As many of my regular readers know I have been going to the Cleveland Clinic Main Campus in Cleveland, Ohio to see specialists for about 4 years. In that time I've come to deeply appreciate the quality of care in the hospitals surrounding Cleveland. I'm so grateful for hospitals like the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio, because I may need their services, and because my parents live near to Cleveland. I want to see them get the best of care. University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center System provides support on 4 main campus sites and in 12 community hospitals. The extent of their expertise is staggering. Of course with that many hospitals, volunteers are necessary. Through the virtual volunteer program anyone can be of help to the University Hospitals System. With so many great opportunities we should get started!
First, if you don't knit, crochet, or sew please know that there are so many ways you can help even from a long distance! Familiarize yourself with the volunteer opportunities here. (Check out the "Smiles with Style" wish list.) There is also a wish list maintained by University Hospitals here. Because of the type of services the various hospitals supply, and because they must maintain strict infection control guidelines PLEASE heed all the instructions given. It is vital. I take these guidelines very seriously.
The main webpage for UHCMC's virtual volunteers states twice on that they are happy to accept knit, crochet, and quilted items. Let me quote those two paragraphs. (That way there's no mistaking what the UHCMC is asking it's volunteers to provide)
"University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and Hanna House Skilled Nursing Facility maintain wish lists of needed non-medical items. Items range from bubbles and small craft items to electronics. All sizes and shapes of quilted, knit, and crocheted items are needed for our patients in UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital (ages birth to 18 years of age), for infants in University Hospitals MacDonald Women's Hospital, and adults in Hanna House Skilled Nursing Area. We are happy to accept your handmade blankets, quilts, hats, booties, and other items from a smoke-free home."
"Quilted, knitted and crocheted items are needed for our patients at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital (birth to 18 years of age), for infants at University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital, and adults in Hanna House Skilled Nursing Facility. We are happy to accept your hand-made blankets, quilts, hats, booties and other items from a smoke-free home."
It is really vital that the items we donate come from a smoke free home (they mention it twice!) It might also be wise to clean the items in unscented detergent before sending them off. (allergies to heavy perfumes are prevalent)
As knitters, crocheters, and sewists, we can play an important role supporting patients and their families. I've been in the position of sitting around waiting for a test result to come back wondering what it would mean for my future. Just knowing someone is there to give you that comforting hug, whether it's in the form of a shawl or in the form of a supportive touch on the shoulder. We need each other. Knitting, crocheting, and sewing are just the visible form of the thread that binds all humans together in a difficult situation. If you are looking for a place to begin making your hugs, allow me to share patterns from some of my favorite designers.
Giving a patient their own blanket can be of great comfort or a lovely way to welcome a baby to the world. Here are some of my favorite blanket patterns.
Baby sets are everywhere. I love digging through Ravelry and Facebook to find the best.
I do want to encourage you to consider giving to University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center if you can this Summer. It really is amazing how much these people do for thousands of people both in and outside of the state of Ohio. Thank you for reading the blog and thank you to the artists who have taken the time to put their patterns out there for us for free.
As you can see from the photo, we're having a bit of a dreary day. Although the clouds brought rain making all the trees and grass pop into this bright green so typical of our Northern Adirondack Spring! Or maybe we've skipped Spring? At any rate, due to our rather overcast day I needed a little color and beauty, with a pinch of cute in my life. Thanks to Nana's Crochet Creations, I have found that very mixture of crochet patterns to share with you!
Nana of Nana's Crochet Creations is Des Maunz. The brains behind classy, fresh designs with a bit of a vintage feel. Nana's Crochet Creations has a completely different approach to sharing patterns than other designers I've covered for this blog before. In fact there was not even a Ravelry page for Nana's Crochet Creations before February of 2018! All her patterns are shared, for free, 100% on Facebook. I really like that concept because Facebook reaches so many people. What amazes me is that she's happy to share her patterns with a huge audience of people, 32, 926 "likes" on her page at the time of writing, for free! You have to see the designs to really get what I am talking about so log in to your facebook and let's get into our Nana's Crochet Creations highlights.
The majority of Des Maunz patterns are blanket/afghan patterns. They are absolutely OUT of this world stunning. There are 21 blanket patterns and you know that means I actually had to pick a few to share! 😉
It is Spring here in very Northern New York but in many places around the world folks are already into very warm temperatures! Crocheters are looking for the perfect carry along project. Blanket squares are a fantastic way to keep hands busy without having to fight the heat. Des Maunz has created some beautiful blanket squares. I like blanket squares because they make for flexibility in sizing of blankets.
