Tomorrow I will be discussing one of my favorite charities, Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope Initiative, NY.. (we have a facebook page) While looking for patterns to use for this year's distribution I ran across Pam Dajczak from Sincerely, Pam designs. Pam lives in Ontario, Canada so she knows from cold. :) I am sure there are others reading this blog who, are either looking for great patterns to make as this year's holiday gifts, or are looking for something a little fresh to give to charity. I think you'll find something you like at Sincerely, Pam designs (I found several! LOL)
I do not mind spending money for patterns created by independent artists like Pam Dajczak for designs that I will use mostly for my charity work repeatedly. It's a good all over feeling everyone, in this case, wins. I do not expect designers to give away charity patterns for free. Pam Dajczak, has made her passion into her job. She is a work from home mom. Her pattern sales help support her family. Just like the sales of my work support my family and my charity work. I like to support by buying a pattern if and when I can.
Sincerely, Pam's designs run the gambit from women's sweaters to baby clothes. Checking her page on Ravelry I found 121 designs to her name! Including pattern bundles. I like pattern bundles! A whole collection of patterns for one price? Who can beat that? Pam Dajczak has created 19 bundles. While it was nigh unto impossible to pick a few I managed :) (Of course I had to look at all of them to be sure I picked the patterns I really liked LOL)
Sincerely, Pam's designs make life easy for those of us who have many people to give gifts or who are asked by their kids, "Hey, Mom can you make this?" (As my kids have done in the past LOL) Pam Dajczak has created some really nice Unisex designs that are sure to impress.
I'm not really a young woman any more but I still like to keep up with fashion accessories and clothing. I like comfortable clothes that don't look sloppy. Pam Dajczak really answers the call for clothing that mixes fashion and function. When I choose pieces from a designer's collection to share, I try to envision friends or family wearing the pieces to see if they would have broad appeal. These pieces are classic and classy.
This blog practically wrote itself! I want to thank Pam Dajczak for the fabulous designs and for enticing me to buy a few... yea I said a few LOL! I encourage all of my readers to check out The Sincerely, Pam Monthly CAL group (crochet along), The Sincerely, Pam Facebook page , and Sincerely, Pam the Weebly Blog. Thank you for reading the blog today and if you stop by the Sincerely, Pam pages write her a note to say hello!
Hello there. Ian Wilson here. Normally my Mother writes this blog, but she’s been inundated with unforeseen events, lately, so for the time being, I’m taking charge. What do I know about fiber arts? Admittedly not much. But there is one thing I know a bit about, and it’s agriculture.
The other day, I was surfing the internet, when I came across a strange creature which I had never heard tell of before. They call it a cama; it is a cross between a camel and a llama. I was instantly intrigued.
First, a bit of background. Most people associate camels with the Mid-East and North Africa, but the oldest camel fossils can be found on the American Continent. That is where we get llamas and alpacas. So camels and llamas have been separated for the past ten thousand years or so. When I heard they could be cross bred, I was shocked.
Llamas, alpacas and camels are all farmed for their high quality hair, which can then be made into yarn. Llama hair is world renowned for its softness, durability and warmth, but unfortunately, llamas have some pretty serious attitude issues. Camels are known to have a much more even temperament, so the Crowned Prince of Dubai decided to have them crossbred, hoping to produce an animal with the temperament of a camel with the hair of a llama. They named him Rama. To his Majesty’s disappointment, however, Rama has proven to be a bit temperamental. Well, wouldn’t you be, coming from a family like that?
Looking further, I found out that such hybrid beasts dot pastures all over the world. Animals such as the geep, half goat half sheep. Such an animal could be worth millions to the fiber arts industry; that is, if it could reproduce. Geeps are a genetic royal flush. I won’t go into unnecessary detail here, but it’s almost impossible to produce a successful sheep/goat hybrid. In all the world, there’s only one known. So that’s a real bummer.
