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    A Stuffed Animal For Every Child At Sandy Hook

    A group of crafters is handmaking one for each surviving student.

    The same day as the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a handful of knitters and crocheters formed a group on the popular crafting website Ravelry.

    This is Eugene, knitted by Kay-H.

    Called "600 Monsters Strong for Connecticut," the group's aim is to provide a handmade stuffed animal to each student at Sandy Hook, in addition to the children and siblings of victims. Now, just days later, the group has over 1,000 members, and photos of finished projects have already begun to be posted. They'll all be delivered at once by one of the group moderators, Ravelry user colorfulsheep.

    A work-in-progress by yenli_c.

    There are sensitive guidelines in place; for example, no stuffed animals with X's for eyes, all toys must be stuffed with hypoallergenic polyfill, and they should be "huggable, but not huge."

    Although some questions have been raised about the word "monster" used in connection with the shooting, moderator colorfulsheep wrote on the group's discussion board, "We don’t use the term 'monster' for any specific reason, other than those are the patterns we are using. I chose monsters for this project because they are simple, colorful, fun, and easy to make a wide variety while still retaining some 'uniform' qualities." She added, "I am working with a number of people in connection to those in Newtown. If at any moment, for any time, for any reason, one of my contacts says 'Hey, this may not be the best name', it will be changed immediately."

    "I like to think that we're knitting up some protection for these children," wrote user Tivity. "A feeling of safety through the night."

    Rachie2084, from Texas, made a bear with dragonfly wings.

    The group has become more than just a place for organizing logistics; members (who range from high school freshmen to grandmothers, from the UK to Alberta) use the boards to discuss their own feelings about and relationships to Sandy Hook. There's a whole thread devoted to members offering to buy patterns for other members who can't afford them, and one for group members with children who want to write accompanying cards to include with the toys.

    If you'd like to get involved or show support, join the Ravelry group (and if you're a crafter without an account on the site, this is a great time to get one) or check out their Facebook page here.