I know its about time that I did a blog on The Crochet Crowd. They've been around a long time and have really shed new light on the art of crocheting. They're often at my favorite place to shop (like Disney Land for yarnies like myself) the Spinrite Factory Outlet in Listowel, Ontario Canada. I see their pictures and think... I really need to do a blog about them! :) But in all seriousness. The Crochet Crowd has a heart for charity.
The Crochet Crowd's founder is Michael Sellick also known as "Mikey". In his own words "I am Michael Sellick, known online as 'Mikey', I am the founder and leader of The Crochet Crowd. I'm a 'hooker' at heart with the passion to crochet and play with yarn." A simple introduction to a man who has taken his passion and turned it into a multinational organization through appearances and social networking. But I think one of THE single most important things we as fiber artists can do is participate in charity. I believe that we were given a gift and it should be shared. The Crochet Crowd is so invested in the work for charity that they publish regularly about charitable organizations, drives, and projects. They even have a Groups & Charity Locator: http://thecrochetcrowd.com/charity-locator/
It takes a lot of man hours to maintain a database for this purpose. Charities are frequently changing, the project needs change, and often charities fold because of lack of interest. Someone has to do the work necessary to maintain a up-to-date database. I truly appreciate all the work that goes into this feature at The Crochet Crowd's website.
Another thing everyone knows about me is that I love crocheting for babies. I've found a crisis pregnancy center in Cumberland, Maryland that is always in need of hand knitted and crocheted items for babies. I'm excited to support this work with my talent. The Crochet Crowd website has an entire section dedicated to charity patterns for crocheters. Crochet "Crowder" designer and auther Jeanne Steinhilber has some fantastic patterns available for charity work. I love her Crochet Magic baby blanket + Tutorial! YAY (love tutorials) you can find that pattern here: http://thecrochetcrowd.com/magic-baby-blanket/ gorgeous!
Another pattern I love was designed by Michael Sellick (Mikey). I pretty baby blanket that works up quickly because its done in a bulky weight yarn. http://thecrochetcrowd.com/crochet-hooded-baby-blanket/ and this pretty blanket also, unisex in nature depending on the color scheme: http://thecrochetcrowd.com/crochet-cuddly-snuggly-hooded-baby-blanket/
Bernat Blanket is a bulky Chenille type of yarn. If you do not enjoy working with Chenille, as I do not I'm sure Bernat has something WONDERFUL instead. Try checking at the http://www.yarnfactoryoutlet.com/e-tent ecommerce section of the Spinrite mills.
Let me just talk for a moment about the Spinrite E-tent. I have ordered from them several times. Specifically to buy yarns for my charity work, I hold my charity work sacrosanct. Its how I began my career as a fiber artist and working for pay allows me to buy the yarns I need for charity. I am very partial to these wonderful people. They've never failed to answer an email and though sometimes things are a little backed up because they have had a sale, they never fail to ship the yarns carefully from Canada directly to my door at fantastic prices. Mikey and The Crochet Crowd are also fans. :)
I wish to thank EVERYONE working with The Crochet Crowd for their efforts on behalf of charity. Mikey can be found on Ravelry of course. His comments "Welcome To The Crochet Crowd. I am Michael, known as Mikey from The Crochet Crowd. My mission is to be a crochet hub of information which includes free tutorials, suggestions and crochet community." http://www.ravelry.com/designers/michael-sellick. You can find The Crochet Crowd
Good afternoon! I know how much you all enjoy the Indy Designer Saturday blog posts! I enjoy writing them very much! Everyone knows I'm addicted to crocheting for babies :) I love creating beautiful little sweaters, lacy layettes, boyish blankets, and pretty photo props. HodgePodge Crochet has a veritable plethora of kid-perfected, mom approved patterns. You're going to love it! I hardly know where to begin!
First, I'm a big fan of natural fibers anyone reading this blog has probably figured that out already :). So me just say that if you can use a natural fiber for a child/baby/infant project go for it. That being said let me begin the introduction. The main designer at HodgePodge Crochet is Tanya Naser. I'll quote from the HodgePodge Crochet's Ravelry page: "Tanya Naser is the designer behind HodgePodge Crochet. Begun in Nov. 2011 as a hobby, HodgePodge Crochet quickly turned into an active and vibrant community of budding and well-seasoned crocheters striving to populate the crochet market with amazing projects.
Tanya’s style of crochet reflects her Hodge Podge nature with projects ranging from infant booties to crochet wire jewelry and at the HodgePodge Crochet blog you will find not only crochet patterns and tutorials, but also projects and inspiration for crafting with polymer clay, sewing, knitting, and a wide array of other crafty goodies to keep you busy for a long time.
