Fiber Arts aficionados donate stuffed animals to Sequim’s Boys & Girls Club

The Sequim unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula recently welcomed 49 new pets when Monica Dixon of the Sequim Fiber Art Neighborhood Group delivered handmade stuffed animals for the members of the club.

“This is going to be great,” said Tessa Jackson, unit director. The stuffed animals, “are very, very helpful right now, especially during COVID,” serving as emotional support for the children.

Dixon said 16 members had worked on the stuffed animals for a year before the donation in early September.

“One lady made eight snakes, super cute and cuddly,” she said, “and there are puppy dogs, elephants, giraffes and lots of teddy bears.”

The fiber arts group operates under the auspices of the Silverdale chapter of the American Sewing Guild, which says on its website it is the “only national organization dedicated to advancing sewing as an art and life skill.”

“ASG requires one community service project a year,” Dixon said. “Three years ago, we donated 100 pairs of polar fleece pajama pants,” to the club unit.

Last year the group donated 150 pillowcases to the children at the unit.

The inspiration for this year’s donation was when they were discussing the completed pillow case project on Zoom.

“I reached up and grabbed my giraffe — I told them, these are really cool,” Dixon said.

She was excited the pattern had just two pieces, so even inexperienced “sewists” (a combination of sew and artist) can make a stuffed animal.

The patterns came from Carolszoo.com, a business run by Carol Cruise of Rodeo, Calif.

“Carol likes to do charity work, so a member called and asked if it was OK to reproduce her patterns in bulk,” Dixon said.

Normally when a person buys a pattern, it is just for them to use, not reproduce.

Cruise said yes, so several of the members each chose a pattern to buy and then shared it with the group.

Not all of the animals were from those patterns. Dixon said the snakes weren’t and that the dog was made using a 1950s pattern.

“We collect fabric from leftover projects to turn into these stuffed animals,” Dixon said.

Club members plan to make more of the animals since there are more than 49 children at the club.

Jackson said she has a number of different ways to give the animals to the children, and she will prioritize making sure they each get one.

Dixon said the women in the Fiber Arts group “were a huge part of how I was able to pull together 9,800 masks in two months last year,” after a request from long-term health facilities for help.

“I called the fiber arts girls, and they went at it,” Dixon said.

The members of her group contacted other sewists they knew, and those contacted others, and “they went into full-tilt boogey mode,” Dixon said.

“All I do is say, ‘Hey, I need help,’ and they all get everyone going.”

Nick, age 5, and Josie, age 4, of Great Futures Preschool, a program housed at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club, hold stuffed animals sewn by members of the Sequim Fiber Arts Neighborhood Group of the Sewing Guild of America for distribution at the club. Sequim Gazette photo by Emily Matthiessen

Nick, age 5, and Josie, age 4, of Great Futures Preschool, a program housed at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club, hold stuffed animals sewn by members of the Sequim Fiber Arts Neighborhood Group of the Sewing Guild of America for distribution at the club. Sequim Gazette photo by Emily Matthiessen