Craft Hope Project 11

I host a monthly crafty group of friends here at my house.  Usually we just hang out and work on whatever projects we have going.  It’s great for getting together, getting feedback on what you are working on, learning new skills, etc.  And of course, there is always yummy food to be served!!  Well, I saw the latest Craft Hope Project 11 announced awhile back, and ran it by everyone as to whether we’d like to spend one of our monthly nights working on the Craft Hope project.  Everyone was very Gung-Ho!  So, all supplies were purchased, I did a few prototypes of the drawstring bag and owl plush stuffie, and plans were set into motion.

Craft Hope’s Project 11 was for Konbit Sante, a Haitian aid organization headquartered here in Maine. They run a health partnership on the north side of the island in Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second largest city. Health statistics in Haiti are pretty scary.  1 in 8 children will not live to the age of five.  5…  Maternal mortality rate is 1,400 for every 100,000. Only 1 in 10,000 Haitians has access to a physician.  Project 11 centered upon birth delivery kits that trained birth attendants will have on hand to use in their deliveries.  The kits contain the most basic of supplies – alcohol wipes, soap, hand sanitizer, latex gloves, string, and plastic sheeting.  Then for our special Craft Hope kits, we were also including a handmade flannel receiving blanket, an infant-appropriate stuffed toy, and all wrapped up in a handmade drawstring bag.

We met last night, and had a great time making up 10 kits for Konbit Sante to deliver to Haiti. We were up late, but they all got done because of some amazing work by my awesome crafty friends!  (And even those who claim that they are not so crafty were definitely up to the task.)

Working hard, after eating a yummy, fortifying dinner, of course. (Our friend Hilary had to leave early but did great work on the blankets!)

The medical supplies were easily obtained at the dollar store and the grocery store, and the hubby picked up the plastic sheeting from our local hardware store in the paint section (4mil was requested).  The sheets had to be 4′ x 3′, so we bought a 3′ wide roll and just had to cut off the 4′ lengths.

I have a serger (that I will admit to only using about 3 times, and I really had no clue how to thread it).  My friend brought hers as well, and I took the opportunity to learn how to thread my serger!  The sergers made quick work on our 10 receiving blankets.  They were just made with two layers of flannel, serged together.  We used a bowl to make rounded corners to follow when serging which made things easier.

Flannel receiving blankets

For the drawstring bags, I looked up a few different tutorials and combined them into something quick, practical, but durable.  The edges of the drawstring casing are folded over and sewn so they won’t fray.  And we made french seams on the inside, both durable and attractive.  I used a piece of 16″ by 32″ cotton, folded in half to 16″x18″, which was plenty big for the items we were placing inside.  Make sure the casing is wide enough to fit the two layers of string that go through (in opposite directions).  If it’s too tight, then the drawstring doesn’t open and close as well.  We used 1/2″ cotton twill tape (totally cleaned out Joann’s supply, should pre-order it online next time since Joanns doesn’t stock more than one reel at a time) and made the casing somewhere between 1″ and 1.25″ (we eye-balled).

For the owls, I saw a picture on the Craft Hope website of some owls that someone else had made.  They looked like a rather easy shape, so I just created my own drawing of an owl shape to use as a template.  We cut them out of fleece in different colors.  Sewed on the eyes and nose first with a small zig zag stitch, then with right sides together, sew around, leaving a space to turn.  Turn it inside out, added some ribbons for feet, and stuffed and sewed closed.  The ribbon feet were a bit difficult to add because I forgot to tell my friend the little trick that I had figured out.  Oops!  Things were a bit hectic with everything going on.  You fold the ribbon loops and sew them to the seam in the open area where you are stuffing, on just one side of the seam.  Then, stuff the owl.  And then sew the opening closed (we just did it on the outside for quickness, but you could also hand-sew it closed).  It’s easier to sew the hole closed if the ribbons are already securely attached, and it also gives them extra security as well.  I would say that the owls are very easy to make. The fleece is a little harder to manipulate than the flannel that I used initially in my prototype since it’s kind of stretchy.

I am very excited to mail out our 10 kits tomorrow!

All boxed up!

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4 Responses

  1. Great job – love the owls and bags – sounds like your gals were really on a roll – love it!

  2. I serve on the board of Konbit Sante and want to extend my sincere thanks for your participation in the safe birthing kit project. I have been so moved by the many blog posts and photos of women around the globe, assembled to create for a cause and enjoying one another’s company. I cannot wait to begin distributing the kits, which will begin soon as Maine staff and volunteers are traveling to Haiti in early April. I promise to post photos on the Konbit Sante and Craft Hope web sites. Again–thank you. These photos are full of joy and hope.

    • What a wonderful comment. Thank you so much for taking the time. I can’t wait to see further photos of the project. I have been thinking of organizing some do-good craftiness with my group of friends for quite awhile but have never gotten it together enough to figure something out. The fact that Konbit Sante is located here in Maine really motivated me to get this project started. Now, we will hopefully keep doing it at least a few times a year. We had a great time and it felt really good to put our talents to good use.

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