Good afternoon! Charity crocheting and knitting is a very rewarding experience. Many charities have their own selection of patterns from which you can choose so that each donation suits the cause. It is very important to follow the guidelines of the charity to which you are donating. However have you ever had the experience that you wanted to make something lovely for donation but really didn't have the time search through endless patterns on the web, or thought how much easier it would be if an expert did the searching for you? Problem solved! Link parties and pattern roundups to the rescue.
Link parties connect all the most popular projects and put them in one easy place. Pattern Roundups usually pick a subject like, slouch hats for instance, and put all the patterns in one easy collection. All the patterns collected and vetted by great bloggers like Maria at Pattern Paradise. That makes things easier doesn't it?
My first introduction to a link party was in fact, at the blog of Maria Bittner at Pattern Paradise. I had seen them listed before on Facebook but I had not really looked at what a "link party" in depth. Pattern Paradise is part of the "Linky Ladies Community Link Parties" The Linky Ladies include Crystal of Crystalized-Designs, Heidi of Snappy Tots, and Carolyn of The Purple Poncho. Each week they showcase the 5 most popular patterns "linked" to the #LinkyLadies hashtag. Easy peasy right? You can let someone else's fingers do the walking through the patterns!
Most of the link parties with which I am familiar are posted on blogs I follow on Facebook or in RSS feed. So let me introduce you to a few:
This is really just the tip of the iceberg but I think with these blogs will get you started well on your way to finding great patterns quickly and easily. I know we'd much rather spend our time knitting and crocheting than surfing for patterns! Thanks for reading today and thank you to these wonderful bloggers for their contributions!
This is the view from my bedroom window I admit to having some serious cabin fever right about now. So when I was surfing the web for some inspiration, imagine my happiness when I found "Mama In A Stitch"! I loved the subtitle for her blog page immediately "Simple Knit, Crochet & Artsy Things". I thought; "Hey, I could get into that!". I was "hooked" and the rest is going to be recorded for history :) Thus today's Indy Artist Blog.
You'll find that Jessica, proprietress of Mama In A Stitch, has been published a few times and featured a few dozen more :) Granted I'm not a maven of the blogosphere so I am impressed at the blogs and newspapers she's been featured in! She's maintained her autonomy which is all the better for us right? She can create to her heart's content and we reap the benefits of her creative muse! I'm all about autonomy. :) I enjoy highlighting Indy(fiber) Artists on this blog simply because they are incredibly talented and for the most part they share their designs with us for little or no costs. Something they put their blood sweat and tears into is now ours to share with others. I really have tried writing patterns and let me tell you it's NOT an easy proposition for yours truly. So when I find a blog like "Mama In A Stitch" it is always in the back of my mind how much work has gone into their offerings. I'm grateful. (Oh and by-the-way, how she keeps looking so amazing is a secret I want in on!)
Most knitters and crocheters I know spend some of their time using their talents to help others in one way or another. Free patterns help us do that without cutting into our costs. This is a real bonus especially if you have to watch the pennies in the first place. One of the best things about Jessica's blog is that it's super easy to navigate. (Okay I have to admit to a pet peeve here for full disclosure. As a dyslexic, I like blogs/websites that have easy to locate navigation tools and search boxes. If I can't find what I need on a blog or a website I often give up and move on.) This is a clean easy to navigate blog divided into sections with a search box available. Click the navigation button "Free Knitting and Crocheting Patterns" at the top of the pages and that will take you to the free pattern drop down menu plus thumbnail photos of each pattern available. Sweet! The charities I am or have been involved with would certainly love the "Starry Sky Crochet hat" (tutorial included!), the "Chunky, Squishy, Crochet Infinity Scarf" , or any of the adorable animal hat patterns for children found here.
My daughter and I make a lot of gifts. I knit, crochet, and now loom knit. My daughter crochets, and sews. (sewing machines and I have a fundamental disagreement LOL) I spent A LOT of time surfing Jessica's fabulous creations. I don't wear a lot of sweaters anymore. I am usually pretty warm and so is my daughter. However, I live in very Northern New York State which, like Jessica's native Colorado gets pretty cold at times. The collection of both knit and crocheted blanket sweaters seemed like a dream come true. The open styling and the relaxed fit are perfect. If you are new to knitting or crocheting and you are looking to create a garment these sweaters would be perfect. You'll find the collection in the Popular Projects list in the righthand sidebar on each page of the site. My personal favorite is the "Light Frost Easy Blanket Sweater Crochet Pattern". The pattern stitch is very pretty.
