I am tickled PINK to be able to offer a free pattern from my friend Wendy Gilbert on my blog! How COOL IS THAT?!!!! She wanted to share with you all, and now you see what I know about Wendy. She has a BIG heart. Thank you Wendy from the bottom of MY heart for sharing your pattern with us!!!! Leave a reply of thanks to Wendy and let us know how you plan to use this pattern will you? She's a good friend. :) REMEMBER the pattern is copyrighted by Wendy.
Some say knitters and crocheters are a dime a dozen. I beg to differ, I say knitters and crocheters are priceless and today's charity proves my point exactly. Its what happens when tenacity meets skill.
Needles & Hooks & Angels & Preemies (here after known as NHAP) started with an idea and within a year turned into a large group providing 140 hospitals and 180 units within those hospitals. They also join forces with various other charities within the UK. No question they are a great force for good!
The background of this lovely story started with the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle Upon Tyne (or just plain Newcastle) The hospital has been operational for 250 years! Bea McDonald had been sending handmade items to RVI for 26 years. Then she asked Nikki Morris to join her in forming a group to serve a greater number of people. Now, with any group there needs to be an idea and a few who organize so that the idea has life. However, like with most charities, its really the group in Needles & Hooks & Angels & Preemies, who make an idea a fully functioning reality. Though I live in New York, USA I belong to this group of amazing people and I have seen how their desire to help people has become their driving force.
The group has a facebook page where they meet, information is passed along, pattern files are shared, updates about the work are disseminated, and they do a lot of chatting about how their lives have been impacted by the work they are doing! The group has a total 3,033 members. By comparison my facebook business page has 210 members and I have been open 5 years so that will tell you how IMMENSELY important the work at NHAP is to the people of the UK. Its also a testament to how much knitters and crocheters give back to the communities in which they live. Not all donations to NHAP are handmade but to give you some idea of the staggering amount of work this group does; about 3 to 5,000 handmade items come in every month! Think of the number of people that are reached by that kind of love?! Amazing!
The most frequent question is "How can I help?" Glad you asked ;) The details on exactly what is needed, what patterns are available and what wool (yarn) one has but to request to join the group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/needlesandhooksangelandpreemies/ However to give you a general idea I'll list some of the items requested:
Supporters of the group consider http://www.amazon.co.uk/registry/wishlist/19IJJZAB8CLWN/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_ws_lTF2ub1677CJ8
That is just the tip of the iceberg. You will find much more information on the Facebook group page OR you an email them at N.H.A.P@outlook.com.
Truly this group is passionate about helping the people who are often under served in their community. They have brought me to tears and made me laugh. But more than that they gave me a little of their passion to get BACK to work knitting for charity. I may have to start small but as the song so aptly states... "Start at the very beginning". Thank you to this lovely group of people. Its a great pleasure knowing you.
I had the very great pleasure of meeting Wendy Gilbert through another knitter Marianna-Mel about whom I wrote on the 15th of August. I was invited to join the group Marianna's Lazy Daisy Days. It was there I had a bit of a brainwave brought on by a lovely woman named Andrea. Andrea wanted to knit up a baby bonnet but the pattern she wished to use was not available so I knitted a prototype. I am NOT a pattern writer, I really just don't have the skill. Enter Wendy Gilbert, a knitter of vastly more experience and a woman who loves to write, design, and test knit patterns. Wendy lives in Australia, I live in the Northern Adirondacks of New York state. Wendy's task was to take notes written by me, in US terms, put them together and write the pattern in US and UK terms PLUS test knit the bonnet for me. (test knitting is what good pattern designers do if they want to make sure their patterns do not contain mistakes) It was an adventure and I LOVED every minute of it! Now you know the back story. Let me tell you about my patient collaborator.
Wendy Gilbert has been knitting for over 30 years. On her website Wendy gives the background of her knitting career, if you will, http://wendyg-designs.com/. I smiled when I read that she knit doll clothes for her daughters :). I remember buying handmade doll clothes when I was a little girl. It was so much fun. Now Wendy has grandchildren for whom she knits and crochets. What fun!
