I really enjoy a well curated blog. For some of us, finding time to search all over the internet for bits of information is time consuming and a bit overwhelming. Especially if you are new to fiber arts and simply want to be of help to others. Sometimes you begin to wonder what you've unleashed. LOL I hope I can help take some of the mystery out of finding help by introducing these two curated blogs.
First what IS a curated blog?! "Content curation is, in a nutshell, picking and choosing content from around the Web, and sharing it with your followers. " writes Nancy Messieh of Makeuseof.com . Some of us who write blogs create curated content without realizing it has a fancy name :) . Technically my Charity Idea OUTpost blogs are, in fact, curated content. I look for the best ideas to share with you who do charity knitting/crocheting/ sewing every Sunday . (with the occasional break when life interrupts art). Curated blogs or curated content are a super easy way to find what you are looking for all in one place... like one stop shopping !
Beautiful Skills sub title is "#1 Source for Handmade Tutorial". Just a couple of FYI's, Not every pattern has a matching tutorial, not all are free, not all patterns are in English, but if you are looking for an all in one blog, all you have to do is search! I thought, for the sake of this blog, we might just take a mini tour of what kind of amazing things one can find for charity on BeautifulSkills.com.
Blankets for charities like Project Linus, Binky Patrol, or Bangwe Babies Mission:
Hats are always a popular item for giving to charities such as Emily's Hats for Hope Initiative or their Spin-off groups, The Preemie Project , or Little Hats Big hearts. Hats are an easier project to manage and yet so valuable. A warm hat can prevent illness especially in babies. Beautiful skills as a lot of hat patterns for use in charity work.
What about learning different styles of crochet and knitting? Beautiful Skills can point you in the direction of great tutorials to help you learn different styles /techniques of the skills we love. If you are already a skilled knitter or crocheter this might be a great way to improve on a good thing.
Patterns galore on Beautiful Skills it is almost mind boggling! If you are looking to make something for charity Beautiful Skills is the right place ! Here are the links to a few searches I did on my own to test out exactly what I could find! ;)
Obviously not everyone has the time to make all of these stunning patterns but we can each find something of value at Beautiful Skills to use in our charity work. There's a lot of people who could use a smile and a helping hand. Beautiful Skills obviously puts in a huge amount of work. We thank them.
My daughter T.K. Wilson and I were on the hunt for something spectacular for today's blog... when we came across the photos of Susan Gardner's Ravelry store designs we both drew in our breath! Such wonderful designs. It's a wonder our collective "Wow ooooohhhs" didn't cause the house to implode! LOL Susan Gardner is a one of a kind knit designer I think once you see the designs you'll agree.
With 161 mostly baby hat designs to choose from Susan Gardner is one of the most prolific classic hat designers (in the true sense of the word) I've come across bar none. She has designed some gorgeous blankets also. At Cotton Pickings you'll find hat pattern designs to suit nearly every taste and mercifully they are full of happiness. If you are looking for the same old thing... pass right by Susan Gardner you won't find anything derivative at Cotton Pickings! My grandmother was right, children should have color! T.K. Wilson will be adding her thoughts to this blog, even though she doesn't knit. That will tell you something about how amazing the designs are!
Some of the most eye catching designs are those for little baby girls. They have certain vintage charm but by using new techniques and up-to-date colors, Susan Gardner has found a way to bring an the same sophistication to a new generation. Yes the designs can be made in adult size but as Susan Gardner writes on her Etsy store patterns " IT WORKS BEST FOR BABY HATS" . Choosing just a few representative hats of this updated vintage style was so hard for me. I think you'll agree that choosing one hat to create for a special baby might be near impossible :).
Of course Cotton Pickings offers something for everyone. Not sure of the gender of the baby you are creating for? Doing work for a charity? These designs ought to suit!
Sports fans Susan Gardner has you "covered" ... pardon the pun.
It is Mother's Day here in the USA and so as a mom I want to have a little fun. Yes, donation to causes we love is absolutely a serious business and the people who receive our donations are usually in a situation they'd rather not be. We donate because we care and we want those receiving our gifts to know we care. We want to bring a smile to their faces. Why not make them smile or even laugh at the same time. Today I thought I'd share some fun projects that might be perfect for donating.
