I'm WHOot obsessed LOL! Seriously. All of you who have been on Facebook for any more then 5 minutes have seen the cute pictures of various DIY (do-it-yourself) projects in your news feed. Then a friend re-posts a picture to your facebook page of the world's most adorable baby photo prop or gorgeous scarf, a gardening tip, or a rustic looking cup holder for the kitchen. I am not made of money so I am all about recycle, reducing, and reusing. SOMETIMES you click, the link on the picture and it takes you to another link, which then takes you to another link ect. until you find out that the pattern is written in another language and you couldn't make the project. REALLY ugh total let down.
Well REJOICE! I have found a website that cures that problem full stop! THE WHOot! http://thewhoot.com.au/ With one GLORIOUS website you can access all those DIY projects. The best part is that each and every project links back to the designer, website, company, etsy store from which that idea came. For instance this adorable sleep sack pattern which I used for a charity event and also a gift for a friend...
Is found here: http://thewhoot.com.au/whoot-news/crafty-corner/knitted-baby-cocoons. My daughter calls it "Squee" when someone squeals in delight. The baby cocoon patterns at The WHOot have a "squee" factor of about 10 :) So if you are looking for that OH SO adorable pattern that just popped up in your news feed, tweet stream, pinterest page check out The WHOot first.
I'm very grateful to "The WHOot for helping me to track down some of those adorable knitting or crocheting patterns that have turned up on facebook. So much easier than the "google image" search. :) Can't get enough WHOot? They're on Facebook too! https://www.facebook.com/TheWHOot1
As many of my readers already know, I have had the very great blessing of being treated at the Cleveland Clinic's Autonomic Laboratory. (Yes, its as complex as it sounds). I also have family and friends who live in the great state of Ohio. So today's charity spotlight will be focused on a group working exclusively in the state of Ohio.
Touching Little Lives or TLL was established in the year 2000 by Marianne Doty. Its purpose is to assist in providing for the needs of needy preterm and newborn infants all over the state of Ohio. It is in fact a registered 501c3 charity in the state of Ohio. Overseen by a board of trustees TLL is an extremely well organized group with an excellent reputation within the fiber arts community.
Why is TLL so important and why should I as a New Yorker be supporting TLL in Ohio? I'll quote directly from their site: "According to the March of Dimes, in Ohio the preterm birthrate was 12% of all babies born which is graded as a "C" when compared to other US states. This translates to 1 in every 8 babies (15,000) born early each year in Ohio. Ohio ranks 35th among states in the % of babies born with low birth weight. These tiny infants are often admitted to our local Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). Their extremely small size makes it difficult to find clothing that fits, and when it can be found, is often beyond the affordable range of many families. Every item which we provide is completely free of charge and no one in our organization receives any salary or compensation for their work. Every penny donated is spent on providing for these little lives. This is truly a charity of the heart, our reward being the personal satisfaction of helping those too young and fragile to help themselves."
(http://www.touchinglittlelives.org/mission.html ) I cannot think of a better reason. TLL focuses 100% of its funds and donations on needy babies. It is completely supported through donations and all the staff volunteer their time.
Where does TLL serve in Ohio? The list is EXTENSIVE. I am amazed at how much this organization does through its outreach to THIRTY- FIVE agencies throughout Ohio. Here is a list: http://www.touchinglittlelives.org/agencies.html As you can see its an enormous effort. It requires an enormous work force. Interested in joining the work? http://www.touchinglittlelives.org/help.html
Fiber artists are some of the single most generous group of people I have ever had the pleasure of being associated with but even if you aren't able to knit or crochet there's still plenty of work to be done: http://www.touchinglittlelives.org/make.html So jump in with BOTH hands! :)
Thanks to Touching Little Lives 36,000 items were donated to make the lives of our littlest citizens easier. Their love, generosity, and tenacity of purpose is inspiring! Join their facebook community, you'll be astonished. https://www.facebook.com/touchinglittlelives?fref=ts
While I am recuperating today I wanted to start a new series about my favorite independent knit and crochet designers. I simply love making children's clothes and blankets. One of my favorite designers has an amazing array of children's characters and designs available on her blog. Her name is Elaine Fitzpatrick and she is mistress of all things fun at http://downcloverlaine.blogspot.com/ Elaine has been AMAZINGLY helpful to me in adapting her patterns for blankets that I have made for friends. Her patterns are fun, clear, easy to understand, and she has a veritable "ZOO" of animals to choose from to make lovely washcloths or bibs for infants. One of my ALL time favorite designs by Elaine is the "Sweet Tee" an adorable infant's t-shirt with just enough sweet to make it irresistible to make. You can see Elaine's designs on her well done blog and on her Flickr account. My own small attempts at duplicating Elaine's designs include 2 Baby sweaters and 2 afghans... Thank you Elaine!