For those who might knit/crochet for children you'll find a variety of projects from the practical to the whimsical. My daughter loves Amigurumi. I think they are adorable but since bifocals became a part of my every waking moment, I don't do the whole toy making thing as much any more :). If you are looking for super cute toys look no further than "Mama In A Stitch's" Amigurumi page. I absolutely fell in love with the "Velvet Rabbit Hooded Stole/Cowl Pattern" CUTE! Plus the story of the Velveteen Rabbit has a sentimental attachment so it warms the heart. :) "The Loft" Pom Baby Blanket" is lovely and with the pattern Jessica talks about Project Linus. Also another subject close to my heart. <3
I am often commissioned to make blankets. Jessica Reeves Potasz has produced about 5 blanket patterns I would like to make, had I time :) The "Mod Heirloom Crocheted Blanket Pattern" from the "Full Winter Collection" on the Mama In A Stitch blog is gorgeous. I think it caught my eye because of the color choices but it also uses one of my very favorite crochet stitches. Check out the "Full Winter Collection". Amazing! In the "Early Fall Collection" there is another stunning blanket. The "Chunky Icelandic Throw Blanket" It's a quick crocheted project made with chunky/bulky yarn and a size "P" hook. The Fall and Winter Collection from Mama In A Stitch are marvelous.
Mama In A Stitch can be found on Ravelry, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. She's been featured in the "Blogs We Love" column in Inside Crochet Magazine (UK) and has a full pattern published in "Crochet! Magazine". Very Cool. She's very much a star on the rise.
Thank you Jessica Reeves Potasz for some wonderful patterns We deeply appreciate your gifts.
Instant gratification. Not something one often reads in a blog about crocheting or knitting but I must say that Olive and Brook provides just that :)
The artist who created Olive + Brook, Nettagyrl, is a talented writer and designer. Her blogs both Olive + Brook and YarnOver Designs are only part of the many and varied talents of Acquanetta Ferguson.
Nettagyrl is a single mom of two boys working 40 hours per week so designing patterns is really a sideline. She writes; "I am also a busy single mom, who works 40 hours a week at my day job, and freelance write on the side, which leaves me no time to devote to long crochet projects. I am all about creating awesome in either a matter of hours or in a weekend, which is why hats, scarves are right up my alley." I am impressed with her ingenuity and her tenacity. I also appreciate that while she sells on Etsy she does post patterns for free on her blogs and also on Ravelry. Those of us who donate our work with charity certainly appreciate those who are willing to share their patterns
I found Olive + Brook on Ravelry while searching for patterns to share with my friends at Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope Initiative on Facebook. Nettagyrl is very talented! I think one of my favorite patterns for donation to Emily's Hats for Hope Initiative or the spin-off groups would be The Easy Pixie Hood, the hat covers the ears, neck and face comfortably. The Weekend Slouch and the Downtown Urban Slouch are also patterns I've shared with the group. The patterns work up quickly, which is the hallmark of Olive + Brook designs! Her designs are very trendy so they are appropriate for teens as well as adults.
Some of my favorite patterns are from her collection of "12 Days Of DIY Crochet Gifts to Make" The patterns start with the October 25. She links back to when the patterns were originally posted but I think the sequential ideas helps those of us who want to dedicate time just to charity crafting. However, if you are like me there's at least one month out of the year when many of your friends/family have either a birthday or anniversary. I've come to writing all my project ideas in a notebook. This 12 days of DIY makes things SO much easier. My favorites from this project roundup include the "Small Chunky Cowl", the "Treble Hood Scarf", and the Chunky Slouchy. I love lists like this because it makes my life so much easier!
All of us who knit and crochet know what it's like to find a gorgeous yarn at a shop on sale only to find you've got the last one or to have a skein of yarn left over from a project because it never hurts to buy an extra right? (especially when you find the yardage was slightly off on the pattern) What does one do with one skein of yarn? Why not donate a one skein project to charity?
There are many books and pamphlets extolling the praises of the one skein project but to simplify things for FREE. The web is full of great project ideas for charity.
Children's charities are among the most active with which I have ever been involved. National and International charities such as Binky Patrol, Project Linus, and Knit for Kids just to name a few, there are plenty of avenues for you to share a knit or crocheted items with children in need.
Children's clothing patterns made with one skein!
For adults there are a plethora of warm patterns to share with those who need a bit of help especially in the Winter. Many charities collect items for winter warmth and blankets for times of need including the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Prayer shawls are also wonderful gifts. Many churches collect them for those who have experienced loss.