Today I'm just going to focus on a few things to give if you are looking for fun projects. More of a pattern roundup than a review or suggestions. I plan to give YOU a reason to smile today. So many of you have taken the time to like my blog, I'm grateful. Let us get started with the pattern roundup beginning with patterns for Babies:
www.hopefulhoney.com/2015/06/cookie-monster-inspired-baby-hat.html crochet monster inspired hat.
blog.jonesandvandermeer.com/meet-baby-monstaa/ knit monster inspired hat.
crochetzone.com/2017/04/09/free-crochet-pattern-animal-friends-bibs/ crochet animal bibs. (super cute)
www.loveknitting.com/us/animal-hat-in-millamia-naturally-soft-merino-downloadable-pdf Knitting. adorable animal hats.
oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2014/04/my-dainty-princess-baby-hat.html crochet Princess hat. Very sweet.
niksknots.blogspot.com/2011/07/prince-jughead.html crochet This is a cute prince hat.
www.repeatcrafterme.com/2014/06/crochet-hippo-hat-pattern.html crochet Sweet little hippo hat for many size heads
freecrochetpatternsbydarleen.blogspot.com/2013/09/free-crochet-pattern-baby-chick-or-baby.html crochet Really adorable chick bird hat by Darleen Hopkins.
www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/square-pom-pom-jester-hat crochet Love this little pompom jester hat lots of fun.
www.yarnspirations.com/patterns/crochet-tripod-hat.html crochet You have to check this jester hat out. It is so cute.
www.woollywormhead.com/free-patterns on this page there's a really cute knitted tripeak hat.
www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bb8-beanie BB8 crochet hat.
www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/you-seek-yoda-hat Baby yoda knit hat
amysastitchatatime.blogspot.com/2015/10/princess-leia-free-crochet-beanie.html?spref=pi My friend Amy B stitched created this Leia hat.
Fantastic Star Wars inspired charts www.knitting-and.com/knitting/patterns/charts/starwars.htm
wildandwanderful.com/blog/2017/3/irish-pixie-hat Pixie hat. Crochet.
www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/f654-owl-hat Owl hat. knit
www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pokeball-hat-9 Pokeball crochet
mandalynnscrochettreasures.blogspot.com/2017/01/everythings-shiny-cap.html Firefly hat.
www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/red-bird-with-an-attitude birds knit
www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/stinky-fish-hat crazy fish hat crochet.
Oh my goodness! I hardly know where to begin with today's incredible indy designer! But with 1,119 page likes to her name on Facebook, clearly others feel the same way about Pradeepa's designs ! I was looking for a designer who agrees with me that children deserve fun, colorful, designs that make them happy and stimulate their brains. In a world of "the terribly muted needleworker" (TTMN from now on) it took a LONG time to find some colorful designs to write about. Thankfully there's The Lazy Hobbyhopper and The Whimsical Little Fox to the rescue!
Maybe it's my age. Maybe it's my predisposition to fight against the "crowd" mentality. Maybe it's the teacher in me but the TTMN just doesn't settle well with me. I like babies and young children to have COLOR . Here's a little primer about color . I think teachers or daycare providers who dress in bright colors have the right idea. Every time I see the TTMN I remember my childhood. Granted it was the 60's so color was more or less the thing but parents were concerned with making a playful environment for their kids. When I found Pradeepa's designs on Ravelry I cheered right out loud. (which is embarrassing when you are in a room alone). A feast for the eyes and happiness to my soul! Lets first take a look at the designs for clothing, home decor and accessories at The Lazy Hobbyhopper and then we'll look at The Whimsical Little Fox
Many of the Indy designers have great websites that cover a myriad of crafts and hobbies. This also applies to The Lazy Hobbyhopper . However for the sake of time we'll stick with the fiber art designs. It was difficult to choose a few favorites to share but I think these will represent Pradeepa's designs. Many come in multiple sizes.
Adults can expect to find patterns ranging from fun to classy evening wear.
There are several accessories for the home that really would add a touch of pleasant color to any room.
Next we look at The Whimsical Little Fox. Play-full offerings from Pradeepa. The Whimsical Little Fox is aptly named. My daughter is the true toy expert but the Amigurumi patterns created by Pradeepa are pretty irresistible if you have a child who loves make believe. My daughter informs me that most of these patterns are not for beginners, however, Pradeepa includes photos to help you along. My favorites are probably beyond MY skill level but Laterose Doll Clothes and Doll Repair on Facebook is able to negotiate these patterns with very little problem.
Thanks for reading along today! My thanks to Pradeepa for these amazing designs and please check her out on Facebook . I'm glad I found The Whimsical Little Fox and The Lazy Hobbyhopper. Writing about these creations has been a great way to pass a rainy afternoon. If you do check out Pradeepa's work be sure to thank her for all her hard work!