HodgePodge Crochet was a runner up in the Craftsy Blogger Awards Knitting & Crochet category in 2013 and was nominated as one of AllFreeCrochet’s top bloggers of 2014. She was also honored to be chosen as one of the 9 esteemed judges in The Crochet Awards Judges Panel: 2015 First-Third Quarters. Tanya’s work has been featured in several websites and digital magazines." http://www.ravelry.com/designers/tanya-naser
hHodgePodge Crochet has a presence all over the web. In just about every social networking corner of the internet HodgePodge Crochet is there. From Facebook to Google Plus and everything in between: Blog: https://hodgepodgecrochet.net
My daughter first found HodgePodge Crochet while looking for baby booties and found an adorable pair on the HodgePodge Crochet blog. The directions for each project are clear and concise. Its important to those of us who work hard every day to create pieces on behalf of others that instructions be clear.
HodgePoge has several great patterns for sale on Ravelry and on Craftsy. I love the vintage style with the modern accents HodgePodge Crochet uses in creating patterns. These are patterns you can not only enjoy for the moment, but also keep for the future. Making photographs stitched in time. I love creating these pieces for people in my own business. You can picture how they'd look hanging on the wall in Gramma's house or that special spot reserved for family photos at home. Makes my heart smile just thinking about it.
Let me get right to the patterns I intend to purchase from HodgePodge crochet. First the way TOO adorable Butterfly Baby photo prop. I think this is so cute because it is a baby sleep sack with wings that are separate and lay flat so you simply lay the baby on the wings and take the picture. HodgePodge even gives separate idea for creating angel wings. There's no question that the set would be adorable later on for your little girl to use for her own little girl or with her baby dolls. What about using the wings for a wall hanging in the nursery? Check out the pattern here: http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/crocheting/other/butterfly-baby-photo-prop/18043
Then I was completely enamored with the Juniper Bay Skirt. What a fabulous pattern! You can find this great pattern on Ravelry. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/juniper-bay-skirt-adult
I did have some trouble using HodgePodge Crochet's new web page. http://hodgepodgecrochet.net/ The link to her Etsy store directs back to her web page but you'll enjoy her Ravelry page and her Craftsy offerings along with her blog: http://hodgepodgecrochet.net/blog/ HodgePodge crochet has some great offerings for 2016 I hope you will visit Tanya Naser's various pages. I plan to buy a couple of patterns myself!
If you don't crochet please feel free to contact me. I'll be glad to see if I can assist you!
Here in Northern New York we have some wonderful farms and farmers. People who are dedicated to bringing the best product for your hard earned dollar. Marble River Alpacas is no exception to this rule. This farm located in Chateaugay, New York is owned by Bill and Sue Holbrook. I've had the privilege of conversing with Sue Holbrook via Facebook private message. It was truly a pleasure. Her passion for her work and the fibers that are produced from her Alpacas was palpable!
I am sure any of you who have read this blog for more than a month know that I really love working with fibers like alpaca because of their unique qualities which ultimately make up a gorgeous finished product. Sue and Bill Holbrook raise Huacaya Alpacas. Known for their dense, wooly, crimped, fleece Huacaya alpaca create amazing yarns. Not to mention that they are SO cute! :) According to my research at Alpaca.com the price per ounce for high quality alpaca fleece is $3 to $5.00 (that's per OUNCE). This is because alpaca is an exceptional fiber. Marble River Alpacas do everything humanly possible to maintain a healthy, happy, heard of Alpacas and produce the best fiber for their consumers. There's a reason for this price so lets get to some facts.
Let me just take a moment to discuss my research on alpaca fibers from industry professionals so that fiber artists like myself understand what makes alpaca so exceptional.
An article by Linda K. Davis owner of Alpaca.com L.L.C lays out 3 key points for consumers of alpaca yarns/fleece in her article entitled Alpaca Fiber- More Valued Than Silver
"To touch and then to wear a 100 percent alpaca garment inspires superlatives, i.e., "stronger than mohair . . ." "finer than cashmere . . ." "smoother than silk . . ." "softer than cotton . . ." "warmer than goose down or the new synthetic fabrics like Gortex," and "breathes better than thermal knits." And the really exciting part of these enthusiastic endorsements is that they are all true.
But there is more good news about alpaca fiber:
1) Almost indestructible, fine woven alpaca garments in remarkably good condition have recently been discovered in Peruvian ruins dating back 2500 years. Just think how long your new alpaca sweater will last!
2) Alpaca clothing is extremely healthy and comfortable to wear. The absence of lanolin and other oils in the fleece and its extraordinary fineness of handle mean that alpaca garments are both hypoallergenic and luxuriously soft on your skin. When you put on an alpaca sweater, you will immediately notice the absence of the scratchy "prickle" found in garments made of more coarse fiber.
