On Tuesday I spoke to a friend via facebook messenger about Miracle Hill Children's Home in Pickens, South Carolina. She and her husband both work for Miracle Hill Ministries. We had a chat about the work they do and the need for foster parents in and around the area of Pickens and Greenville, South Carolina.
Miracle Hill Ministries is a faith based organization that provides numerous services to the greater Greenville, South Carolina area, they also do outreach in Gaffney, Spartanburg, and Pickens. Their outreach is VAST and has many, many aspects. Too many for one blog. But because of my love for children I wanted to focus specifically on the Children's Home. My husband worked for a Children's Home in Northern New York for a time. The stories of the children who came there to stay were unforgettable and many were heart breaking. When I saw my friend's message on Facebook seeking Foster Parents, I asked if I could do a blog about their work.
I know you're asking what does this have to do with knitting? :) That's coming. But first I wanted to write a little about what Miracle Hill does at the Children's home. "Miracle Hill Children’s Home continues to be known as a place of refuge for children from birth to age 18. The children’s home was founded in 1958 to care for unwanted, troubled, neglected and abused children who had no place to stay. Of the children we serve, some are born addicted to drugs. Others experience anger and frustration when dealing with issues and problems in their lives. Every day, we offer crisis and long-term care, as well as foster care licensing. In home-style environments with house mentors, children in our care receive personal counseling, food, shelter, education, discipline and unconditional love – all within a Christian framework." https://miraclehill.org/children/childrens-home/
Foster homes are an important part of caring for our youngest citizens. We all here so often about the cases of abuse ect in Foster Homes. Just like any sector of society there are bad elements. I personally, happen to know that there are wonderful foster parents out there who do fantastic work. Its such a vital role to play in a child's life. Whether its a stop gap measure until parents can get back on their feet or a long term situation, Fostering can make all the difference in the world to a child.
Miracle Hill Ministries helps train foster parents "Over 2,000 children are in foster care in the Upstate of South Carolina, and because of a shortage of foster homes, hundreds more children are waiting, in need of a foster home. Miracle Hill has made it our mission to find Christian foster parents. Being a resource foster parent is a tremendous blessing and directly answers God’s call in James 1:27.
Since 1988, Miracle Hill has been recruiting Christian foster families – both single and married — and providing them with vital support throughout the licensing process, placements and beyond. In addition to developing relationships with our resource foster parents, our skilled team prays for them, and accompanies them to various meetings and proceedings within the court system.
While loving Christian homes for children of all ages are always needed, there is a special need for toddlers, ages 2 to 5, teenagers, and sibling groups." https://miraclehill.org/children/foster-care/
Miracle Hill Ministries is in need of Foster Homes right now. If you are interested in helping please see the link above. The State of South Carolina has required that children be in Foster Homes not in group homes and though Miracle Hill Ministries has had group homes for children for decades they are now dramatically expanding their Foster Care program. Obviously many of us, like myself, live outside the state of South Carolina. There are links on each of the pages I have shared to ways you can give financially.
Okay now to the knitters/crocheters, and those who use looms... How can we help foster care. In every state in the United States and in most countries around the world there are programs like Foster Care and orphanages. Contact your local department of social services or child services to see if YOU can be involved. Offer to help start a "forget me not" scarf program for the kids who are too old to be in foster care. Let them know someone cares! AND Lets not forget one of my favorite charities Knit for KIDS! World Vision's incredible program for helping children around the world stay warm! YAY!!! http://knitforkids.org/get-involved/step-1/ Here's your chance to make a child's day. Carpe Diem. :)
Good morning. Its a BEAUTIFUL day here in the Northern Adirondacks. Blue skies for miles! :) Today my daughter Tamra and I are going to be writing about Bowtykes a great indy shop on Ravelry, Etsy and Facebook owned by Briana Olsen. Her patterns are the absolutely precious! To top it all off Bowtykes has a blog http://www.bowtykes.com/
My daughter and I are always looking for great patterns for children's clothes, toys, and blankets. Bowtykes combines two of these into one great idea. The "Lovey" has become a popular children's gift they are a stuffed toy and blanket combination one of our favorites from the Bowtykes collection is the Pretty Princess: https://www.etsy.com/listing/155921756/pretty-princess-lovey-crochet-pattern?ref=shop_home_feat_3 a fully customizeable pattern :). The princess is so sweet my daughter and I just fell in love.