Wendy writes that she started designing 5 years ago. She has told me in my conversations with her that she very much enjoys the process of designing and helping others to put their designs in written form. Thank goodness. I do a little of my own designing but writing patterns, totally not my thing. Wendy's website has some of the most beautiful knitted doll designs I've seen in years! She is scrupulously careful in her pattern writing so any patterns you buy from her shop are meticulously prepared. Just for example two of my favorite patterns can be found here: http://wendyg-designs.com/products-page/baborn/spring-breeze-2/ and http://wendyg-designs.com/products-page/baborn/saint-nick-2/ So CUTE!!!! (Please note that these are the property of Wendy Gilbert if you buy her patterns you cannot then sell them, share the for free, and please make sure you attribute properly)
If you do not knit or crochet Wendy takes orders and will also work with you to design something extra special. Here is what she has written
"Please note love to knit to order or take requests for things you may see and like but not be able to knit yourself, so please send me a message and I will be only too happy to give you a quote."
She really does love her job. She has a passion for creating excellence, I know this from personal experience. If this is your first time designing a special item or you have questions Wendy can be contacted at http://email@example.com She'll be more than happy to help you.
Wendy is great with first time designers. I scribble notes for my own designs on 3x5 cards and stick them in a plastic box. I really do not write patterns. Wendy took my design notes, test knit, made adjustments, wrote the pattern, test knit the pattern again in a very short time frame. It was a labor of love for me and for her as it was a pattern for charity. We had many conversations over my little pattern and she always treated me with great kindness. Wendy is a very gracious person. Working with her was a wonderful experience. I can say with confidence, for those who choose to buy patterns from Wendy, (I hope you will) I know she is very good about answering questions.
Wendy has a big presence on the web. You can find her on her own website of course http://wendyg-designs.com/ Where every Sunday Wendy has a different special offered to her visitors. Today I can share the BONUS of a new FREE toy pattern! http://wendyg-designs.com/products-page/free/ Perfect for sharing with a child who might be a bit under the weather or your favorite charity! THANK YOU Wendy!
Also find Wendy at these great sites!
Now of course my daughter who collects dolls has seen some of the beautiful work that Wendy has done and I can almost hear her wondering if I could knit clothes for some of her baby dolls that look a little worn. :) The designs are so sweet, how could I refuse???
You’ve seen it by the side of the road, in fields, pastures, you may have even run over it with your lawn mower. It goes by many names; lamb’s ear, rabbit’s ear, witches candle, and more commonly, mullein. It’s a plant that is almost universally regarded as an invasive weed in the United States and Canada, but before you get out the Roundup, you might want to read the rest of this article.
For those who may not know what plant I’m referring to, mullein are those plants that you see growing by the side of the road or in vacant lots, basically any poor soil. Mullein leaves, as one of their many nicknames implies, look like green, fuzzy rabbit ears. Being biennial, mullein have two growing stages. Their first year, they grow in small rosettes; the second year, they form a flower stalk that can grow to be as tall as seven feet. Small, yellow flowers form in a spiral pattern around the stalk. Under the surface, they form an enormous carrot-like root, and I can speak from experience, it’s the devil itself to yank it out at that stage.
Mullein is native to Eurasia, and has been used for various purposes for millennia. Mullein is mention in the Odyssey as the plant that Odysseus used to protect himself from the witch Circe. Indeed, one of the main attributes of mullein in the ancient world was it’s supposed ability to ward off black magic.
On top of that, it’s also a natural dye for yarns and fabrics. The leaves, flowers and stalks yield a dull yellow pigment when boiled, used to dye natural fibers, such as wool, cotton and flax. Roman women also used the plant to dye their hair blonde. Those adventurous (or foolhardy) enough to attempt this themselves are welcome to post the results to this blog.