Much more common are various cattle hybrids. Beefalo, dzo, zubron, and yakalo are various combinations of yak, cattle and buffalo. Yak and buffalo are often farmed for their durable, weatherproof, high quality hair. Most American buffalo, however, are not actually buffalo at all, but beefalo. Beefalo are cow/buffalo hybrids. They’re so ubiquitous that purebred buffalo are becoming a rarity. To my knowledge, the only herd of pure buffalo on the American continent live in Yellowstone National Park, and they are protected religiously. Zubron are basically the European equivalent. They are a cross between domesticated cattle and European bison, but they didn’t catch on over there, and now there aren’t many of them left.
Lastly, there are dzo and yakalo. Yakalo, as the name implies, were a cross of American buffalo and Asian yaks. The Canadians experimented with them back in the 1920’s, but the Males were infertile and they never really caught on. They would’ve made some awesome socks. Dzo, on the other hand, are a yakow hybrid, and they continue to be very popular in Asia, despite the fact that they, like the yakalo, are mostly infertile. They mostly use them as work animals, but their hair is also spun into yarn.
The world of fiber arts is a varied and fascinating place that a lot of people simply ignore. But really, it’s a fascinating tapestry of art, biology, and history. I’m just disappointed they couldn’t make a yakalo work out.
Just when I thought I had a good groove going, what happens? The old axiom, "babies will come when they are ready", went into effect :) LOL. We're thrilled for the new parents of course but naturally that accelerated my plans to finish the projects I had in the wings. I love gifting handmade. I know many of you who are knitters or crocheters reading this agree.. When I was scouring Ravelry looking for the perfect pieces to gift I ran across Jonna Ventura's designs. Instantly I fell in love with her gentle designs.
Jonna Ventura is a very talented artist who took up crocheting again for much the same reason I did all those years ago, she needed a creative outlet. Crocheting is fun, practical and forgiving. With yarn projects, for the most part, if you make a mistake you can always tear the project out and start again. Whew! When you are mom to two little ones you need a hobby that won't make you crazy.. or crazier. Jonna really found her niche in crochet!
I have a few babies I'm crocheting or knitting for currently. As I have been searching pages looking for designs that are timeless and yet have a modern look. I first ran across the Herringbone Bonnet in my search for little hats. It's so cute! Jonna perfectly paired it with the Steff Infant Tunic by designer "Sincerely Pam". It is such a perfect set for the Fall/Winter months. I love it! I need to make this set, really. It was hard to choose a sampling of patterns for infants and small children that really stood out among Jonna Ventura's designs however, here are a few:
There are plenty of designs to keep mom and dad happy too. This has caused me no end of grief because I like almost every design that Jonna Ventura has featured! Every piece is something that could be worn to an office or to a kids soccer game. The designs are fantastic! How am I supposed to pick just a couple to share?
I have to say Jonna Ventura has become one of my new favorite designers! As I went through her designs I could see friends or family wearing nearly every design in my mind's eye. When the designs are that universal they are a winner! Thanks Jonna Ventura for sharing your lovely designs with the world. Be sure to check out I'm Frayed Not on Facebook and other social networking pages!
I do want to apologize for being MIA yesterday, however, I had a good excuse. It was my 28th wedding anniversary, our son earned his black belt in Shorin Ryu Karate from the Ducote Family Karate Club and our daughter participated in a craft sale on behalf of our family in the village. We were very busy and so happy to work together to see success. Now on to other business. Last week our church passed out the flyers for Operation Christmas Child. (Also known as OCC) Every year hundreds of people participate in gathering shoeboxes full of gifts for children who would never get a surprise gift, probably in their lifetime, if it were not for OCC. My family found out a few years ago that OCC happily accepts handmade gifts for the shoeboxes. We were SO excited because that meant that we could use our talents to increase our giving to children all over the world. You do not have to attend church to participate in Operation Christmas Child. Though many churches collect for OCC you do not have to belong to a church to contribute a shoebox.
Yes, Operation Christmas Child is a faith based organization, however, they do deliver shoeboxes in countries where there is no religion or there is a state religion which is not Christian in nature. OCC does not discriminate nor do they force any child to accept Christianity before they are given their shoebox gift. OCC is an outreach of Samaritan's purse which is known for being respectful of each culture. The shoebox gifts are just that, a simple, uncomplicated way to show a child that they are thought of and loved. If you'd like to more about OCC check their "Frequently Asked Questions". There's no attempt to "convert" those who pack boxes either. According to the OCC "Fact Sheet" shoe boxes are collected from "U.S., Australia, Finland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Spain, and the U.K."
