Tabitha's Mountain Rhapsody Family Artist's Byway
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I have the pleasure today of writing about my cousin Connie Kraft who is a hospice nurse. Connie is the cousin closest to me in age. Her mother Barbara is my mother's sister. We grew up in a family centered around visits at holidays, lots of hugs, and the love for my sweet grandmother Iola Riopelle Foreman passed along the gentle art of knit and crochet. Connie has followed in her mom's footsteps in becoming a nurse caring for those who are under served. In Connie's case hospice nursing. Connie came to me with a project idea and I knew it was an idea that all of you would appreciate and get behind.
Connie is very loyal to those under her care. She is a professional who worked very, very hard to earn her nursing degree. We're very proud of her accomplishment. She rarely feels that she can impose on me to ask for my assistance so when she asked me to help her I knew it was important. What she wanted seemed so simple... slippers but let me tell you about her passion in her own words. The following is an interview I did with Connie this past week.
Me: How long have you been working at CareFirst Connie?
CEK: 3 wks
Me: What gave you the idea to make slippers for the hospice patients?
CEK: After visiting some of the patients in this cold weather, I felt like it would be a nice gesture to provide them with something that would comfort them
Lyn, I've been caring for "comfort care" patients in the hospital for years as well as my own parents. I took my daddy thru to his passing at home. (Connie's dad James Kraft died at home with the love of his family after working for years in asbestos)
Me: As a nurse dealing with end of life decisions is nothing new to you. Little things mean a lot to your patients don't they? Can you tell us about any thing else you think knitters and crocheters can do for CareFirst? Ease, comfort, warmth, security are all important when creating a garment for patients. I've learned this through making items for friends going through chemo therapy.
CEK: Just a loving touch for these folks or someone to take the time to ask is there anything I can do right now that will make your day better. (*Connie mentioned to me in another conversation how patients families would also appreciate a personal note sent with the slippers)
Me: What else would you say we can make for CareFirst. We talked about shawls, hats, and perhaps lap blankets?
CEK: Yes, that's lovely. We have some lap blankets that are more like quilts. (*we talked about wheelchair shawls also)
Me: We will be making bootie style slippers that come up over the ankle such as these http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php? id=4790&cid=17 http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=6193&cid=17 But YOU will be placing the non-skid to the underside of the booties correct?
CEK: Absolutely, I will do that.
Me: What is the one big thing you would like people to know about hospice care in general.
CEK: It's all about the patient. Their comfort and dignity. We take a holistic approach. We are staffed by RN's, LPN's , social workers and pastoral care. It's important to keep them in their homes. It's helpful if the family is their to tend to the patient. If not we can place them in a nursing home and provide hospice care. We like to control the pain and make sure they are breathing easy. We are not going to fix them. They are only going to get worse and it is up to us to care for the patient and the family.
Me: Thanks Connie for taking the time to do this interview with me. I'm sure my readers will find this a really great way to reach out. Thanks for what you do, especially for those who are in hospice care!
CEK: I was thrilled that you asked Lyn. It is so rewarding caring and loving for folks who are going thru this.
Me: LOVE YOU!
CEK: You are special.
This concludes the interview. We rarely conclude anything without telling each other how important they are to us :)
So do you want to help? Its a fantastic opportunity to reach out to someone who needs just a touch of love. I'm not going to ask you to sign up or anything because I know some of you, like me, would just prefer to donate quietly without a lot of pressure or fanfare. So here's what we'd like Boot style slippers that come up OVER the ankle in worsted, chunky, or bulky weight easy care acrylic or soft washable wool yarn. From a smoke free home. The yarns should NOT be scratchy on those fragile feet. Remember things like "Red Heart TLC" or Simply soft are lovely but very slippery so please just use a non-scratchy yarn. ie: Vanna's Choice, Caron One Pound, Lionbrand Pound of Love in the worsted weight. For Bulky weight Wool Ease thick and Quick or Red heart Grande. If you have a question about the "scratch" factor you can check out http://www.knitting-warehouse.com/ One of my favorite places to buy yarns. Next to each yarn there is a "Scratch Scale" that shows how each yarn feels next to the skin. I also love the http://www.yarnfactoryoutlet.com/e-tent
Patterns? Yes I have a list here of tried, tested, and proved patterns.
Remember these are for both men and women sometimes just adding an extra round our two will add enough length.
http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/seniors.html Bev has made sure all of these patterns work for use with the elderly and with those who are ill. Please use these patterns so Connie can make maximum use of the work you send to her at: CareFirst 3805 Meads Creek Road Painted Post NY 14870 Attn: Connie Kraft.
