Good Afternoon I am here with my daughter T.k. Wilson of Laterose Doll Clothes and Doll repair. We're going to talk about stuffed toys for charity.
First a little background. Once upon a time there was a precocious little girl who, though allergic to strawberries, decided to ingest her brother's antibiotic medicine containing REAL strawberry flavor. Though left on the top shelf of the refrigerator and capped with a very solid childproof cap, she managed to open and drink. Unlike Alice In Wonderland, all that occurred was an ambulance ride to the hospital for a dose of liquid charcoal. Enter W.A.V.E.S ambulance crew in Fairmount NY. These great folks had a supply of hand sewn bears to give out to children who, like my daughter, needed a ride into the hospital. To this day, T.k. has the bear given to her on that day. Thus was born the idea to give toys to children who are in vulnerable situations.
I asked T.k. to assist me today because, though I have made toys for children in the past, she has a real passion for this outreach. Together we are going to share some places you can donate your handmade stuffed toys for use by ambulance companies and links to patterns. You can always check with your local hospital about donating toys.
Me: T.k. how long have you been making toys for children?
T.k.: About 5 years.
Me: How long have you been crocheting?
T.k.: On and off since I was 12 years old. My first project was a blanket for my Eliza Thornberry doll.
Me: So your first project was for a toy?
T.k.: Haha Yes, I guess it was.
Me: Why did you start creating toys for other kids in the first place?
T.k.: I was working as a volunteer with children at a local school and making toys just looked interesting as a hobby.
Me: Why did you start making toys for donation?
T.k.: I had made a lot of simple stuffed dolls but did not know what I was going to do with them. So I asked the principle of the school where I was volunteering what I should do with them and she pointed me in the direction of the local hospital.
Me: How long did you make toys for the hospital.
T.k.: Three or four years.
Me: I know you still have the bear you got on your first ambulance ride. Do you think that influenced your decision to help kids in the hospital?
Me: Lets talk about designs for a few minutes. When it comes to making toys for children in hospital or in other vulnerable situations what would you say is the first rule of thumb.
T.k. Simple toys with as few pieces as possible.
Me: It may seem like an obvious question but why?
T.k.: Simple toys are better because they are safer for the children. For instance the eyes on handmade toys for donation should be painted on with non-toxic, child safe, fabric paint or purchase the safety eyes with the washer. Fewer parts mean less chance of the toys being pulled apart.
Me: How to you choose a pattern from the internet or what is your favorite type of toy to design?
T.k.: I have a go to internet favorite! Ravelry! I mix and match elements from patterns I have purchased to make my own toy designs.
Me: So far what is your favorite toy to send to hospitals or ambulance companies?
T.k.: Kokeshi dolls.
Me: Okay What?
Tk.: Kokeshi dolls are little dolls of Japanese origin that are made in 2 simple shapes; A head, and a body.
Me: There have to be a lot of dolls that are made that way why Kokeshis?
T.k.: VERY customizable. The hair is attached to the head so you can make any color skin or clothing color. They are normally 3 inches tall. That size is perfect for travel or to hold in the hand.
Me: They sound adorable. You do put a lot of thought into these things don't you? Because they are handmade with acrylic yarn they are surface washable correct? Toys need to be cleaned to prevent the spread of germs right?
T.k.: In my opinion they should always be surface washable especially in the hospital setting. If your child is sensitive to cleansers I recommend using a steam cleaning using the steam setting on the clothes iron. Simply hold the iron above the toy and shoot steam at them. My mom used to put our toys in a bag then place them in the freezer which also kills germs.
Me: What do you make for boys?
T.k. My favorites are bears and birds. Traditional bears, and brightly colored birds.
Me: Now that you have your own business making doll clothes and repairing dolls have you stopped making toys? College takes up a lot of time too.
T.k.: No not at all. I still make them for donation to groups like Operation Christmas Child and the local group called Holiday Helpers when I have time.
Me: Lets talk places to donate toys for ambulance crews:
T.k.: First you can call your local ambulance company, or the police to see if the toys are even needed or wanted. Sometimes they won't have the space to carry them in their unit. Or Check out these 2 great organizations!
We Care Bears: An official partner with American Greetings Entertainment! Very cool.
Me: That is very cool!
T.k.: Also S.A.F.E which is Stuffed Animals for Emergencies Inc.
Me: S.A.F.E has chapters in various parts of America right?
T.k.: Correct. There's really something for everyone with S.A.F.E so please check out their link and their facebook page.
Me: Would you be willing to share some of your favorite links with the readers today?
Me: Ok over to you!
I'll say goodbye and leave the rest to T.k.. We'd love it if you would consider checking out the links we shared with you today.
First off, for my sewing friends we have Dolly Donations free and easy doll pattern. It turns out super cute and comes in boy and girl options.
Next we have the Black Apple Dolls also cute and easy!
From the Web Archive we have this easy Bunny Rabbit. Two pieces, what could be easier?
Finally, we have fleece teddies also just two pieces.
Crochet patterns Include the wonderful All About Ami pattern for a Dragon. One of the best and suitable for boys and girls!
Finally, we have my favorite Kokeshi pattern from HappyBerry Crochet, yes, it is in US terms.
I hope you enjoyed this look into crochet toys for charity!
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**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.