My part of the blog today is to talk about the clothing options. My daughter, the toy expert, will be joining in by discussing the toys designed by Briana Olsen. SWEET.
One of my all time favorite Bowtykes designs is the Vivian Top. Its just the cutest idea and really would make the cutest Summer top for a family photo: https://www.etsy.com/listing/152984560/vivian-top-crochet-pattern-instant?ref=related-0 Any little girl would love this top! Add a matching flowered headband and you have an adorable set. The Vivian Top is made for girls aged newborn to 3 years. Its totally squeal worthy.
Briana Olsen designs for boys also! We struggle to find great patterns for little boys. Check out her Frog Bucket Hat. (12" to 22" heads) I have to say this hat reminded me of a friend. Sweet memories. https://www.etsy.com/listing/156972225/frog-bucket-hat-crochet-pattern-instant?ref=shop_home_active_17 Also for boys she's designed a "Noble Knight" lovey. Its way too cute for words! The hat is available in sizes https://www.etsy.com/listing/159171652/noble-knight-lovey-crochet-pattern?ref=shop_home_active_15 There are a lot of unisex loveys but this knight is gallent and brave and would protect the Pretty Princess. How cute is that?
Bowtykes is filled with adorable animal hat patterns. Animal hats galore! My daughter and I are always thinking "ahead" these patterns would make super cute Christmas gifts. I ADORE the Baby Bird Beanie! https://www.etsy.com/listing/85413208/baby-bird-beanie-crochet-pattern-instant?ref=shop_home_active_7 Is that not the cutest? Oh my goodness. Its designed to fit newborn to adult heads. Her very clever wolf hat is unique among the earflap hats I've seen. I really appreciate the detailing of the hat. https://www.etsy.com/listing/173154874/wolf-earflap-hat-crochet-pattern-instant?ref=related-1 We love these designs because of the detailing which means they also take some time to create. We think Briana Olsen has done a wonderful job with her designs, they are cute and they have style.
Now I turn the blog over to my daugher to discuss the toys and home decor.
Mrs. Olsen's designs for toys and loveys are some of the best out there. You may ask yourself, what is a lovey? Simply put a lovey is a toy that has a blanket for a body and a stuffed toy head. Bowtykes has a bunch of different lovey patterns including kitties, puppies, jungle animals, and people. My favorite by far is the Pretty Princess Lovey http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pretty-princess-lovey I can see how to make a whole bunch of different princesses, not to mention the fact the pattern includes a pattern for everyone's favorite space princess. These loveys are made from worsted weight yarns and in various styles, but they are not like making the average blanket. Because there's a toy attached it takes more time.
Bowtykes also makes cute home decor items. One of the cutest is this owl basket https://www.etsy.com/listing/109750738/owl-basket-crochet-pattern-instant?ref=shop_home_active_12 This could be used as a storage bin in a child's room or playroom. How fun!
Yes, we have covered Kristi Simpson (RAKJpatterns) on this blog before. However, she's created some new designs that I wanted to share. She's a total ROCKSTAR in my house and a favorite of crocheters world wide
I have been following Kristi's Facebook page but as you can imagine she also has a Ravelry page: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/search#source-link=rakjpatterns&view=captioned_thumbs&sort=created and an Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RAKJpatterns?page=1 I love RAKJpatterns because they are well tested and so extremely well thought out. Really timeless patterns. Yes some of them are hip and fun but they do stand the test of time so they can be passed down through families. That's part of WHY I love crocheting and knitting on commission. I have the opportunity to create keepsakes :)
Kristi is a crochet designer, published 7 books, is a mom, wife, has social networking pages, and also does book signings so she can meet her fans in person. She does try to take the time to respond to people on her social networking pages as she is able. Which just shows you how down to earth she is. I really appreciate that! As with any art/craft there are those who stand out. Kristi is a total standout and a good role model for other young designers. In fact she just released a book on March 15th! Awesome!