Thank you for taking the time to read about this project. Please join me in helping give a little comfort. Include a card for the families in your package. It will mean the world to them at this time!
Hey all! Tamra here to tell you about a great group of ladies designing beautiful things for American Girl. As you know, I own and love American Girl, but I don’t love the prices for the clothes. I mean really, I rarely buy clothes over 20 dollars for my own self, I am certainly not going to spend that for an outfit for my doll (Sorry Sam ;)). That’s where Kitt’s Kloset comes in. Managed by Tari Hann and her mom, Mrs. Hann of Ohio, and joined by Holly Linehan of New York and Kathy Johnson from Iowa, Kitt’s Kloset offers simply gorgeous handmade clothes for American Girl.
Each of the ladies has a speciality. Holly makes historical outfits, Kathy makes underwear and a few dresses, and Tari and her mom make the modern outfits. The clothes are fabulous, modest, cute, trendy, just the thing that Moms want for their daughter’s dolls, and what collectors want for their own dolls. The clothes are carefully pieced together and matched with shoes and accessories. The fabrics are very nice and sometimes quirky. The prices are reasonable and they often come with shoes, outfits run $20 dollars and below.
If you are looking for inexpensive doll clothes for American Girl give the ladies at Kitt’s Kloset a thought! You can find them on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KittsDollKloset?ref=l2-shopheader-name
https://www.facebook.com/KittsKloset18InDollClothes/?fref=ts (you can order by private message!)
and their own website:
I was looking for a pattern the other day on the Red Heart yarns website when I ran across this very cool charitable outreach initiative by Red Heart yarns. http://www.redheart.com It hearkens back to the WWII days of "Knit Your Bit" campaigns. (a favorite WWII theme)
I followed the links on the page to http://www.redheart.com/redcross and was really pleased to see all the very nice items that can be made by Red Heart yarn for the purposes of donation to the Red Cross. Each item can be either knitted or crocheted and has clear directions. There's also a special pattern that is free with a donation of $10.00. This is all part of the #StitchAHug campaign. The patterns available for use on behalf of the Red Cross include a "Red Heart Cares" blanket, a "Red Heart Cares" First Aid Kit, or a "Red Heart Cares" pillow.
Red Heart like other crafting companies has a history of involvement with charity work. Projects that I've covered on my blog including "Big Hearts Little Hats". Warm Up America is another great project and though Red Heart did not begin this program, it has sponsored and encouraged stitchers to get involved with aspects of WUA such as Build a Bed. Crochet Pink a project to help bring awareness, warmth, and hope to those fighting or recovering from breast cancer. These projects are more then just a gimmick to sell more yarn or a tax write off. They are a huge multinational company and take their responsibility seriously. Yes, I've complained about the quality of some red heart yarns. However over the past couple of years they've worked to improve the quality without raising the price. That's a big plus to those who wish to stitch something to give away but really can't afford much in the way of yarn. Check out their blog for more GREAT ideas for giving! http://blog.redheart.com/category/charities/ The blog is entitled Heart Strings and I promise it will tug at your heart strings!
The Red Cross has a very, very long history of helping people in desperate need. Its work is unparalleled. Clara Barton and a circle of her friends began the American Red Cross in 1881. She has become a household name and children learn about her in history books. But EVERY volunteer with the Red Cross is a HERO to someone. They wipe tears, bandage wounds, provide shelter, clean clothes, food, a place to sleep, organize HUGE numbers of people at a moments notice in a disaster, and were there for us when we needed them during a major ice storm. There's so much to the work of the American Red Cross I could be here all day singing their praises but why not read about their work here: http://www.redcross.org/about-us/history. Current Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet members include people like LL Cool J, Patti LaBelle, Jackie Chan, Trace Adkins, and Sara Evans http://www.redcross.org/supporters/celebrities/celebrity-cabinet-members We're only as strong as our weakest link... as the saying goes. The American Red Cross gives their best EVERY DAY to make sure our weakest people are provided for within their stated mission and goals.
If you are interested in 'stitching' up someone's heart, please go to the Red Heart website and see what YOU can do to provide hope and help. Below is our recent purchase to help the Red Cross. Thank you.
Bunny Mummy's real name is Jacquie. She shares my love for outdoor photography (though it was much cooler when I could hike) and crochet. She's a very busy lady living in Great Britain. She has some very lovely designs and tutorials on her blog that I think you all will enjoy.
