This Inspiring Project Finishes Handmade Pieces Left Behind by Loved Ones

Whether it’s a lovingly half-finished quilt or a treasured needlepoint midway to completion, this worldwide charity aims to ease grief and create community by matching volunteer handwork finishers with special pieces that have been left behind due to death or disability. We chat with Loose Ends Project Co-founder Jennifer Simonic about what inspired this initiative and why finishing people’s projects matters.

photos WINKY LEWIS

Tell us why the Loose Ends Project exists…

Masey and I have been friends for 30 years and we are both crafters. Last summer, our friend Patty lost her mother to cancer. Patty’s mum had started two blankets, one for each of her sons, and as I sat there thinking about crocheting a massive blanket (because I love my friend Patty but I am not fond of crocheting), Masey said, “I have been thinking about creating a group that finishes other people’s projects and I think we can get other people excited to help.” One website, some door-to-door flyer drop-offs and a couple of posts on social media later and we were off to the races with 150 volunteers and five projects.

Why do you feel finishing people’s projects is so important?

When an original crafter starts a project, the intention is there to finish. Usually, it’s being made for a loved one, so finishing is important for two people. We get to help carry out the wishes of the original crafter and leave the project owner with a tangible reminder of their loved ones. Our volunteers also get a lot out of finishing. There is so much joy in completing something for someone who is not able to. Crafters are an incredibly generous group of people so it’s not surprising they’re willing to do this.



How do you feel about the way your project has become a worldwide phenomenon?

It’s amazing and surreal but again not surprising. It’s been a terrible couple of years for people. We’ve been separated by politics and fear and forced to stay away from others because of the pandemic. But this is something that allows people to step up and say, “I have this skill. How can I help someone who doesn’t?” And for those people with the projects, because we have over 18,000 volunteers in 64 countries, we can show them there are strangers in their communities willing to help them. It’s a little wild that I am talking about this from Seattle, Washington with you lovelies in Australia but gosh humans can be so empathetic and kind. You just need to give them the opportunity to show it.

We get to help carry out the wishes of the original crafter and leave the project owner with a tangible reminder of their loved ones.

Do you have a favourite story from the project? 

That’s like choosing a favourite child. Some are super heartbreaking – a mum who lost a daughter and asked us to finish her last crochet project. That finisher did a fantastic job and now that mum has a blanket she can wrap it around herself to remember her daughter. Some required so much talent – a Hawaiian quilt hanging that a wonderful finisher took on and hand-quilted for a family whose mum had passed. There’s a beautiful quilted jacket being finished in Western Australia and a quirky knitted frog kit in New South Wales. The one thing they all have in common is someone asking for help and closure, and some wonderful person is stepping up to do it. If someone wants to help looseendsproject.org is the place to go to sign up as a finisher, submit a project or find out more ways to help.

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