3) Unlike other mono-color animal fibers, alpacas produce fleece in more than 22 different colors. This amazing spectrum delights hand spinners and industrial manufacturers and reduces the need for dyeing, which further protects and enhances the resilience, softness, flexibility, and hypoallergenic qualities of the fiber." http://alpaca.com/alpacafiber.cfm
In an article from Mother Nature Network by Melissa Breyer entitled 10 Things You Didn't Know About Alpacas, points out some very important facts about alpaca fleece and something for fiber artists to keep in mind: "But beyond their charming, quirky good looks, these creatures are responsible for bearing some of the silkiest, most versatile fiber found in nature, for which they are shorn annually. Alpaca is a specialty fiber that has been described as stronger than mohair, finer than cashmere, smoother than silk, softer than cotton, warmer than goose down, and better-breathing than thermal knits." When a customer is looking for a long lasting fiber, you can't do better than alpaca for a garment, blanket, or pillow.
When considering what we get for the price Alpaca yarn is a very good deal!
Sue Holbrook and her husband Bill started their journey into farming alpacas in 2008. "It all began in August of 2008. While visiting a farmer's market, we were told that we could visit their farm to get acquainted with alpacas and see what they were all about. We were hooked.
We purchased four alpacas; 2 pets, 1 juvenile male and one female bred to 12X champion Beethoven. We had plenty of land but no barn, fencing or all the other things we needed to be able to bring our "herd" home. Our alpacas stayed at Pond View Alpacas in Altona, NY while we were building a barn, putting up fence, buying mats, panels, halters and all the things we would need.
By the time we were ready in the summer of 2009, we had bought four more females, and our first cria, Beethoven's Lady Amelia, made her appearance on July 23, 2009. A beautiful light fawn female. Gradually, we started bringing them home.
Our focus is to breed for conformation, reproductively sound and disease resistant alpacas with exceptional fiber. We currently have 26 huacaya alpacas on our farm. Our award winning bloodlines include Hemingway, PPeruvian Caligula, Accoyo Grand Triumph, Legacy, Grand Peruvian Colegio, SuperNova, Snowmass Cangalli Gold.
We belong to AOBA, Empire Alpaca Association, NEAOBA, Mapaca, Alpaca Registry Inc., Openherd, Alpaca Farm Directory, NYS Farm Bureau, and the Chateaugay Revitilization Committee. We host school field trips, Cooperative Extension programs, 4H clubs and anyone else who happens down our driveway to see our curious alpacas. Our career in the alpaca industry has begun!!!!!" http://www.marbleriveralpacas.com/cms/node/5
They love their alpacas! It shows in the quality of their fiber. Talk to Sue for about 5 minutes and see if you aren't ready to buy an alpaca of your own :) Truly her passion is wonderful! This is why we carefully research the farmers we feature on this blog because their work is so important to not only our economy but also to the industry.
Bill and Sue are always happy talk to people about their Alpacas you can find their farm here: "You are always WELCOME! We ask if possible, to please call in advance to let us know you're coming.
From Watertown, NY: Take Court St/NY-12 N. Stay straight to go onto Leray St/US-11. Stay on US-11, turn left onto CR-39/Earville Rd., 127 County Rt 39 is on the left.
From New York City: Get to I-87 N/New York State Thruway N. Merge onto I-87 N/I-90 E via Exit 24 toward Albany/Montreal. Merge onto I-87 N via Exit 1N toward Albany Int'l Airport/Montreal. Take the Rt-3 exit, Exit 37, toward Plattsburgh/Saranac Lake. Turn right onto NY-190/Military Turnpike. Turn left onto US-11. Turn right onto CR-39/Earville Rd., 127 County Rt 39 is on the left.
From Montreal: Get to Rt 209 crossing into United States, New York. Rt 209 becomes NY-189. Turn right onto Looby Rd/CR-8. Turn right onto US-11. Turn right onto CR-39/Earville Rd. 127 County Rt 39 is on the left." http://www.marbleriveralpacas.com/cms/node/8 https://www.openherd.com/farms/2353/marble-river-alpacashttps://www.openherd.com/farms/2353/marble-river-alpacas
Naturally Sue Holbrook sells her beautiful yarn. You can purchase her products by contacting her via email at email@example.com or at their facebook page (where you can also see the many awards they have won at alpaca industry shows!) https://www.facebook.com/MarbleRiverAlpacas/ Sue will be happy to give you a price on her gorgeous yarns contact her via private message. They do not have an internet sales site but they do have a store. She offers both hand spun and mill spun yarns. If you cannot make it to the farm, she will include shipping in the quoted prices. Since Marble River Alpacas are award winning their fleece is of the highest quality. You will not be disappointed by your purchase. Its so worth paying what seems like "extra" money for alpaca yarn because of its durability, and largely hypoallergenic, and flame resistant. Consider it a long term investment.