Books? Oh yes (One of which I need like NOW) Check them out in paperback and Kindle!
A great selection of projects in Kristi Simpson's books. So many of her designs are cute and practical.
On the Kristi Simpson (official) facebook page you'll find some of her latest designs https://www.facebook.com/RAKJpatterns/ The links on the facebook page direct you to Ravelry so if you aren't a member you'll miss out :) Ravelry is such a cool spot to meet up with fellow fiber artists! Some of her latest include the Light and Lacy Hat http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/light-and-lacey-hat
The Lexie 3 in 1 Set is super cute. The pattern includes a head wrap, tote, and matching hat. I'm all about totes. I have a million and one :)
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lexie-3-in-1-set I liked this set because it has options. Around my part of Northern NY its COLD so a tote AND matching hat are a fantastic idea.
One idea whose time has come are the baby carseat tents. These are a great idea because they are so cute and also provide shade/warmth to our vulnerable infants Kristi has designed one for her book In A Weekend: Baby Shower Gifts (I'll be putting this on my Kindle...) However, being a woman of many talents Kristi also designed a very cute teddy bear to carry along! You'll find Tamra, the crocheted toy queen, will love this design http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/teddy-bear-61
Now to one of the designs I LOVE. I make tons of shawls and wraps for myself. They work out well because I get cold easily but I don't want to wear my coat all the time. This wrap design is so well thought out I had to share: https://www.etsy.com/listing/94540431/crochet-pattern-chic-slider-sweater?ref=shop_home_active_3 This pattern is at Kristi Simpson's Etsy shop along with so many adorable patterns for children!
Thanks to Kristi for being so gracious and for responding to her readers when she can. We really appreciate you!
I am SO proud today to be bringing you a blog post about a very special group of people working together through Knitting Rays of Hope out of Walnut, California. The group's architects are Pali and Vanessa. Here is what they say about themselves: "With this blog, we strive to raise awareness about Cancer, babies in the NICU and and a few other causes that are dear to our hearts. We have always struggled with finding a way to help others, and this was the obvious answer for us, having been so affected by this horrible disease, Cancer We hope that the hats we create impact the recipients and their families to show people really do care.
We started this effort and blog in the Spring of 2012 and have grown immensely with our awareness, skills and spiritually. It feels great to do our little part in providing hope to those that are struggling with some pretty heavy issues.
We actively pursue new recruits and can teach just about anyone how to loom knit a cute hat. By no means do we think of ourselves as “crafty” or “artistic”, at all, but this form of knitting allows for anyone to hand create a beautiful hat.
Please feel free to comment on our posts or contact us."
~Pali & Vanessa
Naturally before doing a piece about any group for this blog, I do my research. I found that Knitting Rays of Hope is a very, VERY busy group! They do so much for others so I contacted the Knitting Rays of Hope Facebook page to request permission to write about the group and of course use photos from their page. Pali responded very quickly to my requests with a resounding yes! What a gracious way to be greeted! The emphasis of Knitting Rays of Hope is hats! Lots of beautiful hats. The hats they collect go to, Cancer Warriors, Neonatal Intensive Care Units, and special request hat drives. Both Pali and Vanessa have experience with cancer striking at their families. That is the inspiration for Knitting Rays of Hope. Sadly it seems no one is immune from being touched by cancer. It is equal opportunity.