Jacquie in her own words "I'm Jacquie, a forty something mum of three growing boys. I work part time and love many crafts, particularly crochet, sewing and drawing.
I often blog about outings, walks and nature.
I grew up in Yorkshire, but I'm currently enjoying life in the great East Midlands.
I do hope you enjoy reading.
Jacquie x" http://bunnymummy-jacquie.blogspot.co.uk/
My daughter Tamra, who is owned by a bunny named Baysil;), introduced me to Jacquie's designs when we were looking for something a little different to try. First I love this: http://bunnymummy-jacquie.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/mini-crochet-birda-how-to.html I have a lot of little birds that feed at the rock feeder in my yard. Bunny Mummy's little bird pattern would be cute for so many things, on a package, for Christmas, on a mobile in a baby's room, just to name a few. Its different from so many of the other little bird ideas because you can dress it up as much or as little as you want to suit your purpose. It rather looks like the female cardinal that visits my feeder :) Cute project.
The next pattern that caught my eye was the "Sail Away" decoration. I love it! One doesn't find enough little decorations for a boy's room. I am always on the look out for boys patterns myself. So when I saw: http://bunnymummy-jacquie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/sail-away-crochet-pattern.html I thought HOW perfect would this look with the "Come Sail Away" baby blanket by Susan Veta (yarnhog) available on Ravelry. I've already made this blanket it matches brilliantly with Jacquie's wall decoration! Such great out of the box thinking!
For those of us who enjoy photography but do not enjoy freezing cold hands Jacquie has come up with the cutest crocheted wrist warmers. http://bunnymummy-jacquie.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/easy-crochet-wrist-warmer-tutorial.html They are simple to make cozy, and you can embellish them it what ever way you'd like. I think a couple of the cute mini hexagons might look cute on these wrist warmers. Found here: http://bunnymummy-jacquie.blogspot.com/2010/04/mini-hexagon-pattern.html If you are in need of a quick gift or you find that you're in need of a very quick pair of mitts for an outing Jacquie makes her pattern very easy to understand. You'll be an expert in no time! Thank you Jacquie!
Today my daughter stitched up the "Sunburst Granny Heart" today just to show you how easy it is to follow Jacquie's patterns. Thank you Jacquie for making crocheting your patterns fun and easy!
I think that working on the a blog about an Indy Designer, then writing about a charity the next day helps me to find new ways to use my knitting and crocheting for the very best reasons. That's why I am excited to bring you Stitching up the World... one stitch at a time from the Candia Community Women's Club in Candia, New Hampshire.
I found Candia Community Women's Club (CCWC) on Giving Artfully. http://www.givingartfully.com/campaigns/stitching-world-caps-cancer-patients/ (such a great resource for charity crafters!) When I looked up the website listed for Stitching up the World I was really surprised at how many projects they take on. Its quite wonderful! They are always adapting their list of needed items to match the needs of the community, though their main outreach is to make hats, scarves, and lap blankets for those undergoing chemotherapy at the cancer centers surrounding Candia. Let me just quote from Giving Artfully "Our main project is to make caps, scarves and lap blankets for patients undergoing chemotherapy at local Cancer Centers in NH. We have also made caps for 104 Transportation Company, an Army Troop stationed in Afghanistan, caps for New Horizons in Manchester, NH, scarves for the Special Olympics volunteers and athletes, and caps for the VNA of Manchester and Southern NH. Our projects continually change so that we can provide these handmade items to those in need.
We are always looking for new volunteers and new donations for this worthwhile cause." (VNA is the Visiting Nurse Association) However if you look at the website for CCWC you'll see that there are any number of projects listed along the right hand side of the page including pattern links to help you choose an appropriate pattern for their needs. This also allows you to choose a project that suits your abilities and passion. I think what they do is fabulous.
If you visit the CCWC Facebook page you'll find these community minded ladies doing all kinds of great work. I find it so comforting to know that there are women who want to be involved in their community. https://www.facebook.com/Candia-Community-Womans-Club-443449075620/?fref=ts From working with the Cub/Boy Scouts to collect food for the food pantry to benefits for the local library, these very busy ladies do it all! By March of 2015 this group had donated over 10,000 items! So I think it would be really great if some of the Out of the Parc crafters could give them a hand. Don't you?