Mullein has also been used as a natural medicine for centuries, and this continues to be a popular use for the plant. All parts of the plant can be used to treat any number of respiratory ailments, from asthma to pneumonia. The tea from the leaves, I’m given to understand, is fairly bitter, and it is recommended that one use sugar to make it more palatable. Mullein oil also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. The leaves can also increase circulation when applied directly to the skin.
This is Ian Wilson, stating once again, think before you yank!
In my family we frequent the Salvation Army store. It provides us with good quality clothing at prices we can afford. But the best part about buying clothes, books, yarn, needles, hooks, jewelry ect from the Salvation Army is that 100% of the proceeds go BACK to the community in which the store is maintained. Now I am not sure when I first started visiting the boutique in Massena, NY that hand knitted or crocheted items crossed my mind until I saw a rack of lovely hand knit scarves for sale. I thought it was a brilliant way to help out.
The Salvation Army is 150 years old, the unit we frequent in Massena has been in place for 50 years. Lets go back in time... as a child I remember the Salvation Army being a very big presence in Syracuse, where I grew up. I remember seeing the Salvation Army Band on Television during the holidays, I remember listening to the voices of the officers over the radio asking for our help in donating clothes, and of course the Red Kettle drive. When I got older I was privileged to work in radio as an announcer for the Mars Hill Network. I would play the public service announcements from the Syracuse Salvation Army Hub. It was thrilling to see them meet their goal year after year.
For many deeply personal reasons I make things to donate to the Salvation Army but the biggest reason has to be my children. I am blessed to be able to knit for them warm hats, scarves, and mittens. Knowing my family is warm on cold days makes me feel very happy. But I know, not all people have that ability, nor are they able to afford to buy yarn to make something special for their little ones. The very best part about donating is knowing that everything I donate gets put right back in the community so that my family can reach out to another family right here in Northern NY. Right now the Salvation Army is about to expand into its 127th country! Basically if you are reading this Blog there is probably a Salvation Army working near to you and you can volunteer or donate in your community too. http://www.newfrontierchronicle.org/the-salvation-army-to-expand-into-127th-country/
Many local Salvation Army centers have groups that knit, crochet, or sew to aid in their outreach programs. I am not a part of any group that does this work, I simply take special items with me when I go to visit the boutique I leave the items with the volunteers in the store so that they can direct them to the best program. Its not my goal to create another program or to interrupt their work merely to offer what I can to assist them. https://www.facebook.com/MassenaSalvationArmy?fref=ts
New Yorkers have a bit of a unique issue because of the differences in needs between the New York City region and Upstate so here is the website for the Empire State Division
In my own personal case I find it a great comfort to know that the Salvation Army is near by.
If you are looking for patterns to use for donation please consider http://mariannaslazydaisydays.blogspot.co.uk/ or
http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/ There are plenty of patterns offered for free especially for donation. Finding your Salvation Army is easy http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/ or http://www.salvationarmy.org/. It doesn't take much to make someone smile after they've had a disaster of some kind. Your time or donation may make all the difference in the world.
Everyone who’s read the classic children’s story The Velveteen Rabbit or seen at least one Toy Story movie knows that toys are often a child’s first friends and are often the first victims of age and shabbiness. No matter how excellently a child cares for their toys, they usually come through childhood minus a few pieces and looking less than like new.
Such a situation occurred with my mom’s beloved doll Marialynda. Marialynda is a baby doll made by the Horseman company in the 1960s, who was loved by my mother for all her life. After our house fire in 2001, Marialynda was damaged by the smoke which destroyed her dress, socks and shoes, and made her hair dry. Marialynda was put away until we could afford to have her restored, but as time went on, it seemed less and less likely that we could ever afford to get her fixed.
