Saturday, June 11, 2016

Packing and our Next Projects, and Furs

Catching up:

1. Thank you all for your fantastic contributions, I am posting a highlights reel below.  Mostly, I'm just going to post names along with photos.  Apologies for the lack of detail, rest assured that as Suzanne, Carlene and I packed up the goods, we oohed and aaaahed.

2.  One thing I haven't spoke about very much are the fur projects that we have going.  Given what we've been doing, we're going to post this as an on-going project.  So, three years ago, we asked one of our communities what they would appreciate receiving besides knitted items.  The response was: we would love to receive fur - fur is always in short supply and high demand - there just isn't enough to go around, and fur allows women to undertake their artisan craftwork - sewing mittens and boot liners and parka liners for their families, and in some cases, allowing young people to learn to sew.

About 2 years ago, we started gathering fur coats which are no longer in use, and turning them over to a group that distributed them to Inuit women who were in town temporarily.  The women then took them apart and repurposed them into beautiful pieces for themselves and their families.  The project continues and works amazingly well.

And finally, last winter, we partnered with the Kiwanis in Orleans and Pat Flesher furs.  These amazing  folks provided us with excess fur which we then shipped to a "Healing through Art" project in Iqaluit.  The project is amazing: it allows women to work together and craft the furs into beautiful pieces to be either used by the family or to help families gain economic independence.  We received a note from the project ED, who informed us that every single piece will be used.  So, note to all of you: if you have a 4 inch by 4 inch piece of fur - we can find a home for it.  It can be the top trim on a pair of mittens, or be sewn into a the hood of a parka to protect a face, or line a pair of boots, or….

To all of you who generously provided fur: every single piece was used.  They helped a woman undertake her traditional craft work, and is now warming a child or a parent and will continue to do so for many years to come.  Thank you!

And to those of you who are thinking of contributing fur - I promise that we will find good homes for your items and that they will be used and appreciated every day.

3.  A new project on the go (or maybe its round 2 of an existing project):  We have been talking to the principal at Jimmy Hikok school: a new shipment is planned for September.  Here is a summary of the project:
35 children in kindergarten
approximately 32 children in grades 1-4
42 children in grade 5

Sweaters, hats and socks are most appreciated.

4.  Blankets - when we receive blankets right now, we provide them to Larga Baffin in Ottawa.  They are extremely appreciated there.  They become lap blankets for individuals who are ill, or comfort blankets for a child, or a newborn.  The blankets then go back up north with the patient when they return home.  Carlene and I went to Larga to talk about some potential projects.  Here is what we heard: new hand-knits are extremely well received.

5.  New project!  Targeting a delivery date of November, we would like to create fabric bags containing the following:  needles (utility needles, Glovers needles), strong thread, pin-cushions, thimbles.  Is this something that we think we can do?   If we could make 50 bags, it would be awesome.  If we think we could make more, even better.  I'd be pretty happy if we could also include something very small (like a small bottle of hand lotion) - those things that make women feel like women, if you know what I mean.

June 12 update:  I am copying and pasting a note from IsabellaO which sound like some pretty good guidelines to me.

From Anita’s description (to be used as a sewing kit containing small items like needle packages, spools of thread, pincushions and the like), I would think somewhere in the 6-8” wide x 8-10” long would be appropriate. I also think a drawstring top would work best to contain the small items (or if people wanted to get a bit more elaborate, a zipper or velcro closure). 
Items to add to the bags: somewhere in the past there was a post on WHN about the horrendous cost of scissors in the North (something like $69/pair!) I don’t think the size of kit we’re talking about here would accommodate a standard pair of sewing scissors, but I’m sure little folding scissors or snips would be welcome. Also, maybe other notions like buttons, elastic, seam binding, ribbon, etc might be hard/expensive to come by and appreciated.

Some reminders and (perhaps) new guidelines:

1.   95% of the items that we receive are brand new, but occasionally, a second hand item slips in.  Although we recognize and appreciate the good intentions, we don't distribute second hand items.  Our goal is to ensure that each individual receiving something from the Warm Hands team feels not just the physical warmth, but also the warmth that comes from being the first owner of something made especially for the little (or big) person.

2.   After speaking with our community partners, we now understand that toys (including knitted stuffies) are not valued as much as warm clothing.  Shipping space is at a premium, and so we will no longer collect toys.

3.  Scarves: we just don't ship them.   Round neck-warmers are always welcome.

Okay, without further ado, here are your gorgeous works (and just a note to Marion Ross: Marion I apologize, I can't find the photo we took of your work but rest assured it has been packed and is ready to go):

Thanks to the love women of Huntsville ON: Bernice Smith, Janet Smith and Karen McCaskill.

Suzanne Vigeant of Ottawa.

We received several vests like the attached, with a Warm Hands tag but no name!

Thank you, Glengarry knitting group for the items above and below!

A Clark fo Ottawa, thank you!

These hats came from Waterloo ON.  Thanks!

Jean Sweezie of Ottawa, thank you!

We can always count on Jackie Lambert of West Richland, WA - she's a Warm Hands lifer!

Wendy Genge of Smoky Lake AB put together these items above and below.  Thanks Wendy!

Peggy (ravelry name DrPeg) of Oakville ON made the above balaclavas - so soft!

Maddy of Waterloo, thank you!

Margaret of Ottawa - these neck warmers will keep some kids very warm.

And more from Wendy Genge!

mwachen (rav name) of Burnaby BC put together this neck warmer and hat set.  Thank you!

These were made by the Italian Seniors group

Bernice Smith, Janet Smith and Karen McCaskill of Huntsville ON made these beautiful blankets

Rebecca from Ottawa created these mittens

The amazing team of "Purls of Wisdom" created these neck warmers (Anne, Jessica, Sabine, Catherine and Micheline) - thank you!

Darlin' Carlene in a blanket she made.

One of many vests sent in by Nandini (20cfrog) of Brooklyn, NY

The Glengarry knitting group made these vests.

Liechty of Goshen IN created this purple sweater.

4 sweaters from Kristine Krupp in Toronto ON.  Thanks!

Kathy of Ottawa created this blanket and the plum socks

Claire Sheen of Ottawa - thank you

So we took a separate picture of these hats - because they are the WHN pattern and we haven't seen that in awhile.  Thank you!

The hats and mittens are from Kathy Gerolami.  Thank you!

Susan Wood of Ottawa created these blankets

Pam Fedowk, thank you for the hats!