The type of yarn chosen for a project is every bit as important as the pattern chosen. I won't go into all the details but let me just say that if the wrong yarn is chosen a project simply doesn't look professional, its not comfortable, and very likely won't hold its shape. Yes, people who write patterns DO suggest a particular yarn or a particular blend of yarn for a reason. But knowing what yarn will work and what yarn won't work is something that takes a little time to learn and a little skill. But all that aside I want to share my FAVORITE website for luxury yarns. There's no question that the prices are outstanding for the variety of fibers they offer. Let me introduce KnitPicks. http://www.knitpicks.com/yarns/knitting_yarns.html
The quintessential one stop shop for all things "fiber-y" yarn, tools, patterns, books, how-to's, ect. . Now I've kept this website as a trade secret for YEARS but if my customers can benefit from the beauty of KnitPicks then I can only say, enjoy!
Good grief its been BUSY at Out of the Parc Designs. Having caught the ever present early Spring head cold, its been very hard to concentrate on my work. BUT I did finish one of The Velvet Acorn's sweet Burton Bear Cowls. So cute and so warm for kids AND adults. Her designs are lovely and practical. Also, I couldn't help but put in a picture of one of my littlest models sporting her new Easter bunny hat. Hope you all enjoy these latest pieces. I'm always working so you never know what will pop up on the Blog next!
Of course I also could not help but mention that I enjoy a wonderful working relationship with my 24 year old daughter Tamra who is a college student and entrepreneur in her own right. Enjoy the new pictures. :)
I have friends and readers from all over New York so I wanted to give you all a bit of news on a fundraiser being held for Binky Patrol of NY Capital Region. Dale Gruder sent me this update. If you have the time or the ability to participate, I can assure you that all of your gifts would be appreciated deeply and used appropriately.
You are cordially invited!
Please come to our fundraiser March 28th from 11:00-5:00 in Clifton Park at Raymour and Flannigan's, routes 9 and 146. We are accepting clean, handmade blankets, clean and gently used baby clothes up to 1 year, baby wipes and newborn diapers. Stop in for a minute or an hour! Cash donations or gift cards always welcomed.
Check out the Binky Patrol Facebook page (Please LIKE) and also their webpage.
Quite literally, if you can tie a knot you can be involved with Binky Patrol. So Check it out, join the Binky-ers in Clifton Park or check them out online.
Lyn has asked that I take a turn posting on her blog, and I was happy to say yes! I want to share with her readers this week information about a charity based in Colorado. The charity addressses the needs that arise when a family loses a baby. The group provides a care package to families who are navigating a loss and that care package includes a hat and blanket. Which is where crafters come in!
I want to point out that when making things for a charity, one has to be sure to follow the guidelines posted. The above link will take you directly to the guidelines for this charity, with instructions on how to send your items. At this point they are in dire need of blankets for the next distribution round of care packages. The blankets work up quickly, as the maximum size they will accept is 20" by 20". These blankets are a great way to try out new stitch patterns!
One of my super clever, repeat customers and all around great mom came up with a cute project for her children's Easter outfits. Naturally she also made it easy for me by ordering a project that was easy to take along. :) Very thoughtful of her. I loved the idea so much I HAD to share with you all. HAPPY EASTER!!!!!!
Some projects take only a day or two, some much longer. I make an attempt to equitably spread my time over all the projects ordered by my customers. With the advent of Spring's longer and sunnier days, comes the ability to work longer hours. Dark yarns are hard to work with in the evenings as you can imagine. Thus I was able to put finishing touches on another order.
A friend ordered personalized blankets which, as you know, take some time to complete. Each are my own personal design. (never to be duplicated :)) After waiting months for the projects to be complete I can happily say that the work is complete! With the help of some cross stitch charts and a little imagination the following blanket is both knit and crocheted. Inspiration gained from http://downcloverlaine.blogspot.com/ was invaluable.
You'll note there are a variety of textures blended into this afghan. Knitting in the center and crocheting around each edge gives the blanket interest to the eye and for little ones practice with shapes, colors, textures, and letters. (I'm a teacher by education, I can't help but add a little teacher influence now and again.) With each project I learn lessons which I incorporate into my business... A little quote from Theodore Roosevelt "Nothing in this world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort". Encapsulates the recent personalized projects perfectly.
Without further ado:
Avid crafters usually have more than one project going at a time. By now no doubt you've figured I'm not a one project woman LOL! Truly though, it is for the health of the hands and wrists that most of us are cautious about how long we work on any given project. Sometimes I get the bug to finish everything currently on the needles and start with a new slate. Its a "bug" that many knitters get from time to time.
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.