RACINE — Organizations continue to look for ways to help Ukrainian refugees see a little glimpse of hope. Now, local quilters in Racine are looking to help one of their own, thousands of miles away.
For Ukrainian mother Nadiia, she received her hope from Sew 'n Save quilt company in Racine.
According to the Sew 'n Save website, Nadiia is a 43-year-old mother of two children who spends most of her time caring for her children, but earns extra money with her Etsy shop, selling quilting patterns.
However, this hobby came to a halt when Russia invaded Ukraine.
Having to figure out another plan, on Feb. 25, Nadiia escaped from her house right outside of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, to Poland.
With Nadiia are her two children, mother, sister, and her sewing machine. Her husband and brother-in-law have stayed back to aid in resistance against Russia.
Karin Janssen-Potter, manager at Sew ‘n Save of Racine, came across Nadiia’s Etsy page and immediately thought of ways she could help.
“it’s just horrible. It’s horrible what is happening to those people. It’s just wrong,” said Krin Janssen-Potter, a manager at Sew ‘n Save in Racine.
Janssen-Potter gathered local quilters to come and help put together a sewing kit of Nadiia’s patterns, a cute carrot table topper, and sell them at Sew n’ Save.
“We just felt like we wanted to help and do something. So, first thing I did was (design) a little sunflower in the window kit and then I found a Ukrainian designer, Nadiia. She had a little Etsy shop, but because of the war, she can’t access her Etsy shop and they had to leave to go to Poland,” Janssen-Potter said.
A tutorial for the pattern is posted on the Sew n’ Save website.
According to Sew 'n Save, they have arranged to send Nadiia $5 from every sale, and another 25% of the proceeds will be donated to an agency providing relief for Ukrainian refugees.
Janssen-Potter refers to this initiative as the the “Ukrainian Project."
Nadiia even wrote a letter to Sew ‘n Save thanking them for their help and informing them on the situation she found herself in.
Janssen-Potter says that Nadiia is hopeful she will return back home.
"She is very up beat, she is very positive, and she is very hopeful that she will be able to go back to her home near Kyiv when this is all over."
Janssen-Potter and other local quilters have put together a care package with fabric, small sewing supplies, toys, and coloring books for the children to send Nadiia.
“It just felt good to help an actual quilter. For quilters to help another quilter, it put a real face on it and I just think it’s something that we could do,” Janssen-Potter said.
Sew 'n Save hopes that the local community will join them in helping support Nadiia and other Ukraine refugees.
Sew ‘n Save is also selling a “Sunflower in the Window” kit, which represents the national flower of Ukraine and the solidarity with Ukraine that Sew n’ Save wants to emphasize.
In addition, 25% of the proceeds from the "Sunflower in the Window" kit are given to organizations aiding Ukrainian refugees.
Janssen-Potter hopes to continue working with Nadiia in the future. More of Nadiia’s patterns may be up for sale soon.
To purchase the carrot table topper and or the Sunflower in the Window quilts, visit here.
The U.S. quilting community has over 2,000 local quilting guilds nationwide. Janssen-Potter said she hopes with this easy-to-make kits, she can help grow the quilting community – and more importantly, help a friend in need.
"We need to be able to do something and this is about all I can do. We cannot help everybody, but we can help one quilter, one person at a time,” she said.
Nadiia’s Etsy, FoxInSockCrafts, can be found HERE.
The Ukrainian Project can be found HERE.