Interested in donating? Here's the deal head over to Giving Artfully and read the requirements (which include NO wool or wool blend yarns please!) then click the link for the CCWC Stitching up the World web page and take a look at all the projects so you can pick something special to be involved with to help others. Also take a look at the CCWC facebook page, these ladies are amazing and come from all age groups. Its not all what I expected to see. Wonderful group of ladies working together! https://www.facebook.com/Candia-Community-Womans-Club-443449075620/?fref=ts Remember that many of the Indy Designers written about in this blog write patterns specifically for charity so take advantage of the resources at the click of a mouse.
Thank you to the CCWC for all the amazing work they do in New Hampshire and for being willing to include us in their adventures in giving!
Anyone who has read this blog knows I have a love for cute baby clothes. Today's Indy Designer has CUTE down to a science. I've seen designer Linda Gavaldon's work on Ravelry of course. I have a couple personal favorite designs. Her work is fun and functional, cute and not at all hackneyed! You'll love it.
Linda Gavaldon has been knitting since she was a teen. She tells her story on her website http://littlepiggypatterns.com/about-us/ its the same story many other designers tell. They got an inspiration and never stopped designing. It makes me a bit envious :) I do design I just can't write a pattern to save my soul. However, Linda Gavaldon has been knitting for over 40 years so designing was really a natural progression for her. I'm SO glad she found a niche! Her work is wonderful.
Little Piggy Patterns include everything from cowls and scarves to baby bibs, blankets and hats. I've begun reading the ratings on patterns after learning the hard way that just because it says its a pattern for a certain size doesn't make it so. Little Piggy Patterns are POPULAR and rated at no less than 4 out of 5 stars on Ravelry (the place where all the knitters and crocheters congregate) If Ravelers rate the patterns so highly then they must be very good. :)
Some of my personal favorite patterns from Little Piggy Patterns, are no surprise, baby patterns. The "Sweet Flowers Sleep Sack" is precious! http://littlepiggypatterns.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=79 One of the most refreshing things about Linda Gavaldon's designs is that she has so much for little boys! Fantastic. My son loved elephants when he was a little guy so of course I gravitated to this sweet "Elephants On Parade" blanket http://littlepiggypatterns.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=11 For bath time there are the super adventurous "zoo-ology" wash cloths. http://littlepiggypatterns.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=82 turning bath time into a safari? Always a fun idea! You can turn any child's bath into fun learning experience with the animal washcloths. Making color and animal identification a fun part of a child's bath. http://littlepiggypatterns.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=31
Grown up people can find Little Piggy Patterns on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Little-Piggy-Patterns-188247194614122/ and on Ravelry at http://www.ravelry.com/designers/linda-gavaldon I want to thank Linda Gavaldon for working so hard to provide knitters with quality patterns. Please check Little Piggy Patterns out for yourself. If you don't knit... its okay. I do!
First a confession. I have a mad love for alpaca yarn. Its true. I have some Merry Den alpaca yarn that I can't bring myself to use. I just take it out and look at it now and again, contemplate working with it then carefully put it back LOL! I know crazy, right? I'm not the only fiber artist who does that :) I do envy Pete and Sue McElwain the owners of Merry Den Alpacas. Sue gets to work with Alpaca yarn and sell her wares from their store. (dream job!)
How do people get started owning Alpacas. (well they are easy to fall in love with once you see their faces) However, I'll quote from Pete and Sue from their website
"10 years ago, Pete saw a couple of alpacas at the New York State Farm Show. From that time, he was hooked. He went home and told his wife, Sue about them, but she didnt think that it was a good idea to spend ALOT of money on some animals....she hadn't seen them in person yet. 4 years ago, Pete convinced Sue to go and visit a couple of farms on National Alpaca Farm day. Once she saw them she was hooked. Two months later, Sue and Pete bought their first three Alpacas, and a month later, they brought them home. From then on it has been a Long, but exciting journey. We have enjoyed every minute of learning about the alpacas, and watching our herd grow. Recently we have started a 4-H club to get the youth in our area involved. The kids love the alpacas, and the joy that they get from working on them is something that we cherish, almost as much as our Alpacas. :)" Again you see local small farmers finding value in educating children and contributing to the community.
Merry Den Alpacas is located in a neighboring community to my own, North Bangor, New York. Their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/merryden.alpacas/timeline is warm and inviting. "Huacaya Alpaca Farm located in Franklin county, New York. We offer farm tours, and an on-site farm store! Come meet the Alpacas!" You can find the farm at 806 County Route 53 in North Bangor New York. They are open Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. For fiber fiends like myself its lovely to know we can get some beautiful alpaca yarn and support local small farms. If you are visiting the area, you should make it a point to stop by to see Pete and Sue.