The amazing thing about Knitting Rays of Hope is the sheer volume of beautifully made hats they collect and distribute with LOVE and genuine concern for the recipients. They also genuinely care for those who create the hats. The GRAND total hats delivered so far 3,388! These hats do honestly and genuinely provide hope. As I have said many times hats are VITAL to newborn babies and especially vital to babies in Neonatal Intensive care. Its so important to help them regulate their body heat. The same goes for those who are going through chemotherapy. Hats provide the necessary covering for those who are losing their hair. A beautifully made hat is often just the thing needed to lift the spirit as well as enjoying the warmth they provide. Lets face it, a cool hat brightens anyone's day :)
Hats made by the Haberdashers of Knitting Rays of Hope have gone as far away as Guatemala! They were able to provide a NICU nurse from a hospital in Ontario California with 100 hats to go to midwives in Guatemala. How awesome is that! They also provided 107 NICU hats to Kaiser Hospital NICU in Ontario California in memory of Pali's sister-in-law and angel niece. Pali, said a very early and tragic goodbye to her sister-in-law and also to her niece who was born an angel at 32 weeks. Courage and love in action. That's what struck me most is that even in the midst of tragedy, needles, crochet hooks, and looms still worked to bring a sense of victory even in this sadness.
Knitting Rays of Hope has grown tremendously since its beginnings in 2012. They have a blog: https://knittingraysofhope.wordpress.com/.
A facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KnittingRaysOfHope/
A Twitter page: https://twitter.com/KnittngRaysHope/
A Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/knittngrayshope/
And instructions on how to get involved with Knitting Rays of Hope:
Its a fantastic group and they always need more volunteers, funds, and supplies.
Any questions are answered as promptly as possible. (All the volunteers also have other responsibilities)
I'm hoping some of my readers will choose to be involved alongside Pali and Vanessa! Here are just a few pictures I pulled from their site with permission:
We are SUPER excited here at my house. A sweet friend just had twin grandbaby boys born a wee bit early... premature babies are some of the delights of our lives. As you know last week we covered the amazing Mamma that Makes. So of course this week, when we got the exciting news that TWIN preemie boys had arrived we did a little dance of joy! :)
Besides the wonderful Mychelle Cole there are a number of other amazing designers of preemie clothes. Like our wonderful Marianna's Lazy Daisy Days. We love these people because it is not just a matter of putting together a cute pattern, for them it's a matter of the heart. This is certainly true of the designers at Bev's Country Cottage. I covered Bev in an earlier posting months back. Her work has been well known on the web for years. In fact Bev's Country Cottage is one of the first websites I turned to when looking for patterns for my work with Project Linus. Her dedication to bringing the best, free, well written patterns for use with individual charity and organized charity giving is remarkable! She is an institution in the fiber arts world and those of us who know her heart, love her for it :)
In general it's a chore to find patterns for baby boys but to find pattern for preemie, twin, baby boys its a bit more of a challenge. Which is why I turned to Bev for help.
Bev's first son was born at 33 weeks, weighing just 4 pounds 11 ounces. She knows well that when it comes to preemies, unisex is always a good word :) The nice thing about knitting and crocheting is that you can choose from many embellishments and yarns to create beautiful garments for babies to wear. Bev keeps it simple for us! Bev Qualheim has designed her own patterns which she shares freely with everyone willing to lend a hook or needle to help another person in need. (though of course the photos ect remain her own property and out of respect one should give credit where credit is due) Her patterns are straightforward, easy to follow, and above all incredibly functional! YAY!
For the purposes of the preemie babies who have made their entrance in the world this past week I've chosen to share my favorite preemie patterns by Bev first of all.
