Visitor, Or No Visitor, I’ve Been Busy

As you may imagine, I come across many crafters when I am online: crafty blogs that I follow, members of groups that I belong to, Facebook pages and, of course, readers of my blog. Generally I find that the crafting community is a friendly and supportive group to be in. One further thing that I have noticed about crafters, particularly during the past couple of weeks or so, is that a sizeable number of them have a disability of some sort.

Most of the time I do not identify myself by reference to my problems with anxiety and depression. However, when going through a period like this last week, my perception of myself changes and I do claim a label that says I have a mental health disability.

Crafting, be it knitting, sewing, crochet, origami or whatever else, plays a huge part in my being able to maintain a reasonably manageable state of mental health. I can ‘hide’ in my crafting, either at home or as part of a group. And that’s what I’ve been doing during this past week.

First attempt at a fleece
Teddy Bear

Having completed my second quilt for Siblings Together, I had several small pieces of fleece left over. It occurred to me that fleece would be a good fabric for making teddies for children in Syria. Earlier in the week I had received an email from Hand in Hand for Syria which I telephoned them to discuss. During the call, I enquired whether they could accept knitted or fleece teddies. The lovely lady I spoke to said they would be really pleased to receive some. She said that the teddies are taken to Syria by individuals and handed out personally to children in hospital. That struck me as a lovely way to help children, and I liked the fact that it is done on an individual basis.

As I couldn’t actually find what I wanted, I began by drafting a template. I based it on other templates I had seen but various alterations. I was quite pleased with how it turned out so I then transferred the shape to freezer paper and cut it out. I had never used freezer paper before so I bravely placed the template on the reverse of the fleece. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to use. I cut two shapes from the fleece and machine-stitched them together, leaving a gap of around 2.5 inches on one side for turning and stuffing. I decided I wanted Emba** the teddy to be well-stuffed but, my goodness, I had no idea how much stuffing would be needed! Oh well, at least she’s not a floppy teddy!

I stitched up the opening, added the facial features then inspected the finished item. It is not perfect but I am quite pleased with how she turned out. The facial features look pretty good, in my opinion, but she is rather lanky. I shall adapt my template to take account of the effect that stuffing has on the finished bear. Watch this space to see how this particular project progresses.

Hand woven paper basket

Moving on to my craft group, I was completely lacking in inspiration when it came to choosing an activity for last Friday afternoon. I enjoy recycling so decided to make use of the very visible product of Peter’s crossword enthusiasm – namely, huge piles of newspapers and their supplements.

I cut some weekend supplements into 9cm wide strips which we folded in half lengthways and then in half again, producing 2.25cm wide strips. We laid five strips north to south with no gaps between them, then wove five strips through them from west to east. We fixed the strips together then began on the sides by gently folding each strip upright and weaving through them. It sounds much easier than it was! It was fiddly rather than difficult but everyone seemed to enjoy it.

A height of four woven strips worked well because of the length of strip we were using. By the time we reached that level we were running out of time at the group so I folded each strip over at the top then trimmed and stuck each in place.

A peep inside my woven paper basket

The end result looks fairly presentable but has little rigidity. I think that if I were to make another, I would fold the strips into more layers to give increased strength.

**In case you are wondering why I named my teddy Emba, it’s because she is so pink that she must be blushing because she is Embarrassed. Groan!

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6 thoughts on “Visitor, Or No Visitor, I’ve Been Busy

  1. This takes me back! When I first qualified as a nurse in 1969! working on a geriatric ward, a lady came in for respite care. She quickly made herself popular by making little square baskets from old newspapers, a few of the patients who had them kept trinkets in them but they all ended up with black fingers

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  2. What a cute little bear! I am sure Emba (love the name!) is going to make one special person very happy somewhere in Syria. And the bear goes so nicely with the quilt you have made, Dina!

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