I want to thank Sue Holbrook so much for her contribution to this article and for being so willing to allow me some of her time to help me understand the Alpaca industry. It was such an enlightening experience! She's allowed me to share some of the pictures of the yarn she's got for sale currently. Those of you who love yarn will probably be drooling over such gorgeous yarn with me :)
I first learned about Tikkun Olam through http://knittingforcharity.org a website I check frequently for projects I can assist through writing or through knitting/crocheting. Its so simple yet so meaningful to do an act of kindness. By joining in a project like Tikkun Olam or knitting for Cast off Chemo! we knit people together.
You can read the article at Knitting for Charity by Nicole Haschke here: http://www.knittingforcharity.org/tikkun_olam_nicaragua_charity_knitting_for_a_desperately_nee.html#more. Her passion for this charity of course piqued my interest so I investigated the Ravelry group which you can find here: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/tikkun-olam-nicaragua. (If you have any interest in fiber arts at all, Ravelry is a great place to make connections) The purpose of the Ravelry group is to support the Tikkun Olam Nicaragua medical missions group by creating hand made shawls for the petite Nicaraguan women who live in the very remote pueblos where the team visits.
Tikkun Olam Nicaragua was founded by Patresha Mendel in 2011. It is a 501 (3) (c) recognized charitable organization. I will quote from the Tikkun Olam Nicaragua website "Tikkun Olam Nicaragua is a dedicated volunteer inter-faith medical team. Our mission is to help repair the world, one day at a time. Each team member not only donates their valuable professional time to pursue the goals of our organization, but they also raise funds and donate money themselves to make each mission trip a reality. Preparing for a medical mission trip is exciting and team members enlist the support of friends and family to help make a difference in the world." http://www.tikkunolamnicaragua.com/#!who-we-are/c20r9 There's no question that what they do requires true dedication, time, and expertise. Patresha or TreshaA2 as she's known on Ravelry recognizes the power of a hand made gift. Tresha is quoted "We are an inter-faith medical mission team that travels annual to the rural mountains of Nicaragua to set up mobile clinics. We treat over 1,000 patients in four days and we prescribe over 3,500 prescriptions. We home base at an orphanage in Jinotega and we spend our evenings after clinic, playing with the children. We also bring much needed supplies to the orphanage and we have also set up food stations for the very needy in the pueblos. This year, we are hoping to bring shawls to the poor in the very remote areas we visit. Picture someone living in a dirt floor shack, with barely food to eat, let alone proper clothing’ or shoes, living on less than $1 a day. The shawls that we are knitting will be hand delivered by our team of medical professionals -- I wish you could see the faces of the women as we put them on their shoulders! So, I plan on taking photos of the women receiving your hand knitted treasures. Believe me, they will be treasured for a very very long time. Muchisimas gracias to all of you who have stepped forward to help our cause!!" http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/tikkun-olam-nicaragua/2876213/1-25
There's something quite amazing about giving to a cause when you know the people receiving the gift have so little. It does not seem like a lot to create a small shawl but truly sending love in the form of a shawl is simply the best feeling. To give you some idea you can see pictures of the trips the team from Tikkun Olam Nicaraga have taken on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.312465902105763.80677.307120899306930&type=3 Makes you smile just looking at the faces of the people who were given the shawls hand made by those in the Tikkun Olam Nicaragua Ravelry Group (to which I now belong) So the question is how can you help? First join Ravelry! Then join the Tikkun Olam Nicaragua Ravelry group here: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/tikkun-olam-nicaragua. Then get knitting, crocheting or looming! One of the shawls that I get most compliments on was made on a Knifty Knitter loom. Which you can find at many arts and craft stores. All the instructions necessary as well as the mailing address are located on the Ravelry group's page. (please also follow the color recommendations!)
Those who do this kind of medical missions do so much more than just bring medicine they bring hope. I believe that any shawl sent to Tikkun Olam Nicaragua will be so much appreciated. I don't believe there are words to express in any language the power of hope! Please join this great group of crafters :) I have!
Its nearly SPRING! Yes I know a bit premature but today its 40 degrees in February in the Northern Adirondacks and feels like Spring temperatures. Usually in Spring I start to evaluate the past year's business and set goals for the Spring/Summer season. This season I decided I wanted to focus on lace work (I love making lace shawls and little lacy baby clothes) I also thought I might try my hand at knitting and crocheting baby doll clothes. This is where Creative Crochet Workshop comes in to "play". (sorry, couldn't resist) Joanita creates ADORABLE baby doll clothes!