I'm privileged to write today about Bangwe Babies Mission (Malawi) because it is something about which I have prayed for years. Many of you know that my faith in God is the pillar of my life and he has provided me with a wonderful family and a "fiber arts tolerant" husband. How all this began, a little about Bangwe, Blantyre, Malawi, my goals, the goals of the group, and how you can contribute will all be included (in abbreviated form) in this blog.
When joining Facebook I had no idea that I would develop close friendships with young people from all over the continent of Africa. I'd never been to Africa. Had no family there, no close friends, I had only one missionary family with whom I was acquainted. Through this family working in Kenya I got to know some of the most amazing and truest friends I'd had in many years. I'm not sure how it all evolved I just know that through mutual friends and a love of football (soccer) I met a young man named Amos Phiri. while Amos was born in the the country of Malawi and now lives in the UK after graduating from technical college. Through the years of very hard work Amos now owns his own shipping company. This allows him to serve his home country and city of Bangwe, Blantyre, Malawi. I do not know at what point it occurred to me that Amos was shipping things to Malawi, perhaps it was when he invited me to his business page, but the thought struck me that maybe my prayers had been answered!
I had been praying about a way to serve the babies of Africa through my handmade clothes. So many times I had read posts from friends in Africa telling me how cold the winters were and how they wish that they could get warmer clothes for their babies. I thought would it not be wonderful if I could give back to my friends some of the joy they had given me. When I approached Amos Phiri with the idea of helping Malawi he informed me that he did indeed have an idea! That is how Bangwe Babies Mission was born. Through his contacts in Malawi, and his shipping company, Amos Phiri was able to contact the Bangwe Health Center where they have an urgent need for clothes for infants. Now you are correct, there is another group on Facebook for which I am spokesperson, Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope, is a group which I HELP to run I do not run it alone. However, in Africa their Winter months occur during our Summer months so there is no conflict between the two groups. I am able to do both. How cool is that! Again, with this group Amos Phiri is really the expert, my job is to help Amos by recruiting knitters, crocheters, and those who can sew to the group. More about that later. First, let me share with you a little about Bangwe Health Centre from the perspective of those who live/have lived or work there.
Amos Phiri wrote this for me to share with our Facebook group .
Bangwe Township is one of the beautiful town since is surrounded by Hills and rivers unfortunately the population is very high.
We have experienced of poverty and lack of proper equipment at our hospital (Bangwe Healthy Centre).
The woman are finding it difficult especially when giving birth since there's lack of proper equipment and mostly they lose their lives.
Therefore through Babies Bangwe Mission am 100% sure that will make difference and near future we may require midwives volunteers from Abroad to come and work with or train our nurses at Bangwe Healthy centre(Maternity ward).
We need a lot for our maternity ward
Just to mention a few
Bangwe healthy centre is the only hospital in Bangwe which is located in southern of malawi and located between Namatapa primary school (1.0 kilometers from the Healthy Centre to the school) and Bangwe Primary school (1.5 km from the Healthy Centre to the school)
At first it was the Maternity hospital till the early 2000’s when the population increased and the government decided to change over the hospital to a healthy centre where all to be receiving treatment since the Main hospital which is QUEEN Elizabeth hospital is about 10km from Bangwe.
It is the only hospital which the whole community rely on especially when the pregnant woman giving birth.
Due to the poverty and lack of necessities Bangwe has been experience with more death especially women when giving birth and mostly the loose babies because of lack of proper medications and equipments
(photo via google earth)
When I asked the members of our facebook group (mostly Malawians and a few folks from outside Malawi who have offered to help make clothes) to tell me about Bangwe, this is what some told me:
Josephine Mercia Redson: "It is a ghetto type of city". " Employment is also a challenge here, even graduates struggle to get a job... " (Bangwe is around 1, 250 miles and has a population of 809,397 at last count)
Bick-aya Mbawala added these facts:
When I asked how many babies were born each month at the Bangwe Health Centre
Bridget Wa Masamba replied : "Almost 100"
To give you a little perspective, The University of Vermont Medical Centre is in the heart of Burlington, Vermont. According to its website UVM serves 2,000 families per YEAR at their birthing centre Which is approximately 166 babies per month. (give or take) Hard to fathom that Bangwe Health Centre would be serving that many families with minimal equipment when one of the best equipped hospitals in Vermont would be serving nearly as many families! We are very thankful for Bangwe Health Centre! They are able to do so much with so little.
