Crafting for humanity

GVL / Courtesy Torey Tibbets

GVL / Courtesy Torey Tibbets

Maddie Forshee

A new student organization is taking knitting and crocheting to a whole new level by adding a philanthropic twist to an old craft.

Stitchcraft, a student organization formed during the beginning of winter semester, has teamed up with another student organization, Packing Hope, to create plastic mats to donate to the homeless in Grand Rapids.

Stitchcraft, a tight knit club with about 20 members, first came together as an offshoot of the Nerdfighter Club. Carson Garety, president of Stitchcraft, noticed a lot of members coming to meetings and working on knitting projects. She, along with a few others, were inspired to start a club of their own as a place for people to get together, talk and work on knitting and crocheting projects.

Having the need for people who were skilled at crocheting, Packing Hope approached Stitchcraft with the idea of creating plastic mats for the homeless.

“It’s our first project as a new club,” said Kylie Peterson, secretary of Stitchcraft. “I think we would jump at any opportunity to do something for somebody else.”

The bed mats are made of plastic yarn or “plarn” that the members cut, loop and crochet together from grocery bags. It takes around 1,000 grocery bags to make one mat, putting use to many old bags that would usually end up in a landfill.

“I like the…recycling aspect of (the project),” Garety said. “We’re taking something that would ordinarily be useless and turning it into something that will be very useful for someone.”

Once completed, the mats will be given to Packing Hope, who will add them to the care packages that they hand out to homeless people across Grand Rapids. The mats will be very light, waterproof and are able to be rolled up, making them portable.

Stitchcraft does not have a specific number of mats they are making, rather they are turning the opportunity into a long-term project for the club. They will always accept donations of plastic bags to use as plarn. For more information, visit Stitchcraft’s Facebook page.

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