There are some sweet baby dolls out for sale these days. Because my daughter Tamra (of https://www.facebook.com/dollclotheslaterose/?fref=ts Laterose Doll Clothes and Doll Repair) carefully researches the dolls on the market for her business, I get the opportunity to see the little dolls out for sale. Oh my goodness SO cute! Just the other I saw the http://www.jctoys.com/default.asp baby dolls. ADORABLE! We still have my daughter's first baby dolls, both of which were Cabbage Patch dolls. When my kids were younger I used to make toys and doll clothes. I got away from it because my business took me in a different direction. Now that Tamra and I are working together I've decided to try my hand at making doll clothes again. When I did a cursory search for doll clothes patterns Creative Crochet Workshop's Jessica's Closet popped up on Ravelry. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/creative-crochet-workshopI LOVED every single doll design. Naturally of course I couldn't stop at the doll clothes LOL.
Joanita Theron is a mom to a little girl named Crissy and a prolific designer of all things adorable, fun, and functional. Of course I'm especially interested in her doll clothes designs just now but as I looked around her blog http://creativecrochettoys.blogspot.com/ I was taken in by a range of different designs! Her blog itself is well written and presented. Her story is not unlike my own, and many other crocheters. However, this quote really touched me because I too am a perfectionist and very hard on myself. "No matter how hard you try, your crochet will never look like someone else's....and I love that! You can crochet from the same pattern a thousand times, they will all be unique. It's the human element that makes a crocheted gift special. That is why I crochet and design crochet patterns!" Joanita Theron When designers share just a little of themselves it makes everything about their designs more personal. I love that! :)
What kind of designs did I find on Joanita Theron's blog? Everything from toys to scarves, doll clothes to ponchos. Nearly every design made me smile! Does it get any better than that? One of my favorite "freebies" on Creative Crochet Workshop is from the "My Workshop Pattern" collection. Its a "Hello Kitty" themed mini blanket. http://creativecrochettoys.blogspot.com/2014/09/hello-kitty-mini-blanket.html Its just a cute little blanket to tuck in a diaper bag or for a little one to carry around. You'll find that Joanita Theron has her blog divided up into various collections to make finding a pattern so much easier. Another in the "My Workshop Pattern" collection is the beautiful Chunky Butterfly scarf. Its a lacy open work pattern that would look great with a jacket or over a sweater. http://creativecrochettoys.blogspot.com/2016/02/chunky-butterfly-scarf.html It goes right along with my goal to work more lace into my life :) Happy seems to be a theme in Joanita Theorn's designs and her toy bundles are sure to make any little child happy. Jungle animals, Flower Tea Set and Cakes, Build and Bake, Flower Garden bundle set, I could go on but you get the idea. To see these sets click this link: http://creativecrochettoys.blogspot.com/p/pattern-bundles.html My favorite of Joanita's bundles is a set that I think would be perfect for baby boys (something you don't find often) the Babytime 001 bundle. It includes the Dinosaur baby blanket and the Little sailor set. I love that Joanita Theron's designs are so filled with joy. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/babytime-volume-001
There are so many reasons to love Creative Crochet Workshop. As I said the main reason that I visited Joanita's blog was to see her collection of baby doll clothes. Now, I might be biting off more than I can chew. I'm certainly not accustomed to crocheting or knitting doll clothes but I really couldn't resist :) The designs at Creative Crochet Workshop, in the Jessica's Closet collection are just so cute its hard not to want to buy every single pattern today. Originally designed for the "Baby Born" doll the clothes are designed to fit a 17" baby doll. the designs are pictured at the link to follow and of course I will be trying these cute sets. http://creativecrochettoys.blogspot.com/search/label/43%20cm%20%2817%20inch%29%20doll I often wish I had these sorts of patterns available when my daughter was little however, If you spot something you can't live without and would like one for your own daughter, feel free to contact me!
I want to thank Joanita Theron for being such a joy to read and an encouragement to those of us who are also perfectionists :) In that vein Joanita Theron says “Crochet is an art and crocheters it’s artists. Each crafted item is unique and own to its crafter” Its true. I want to encourage you, even if you don't crochet, to look at Creative Crochet Workshop blog and also visit her many social networking sites. A bit of whimsy that will make your heart smile! Of course I am partial to facebook and Pinterest. You can find Creative Crochet Workshop at: https://www.facebook.com/CreativeGraphicsWorkshop/ and https://www.pinterest.com/ccwjoanita/
I am SO excited! Today's charity is one that I am proud and so delighted to be able to share because it is to benefit Dr. Daniel Krag of the University of Vermont Medical Center and leading researchers helping to develop new treatments for breast cancer. Its so exciting to be able to FINALLY give back to those who have given us so much!
My family and I have been visiting the amazing doctors and Emergency Department staff at the University Of Vermont Medical Center for about 10 years! So many of our friends and neighbors in the Northern Adirondack Region and beyond have had lifesaving surgery, chemotherapy, and very specialized treatment for rare conditions at UVM. In my own case Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia. We are deeply grateful for such a quality hospital and for their contribution to our own local hospital as it falls with in the UVM network.