I'm really excited about today's subject! Crochet for children is a magnificent website for those looking to make children smile all year round. Many of you who read this blog are fiber artists who share their work with children around the world. Today's resource, Crochet For Children, is a bonanza of great ideas.
Crochet For Children is described on their facebook page as "Cute Crochet Items For Children and Babies, Step by Step Crocheting Tutorials." Now everyone knows how much I love working for children and children's charities. Because I both knit and crochet as well as loom knit I am always looking for great resources to share. Crochet For Children is one site that will fill up that project list FAST. (like I need that kind of help, LOL!)
The first thing that caught my eye about the Crochet For Children website is that it is highly organized. Every pattern is linked properly and under each pattern is a list of similar patterns! For instance, if you click on the pattern for the "Everyday Fingerless Gloves", you will find that there is a section entitled "You might also like:" containing other patterns for an infant headband and the "Everyday Blanket". The site, containing hundreds of patterns, is super easy to navigate with a search box at the bottom of the page. Of course, you can find a discussion about the patterns on the Facebook page. Always fun to see what others are thinking about the various patterns.
Now for my favorites. I could spend days collating and printing fabulous, easy, fun patterns found on Crochet For Children. Beginners can count on Crochet For Children for great projects that would be perfect for charitable giving. The "Springtime Set" is one such project. The set, originally found on lionbrand.com, is created with the "fun" yarn which has been discontinued but was a bulky yarn. (when in doubt check Ravelry's yarn library) Beginners, using the search engine at the bottom of the page, can find instructions for the various crochet stitches, tips, and patterns. Patterns for beginners include everything from hats to blankets. No fear that you have to be an expert to crochet for charity.
I am also crazy for baby blankets. I do not know why, but I collect baby blanket patterns like some people collect stamps. It's a little crazy. Obviously, I couldn't make that many baby blankets in a million years LOL. Crochet For Children gives those who crochet for groups like Project Linus and Binky Patrol plenty of patterns to enjoy. I have a few favorites :) The beautiful "Cherry Blossom Blanket" is just what the doctor ordered for children in hospital wards around the world. Its sweet design makes the heart smile :) The "Citrus Stripe Blanket", designed by Susan Carlson of The Felted Button, is a very sweet free pattern that is a totally unisex blanket for children. Happy colors, happy kids. (Susan Carlson's specialty) We couldn't close this section without a "scrappy" blanket. No sense in throwing out those odds and ends! The "Lazy Waves" blanket is a great way to use up leftover yarn!
I learned to read patterns but it never hurts to have a tutorial to help give a visual on a pattern or a stitch. Crochet For Children offers links to tutorials galore! There are some crochet stitches that look just amazing but require a little bit of finesse to finish. The "Clam Shell Stitch" is one example. It looks so cool but I needed a tutorial to visualize how to work it. When it comes to crocheting clothing, even those of us who have been crocheting for years need a little help from time to time. This cute "Girl's Summer Bolero", by Wooly Wonders Crochet, is carefully described in a 2 part youtube video. (Wooly Wonders has many great videos on YouTube so don't forget to check those out as well) Love those cute baby headbands but you don't have a clue how to create one? Check out this really brilliant tutorial for a "Baby Head band" (with a flower!).
I like crocheting sets for kids and babies. Ask anyone who has ever asked me about making a gift for a child. My brain starts grinding out ideas like a freight train (or maybe more like, "The Little Engine That Could." LOL) There are some very nice ideas available on Crochet For Children. It is the Winter season here in the Northern Adirondacks so I'm always on the look out for hats! I like these brightly colored "Basic Beanies in All Sizes". Because infants have a hard time regulating their body temperature hats are important. Crochet For Children shared this link for a "Baby Blanket and Hat". The colors used in the example are very eye catching. This set can be made unisex as can the "Sleep Sack with Matching Hat".
There is so much on Crochet For Children I have not covered in this blog post including toys. I hope you'll take the time to check out the site for yourself. Do some exploring (make sure you have lots of time LOL) Thanks to the owners of Crochet For Children for their careful maintenance of the site!
I'm back after the holidays! This is Lyn Wilson of Out of the Parc Designs at the helm of the blog today. First, Happy New Year to all my readers! We have a clean slate and a great Indy artist to cover today. Second, I have an admission... I'm jealous. I love the name String With Style, I wish I had thought of it first! However, the blog is fully worthy of the name. With a big presence in social media BreeAnna Laub's designs are pretty much everywhere fiber artists congregate on the web.
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.