Des Maunz has, of course, designed some clothing for little people AND big people. Inspiration comes from many places. I love what Des Maunz has to offer!
If I don't finish this blog up and get moving on my crocheting I won't get a chance to start the Sweet As Can BEE blanket. Thank you all for reading the blog today and thanks to Des Maunz for her beautiful work! If you check out Nana's Crochet Creations please leave a message letting her know you stopped by!
A word of caution before I start. DIYeverywhere.com uses sponsored ads some of which can contain some pictures that might be troubling to readers with more sensitive stomachs. The content of the blog overall is quite valuable however, I thought a word of warning might be in order.
My parents and grandparents were "DIYing" before DIY was cool. My grandparents lived through 2 great wars and the Great Depression. My parents, born in the mid-1930's, learned the value of thrift. They, in turn, passed it on to their daughters and we passed it on to our children. We think of it more like a treasure hunt than a way to brag on our "thriftiness". We love curated websites like DIYeverywhere.com. :)
DIYeverywhere has a landing page here if you click on a project on the landing page the site will automatically open up a new page upon which there is a search box. For instance I opened up a page on the "Crafts" index for a terracotta bird bath because it would make a nice feature for my yard. Then I used the search box in the top right hand corner to search for both crochet and knitting. Using a landing page like this helps all the readers find the latest content added to the website without having to search all over to find it. When searching for the words "crochet" or "knitting" (there are a lot of sewing projects too!) you'll find good collection of information, projects, how-to's, and projects to try. Today I am just going to give you the upshot and let you follow your muse :)
For crocheters there are a lot of compiled videos and patterns that run the gambit. Hopeful Honey, Tamara Kelly of Moogly blog, Sewrella, New Stitch A Day, Potter and Bloom, along with Craftsy, and Attic24 are all featured on this great curated site.
Here are some of my favorites in crochet:
Knitters will find plenty of great ideas, tips, tricks and projects to keep us busy. It's always fun to learn new things, especially if they don't require buying anything new.
I find DIYeverywhere a one stop, easy to navigate site for all things upcycled and DIY. Woodcrafts, holiday decorations, home decor, upcycling clothes, quilting, sewing, and other "life hacks". It was one of those little finds on the net you just have to share! I hope you enjoyed this shorter blog today... I wanted to have some time to open the windows and enjoy some of the fresh Springtime air.
Let me say that I am very happy to be doing this blog today. That may be an odd thing to say. You're right to ask why? Because many years ago when my grandfather had two strokes which paralyzed the left side of his body, people did not have access to information about stroke. People I know and love have been affected by strokes, some very recently, and this is what has led me to writing this blog. Not only to help people recognize strokes but also to help people find ways to provide comfort to people recovering from strokes. Knitting and crocheting are the perfect ways to show a little love... and I get a little help from my friends to show you how.
My Grandfather like many men of his time, was a relatively reserved, pragmatic, man who lived through 2 World Wars and the Great depression. He was a big man, who liked to tease his granddaughters, and smoke his pipe on the porch. He gave his best to his occupation, family, community, and to his country. During the Great Depression he had a young family to care for and therefore he did what other men did, he just got on with it. My Grandfather worked on the trains that were so vital during WWII and therefore wasn't called up for the draft. However, he acted as an auxiliary police man. Working many long hours to keep those trains full of goods and supplies running to our troops was a taxing job.
Yet after all that he lived through, strokes sidelined this big strong man, permanently weakening his body. In 1957, he had his first stroke and a month later he went back to work. Then in 1958 he had a second stroke which ended his career. At that point the best they would hope for is that he could transfer himself from his bed to a wheelchair. Not only did he beat the odds but he smashed them to bits. With the help of his family my grandfather not only walked again but he learned to drive. While I never knew my grandfather before he had his strokes I knew the determination with which he lived his life. He was simply unforgettable. (He also had this adorable twinkle in his beautiful blue eyes). There are millions of stories like that and now, thanks to the many organizations helping to raise awareness about strokes, there are more happy endings.
