, simply being given a small toy that was made with love by a stranger makes such a huge difference to them. The toy provides a huge amount of comfort to them, and they simply won’t part with it.

We regularly hear of charities that are on the look out for toys for children, so there is always a need…

If you’d like to get involved with this weeks project – here are some Bear patterns for you:

  • Knitted Bear – HERE – courtesy of Bevs Country Cottage
  • Crocheted Bear – HERE – courtesy of Blumenbunt
  • Warren Bear (sewn) – HERE – courtesy of Shiny Happy People

Here’s some photos from last years “Bear with Us” promotion…

a few bears…
a few more bears…
lots of bears…
we couldn’t fit any more on the couch…

Do feel free of course to make other toys for the children and get them to us, and remember to pop a Label on it (get your label HERE) so we know who it’s come from.

If you’re from outside of Wellington and don’t have a local charity to give your toys to, please feel free to send it to us:- Crafty Volunteers c/- Nancy’s Stitch Studio, 261 Thorndon Quay, Wellington.

If you do have a local charity that you’re giving your toy to, we’d love you to send a photo of your donation (maybe even while you’re giving it to someone at the charity), so we can put it up on the website / Facebook page. Please email your pics to admin@craftyvolunteers.org.nz and we’ll cluster them together in an upcoming email.

Crafters Dozen – event

Hold the date – Saturday 12 August – if you’re in Wellington. We’ll be hosting our “Crafters Dozen” event at the Newlands Community Centre, 9 Batchelor St, Newlands – between 9.00am and 9.00pm. It would be great to have you along to join in the fun – come along for the whole 12 hours, or just show up for 12 minutes, we don’t mind. If you’re not in Wellington, please make sure you tell any crafty friends and family that live here all about it – we will make them most welcome.

We are going to collect up all of the wonderful donations that we’ll be making and receiving in over the next 12 weeks, and will put them on display at our Crafters Dozen event, where we will happily receive more… and more… There will also be a fabric cutting and sewing area so that people can bring their sewing machines to make things, and we will be knitting and crocheting up a storm as well. There will be some fabric and yarn available for you to use, and we would be most grateful for any donations of materials that you’d like to bring along.

Anne is figuring out 12 knitting/crocheting techniques and tips that we’ll be teaching – from beginners lessons to more advanced techniques. I personally love that nearly every crafting session I go to, I’m are either learning something new, or I’m able to pass some tips on to others. Anne and I are challenging each other to learn (and put in to practice) something new, almost on a weekly basis… If you thought crafting was simple and boring – you’re just not trying hard enough!

Donations

We are always very grateful to receive donations of yarn and fabric that we can distribute to our crafters to make things with. If you know of anybody that is either downsizing or maybe going in to rest care that might have a stash that they don’t know what to do with, please let us know.

Of course cash is always useful too. At present, there are just 3 of us that are funding everything that Crafty Volunteers does – website costs, stationery and copying, fuel costs for our tripping around, refreshments at the events, courier costs for distributing yarns to crafters etc. If you are keen to help us a little bit financially, we would be most grateful. Because we are a registered Charitable Trust, we are a recognised “Payroll Giving” charity, for those of you who have employers doing this. This means that tax credits for donations are deducted directly from your payroll. If this is something that interests you, please email me maggie@craftyvolunteers.org.nz and I’ll provide you our bank account details.

World Wide Knit in Public Day – Saturday 10th of June

I’m hearing about a few more events around New Zealand to mark the day – have a look at the events we know about HERE (I’ll be adding to this as I learn of more events, so please keep checking in). Also the Official Knit in Public Day website has these events registered – HERE.

If you’re attending an event, please do take some photos so we can get it up on the website and Facebook page. I’m keen to do our bit to promote crafting and make it more visible and acceptable in the community.

I’m really looking forward to the events we are involved with at Wellington Central Library (Satruday 10th June – 10.00am til 5.00pm) and War Memorial Library Lower Hutt (Sunday 11th June – 1.00pm til 5.00pm), and I look forward to seeing heaps of people there.

Ways you can help in your region

We are looking for people in other regions and would love to hear from you if you can assist.

  • Do you know of any businesses who would be prepared to be a drop off point for crafters, or happy to receive courier parcels? We find that having drop off points at businesses works better than private addresses, as some people are uncomfortable with their private residence being up on the website.
  • Someone to be the pick up/delivery person for an area – involves gathering the donated items, sorting them for the appropriate charity, and doing deliveries every 4-6 weeks depending on volume. You’ll be the front line person that the charities will see – a really nice thing to be involved with. Several people could work together on this – and we need you in place before we announce any drop off points.
  • Someone to store, sort and distribute the yarns and fabrics that are donated. You’ll need a little bit of spare space, and you can share the load with someone else – in Wellington one person stores the yarns, and someone else looks after the fabrics. You’ll be the front line person for the crafters that aren’t able to afford to buy the materials – we find these people to be prolific producers, and they love having something to do. You’ll build some lovely friendships with your regular crafters, we certainly have.
  • Finally, and most importantly, we are looking for someone to co-ordinate the region. This could be someone who is happy to do some phone and email work – connecting crafters, crafting groups and charities, and liaising with us regarding any events and promotions that you are keen to run locally. We are here to support anybody that is keen to make charity crafting something a bit more visible in your community. Again, there could be a couple of you doing this together.

We are very conscious that things are humming along here in Wellington, because that’s where we are – and we really do need your help to spread Crafty Volunteers nationwide. Contact us now if you and maybe your friends are interested in getting involved – email maggie@craftyvolunteers.org.nz or call 021-511004. We’d love to have you involved.

Spread the word

Here’s a quick challenge for you… please forward this email to 2 of your crafty friends, and ask them to join their local mailing list HERE. The more we can spread the word the more we can help charities all around the country.

That’s it for now… I hope you are able to join the fun of Crafters Dozen, and make a bear or two this week – I’ll be emailing again in a week to let you know what we are crafting next week…

Please do keep in touch, we love hearing from you.

Yours with love, hope and compassion

Maggie

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