I’d like to take a moment today to depart from my usual talk of dressmaking to address a current need. For those of you who don’t know, I live in Florida, a little north of Tampa and not terribly far from some of the most beautiful beaches in the continental U.S…. for the moment, anyway. I’ve been fairly overwhelmed reading about the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico: worried, angry, frustrated, horrified, grief-stricken. The implications are staggering, for our environment, our already struggling economy, and the world our kids will inherit. And the spill hasn’t been stopped yet; thousands of barrels of toxic crude oil are continuing to spew into the Gulf, contaminating the fragile ecosystems in the Gulf and along its coastlines.
So I was beyond delighted when a Facebook friend linked to Craft Hope’s latest project, which offers those of us who sew (and also those who knit, crochet, or who make/use fabrics in other ways) to contribute something of tangible worth to the ongoing clean up efforts. Craft Hope Project 8 is calling for handmade rags, the size of wash cloths and hand towels, which will be used to help clean oiled animals rescued along the Gulf coast. They are also accepting donations of Dawn liquid dish detergent, needed to wash the oil away without harm to the animals. The donations will be used to assist The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, the Audubon Nature Institute, and the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in their cleanup efforts.
As a dressmaker, I go through a lot of fabric. And for years I’ve been reluctant to throw away any piece of fabric large enough that I can imagine some future use for it – even if it’s clearly too small to be used for adult clothing. So I have accumulated a large and varied scrap pile, and yesterday I spent time picking through the pile to pull out any fabrics soft enough and absorbant enough to be useful for the clean up efforts. I cut them down to the smaller sizes needed, and today I’m shipping them off to Craft Hope to be added to the donations from others.
For those of you in Florida, if you are looking for additional options to volunteer, there’s a handy guide on this website listing volunteer groups by county.