The title alone of this "crafty" book is intriguing. The concept of "spreading hope, one stitch at a time" is empowering and enlightening. I am a crafter; in fact, I an addicted one! I create, usually in crochet, sewing or jewelry, even when I do not have a person in mind as a recipient. Jade Sims' book, and her organization, which can be found at www.crafthope.com, solved that dilemma for me forever. Her approach is down to earth, her ideas easy and usable, and her list of charitable organizations that will accept well-made hand-crafted donations is extensive.
Two things I admire in Sims' writing and compiling of this book: Firstly, she is a mother and a crafter herself. She is not advocating something that she does not practice herself. Secondly, before you begin any of the projects in the book, she has a wonderful chapter on Crafting Hope with Care. In this chapter, she discusses honestly and in detail the responsibility we have as donors to "give in a way that is respectful, responsible, and empowers the recipient..." Take time to learn about the culture or religion of the people to whom you are donating your creations. Give locally whenever you can—contact local shelters, food banks, women's abuse centers, and churches for ideas about where you can make this happen in your town.
The projects in the book are varied; knitting, (but no crocheting, a lack for me, since I don't knit!) sewing (dolls, simple pillowcase dresses, quilts, pillows), soap, toys, jewelry, book bags...all have a place in these pages. There is even a charming dog tug toy to make and donate to your local animal shelter! Use the book as a starting point for your own ideas and creations, or contact the charities Sims' lists in each project's directions.
There are hundreds, indeed probably thousands, of organizations that can be helped by your crafting efforts. Whether you are working alone, with a group, teaching scouts or schools, Craft Hope will give you the ideas you need, the patterns to help, and the charities to assist. Take the time to visit the websites of the organization Ms. Sims suggests, learn about their needs and their focus. We don't have to be rich, or have a huge talent—all we need is heart, hope and the will to help to bring joy and comfort to those in need.
As for me, I have started crocheting a red scarf, based on the knitted version shown on page 29. A great book with a message—and a means to pass on the message!
Jade Sims is the founder of Craft Hope. She is the mother of three and spends her days running Craft Hope from her laptop and making a mess with her children in the Hill Country just outside of Austin, Texas. Visit her blog and the Craft Hope website.
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