As Amos Jame Phiri wrote earlier the group goals are much bigger than just making sure littlest citizens of Bangwe get warm handmade clothes. He would like to see the entire hospital become a proper hospital with properly trained volunteers, staff and equipment. With his passion for helping those in the pace of his birth, I have no doubt he will fulfill this dream.
For myself, I want to make sure that babies can be born with something warm to wear and to cover their tiny bodies. I want to see the roster of those willing to help grow so that we may significantly impact and encourage Bangwe's families and medical staff. It has been my hope for years to do this work and to have a ministry partner. Through Amos Phiri I have this opportunity! The items you send to Bangwe Babies Mission will leave the US and meet with other donations in the UK to be sent on to Bangwe.
We have a donation center in UK and in the USA!
If you wish to donate in the US please send to Bangwe Babies Mission care of Tom Wilson PO Box 465, Malone, NY 12953.
If you'd like the UK address please contact me at email@example.com
Knowing the desperate need in Bangwe, Malawi we ask for 4 things:
Let's get something started! Let us change the world a little! If you are serious about helping us with your talents, and time please consider letting me know or joining our group on Facebook. @Bangwe Babies Mission (Malawi) We're thankful you took the time to read this article. :) On behalf of myself , Bangwe Babies Mission (Malawi) and my partner in ministry, thank you.
One designer I've held in high esteem for some time is Elena Nodel. Her designs are fresh, colorful yet classic and not at all derivative. For the past year thiswonderful, creative, bright light in our Fiber Arts world has been afflicted with cancer and as of April 28 was released from the hospital after a very serious emergency surgery to protect her kidneys from failing as a result of that cancer. I'm here today to highlight some of Elena Nodel's patterns, encourage you to buy her patterns, but also to ask you to take an interest in the fight that her family has made public. There is a "Go Fund Me" drive to help Elena Nodel pay her medical bills. I'd like you to take a look with me at some of my favorite children's clothing, clothing for adults, and finally accessories designed by Elena Nodel.
Elena Nodel has been a member of Ravelry since 2008. This is where I first found her patterns. She created the prettiest and yet most unique style dresses for girls I'd seen on Ravelry. I loved that the patterns looked stylish, and fun but also allowed the freedom of movement. I was pretty much smitten. I commented on a couple of the designs and Elena Nodel was kind enough to comment in return. She's not only a fabulous designer living in Sicamous, BC, Canada but also a lovely person. The fiber arts community loves to give, especially to one of our own. I hope this blog will do Colour Adventures and Knitting Adventures some credit.
First an admission. Elena Nodel has created some pattern pieces that are beyond my skill set. However as a HUGE fan of her work I will knit what I can :). Elena Nodel writes "I like my designs to be easy to wear and to knit, thus most my designs are seamless and well explained, with all the relevant links to the tutorials when needed..
I am a very creative person and like exploring various techniques and stitches while creating my garments. Thus you will always find a bit of a challenge in my patterns that will keep you interested and engaged." of her own work.
This is exactly what the knitter finds in the designs at "Knitting Adventures" . Having watched the designs evolve (way past my own skill) from her earliest work to the amazing pieces Elena Nodel has designed more recently I can honestly say, a knitter would never be bored. Children's designs, especially, should not be boring! Some of the first pieces she designed were beautiful , easy to knit, lovely little pieces for her daughter Maya. The "Pink Lacy Spring Dress" was the first piece I had seen of Anadiomena's available on Ravelry. As Elena and Peter's daughter Maya grew so did the number of patterns available for children. There are patterns for both boys and girls (and some that are unisex)
Let us take a look at a selected few of my favorites (just a few of those available)
The accessories found at the Anadiomena's Designs are STUNNING. Many of them heavily cabled in a way that catches the eye. I am a huge fan of cable work even though it takes me extra time, the look is really stunning. I could write all day about the accessories but I'll spare you that :)
Elena Nodel's family needs our help right now. While many of us give to charity outside the Fiber arts community, when it's one of our own we take it a little personally. Elena Nodel's husband Pete has set up a "Go Fund Me " and it's "Trending" right now. There are more than a couple of us who couldn't give to the fund at the moment but maybe we could buy a pattern! ? The shawl patterns linked above cost $6.00 . You get a pattern and Elena Nodel's family has a little more money in their pocket to help with expenses.
Elena Nodel has a Facebook page "Anadiomena's Designs" where people can keep up to date with new patterns, events, fundraisers, and news about Elena's treatment . Even if you can't donate or you don't knit we can certainly all send best wishes her way. I know you are fighting Elena Nodel and I am praying for the very best for you and your family !
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.