I had always had an interest in toy restoration. I often fixed my own and brothers’ toys and kept that interest alive, but was not able to act on it until recently. Recently, I started looking at various ways of restoring dolls. Some of them called for exotic materials like wig shampoo and fabric softener that I didn’t have on hand, nor could get my hands on. I tried fabric softener, but that didn’t work out at all. Then I tried a method that called for only three things: Johnson’s baby shampoo, a plastic tub, and hot water. It worked wonders! The first doll I tried was my poor Disney’s Hercules Megara doll, whose hair had been through the ringer. After a relaxing day at the spa, Meg’s hair was restored to it’s original shine and softness. I was amazed at the difference!
Now, how does a modern Barbie-style doll relate to Marialynda? Well I found Marialynda and I decided that I would try to fix her. I raided Ebay for new clothes, got advice from my doll contacts (affectionately called the “Doll Mafia”) and was able to gently restore Marialynda to her former glory. After that, I bought several dolls from EBay who needed care, four 18 inch dolls and two fashion dolls and restored them too!
One of the best things about doll restoration is that an old toy can go to a new child. Not all families have the means to buy brand new toys for their children, but to most children a new toy is a new toy, it doesn’t matter where it comes from. (More than one “used” toy became a favorite around my house!) But 9 times out of 10, old toys look… old. But with a little time, dolls and toys can be restored to use and love. Don’t think that doll you picked up at that garage sale is a hopeless wreck! Call on me or another doll lover, we can help!
You might be shocked to learn that the linoleum flooring in your kitchen, and your linen yarn are manufactured from the same plant. The flax plant, or linseed plant has been cultivated by humans for 10,000 years, and is one of the most versatile cultivated plants.
Flax is an annual flowering plant. It grows to be about 3 feet tall, and it’s flowers come in a variety of colors, but the cultivated varieties are most often blue. It can be grown almost everywhere, to the point now where scientists cannot identify a point of origin, but most agree that the Egyptians were the first to cultivate flax. Flax is a very demanding plant, and it will drain the soil of its nutrients, and so can only be planted in the same soil once every six years.
The stem of the plant contains long fibrous cells, not unlike a stalk of celery. These fibers are extracted through a complex process, where the non-usable parts of the stalk are basically rotted away, exposing the fibers, which are then dried and beaten, preparing them for spinning. In ancient times, the fibers were used for just about everything, from mummy wrappings to ship’s sails. At one time, flax was being cultivated and used from India to Ireland. The Bible mentions flax several times. It made up the fabric of Joseph’s “coat of many colors” and was used to array the High Priests. In modern times, it’s often used in yarn, and the traditional of many cultures.
Fiber is not the only product of this multifaceted plant. Flaxseed oil is an ingredient in a number of foods, and as I mentioned before, it is also used in the production of linoleum. Flaxseed oil contains Omega 3 alpha linolenic acids, which, are essential to many human bodily functions. Very few plant foods contain this substance. Flaxseeds also contain soluble and insoluble fiber, and are proven to prevent several types of cancer. As anyone can tell flaxseeds are an essential part of any diet.
People have benefited from flax in too many ways to be mentioned in this brief article. It’s in your yarn. It’s in your food. It’s in your flooring. It’s even in your dog’s food.
Want to learn more? http://belovedlinens.net/fabrics/history-linen.html
Photo courtesy of 123RF.com.... Blue jeans made with linen! Flax, its EVERYWHERE :)
Today my daughter and I are once again sharing the blog to talk about Operation Christmas Child. One of our very favorite charitable outreaches.
As a family we have participated for years by purchasing toys, then much to our joy we found out that Operation Christmas Child accepts handmade gifts! YAY!
