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A threaded needle can help someone in need. Whether it’s stitching a cap for a young cancer patient or fashioning a dress for a victim of domestic violence, handmade charitable projects make a big difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Our friend Nancy Zieman of “Sewing with Nancy” calls it “creative kindness,” and she’s devoted a book, a DVD and several episodes to the subject. Many organizations are dedicated to crafting for a cause, from Project Linus, which accepts homemade blankets for ill or traumatized children, to Newborns in Need, which takes handcrafted clothing and other items for premature babies. There’s also Craft Hope, a creative call-to-arms that provides patterns and tutorials with a designated cause, like bracelets for Russian orphans and blankets for tornado survivors. Gather a group of friends to make and deliver goods to shelters or hospitals. You’ll enjoy spending quality social time, plus you’ll feel good for helping others. A true win-win. What can you make? Here are some ideas to get you started. Sew stylish skirts, such as our one-size-fits-most It's a Wrap (IJ769), or purses, like the In-Style Suitcase Bag (IJ913), for a battered women’s shelter. Make quilts, like the easy-to-piece Whirlygigs Quilt (IJ896), or coats, like the Simple Swing Jacket (IJ700), for a homeless shelter. Even a simple stitched pillow from Pillow Party (IJ843) can improve someone's quality of life. Create darling dolls, like the Yo-Yo Bear (IJ787), or comfy PJs, like our Jack & Jill Jammies (IJ842), for sick or orphaned children. Construct charming jewelry, like Mixed Metal Zips (IJ906) or Yo-Yo Blooms (IJ893), for troubled teenage girls. No matter what the craft or cause, your skilled hands and generous spirit can make someone's day.

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