Dr. Daniel Krag is a Surgical Oncologist
S.D. Ireland Professor of Surgery, University of Vermont College of Medicine. According to the UVM website "has been named to U.S. News and World Report’s Top Doctors list for 2012-2013. Dr. Krag placed in the top 1% for excellence in Surgery with special expertise in Sentinel Node Surgery, Breast Cancer, Cancer Surgery and Melanoma." https://www.uvmhealth.org/medcenter/provider/david-nielsen-krag-md-surgery
As you can see Dr. Krag is all about his patients and is passionate about his work and the work that he does at UVM.
The work that Dr. Krag and the team of researchers do is described here: http://www.vermontwoman.com/articles/2013/0913/cancercure/drkrag.html Essentially Dr. Krag uses his research to find ways to crank up a woman's antibodies to fight breast cancer. He and the team of researchers working with him have done ground breaking and amazing research. As this article states most of us have been touched in some way by the scourge of breast cancer. Its Dr. Krag's goal to see the end of chemotherapy by using the body's own defense mechanisms to fight cancer. Women AND men can be affected by breast cancer. So while the overwhelming majority of people being treated for breast cancer are women, we have to acknowledge that men face the trauma of breast cancer too, just to keep us focused.
Cast off Cancer is a not for profit organization looking to help Dr. Krag with necessary funds for research. Though there are various grants and funds supplied to Dr. Krag its absolutely necessary that private funds come in to help. Cast off Chemo is committed to helping do away with the need for chemotherapy by supporting Dr. Krag's research. Cast Off Chemo's team: "We are a group of yarn industry professionals who believe that a cure for cancer is one of the most important goals in medicine. It affects all of us, our family, our friends, our customers, our sisters in knit and crochet. Join us and let it be said that the lovers of yarn worldwide beat chemo – and cancer!"
http://castoffchemo.org/about/ The mission "Our mission:
Cast-Off Chemo! is a charitable program established by yarn industry professionals with the purpose of raising a $1 million ($1,000,000) dollars to fund research that will end the need for chemotherapy in breast cancer treatment and, ultimately, cure potentially all cancers. The funds will support the research work of Dr. David Krag and his team and network of researchers across the US, whose work to date has already benefitted over a million women and men world-wide. The monies raised will enable him and his team to bring this research to the clinical trials, at which point federal funding would become available.
Cast Off Chemo! is a program of the SD Ireland Cancer Research Fund, a 501c3 organization." http://castoffchemo.org/how-to-help-ideas/ This link contains ideas for yarnies and yarn shops alike.
There are so many ways to help Cast off Chemo. On the blog you can find patterns for purchase if you are a "yarnie" like my daughter and myself. http://castoffchemo.org/buy-a-pattern/ However, Cast Off Chemo has a Ravelry page with even MORE patterns to purchase! http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/cast-off-chemo (you can join Ravelry for free!) These patterns are gorgeous and if you're like me, you'll see at least 15 you'll want to make immediately LOL! Of course with the ideas that Cast Off Chemo offers you'll never be at a loss for a way to donate your time and funds to an amazing cause. Naturally Cast Off has a Facebook page where you can keep up with the new patterns that emerge and regular updates from the group. https://www.facebook.com/castoffchemo.org/ Naturally if you do not knit or crochet please write a check. This work is so important. Any amount will be gratefully accepted.
How do I intend to help Cast Off Chemo? Well let me introduce Tamra to talk about one of our favorite designers then I'll be back with to talk to you about how we plan to blend a few of our favorite designs with a way to raise funds for Cast off Chemo! This will be a special limited time offer so don't miss out!
Hello Tamra here, Sarah, of Repeat Crafter Me has designed some of the world's cutest hats. Sarah is a wife and mother to three kids, who designs and gives away most of her patterns for free, which is really awesome. Sarah’s work is really popular, go to any Pinterest board or the WHOot and you will find at least one of her patterns, (she writes in plain English ;)) up as an example. Her patterns are clever, well written and easy to read, making her a great choice for cooks, crafters, crocheters, you name it. She also does a variety of things, animal hats from A to Z, play food, stuffed toys, and adult accessories, along with general crafty stuff and crockpot recipes. Mom and I love Sarah! We use her patterns often. http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/
Thanks Tamra! What does Repeat Crafter Me have to do with Cast Off Chemo? Since Tamra and I specialize in children's clothes, toys, and accessories we came up with an idea we think will net the most money for Cast off Chemo. Together Tamra and I will be offering a short sale on certain items made from Repeat Crafter Me patterns. These patterns will be shipped only within the 50 Contiguous United States so that we can sell send as much money as possible to Cast Off Chemo. Tamra and I have chosen the following patterns: The Koala-Ty hat offered by Yarnspirations designed by Sarah
http://www.yarnspirations.com/patterns/koal-ty-hat.html $10.00 if ordered by March 1, 2016... ALL PRICES INCLUDE standard USPS SHIPPING.