The goal this year: In 2017, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 12 million children in countries like Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda and Ukraine. Nearly 11.5 million shoebox gifts were collected worldwide in 2016, with more than 9.1 million collected in the U.S. Amazing. It is a wonderful thing to see a child's eyes light up when they get a lovely surprise from someone far away. Hope is a powerful thing. When children know someone cares it gives them hope and may even change their life for the better.
There are a lot of patterns for adorable handmade gifts for kids just remember follow the guidelines because we wouldn't want the gifts to be taken out of the boxes. Yes each box is checked to make sure that all standards are met. The gifts that do not meet the standards are shared with homeless shelters in the area of the major collection centers, nothing is thrown out unless it is damaged. All that being said let's get to the good stuff, free patterns you might want to use to share with OCC! I will use their categories to make it easier to follow.
The "Wow" gifts (toys or clothing ect.) :
Personal item gifts:
Clothing and school supplies:
I hope this blog gives you some idea of all the great things we can offer Operation Christmas Child. We can make a difference in one life simply by filling a shoebox and turning it in to the nearest church, business, school collecting the boxes. It really is a lot of fun to fill the shoeboxes with surprises!
Heather Davidson has been crocheting for years, and began selling or sharing her designs in 2006. Her lovely designs grace 2 well maintained websites and a blog. At first her designs for babies (and dolls) caught my eye . However, as I looked further there is so much more to Heather Davidson then her very enticing baby patterns. My introduction to Heather Davidson's patterns began on Etsy where she keeps a large variety of her designs for sale. When I looked at her page on Ravelry I noted that Heather Davidson had been designing long before she started to sell to the greater public. Naturally she became the subject for today's blog.
We are already beginning to see the season change start here in the Northern Adirondacks, everyone begins to think of creating warm accessories, making lovely home decorations and blankets, as well as gift giving come the Holidays . However, we also think of those who will not have such an easy time of it due to natural disaster or financial hardship. Heather Davidson offers lovely free patterns for charitable donations as well as patterns for sale. Her websites include Just Crochet, Patterns for Crochet and her blog site Crochet n Create. She maintains them all with aplomb.
(As an aside, I wanted to make mention of Needles & Hooks, Angels & Preemies which is a UK based charity group ALWAYS happy to receive donations for many outreach programs. The women who run this group are phenomenal. If you are a resident of the UK I encourage you to join their facebook group! )
I have to say that Heather Davidson creates designs for infants that have the most beautiful vintage style touches, especially in baby clothes, that I have ever seen from a modern designer. While her designs would certainly fit the updated vintage look brought to life by popular culture, Heather Davidson has been creating in this style for years. These designs are classic! With this blog post, I want to add a caution. These designs were created by Heather Davidson, using her photos or taking the designs to call your own is theft . Every designer puts heart and soul into their own designs. It really only seems right to begin my small introduction to Just Crochet and Patterns for Crochet with infant/baby patterns.
Of course we couldn't talk about babies without sharing blanket patterns (remember blankets do not go in the crib with a sleeping newborn, they can be used for decoration or to wrap up in on a chilly day outdoors, keep them for when the child is older. Handmade is the best!
Heather Davidson also designs home decor pieces. She displays her patterns both on her blog Crochet 'n' Create, and also on her website Patterns for Crochet
With the Holidays being only 3 months away, you might be looking for a great gift for a friend or family member. Heather Davidson has created many patterns that might be popular with your family and friends!
These are just a small sampling of Heather Davidson's work and I am loving it! Some of these patterns would make awesome donations to hospitals. We're going to need so much help from Knitters and Crocheters in the coming weeks and months. I want to say THANK YOU to Heather Davidson for her hard work and reasonably priced patterns. We can do a world of good, together!