I can't write this blog without giving some links to organizations that will help recognize the signs of strokes and will also offer support to survivors. Just like with the signs of heart attack, early detection can offer a better chance of survival. Please take time to read the graphic. If you have a loved one at risk please print it off and put it somewhere it can be seen.
www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/, and www.stroke.org/
Did you know that knitting and crocheting can be used as therapy for patients recovering from strokes? I learned this from a great lady who runs a local farm here in the Northern Adirondacks. It's a way to help regain motor control! I thought that was so cool! In fact here's a great article about a physical therapist who got a little creative to help a client crochet again. It's a great tool for self expression and stress relief.
Immediately when I thought of stroke I thought of high blood pressure. My husband has elevated blood pressure and as long as he takes his medicine he's fine. He had elevated blood pressure for years until one Sunday he had a crisis. I drove him to the hospital myself because I thought he was having a heart attack. Ever after that I redoubled my efforts to follow the campaigns of the American Heart Association and Stroke Association. It takes a really close shave like that sometimes to get you to pay attention. That's when I started to try to make it a point to acknowledge those who have had strokes and to provide comfort to patients or their families. The patterns I share today will be in the color red to represent the heart/brain connection.
Next my crocheting friend Doug Speeckaert has a few patterns to share. I asked him for his help because he makes THE most magnificent blankets! You can see his amazing work on his instagram and of course you can't miss the pics of the adorable Dachshunds that own him. (oh wait... he owns LOL) Here are Doug's contributions:
T.k. Wilson has some offerings of small appliques and edgings you can use on any item you make knit or crochet. Simply make them as pins or bookmarks for National Stroke Awareness day.
I'm very thankful you all joined me today for my blog post. Thanks to Amy Brewer, Doug Speeckaert, and T.k. Wilson for their participation. All of my readers are important to me. Please take care of yourselves!
I was looking at my bookmarks for crocheted basket patterns when I came across the "Trio of Grande Baskets" patterns by Eye Love Knots. I thought to myself, that would make a great blog but I'm sure I've already highlighted Alexandra Richards. To my shock (and a little bit of horror if I'm honest) I had NOT covered Eye Love Knots for my blog... WHAT? Of course today I will attempt rectify that oversight.
Speaking of sight Alexandra Richards has a very specific reason for naming her blog/business Eye Love Knots and it's important. I'll quote from the Eye Love Knots Ravelry page introduction:
"I chose the name Eye Love Knots in honor of the Burckhalter/Lindhorn family (my very close cousins). Our family has been affected by Retinoblastoma, a cancer of one or both eyes which occurs in young children. There are approximately 350 new diagnosed cases per year in the US and affect about one in every 15,000 births. Although children may be born with retinoblastoma, it is rarely diagnosed at birth. As a rapidly growing cancer, studies of the bones, bone marrow and spinal fluid are also performed upon discovery. If the tumor is contained within the eye, more than 95% of patients can be cured. For those children with tumors in both eyes, close to 70-80% of the eyes can be saved, although many of them need radiation therapy, or possibly even chemotherapy.
Fifteen percent of every purchase made from me will be donated to aid in the medical advances and new discoveries on the fight against Retinoblastoma, blindness and other eye diseases. Donations go to the National Retinoblastoma Research and Support Foundation headed by Dr. Timothy Murray
If you aren’t in need of any of my handmade treasures but would like to make a donation today, please email me so I can set this up for you."
In a way this blog will be both an indie designer blog but will also be a blog supporting Alexandra Richard's work with the National Retinoblastoma Research and Support Foundation.
Alexandra Richards has been crocheting for 4 years give or take. However, as a multi-crafter she's been playing with yarn for about 10 years! Starting out with plastic canvas she progressed in her art until now she's been published several times in "Happily Hooked" Magazine. (congrats!) Her designs are full of "life" if I may use that more antiquated term. They are timeless and practical but with a sense of enthusiasm. That being said, let's get right into looking at some selections of her patterns because there is something for everyone. (I still can't believe I didn't cover her work on my blog before!)
We all like to think of home as a place where we create our own style. However, most of the time crocheters are creating pieces for someone else. Alexandra Richards offers the kind of patterns that will be at the top of your "go to" favorites list!
Now winter, in my opinion, has been giving the Northern Adirondack Region a hard time. Apparently temperatures are to dip back down into the 30 degree mark again tonight (as of the date of the writing of this blog post). So now what's a crocheter to do if the temperatures just won't leave off? Make lightweight hats, scarves and shawls, is my reply.
I am always looking for great small gifts for Operation Christmas child or to give to local charities like homeless shelters, group homes and battered spouse shelters. Alexandra Richards has designed several items that would be perfect for those projects!
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.