The Puppy Hat http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2013/01/crochet-puppy-hat-pattern.html ($10.00 if ordered by March 1, 2016)
The Edith Inspired Hat (of Despicable Me fame) http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2014/01/crochet-edith-inspired-hat-pattern.html ($10.00 if ordered by March 1, 2016
The Minion inspired hat (also of Despicable me fame) http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2014/01/crochet-minion-hat-pattern.html ($10.00 if ordered by March 1, 2016)
The Football hat (fits adults!!!) http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2012/06/crochet-football-earflap-hat-pattern.html ($10.00 if ordered by March 1, 2016
Snowman earflap hat
($10 dollars if ordered by March 1, 2016)
And finally Sarah's beautiful V Stitch baby blanket which can be made either for a boy or a girl (we have yarn enough for either gender in stock) http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2015/01/quick-and-easy-chunky-crochet-v-stitch.html Measurement 28" JUST $20.00 if ordered by March 1, 2016!! This is a substantial savings
We will accept payment through Facebook Messenger or Money order. The yarn choices will be limited to what we have in stock or buy locally in order to be able to send the most money on to our special cause. Do you see something through the Cast Off Chemo site or Facebook page that you'd like made on your behalf? Please ask! We'll see if we can accommodate your order.
Our Goal? Sell 10 hats or 8 hats and 1 blanket! If we can make our goal we can send $95 dollars minimum to Cast Off Chemo!
While cruising The Whoot for cute patterns a few months back I found the cutest dress. A Tinker Bell-esque Costume that was just precious! http://thewhoot.com.au/whoot-news/crafty-corner/tinkerbell-crochet-projects The link directed me to Family Bugs a blog by Sarah, wife, mom, crochet enthusiast, Raveler and Etsy artist.
Sarah, is a busy mom and crochet designer with a flare for photo props. Super cute! As I said my introduction to Sarah's work was this adorable little fairy dress reminiscent of Tinker Bell's dress https://familybugs.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/crochet-fairy-dress-pattern/. Of course Tinker Bell's costume is under copyright so one cannot sell a pattern but one can see some resemblance. So adorable! Sarah has designed a Rapunzel and also a Cinderella style dress. I know I loved to play dress up and my daughter loved to play dress up too so these little costumes are not only GREAT for photo props but also for play days. :) I'm all for little ones learning to use their imagination. Classic stories are a great start. https://www.etsy.com/listing/179726026/rapunzel-crochet-dress-18-to-24-months?ref=shop_home_active_2 https://www.etsy.com/listing/152799747/cinderella-crochet-dress-pattern?ref=related-5
Sarah's forte has become dolls and toy making. I think I'll turn the blog over to Tamra for her professional opinion: Holy Guacamole, what cute toys. Sarah’s main toy offering is her “dress up” doll (https://familybugs.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/dress-up-doll-free-crochet-pattern/ ) a doll that is fully customizeable. This doll originated because of the ding-blast-it Elf on the Shelf. When her kids came home telling of this toy and wanting to get one themselves, Mom did not react with a no, she came up with her own toy! The Dress up doll has appeared as an elf, any number of princesses, a mermaid, and (most hilariously) a Starfleet officer. Her other toys include an army of little knights (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/little-knights ) and tiny princesses (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/little-princesses). Even a little dragon for the knights to rescue the princess from! (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/little-dragon-6). I love these!
Sarah's creations are a lot of fun and I enjoyed looking over her patterns I know you will too! You can find her on Etsy and Ravelry. Though she has a blog and a Facebook page they haven't been updated since December 2015 so for the latest in CUTENESS check out her Etsy page! Thanks Sarah for such adorable and endearing designs!
I have a personal reason for covering Go Red for Women every year in my blog. I'm really invested in this program not only for myself but for my daughter. My husband has lost 3 of his Aunts and a cousin from sudden heart attack and his mother had quadruple bi-pass surgery for blockages in her heart. In my own family women in my family have struggled with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and angina due (pain in the chest). The statistics are clear; heart disease is the number 1 killer of women!
According to the American Heart Association's (AHA) "Go Red for Women" heart disease causes 1 in 3 deaths per year among women. That is approximately ONE DEATH EVERY MINUTE! Yes that many! https://www.goredforwomen.org/home/about-heart-disease-in-women/facts-about-heart-disease/ Its extremely important that women get the facts about how heart disease affects us because our signs and symptoms are different then those of men. According to the AHA, the symptoms include.