Let me begin by sharing several links information you'll need to know if you are to participate in Operation Christmas Child or "OCC". OCC is run by Samaritan's Purse International Relief, a non-governmental relief organization (or an NGO as they are called). You can find ALL the information you need about donating or volunteering right here: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ Remember that adhering to the guidelines means that even more children will be given a Christmas box this year! Everything has to fit in a shoe box. So think little but special. :)
In the spirit of giving my daughter has graciously gathered her favorite links to presents she's made for children in the past:
"It’s that time of year again! No, not back to school. It’s collection time for Operation Christmas Child! I can hear some of you saying “LALALALA-it’s-August-and-I-don’t-wanna-think-about-Christmas!” but this is the best time to be looking for sales! Summer toys and clothes are on clearance and school supplies are on sale! I’ve been able to find some great deals on shoe box items, but that doesn’t mean that you have to buy everything. I’ve made lots of toys for OCC over the years and here’s a few of my favorites.
The Roly Poly Cat, a perfect pocket pet for girls and boys:
These round Teddy Bears would be great for the younger kid’s boxes:
The ingenuousness of these bunnies is just phenomenal:
These dolls are modeled after a type of Japanese doll called Kokeshi (ko-KESH-ee). They’re great little babies for the younger set of boxes:
And finally, for the older kids; boys and girls, this great produce bag:"
Now I will offer my favorites. Now I'm a mom so some of my handmade presents have been more along the line of clothing, personal items, or school. (I know, not as much fun but VERY necessary.) First I'd like to thank Beverly A. Qualheim of http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/ for her invaluable work in gathering patterns for charity crafters to use! You can go to Bev's page and find ZILLIONS of fantastic patterns but I found a few that I just love and will be welcomed :) Lionbrand requires registration but all the patterns are free: http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/81043AD.html A cute little tote for girls to carry back and forth to school or to the market with mom.
http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/60031.html An adorable way to decorate flip flops... and since flip flops aren't just for girls any more remember to pick up a couple of boy colors too :)
Red heart offers this adorable crocheted cowl for kids. Make it in boy or girl colors... it would be the perfect size to fit in a shoebox. http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/kiddos-crochet-cowl
http://www.crochetspot.com/free-crochet-pattern-back-to-school-pencil-case/ Adorable unisex pencil case. (please INCLUDE the pencils... we learned to purchase good quality pencils)
How about an easy knitted Kerchief? http://www.knitting-and.com/knitting/patterns/scarves/kerchief.htm
Carol Duvall's knitted play balls http://web.archive.org/web/20000815205144/www.hgtv.com/shows/CDS/cds-534.html
Okay so you don't knit or crochet but you can do some simple sewing? GREAT check these out!
http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2014/07/baby-sock-coin-purse.html Coin purse from a baby sock? Sheer genius!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2HMM1yd1YU No sew eyeglass case made from pot holders!
Of course ALL children need underwear, socks, and t-shirts. So here's a cute tie dye project using SUGAR FREE Kool Aid and vinegar! FUN!!! http://www.food.com/recipe/kool-aid-tie-dyed-t-shirts-194640
So that's all I have, probably enough right? Most of all have FUN with the joy of giving.
I want to introduce you to one of my fav. fiber artists from the U.K.. I first found Marianna through Ravelry in my search for Preemie clothes. Preemies, as my regular readers know, hold a particularly special place in my heart. Marianna makes some of the most adorable preemie clothes! I wanted my readers to see what an amazing job she does writing up and sharing her patterns.
*First, let me be sure everyone reading this blog post is aware that one MAY NOT take any part of a written pattern or photographs of that pattern, share, copy or re-sell without the express permission of the author. Though many of Marianna's patterns are provided without charge to those using them for charitable purposes they are NOT without COST. They cost her something in time, energy, testing and her heart. These are provided out of love for society's littlest members. So please do not share the patterns as though they are your own or sell the pattern claiming they are your own. That's theft of intellectual property and its a crime. Sadly Marianna has had unscrupulous people sell her FREE patterns on Ebay claiming them as their own*.
