Each year my EGA chapter, Needle Artisans of Northwest Indiana, teaches a project at Camp Quality Illinois, a camp for children who have or have had cancer. It's a lot of fun but also a challenge: the children range in age from six to sixteen and some have never seen a needle and some are quite adept. The project also needs to appeal to both boys and girls (or at the very least be something boys might want to give to their mom. The other design criteria is that it must be a finished project or one that is very easily finished by the child on their own. We have some children who come to do our project each year, which is really fun!
I've been leading this project for the last few years and this is very late to get going on it, although we have had some ideas to work with and materials donated. Before talking about this year's project, I thought I'd share some past projects. The labor and most of the materials are donated by members. Many also take time off of work to go to camp and teach.
This mass of stuff is a collection of belts made from Zweigart Stitch band, baggies with floss and a needle, and pattern charts we made up with some motifs, alphabets and space for the children to chart their own name. The stitch taught was cross stitch. Many thanks go to Zweigart and Susan Johnson of SJ Designs for help in obtaining the Stitchband fabric. The belt buckles are D-rings.
In 2006 the theme for our day was Hollywood so we created totebags based on the "walk of fame." On one side we ironed on a star in advance. At camp the children wrote their name there. We had a variety of fibers and big buttons for them to use to decorate their bags. On the blank size we traced the child's hands and helped them couch metallic cording around the outline. We had other fibers to couch around the star if they wanted. We taught couching and how to sew on a button.
One of our most popular projects was a journal cover. We bought spiral journals at a discount store and used our Jo-Ann's coupons to get loads of felt. We did some of the finishing stitching as prework so the project would be quick to complete. We also used cookie-cutters as patterns to cut out all sorts of felt Halloween shapes, our theme for that year. We had some perle cotton for stitching and Kreinik generously donated a whole lot of glow-in-the-dark metallics to really make the covers pop! This cover was stitched as a sample by a NANI chapter member, Carol.
The children got very creative with this one. Some even used extra felt to carefully cut out their names and apply the pieces to the felt. We taught applique and the buttonhole stitch.
The final photo is one example of a project done with plastic canvas. The children get very creative with the canvas and do some lovely things with their stitching. This colorful box was conceived, I believe, by Tina, a former member of NANI.
These are just a few of the projects we've made with the children at camp over the last 10+ years.