Action Craft!

I’ve been back in Tokyo for a few days now.  From my walks around the neighborhood, it is hard to say whether it is quiet or if it’s just my imagination.  Dan reports business as usual at his office, though says his coworkers are less lively than normal.  We both get the feeling that people just aren’t going out as much, instead staying home to conserve energy and resources.  Tokyo with its lights off feels a little sad, though it seems temporary.

I’ve been thinking about what I can do to help.  I want to head north, pick up a hammer or lug boxes, but right now it’s best to let the trained aid workers do their thing without interruption.  And who are we kidding — if I went now, I’d be a blubbering mess.  Those who know me know that I’m pretty good at crying.  I can’t help it, I’m a weeper.  Emerging stories by survivors are amazing and necessary, but heart-wrenching.  Right now, I can help everyone by helping from afar.

I thought about sending a percentage of the proceeds from my web shop to a local charity, but I decided I didn’t want my giving to be dependent on how much I sell.  I’d rather just give something, no strings attached.

Then today it hit me — I can stitch.

Before I moved to Japan I bought this book, Quilting for Peace.  It includes stories about people making quilts for survivors of tragedies, and about how small quilts and blankets, when given to people in need, provide enormous comfort.  I remember one story in particular — about a group of women who made small quilts for their local fire station to have at the ready when a family lost their home and everything in it.  Imagine standing on the curb watching your house go up in smoke, and someone hands you a homemade blanket rather than one of those scratchy synthetic ones.

So that is what I can do.  For now, at least.

And then it occurred to me — I’m a crafty gal with crafty friends.  I bet if I ask nicely, a bunch of you could do the same…  How about it?!  Let’s make some blankets!

Interested?!  Great!  Here are the details —

The plan: Make small kid-sized or lap-sized blankets to send to an evacuation shelter, hospital or school in a tsunami-affected area of Japan.  I’ll do the research, and maybe recruit my Japanese friends to help me find a location.  I’ll keep you all informed as plans develop.

What you, crafty friends and family, can do: Make a small blanket and send it to me.  I know some of you quilt, others knit or croquet — anything works!  Think roughly 36 inches by 48 inches (90 cm x 120 cm), try not to go bigger than that, smaller is OK too.  Be creative!  Feel free to use up scraps!  Tied quilts, machine-pieced, embroidered or not, whatever!  This is a great excuse for those of you who have been wanting to try quilting.  If you need help, send me a message and I’ll walk you through it.  I’ll also try to dig up some tutorials and easy patterns. (For starters, check here.) Please send your blanket freshly washed.

Also, include a hand-written note for the recipient.  Tell them where you live, send a photo or drawing if you’d like.  I’ll translate the notes, gather the goods, and see that they are delivered to a proper location.  If you fancy, I’ll also take photos of the blankets to put on this blog, so everyone participating can see what’s been sent and share encouragement.

Let’s keep this quick, and shoot for a deadline of one month from now.  Try to place your blanket in the mail by the end of April, bonus points if you can get it to me by the 30th.  For questions or a shipping address, contact me at sakepuppets(at)gmail(dot)com.  Also, why don’t you leave a comment and tell us what you’re working on!  All are invited to participate, old friends and new!

Good luck, happy stitching, and がんばって!

22 thoughts on “Action Craft!

  1. What a great idea- I will get my quilting group to start working on it right away! Thanks for giving us a new purpose for our love of quilting…take care.. love to you both…

  2. Love it, love it, love it!!! I’ve been trying to decide what we can do to help, and this is a perfect thing for me. My sewing machine is at the ready! Tomorrow I start my new project.
    Thank you.

  3. Hey Ang,

    I’m in!

    I’ve got a lot of random yarn ready and waiting to be knit into something useful and good. Whatever I make will be scrappy, but it’ll be made with a lot of love- and the deadline is perfect because I’ll be back out it the backcounty shortly after it. Keep me in the loop!

  4. Cool! I have loads of leftover yarn that I can probably turn into a granny square blanket of some sort. I’m also going to forward this post to my friend Sheila, a quilter who lives in Juneau. I bet she’d be into it.

  5. Count me in! Ang – what a grea idea. I’ll get started sewing this weekend. If you l ike, I can be the Minnesota delivery point. If anyone needs me to pick up the completed items, I can do that and then mail a bunch at once – since I am very familiar with mailing things to you!
    Love you Sweetie!

  6. Hi Angie,
    Have been wondering what to do with all my Polo uniform shirts. Will try and get a couple made. What a really neat idea.

  7. Angie,

    I found your blog when checking to see how you and Dan were doing. I liked your idea but am not crafty myself so I pasted it on to my mom. Who also sent it to a couple of people. I hope that is alright. Glad to hear that you and Dan are safe and doing well.

  8. Hi Angie,
    I love making little blankets from 2 yards of cute material. I don’t usually piece them but I tuft them with yarn. I bet this would be fine too. Problem, we are in New Jersey now, no machine so I will try one by hand. EEK!! Thanks for thinking of this. I saw that your Mom is willing to be a drop off point. I am going to be back in MN for a few days later this month. Might this be an option.


    Ps glad you are ok. 🙂

  9. Hi Angie, I am Ben Petersen’s Aunt Susan, his mom Margaret passed the e-mail on to me since I quilt. Retirement is wonderful when surprise projects pop up. It’s a wonderful idea. I am almost finished so will email you for mailing instructions. Thanks fo doing this.

  10. So far I have created 3 small quilts in bright cotton patterns! They go pretty fast! Thanks for letting me be a part of this project!

    Masha in California

  11. I have a blanket ready but every time I try to e-mail you it states there is no e-mail address. Have you changed your address?

  12. Remember me? I.m a friend of Anne Ritchie who tried to entice you into becoming a needlepoint maniac like myself.

    I have a blanket to send and posted a link to your website on my facebook knitting blog. that prompted delivery this morning of a sweet crocheted baby blanket from one of our sweet school secretaries, There might be many more to come .

    • Michelle, of course I do! How wonderful, thank you so very much. I can’t wait to see your blankets! And, you almost succeeded with the needlepoint, if only it wasn’t for the price tag on those lovely painted canvases. Maybe someday!

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