In an effort to have more of a charity sewing component to our guild, we've been talking about ways to a) get more members involved and b) find projects that are relatively inexpensive and quicker to complete than an entire finished quilt.
Darci introduced the idea of working with an amazing charity called Beads of Courage
, which is a program that works with seriously ill children who are hospitalized either frequently or long-term (or both) as a way to help support them through their treatments. The children receive beads in different colors and styles for various types of procedures or treatments that they undergo. For example, having blood drawn might be a red glass bead, while an MRI might be a purple clay bead.
Some sample Beads of Courage
It gives kids something to look forward to at a time when they might not have a lot of brightness in their day, and is a physical display to the rest of the world of their courage.
The children collect their beads on long strings, and unfortunately, often end up with many, many beads. A project called Beads of Courage Bead Bags
was started to give the kids a place to store their beads. Crafters from all over the country work either in groups or on their own to make small drawstring bags, they attach a special Beads of Courage label, and then send them either to a local hospital that participates in the program or to the national organization for distribution.
The bags can be made in a variety of styles, (though the organization provides a general pattern), and only need a simple drawstring--no zippers or complicated closures :) They're a great way to use up colorful scraps, or a fun way to showcase novelty prints that you can't resist buying. The bags are needed for children of all ages, from toddlers up through older teenagers, so there's a wide range of fabrics you can choose from. Fun, bright fabrics are preferred though.
A quick image search
brings up all kinds of examples to give you some inspiration.
We'll be talking over the next few weeks about how best to get this project going in our guild, but the good thing about this type of project is that there are A LOT of ways to be involved. If all goes well, this will likely be a long-term project for our group, so there won't be deadlines or required finish-by dates. Bags will be collected at each meeting and donated every few months. Darci has ordered labels, so she'll be distributing those to anyone interested, and we'll be posting links to some great bag tutorials. The bags don't take a lot of time to sew, so you can make one or two when you have some free time. Or you can make a stack of 10 in a couple hours. If you're short on time, but rich in fabric, think about donating FQ's to our guild to be distributed to other members for sewing. We will also be planning a sew-in day for some assembly-line sewing so that we can get many done at once. (Sew-in days with our guild are always fun, so its a chance to do some feel-good sewing while having a great time, and with yummy snacks.)