Puerto Rico & Hurricane Maria, 2017

I usually talk about crafting on this blog, but I thought it would be a good idea to talk about why I choose to donate 30% of my Etsy shop’s proceeds to charity — and why I’ve chosen the charity I’m currently donating to. (It’s the Hispanic Federation and specifically their Hurricane Maria disaster relief efforts.)

Many of you will remember Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria, all of which hit in 2017. There was a huge push for recovery in the continental United States, but the damage from Maria, in September of 2017, was worst in Puerto Rico — which is part of the United States, albeit not a state. 

Now, nine months on, the recovery efforts are hobbled and struggling, federal funds aren’t being disbursed in a timely fashion, the estimated death toll of 4,600+ is more than double that of Hurricane Katrina, and Puerto Rico is still getting far less press attention and funding. 

So here’s some reading, in case you’re interested in what’s going on. 

The Guardian’s account of Hurricane Maria’s death toll and another article that details the fact that Puerto Rico is suing to get a more accurate death count — because the federal government is still insisting that only 64 people died, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. 

A bipartisan commission is being called for to investigate federal disaster preparedness in the case of Hurricane Maria.

Even FEMA’s own records tell a different story than what is being pushed by the federal government. NPR says that FEMA is blaming the storm, rather than it’s own lack of preparedness, despite an appalling lack of pre-storm prep.

I chose the Hispanic Federation as my charitable recipient this year because of its strong record in working closely with communities on the ground, its good charity navigator score, and the fact that it has a history of working in Puerto Rico, which means infrastructure already in place. 

Check out its work in Puerto Rico Disaster Relief here.

As always, I’m in graduate school, and I’m not stipended anymore. I literally can’t donate on my own, but I can turn my skill into money to donate, if you all help me out by shopping with me.  I know there are a lot of options out there for stitch markers and project bags: more every day, it seems like, and a lot of really awesome makers to be discovered. 

In case you’re wondering, I’ve done my first donations of the year through Network for Good — Google is matching donations to the Hispanic Federation right now at a 1-for-1 match. 

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That $500 that you all helped me donate so far this year will be matched, and will be $1000 donated in total, because Google is matching up to $2 million, and as of the time of this post they’re not there yet.

And as always, thank you all for helping me put my money where my mouth is. 

Summer Critters Update

Summer critters and news about Puerto Rico fundraising.

KnitSpinQuilt is celebrating the incipient summer of 2018 with woodland creatures! Hedgehogs and owls have simply stolen the show for this particular update.

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These prints — especially the hedgehogs — were really popular at the Moms and Makers Market on May 12 in NYC. If you’re a fan, check the shop out ASAP!

Each bag is fully lined with white Kona Cotton fabric, and each color of top is cut and sewn in batches of four (for the medium bags) or two (for the large bags). When each color of these bags is gone, it’s gone until the next batch is sewn up, so grab them before this shop update sells out!

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As always, 30% of the purchase price for everything you buy from KnitSpinQuilt is donated to the Hispanic Federation for Puerto Rico disaster relief efforts, which are still sorely needed even after all this time: The projected deadline for 100% restoration of power in Puerto Rico has passed, and restoration of power has really not been achieved.

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Celebrities such as Lin Manuel Miranda (author and star of Hamilton) have been championing this cause: I figure it’s the least I can do to donate a bit to the cause of helping people get their homes and everyday lives back. I’ll be posting an article about the situation in Puerto Rico later this week: keep your eyes peeled, because it’ll include other ways people can help out, as the next hurricane season approaches all too soon.

KnitSpinQuilt Update & News

Some news for you today.  First of all, there’s a shop update on Etsy!Goldfish dice bag

These goldfish bags are limited to only five more — ever! — so if you like them, snatch them up now!

I’ve been sewing up a storm, and here are some of the bags that are going out in the mail soon:

Three drawstring bags

Second of all, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be vending in person at FlameCon in Brooklyn this August!

FlameCon Logo

I’ll be spending a fair bit of time prepping items for that this summer, and there will be a couple of FlameCon exclusives that I’ll tease in late July / early August.

But don’t worry: I’ll also be stocking the shop more fully this summer than I have been for the last couple of months: turns out that working two jobs is less time-consuming than working four!

Back & Forward

Hello, all! It’s been a very busy semester in graduate school: I’ve been working on my dissertation proposal, teaching a seminar and working at a library, and it’s been eating most of my time.

That has prompted a little bit of news on this front though: after trying out SquareSpace, I’ve decided it won’t work well for what I need right now: I don’t have the time to market as aggressively as I had planned, so I’m back on Etsy, and you all can find me at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/knitspinquilt again.

This won’t change the % I donate to charity — in 2017, it’s 30% of the listed price to Doctors Without Borders, and if you use a discount code, that doesn’t change the amount I donate.

Watch this space for updates on Monday, the 22nd: I’ll have some new products and some exciting news about this summer.

In the mean time, have a teaser of a product I think some of you might appreciate:

Doctor Who Stitch markers

Sewing for Flint

I’ve been doing a lot of sewing recently, mostly project bags. Most are Spoonflower fabric, and all are repeatable.

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I’ve also made some new stitch markers.  The oak leaves are one-offs, but the little green balls glow in the dark, and I have other colors of those that I’ll be making up soon.

All are available (or custom-orderable) at KnitSpinQuilt on Etsy where all money raised through sales in February and March of 2016 are being directed to the Flint Child Health & Development Fund.

Since I last posted about this we’ve raised $317.50!

But – and here’s where I ask your indulgence – sending monetary aid isn’t enough.

Please, if the issue of lead levels as high as 4,000 parts per billion (it’s an emergency at 15 ppb!) scares you, if the idea of an un-elected “emergency manager” poisoning the water supply of an entire town who had no recourse, no way to vote him out of office makes you mad, write your elected officials!  If enough of us make enough noise, we can get Michigan’s government to move faster on this horrifying issue. If you don’t live in MI, you may not be able to write to those senators, but you can write your own and let them know you care and want them to care, too.

I’ve done so.  It’s a small thing, but it’s how our democracy is supposed to work.

In the mean time, however, I’m going to keep making things, donating my time and my stash to something that I truly believe is a national disaster and crisis.  With your help, if you like the things I make and buy them, we can do something small – and possibly something really meaningful – for the people of Flint, MI, who are really hurting.  And you get a nifty handmade gift out of it, too!

Fundraising for Flint, MI water

All income (not profits: 100% of income) from January and February 2016 will be donated to Water Aid for Flint, MI, via the The Mission of Hope Shelter and Pastor Bobby Jackson, and the GoFundMe setup here: https://www.gofundme.com/rjp53vz8

Help me raise money to provide water to the kids of Flint, MI, where the water has dangerously elevated lead levels.

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KnitSpinQuilt on Etsy.