Those who knit, sew, crochet and quilt are generous people. They frequently fashion items for friends and family, and are known for their charitable attention to those in need. Now through the end of May, there is a movement afoot (or should I say, by hand) to benefit three national programs that accept handmade items to benefit children.
Nationally known author Debbie Macomber is asking women who knit and crochet to observe Mother’s Day by using their skills to create an item for charity through the initiative Knit1, Bless2 to help infants and children in need.
Macomber writes novels that feature heroines who knit or crochet.
The initiative will benefit Newborns in Need, Project Linus or The Binky Patrol, which provide handmade garments and blankets to children and infants. Readers can visit www.knit1bless2.com or www.debbiemacomber.com to register and join the effort.
Macomber said after participants have chosen a project from the list of recommended items for each charity and signed up, they will find links to each charity to download patterns.
Completed projects may be mailed to: Debbie Macomber, c/o Truth Be Told, 183 Madison Ave., Suite 1201, New York, NY 10016. Items may be submitted until Monday, May 31.
Project Linus is composed of hundreds of local chapters and thousands of volunteers across the United States, including Maine. The mission of Project Linus is to provide “love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer ‘blanketeers’ and to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities for the benefit of children.” Project Linus welcomes blankets of all styles, including quilts, tied comforters, fleece blankets, crocheted or knitted afghans, and receiving blankets in child-friendly colors. Blankets must be new, handmade and washable. Visit www.projectlinus.org to obtain more information.
Newborns In Need provides basic items to hospitals and social service agencies that provide assistance to premature, ill or impoverished newborns. Volunteers sew, crochet or knit to create the items. Clothing, diapers, blankets, hats and many other basic items are donated to the infants.
Those who sew, knit, crochet or quilt may visit www.newbornsinneed.org for more information.
The Binky Patrol is a volunteer organization that makes and delivers handmade blankets to children and teens in need of comfort. These are children who are ill, abused or experiencing trauma of any kind. All types of “binkies” may be donated — sewn, knitted, crocheted, tied, quilted or embroidered. The blankets must be soft, washable and made with love. Find ideas and tips for making blankets at www.binkypatrol.org.
“I hope all of the friends I’ve made over the years through my books and my love of knitting will join with me to help,” Macomber said in a press release. “Combining our passion for needlework with the joy of giving just seems like a wonderful way to celebrate Mother’s Day.”
• The Pine Kneedlers Knitting Guild, located in the Bangor area, has organized a weekend Teddy Bear Knitting Workshop, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 1-2, at the Penobscot Bay Inn in Belfast. The cost is $75 guild members, $95 others. The fee covers the workshop, handouts, lunch on Saturday, lodging and breakfast on Sunday. For more information, call guild president Cheryl Zeh at 943-6909.
• Quilters will be on the move during April when the seventh annual Maine Quilt Shop Hop is under way.
The event will be off and running April 1. Quilters will visit as many participating quilt shops in Maine as they can during the month. At each shop they will get a “passport” to indicate they have been there. The more shops visited — 32 shops are participating — the greater the chance of winning prizes, including sewing machines, quilt kits, gift certificates and many other items, for a total value of $8,000.
Each shop has created a quilted piece using designated Shop Hop fabrics and shop hoppers may vote for their favorite. Those pieces will be on display at the Pine Tree Quilt Guild’s Maine Quilts 2010 show July 30-Aug. 1 in Augusta.
Visit www.maineshophop.com to access a list of participating stores, to view the prizes list and to find a free quilting pattern.
• Beads and Baubles Downeast, a bead show and sale, is set for noon-6 p.m. Friday, April 16, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 17, at the Maine Grind building, upstairs, 192 Main St., Ellsworth. More that 20 vendors will display their wares, including beaded jewelry, for purchase. Admission is $1 and includes entry into a raffle for more than $100 worth of beads. For more information, call Christina Heiniger at 644-2404.
• To highlight the “Branching Out: Taking Wing” exhibit at Waterfall Arts in Belfast, artist Karen Jelenfy will hold a knit-in and give an artist’s talk 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, April 3, at Waterfall Arts.
During the Branching Out mentoring program Jelenfy worked with teenager Katie Wolfrum on hand-knitted “nests” and watercolors.
Jelenfy, owner of Village Books in Washington, describes herself as an artist, reader and obsessive knitter. She will discuss the “Taking Wing” exhibit, the mentoring process and “Swifts and Swallows,” the collaborative installation she and Wolfrum created.
Through the Branching Out program, Waterfall Arts pairs area youth with professional artists to work together to create art, inspiring each other in the process. In addition, each team is invited to make a public presentation of their work to a school or community group. Students gain experience in the creative collaborative process, hanging a show and public speaking, all essential skills for any professional artist.
Artists and knitters are invited to sit in the gallery, hear the talk, have a discussion and knit together. Those interested may try simple 3-D knitting, with guidance from Jelenfy. Small amounts of yarn will be provided. Knitters at all levels of skill are invited to attend. Bring your own knitting needles. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.waterfallarts.org or call 338-2222.
• Learn primitive rug hooking in a four-week class 5:30-8 p.m. beginning Wednesday, April 7, at Reeds Brook School, an offering of the SAD 22 Adult Ed program. Instructor will be Karen Porter. The cost is $30 for the class. Rug hooking kits may be purchased from the instructor at the first class.
Also offered at Reeds Brook School is an Easter card workshop 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 1, with instructor Amy Lorenzo. The cost is $10, $5 for materials.
To register or for information, call the SAD 22 Adult Education office at 862-6422.