Now with that said let me show you why I am THRILLED to be writing about Marianna today. Marianna's blog is entitled "Marianna's Lazy Daisy Days" found on Blogger at http://mariannaslazydaisydays.blogspot.co.uk/. Its just way too full of amazing patterns for me to go through them all but pay particular attention to the care Marianna gives to the patterns she creates. They are patterns for knitters of all levels of ability, and include items for preemies, teens, toddlers, even items to sell at holiday fairs! One of my favorite preemie projects are the Simple Baby and Preemie Baby Mitts. http://mariannaslazydaisydays.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/simple-baby-and-preemie-baby-mittens.html They work up very quickly, which is good because babies come in their own time... not always when we are ready Another really adorable fund raising item Marianna shares are the Mini Christmas Stocking. http://mariannaslazydaisydays.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/i-know-that-it-is-only-september.html (Personally I think these would be a FANASTIC reveal for expectant parents. A Christmas stocking reveal... adorable)
One of the things I like most about Marianna is that her designs are so attractive and yet not overly complicated. I'm not a person with a lot of extra time on my hands, but I DO like to give back. Marianna makes that possible in so many ways. I'm very thankful for her careful preparation of her patterns. She's busy too. Not too many people would think of it... but bows can be overly fussy. Marianna simplifies the whole process here: http://mariannaslazydaisydays.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-simplest-bow-in-world.html. Normally people don't think twice about a bow when seen on a little sweater but they can really be difficult to make look nice, Marianna did the work for us :)
I'd like to personally thank Marianna for all her hard work. I hope that others will read this blog and drop her a note to give her kudos on her great work. You can find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/made.by.marianna/ on her blog, and on Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/designers/marianna-mel
I have just returned from Ohio visiting my parents home and having a check up at the Cleveland Clinic. While I was there I got to visit my "happy place" otherwise known as Pat Catan's. Yes Its an Arts and Crafts Store but there is oh so much more packed into those 4 walls. Why, you might ask, am I writing about a store now and why a store so far from home. Simply because they are a fantastic chain with excellent prices and staff. Such attention to customers needs ought to be highlighted because its rare.
Every 6 months or so I make a trip to the Cleveland Clinic. I get to stay with my amazing parents. One of the highlights of my trips to the Cleveland area is a visit to Pat Catan's http://www.patcatans.com/. While they do not have a location near me in New York, Pat Catan's I do visit the store in Strongsville, Ohio. Of course I love the yarn selection one WHOLE WALL is filled with yarn. Its a huge wall. They carry all my favorite brands of yarn: http://www.patcatans.com/craft-products-brands/yarn-fabric-crafts
Plus a few brands I can't find anyplace else BUT but Pat Catan's.
However, if I were to list ALL the items of interest at Pat Catan's I'd be here all day long and so would you. This visit my daughter picked up some beads for a new style of bracelet she wishes to try, my son looked over the wood working, carving, and wood burning tools. I purchased yarn, bought silk flowers, purchased a couple of gifts and a decorative clay pot for my front porch, and bought the tulle and a headband to make a baby headband dress. Hopefully my dress would be as cute as the example in the store.
Here is the link to the store in Strongsville, Ohio where I buy all my yarn and craft items: http://www.patcatans.com/craft-store-locations/strongsville-oh. There are 28 stores in total here is the link to the store locations. If you are lucky you'll have a Pat Catan's near you! http://www.patcatans.com/craft-store-locations (the 9th wonder of the world LOL!)
The human equation is what I think most of my readers would be interested in because we all appreciate good customer service and community relations. Every single time I have been to the Pat Catan's store in Strongsville I meet with the SAME staff members. They clearly build loyalty among their personnel. I have come in to the store with my parents. The staff know them by name and say "Is this your daughter?" My parents answer in the affirmative. They very kindly ask "How are you feeling?" They remember that I am there for a check up. That is the FANTASTIC service I get every single time I go! I've never been ignored at a register. The manager of the store knows my parents by name. Last time I was there he was actually buffing the floors! Its a really great family atmosphere.
Here is what I purchased my last visit. (wish I had room for more LOL) First picture, a bag of mill ends, and yarn to make a baby blanket.
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.