Yes, my daughter is a greater risk for heart disease because heart attack runs in the family but that does not mean we sit by and do nothing. My husband, Tom, is a personal trainer and is helping us control weight, diet, and a low impact exercise program so we can be fit for LIFE not just to "fit" into that swim suit. Here are somethings you can do to prevent heart attack and stroke in your life https://www.goredforwomen.org/home/live-healthy/prevent-heart-disease/. Women have a lot of issues we need to care for every year most of those things are common sense. Knowing and controlling your risk factors for heart disease along with knowing the signs, kept 300 women PER DAY from dying due to heart attack. Staggering. I know I sound like a zealot but even healthy women who do yoga and run marathons die from sudden heart attack due to things like high cholesterol!
What does this have to do with knitting and crocheting? Good question! There are 2 ways to use your knitting and crocheting skills to raise awareness of heart disease and heart defects. 1. Participate in the Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign. This is a wonderful program where knitters and crocheters have the opportunity to make little hats out of bright red yarn for the purpose of raising awareness of congenital heart defects and women's heart heath issues. Find a participating hospital here: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Affiliate/Little-Hats-Big-Hearts_UCM_470829_SubHomePage.jsp Imagine my excitement when I found a collection point in Syracuse (my hometown), Albany, and Rochester!
2. Wear red/ share red! The "Underground Crafter" created this round up of red patterns for us to wear and share with other women.
Thank you for reading today's blog post and PLEASE... take care of yourself. Its so important.
I am blessed to be come across some of the most gentle and wonderful people in the world through my blog. People who have such sweet spirits that it sings soothingly to the soul. You just know that they must be amazing in real life. My blog has been graced with these people since I began writing about Indy artists. Vendula Maderska is one of these beautiful souls. Her patterns and writing are full of tender memories and expressions of joy. Though I am sure many of you know of Vendulka (as her friends know her), I wanted to credit her work on my humble blog.
I first found Magic with Hook and Needles through a "random" picture a friend, Drenda, shared to my facebook page. The picture linked back to a website which shared patterns from various designers in groupings. Vendulka's "Flower Cardigan" for little girls was featured. I instantly fell IN LOVE with that pattern. You can find this pattern on Magic with Hook and Needles website here: http://www.vendulkam.com/p/free-patterns.html (scroll down)
I wanted to share Vendulka's own words about why she began crocheting. Lovely story its so worth sharing and why I believe crocheting and knitting for tiny babies is so important: "The beauty of crocheting I found after my first daughter was born. True reason? She was really tiny girl and every hat was bad for her. So I took a hook and tryied it over and over, until she had a hat, which suited her well :-) And in the meantime I falled in love with crocheting. I loved it's freedom. You could take it everywhere with you. The way you could use the colors and everything. It is different as knitting, you just looking after one stitch, ooooh! :-) I really admired and enjoyed these quiet time with me and my hook. " http://www.vendulkam.com/p/about-me.html. Like so many loving moms Vendulka Maderska's love for crocheting began out of a need to create something for her daughter.
When I saw Vendulka's work for the first time I was really drawn in by her use of color and shapes to create joyful children's toys and clothes! She writes "In past, before I became a crochet designer I made many many hats fitting directly to clothes as a custom orders. You could see some of them in this gallery. I remember every hat I made. It was great for practicing and improving not only my crocheting, but designing also. And one of the request was to make a hat to fit to patchwork tunic... I looooove patchwork. But I can not sewing at that time. And I told to myself, so if they could sew it, why I can not crochet it? :-) It is maybe 6 years ago and I still remember the beautiful little girl, I was making the hat for. Her name was Valinka.
And I think, that something inside of me changed after I made this hat. I started to thinking about my crocheting directly by different way and I really desired to find my own way.... Not to fit the hats to someone designs, but make my own designs :-) So I have to thanks to Valinka and her mommy, who gave the trust to me and thanks them I could begun spread out my wings like Pepik :-)" http://www.vendulkam.com/p/about-me.html So many of the designs created by Magic with Hook and Needles reflect a love for patchwork. They are intricate and yet whimsical. Beautiful creations which are a reflection of the heart of Vendulka Maderska! With such touching personal stories Vendulka's website reads more like a story book and her designs are the illustrations.
My favorite designs include her little owl patterns here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/151898706/crochet-pattern-owl-purse-by-vendulkam?ref=shop_home_active_15 and here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/167409623/crochet-baby-owl-pattern?ref=shop_home_active_8 I don't often make toys but these are too cute! And of course the little hats and handbags, here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/179642634/crochet-pattern-hat-with-ladybug-by?ref=shop_home_active_23 and here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/166596539/hearts-purse-crochet-pattern-purse-diy?ref=shop_home_active_1
Magic with Hook and Needles can be found on Etsy (see the links above) her own website, and of course Ravelry! (still not a member? ask today!) Please check her pages out online and enjoy this delightful feast for the eyes! Even if you don't knit or crochet you can certainly appreciate Vendulka Maderska's designs! Thank you Vendulka for such beautiful HAPPY patterns!!!
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.