More than just a hobby, crafting is a way to easily use existing skills to empower ourselves and others. Lottie Storey shows us how…
Using your power for good
Here’s a secret you might not already know: crafters are superheroes. As well as being able to transform our tools of the trade – yarn, paper, fabric – into mini works of art, like other superheroes, we can also use our powers for good.
Donating the odd make to charity is a happy by-product of crafting that’s taken on a life of its own in recent years. Think rows of Innocent Smoothies dressed in little hats, knitted in aid of Age UK or Dress a Girl Around the World, where the nimble-fingered rustle up a frock from a pillowcase for girls in Africa. Here at Mollie, we encouraged you to make 103’s tiger keyrings to spread the message about the amazing charity Born Free. And we’re always big supporters of the charity Mind and their Crafternoons! Who wouldn’t want to get a couple of pals together and craft for a good cause?
These well-known campaigns offer an easy way to help non-profit organizations, but how else can you use your powers?
Sharing is caring
The idea of communal crafting has more power than you might think. Passing on skills in person is more sociable and more productive than watching endless YouTube tutorials. Plus you get to make real connections, too. Kate Long of A Playful Day regularly shares her crafting skills.
“I’ve taught lots of people to knit, sitting together, heads bowed in concentration as we learn. The thing that always amazes me is the addictive feeling that soon kicks in. People can’t wait to finish and achieve that sense of accomplishment – ‘I made this!’” She explains: “Learning a skill has long been cited as one of the biggest factors influencing our emotional wellbeing.” So, why not take a leaf out of Kate’s book and share your skills with friends or co-workers?
Another crafter who spends time helping others is Allison Sadler of The People Shop. Her mentoring scheme helps fledgling entrepreneurs to find their feet and spread their wings. “Mentoring gives me the opportunity to use some of my time to do good stuff in the world! I like to share my knowledge and experiences to help others free up their creativity. I help them live a life they love, their way.”
Allison strongly believes that “if you’re true to yourself and follow your heart and soul completely, creative living will become a natural way of life that’ll fulfill your dreams and help you find your happy place.”
Fair trade for all
Doing good stuff is one thing, but using good stuff is another. By opting for sustainable products and buying from local suppliers, we can choose to craft ethically (check out our five eco craft suppliers blog post here). Kate always considers this when sourcing yarn. “In the knitting world, there’s been an explosion of single sourced wools from breed specific flocks. It’s no longer acceptable to write ‘wool’ on a label. Where did that wool come from, and was the farmer at the beginning of the chain paid appropriately for rearing that flock?”.
Wool and the Gang also recognise the importance of this, and currently produce two eco-friendly yarns; Jersey Be Good, made from recycled factory off-cuts, and Billie Jean, produced from pre-consumed denim waste.
For Kate, crafting ethically is just the start. “When we take a hand-printed fabric from an independent textile artist and sew a skirt, we’ve chosen to support a local business. We’ve also handmade a skirt, unique to our own bodies, and that’s another empowering moment right there. Finally, we connect with a skill that has been passed down through thousands of generations.”
What can you do?
If you’re stuck on what crafts to make and sell for charity we’ve got you. In every issue of Mollie, we include a shop label next to the projects you can make and sell. Look out for the symbol above. If it’s featured next to a project in the mag it means the designer has given permission for you to hand-make as many as you wish to raise money for charity.
For example, in issue 105, you can make Lucy Woodrow’s bunny cover project! Sew up a bunch of bunnies the tutorial in our mag, sell them at a local fair and donate the money to your chosen charity. If you decide to make any of the projects be sure to tag us in them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and we’ll share to spread the charitable cause.
Whether it’s crocheting for charity, sewing for charity or knitting for charity, it’s time to start crafting for good. Use your talent to help the world one stitch at a time!