Group Crafting

Crafting a better tomorrow doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. You can enlist a crafting buddy like Poptart did with me. You can also find a group you can craft with. In Alameda, California, for example, there is an adorable little shop called Modern Mouse that sells a large variety of local, handcrafted items including art, clothing, accessories, lotions, craft kits, and stationary. They also host a “Crafternoon” once a month that anyone can sign up for. The cost is $10, and the workshop is fun for all skill levels, though beginners will get the most out of the session in terms of learning techniques. Modern Mouse also holds a “Crafternoon for a Cause” every now and then where the items people make during the workshop are donated to a charity or organization.

Poptart and I participated in this month’s Crafternoon for a Cause, and we made felt plush animals for foster children. Modern Mouse will then donate these animals via Sew Mama Sew and the National Foster Parent Association. Modern Mouse purchased the patterns for the animals from Little Hibou Shop, and the fabulous Niki Baker of Foreignspell provided instruction. Crafters could choose to sew an elephant, a lion, or a giraffe.

Some of the benefits of joining a group crafting session are that the supplies are collected and ready for you, the cleanup is minimal, and someone else goes through the sometimes arduous task of arranging and completing the donation. Some of the disadvantages can be the cost (though Modern Mouse’s sessions are extremely affordable), the limited choices of what craft can be made, and table mates who occasionally try one’s patience (as I certainly did for Poptart). Make sure you are comfortable with the craft choice beforehand.

I must admit, sewing is not my thing. In fact, I find it extremely tedious and dull so this craft session was not exactly pleasant. I also made the mistake of choosing the giraffe, not realizing that I would have to cut out and sew on each spot and the perimeter I would have to sew was also  the longest.

Poptart, on the other hand, is an experienced sewer and enjoys it. The difference in our experiences with our plush could be heard in the noises we made while sewing. I sighed frequently and loudly, mumbled often in annoyance, and occasionally slammed something onto the table a little too hard. Poptart hummed happily in between comments like, “Don’t you find this so calming?” After sewing for nearly two and a half hours and losing more than a few hairs, I could safely say, “Not in the slightest.” Poptart even had to help me by sewing the spots on one side of my giraffe and finishing my perimeter.

While Poptart’s lion turned out well, I was not happy with my giraffe. I did my blanket stich to long on the neck so the stuffing showed a little. This is, perhaps, my least favorite part of a group sewing effort for a donation. If I had been making the craft at home, I could start over if it didn’t turn out, but I had to hand my less-than-perfect giraffe over as it was, hoping that the recipient would forgive my lack of sewing skills.

However, if you want to do something good for someone with your crafting itch, and you want some company while you do, a group crafting session might be just the thing. So find a place like Modern Mouse that helps people craft a better tomorrow, and spread the word and love to others.

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