I've made today "Labor of Love Day" on my facebook page. This, was spurred on by a lovely woman named Bev Qualheim who has been my guide to charitable giving for years. She's gone through her own struggles and continues to this day to but has not stopped focusing on what she is able to do for others. (Not on what she cannot do) Recently she created a post on her Facebook page about donating handmade items to victims of Hurricane Harvey (now we also have fires in Los Angeles). She wisely pointed out that victims in the immediate wake of a natural disaster need agencies like the Red Cross to help them urgently. That requires cash, and a lot of it. This is 100% true. Anyone who has ever experienced a large scale natural disaster can attest to this fact. Bev was right, but what if you don't have extra cash to donate or as a designer you make your living from selling patterns? Good question! Let me make two points in my introduction: 1. Natural disasters require rebuilding of physical places like homes, churches, businesses and healing of hearts. If you want to donate handmade items wait until the shock wears off and rebuilding begins. There will be time to give handmade love. 2. Right now there are others who need your help and would gratefully welcome your handmade gift. Donate in honor of the victims, the first responders, or a National Guard Unit thereby keeping the focus on those who need support.
This Labor Day Weekend, let me just declare this Labor of Love Day. Where I get to focus on what we are able to do for others even if it is not for those in the immediate wake of Harvey or any other disaster for that matter. Some of the hardest days for the victims of Harvey are yet to come. In the meantime, let's find other ways to donate to charity in honor of those valiantly trying to recover from Harvey or the fires in Los Angeles said to be the largest in its history. I will have a few words on how to help designers in the path of disasters at the end.
First, social networking is an amazing way to connect with charities large and small that accept handmade gifts. There are many but remember if you want to donate, please follow the guidelines! Also remember that handmade can go directly to your local hospital, or homeless shelters. Simply send along a card that reads that the handmade items are being donated in honor of the victims of Harvey or the LA fires ect. This way we SPREAD the love and awareness around for a greater period of time! 2. If you are so inclined you could donate in the name of a specific National Guard Unit. check with www.nationalguard.mil/ to see which National Guard Units have been deployed to the site of the disaster. 3. In the case of Hurricanes the Coast Guard takes an active role in helping with search and rescue among other important actions. If you'd like to donate in the name of a certain Coast Guard Unit you can find the Coast Guard Districts and other information on the CG website. 4. Personally I check the facebook pages of newspapers in the affected areas to find out if there are local businesses, police departments, fire departments, hospitals or ambulance crews making a difference . Donating a handmade gift in their name really does spread information about their awesome work. Lastly, if you know someone personally affected, give them a boost by donating something in their name. Be it to a local charity or a national group.
Groups that accept handmade love are everywhere. You might not have a group in your state specifically but you might find that a neighboring state or a national organization is looking for donations. Alternatively, if you know of a group in the disaster zone looking for donations of handmade love, check their bonafides then spread the word :) . The disasters might be centered in one area but you can keep the focus on their plight by donating in their name to amazing charities, for example:
If you do have the money to give a cash donation you could show a Indie knit, crochet, sew, pattern designer living in the disaster area a little love by buying a pattern. For instance, My friend Elizabeth (Beth) Taylor, is a crochet designer and lives in San Antonio, Texas. While did not get battered by hurricane Harvey, I know that she would certainly love it if you acknowledged the work of first responders by purchasing one of her First Responder Series patterns. (She's also a boat captain and tour guide.. HOW COOL is that???) These could be donated or raffled off for the benefit of First Responders . If you'd like to find other designers or people who spin yarn in Houston, simply go to Ravelry or your favorite group page and search for folks living in Houston.
Donating to your favorite charity with the focus of dedicating your work to the victims of a disaster or first responders, you/we keep the focus of attention on those in the disaster zone. As Shakespeare writes
"The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown." http://nfs.sparknotes.com/merchant/page_176.html
Thank you for joining me on the Labor of Love Day here on Out of the Parc Designs. I truly hope this blog post will encourage you to keep the focus on those living in the disaster zones by creating something dedicated to them and through your prayers. Thank you for all you do, every day, to bring comfort to people and pets.
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.