Hand cross stitchers are an unusual group of people. First off we have a hobby where counting is essential. Second, there is always that nagging question of what to do with finished pieces. Third, we all seem to like collecting stash – floss, fabrics, and oh yes, those wonderful charts.
Let’s deal with that second point first – what to do with all your finished pieces. It’s always a topic of discussion on Facebook. Some take everything to a professional framer and pay pretty big sums to have them framed. Others use the shops like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby or frame it themselves. This is lovely, but what if you don’t have wall space? Or time? or Ideas? What if your friends and family already have more stitched gifts from you than they really want? What if you love stitching cute kid-friendly designs but it clashes with your sophisticated decor?
One possible answer – Start to work with a charity stitching group like ours! You work with fairly simple designs – most can be completed within a month stitching only a couple of hours a day. Our squares are all between 6×6 and 8×8 stitched area on 12×12 white 14 count Aida (though some do use evenweave, and we do use some 16 count Aida as well.) You don’t have to finish your pieces either. We send them to a quilter who turns them into masterpieces. Our recipients LOVE our work. We have done custom quilts and pillows for several Canadian children fighting with life-long illnesses. Our work brings smiles to their faces as they find their favorite things on something made just for them.
Plus, you have a very valid excuse to either use those wonderful charts in your stash or buy new ones! We deal with a very wide range of topics from Pooh and Frozen, to the great outdoors, to animals, and everything in between. I am always buying charts that I know I will need, plus there is all that fabric and I do have to have more floss because I stitch so much.
As if putting smiles on kid’s faces wasn’t enough we have a whole other dimension of people we make quilts for – Canadian First Responders coping with PTSD/PTSI. We take the same 6×6 to 8×8 on 12×12 fabrics but look for a more adult theme like sports, motorcycles, horses, dogs, and Canadiana. These are turned into fantastic quilts by our skilled team of quilters and longarmers. What could be more special than taking part in a quilt like this, and showing them that strangers do care about them. You can say, “Thanks for your service” all day long, but those words don’t have the same effect as being able to wrap a quilt around you and feeling the love that goes into every stitch.
So, in reality, what does it take to be part of something memorable like this? Compassion, and the ability to stitch (and part with!) pieces of embroidery. The costs are really not that bad, and if you want to stitch but don’t have fabric or floss, we will help you with that. If you don’t have a chart, we can help there too. You do need to be able to mail your square to the Project Coordinator when you are done, so there is minimal cost.
Time — most of us have families and jobs. Stitching time is something that is hard to come by on far too many days. I would say the average stitcher puts in about 1 to 2 hours a day. Many of our squares can be completed in about 2 weeks stitching just that many hours. Some do take longer of course but that is average. Can you spare that much time to help make a difference?
Then there is the added benefit of having a valid excuse to add stash without feeling guilty. I am always finding charts that are the perfect size for what we are doing either now or in the future. We do tend to stitch in themes, so that does make it easier.
We love our hobby, and we love to stitch especially for people who truly appreciate it. Not everything you stitch needs to be a HAED masterpiece, and our smaller, more simple squares can provide a much needed break. When you decide you really want to make a difference in someone’s life, join us. Check out our Facebook Page or take the plunge and join our Facebook group. If you are not on Facebook but still want to participate, please drop an email to can at canadastitches dot com and we will take care of you.
So, after reading all this, do you think you have what it takes to join our team of volunteers?