http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/baby-shirt.html This little "diaper shirt" as they used to be called is a short little vest type sweater that allows easy access to the diaper. Its perfect for a summer or late Spring baby. It can be worn over a long sleeved onesie to keep body heat in. Keeping a baby's core warm is really important. Another very important fact of life for preemies is that they need hats to keep their body heat in so Bev created this super sweet and easy preemie hat. I can't even tell you how many of these hats I've made over the years http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/preemieround.html and the baby booties help to add to the cutness factor... as if preemie twin boys aren't cute enough :) http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/bevsbooties2.html
A few other great designers have given us the opportunity to use their patterns through links on Bev's Country Cottage. Michelle Fullington shares her Wrap Diaper shirt. I like this pattern because it folds over in the front. A little extra warmth. http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/hdc-shirt.html Sweet pattern and not hard at all. Sheila (Irisheyez) contributes this beautiful Corner To Corner afghan http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/laprobe.html (love blankets this big because they can cover car seats and while allowing air through! nice)
There you have my favorite patterns for the this particular blessed event! I hope you can find something you can use among all these patterns. As always if I can assist you feel free to send me a note to facebook or use the "Contact Me" link!
Several years back, when I first began crocheting in earnest, a friend of mine and his significant other gave birth gave birth to a beautiful little tiny baby girl. I began crocheting as quickly as humanly possible. My friends were hoping she'd survive, just like her parents she was a scrappy little thing, she fought and won. She's a beautiful young lady now.
I wasn't accustomed to making clothes to fit a tiny, tiny baby but I did work like my fingers were on fire :) I was able to go to the hospital to see the baby. My own little girl had been born at 9 pounds 13 ounces 22 1/4 inches long. To see this precious little human in an incubator was breath taking. This began my passion to make preemie clothes. (I've done ever since) Mamma that Makes or Myshelle Cole, designs beautiful little clothes for preemies and angel babies. Her work is beautiful and filled with tenderness. She takes into account that preemie moms love sweet, soft, adorable clothing for their babies too.
Myshelle Cole has a Ravelry page and a Facebook page where you can follow her work. Mamma that Makes resides in Tasmania and is Mum to 4 children! She's gracious enough to give away her patterns to those looking to help preemie babies or make a gift for an angel baby. Though she does accept donations. If you do not know how to knit or crochet or you too have a passion for preemies, donating to a designer is a great way to help!
Mamma that Makes has literally hundreds of designs to page through. Thankfully she's more organized than I am and has her blog broken down into categories. She's created lots of hat patterns for the preemie babies... remembering of course that even newborns born at normal birth weight have a hard time regulating body temperature, so Preemies are really in need of hats to keep the body heat steady. Hats for angel babies, just gives mom and dad a way to send their baby off with an appropriate outfit. Its so important! http://mammathatmakes.blogspot.com.au/p/preemie-patterns.html
I have a few favorite outfits that Myshelle Cole has designed for the tiniest among us. First I love the look of "Bo's Pants" and "Bo's Jacket", created for babies born at 28-30 weeks gestation, its a totally adorable set. http://mammathatmakes.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/bos-pants-free-prem-crochet-pattern.html
http://mammathatmakes.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/bos-jacket-free-prem-crochet-pattern.html How cute are they??? Love that these are totally unisex. It doesn't take long to make something for donation and you just never know what grateful parent will be at the receiving end of that donation. Then for the tiny little girls Mamma That Makes created the beautiful Sophia Gown. This is just precious and delicate. Its just beautiful and would look so pretty with the Kaitlyn or the Single Stripe Beanies. You can find those patterns:
One of my favorite things in the world is the very popular and very unisex ripple pattern. Myshelle created a lovely Preemie ripple blanket. Ripple blankets have stood the test of time. You can create a preemie blanket in team colors, to match a nursery, to match favorite movie character colors, Easter, Christmas, Valentines and would be a wonderful Keepsake. http://mammathatmakes.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/ripples-preemie-blanket.html
I'd like to thank Myshelle Cole for making so many beautiful contributions to those who crochet for the tiniest of our citizens. These little ones who are so fragile and yet so strong. I'm so glad to have been introduced Mamma That Makes. Please visit her Ravelry page: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/myshelle-cole/patterns and her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MammaThatMakes/ If you have the means to support her work won't you make a small contribution? Myshelle Cole wrote these patterns for our benefit and not for sale. Thank you so much Mamma that Makes!
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.