Why alpaca yarn? First Merry Den Alpaca yarn is beautiful. It has gorgeous loft, and sheen. Its so soft its like silk. Pete and Sue McElwain take great care to produce beautiful fleece. Just like in humans health determines the quality of the hair/fleece.
Alpaca fleece and yarn is very durable lasting far longer than other luxury fibers. If treated with care this beautiful fiber will last generations. Now in a family of people with allergies I can tell you I've learned that most people who are allergic to wool (truly allergic not just uncomfortable because of the itch) can wear alpaca because it does not contain lanolin. Lanolin tends to hold dust and microscopic allergens which can make sensitive people sneeze and itch. Alpaca has a smooth texture, with a greater thermal capacity making it a very warm fiber. It knits up like a dream. :)
Now I turn it over to Ian to give you a bit of the technical aspects of Huacaya Alpaca farming. The alpaca is a member of the camel family native to South America. Their closest relatives are the llama, vicuña and the guanaco. The vicuña and guanaco roam wild, while the alpaca and llama are domesticated. The alpaca and llama are not to be confused with one another, though the look similar, alpacas are much smaller than llamas. Llamas are used for transport, as well as their fleece, while alpacas are used only for their fleece. Llamas and alpacas can cross-breed, resulting in an animal known as a huarizo. They are very intelligent animals, and can have a mind of their own.
No one knows when alpacas and llamas were domesticated. The pre-Columbian civilizations of South America didn’t write much down, but they have apparently been domesticated for a very long time. They were both bred from the wild guanaco, which is native to the Andes mountain range, and the Atacama desert. Guanacos’ fur is adapted to protect them from the temperature extremes of these climates.
Alpaca fiber was highly valued by the Inca civilization for its softness, durability and warmth. They have been known to withstand extreme cold with little difficulty, but must be sheared in during warmer weather, as they do not shed like guanacos.
Alpacas are one of the easiest animals to care for. Unlike sheep, they do not require the presence of a shepherd during the calving season. Sheep have been known to abandon their own young. Alpacas do not require much space; an acre of land is enough for about 20 animals. However, males and females must be housed separately, unless they are supposed to breed. Contrary to popular belief, alpacas do NOT make good guard animals. They are easily spooked by predators, including dogs, they have no front teeth on their top jaw, and their only defense is their spit. If confronted by a predator, alpacas usually just run away.
Tamra here again to tell you about another doll themed charity. Broken Dolls, Healing Hearts is based out of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, and is the sister charity of The Broken Doll. Administrated by Debbie Hutton, a woman of deep faith, this charity aims to help children in need throughout the province.
Though the charity is called “Broken Dolls, Healing Hearts” Mrs. Hutton’s work does not stop at repairing dolls. She also takes new toys like cars, stuffed animals, and other boy toys, coloring books, crayons, handmade hats and quilts, and other gifts for children. All these are put into care packages and distributed to needy children. https://www.facebook.com/Broken-Dolls-Healing-Hearts-725460767508258/
One thing that is unique about Broken Dolls is that they will gather special donations for children who are in hospital, have undergone trauma, or have a sibling in hospital. Once a family is nominated, Mrs. Hutton learns something about each child, what their favorite colors are, favorite characters, favorite animals, and other small hints at what will bring a little sunshine into their lives. Once this information is gathered, Mrs. Hutton will put out the call for donations. Once the call goes out, people send in what she needs, some people will even say what they have to make sure it’s needed. For example, if a child wants an 18 inch doll, she will make sure she gets one, along with a handmade blanket, new dress, shoes, and everything she needs for her new friend.
I don’t know what those of us on this side of the border can do, but if donations can be made by Americans, we can send new or used dolls of all kinds, babies to American Girl dolls, doll and bear clothes, coloring books, and handmade gifts like quilts and hats. It appears that she has a need for boy things most of all, so anything superhero related would be welcome.
Do you ruminate over finding that perfect pattern? I do! Looking to order the perfect handmade gift for a friend or family member but need a place to start? I know the feeling! It takes me days to find that EXACT pattern that both expresses what I want and suits the recipient. I ask a million questions, give my customers choices, talk about colors, yarn content, allergies. If its a gift I find myself scribbling notes. I try to do my research. I visit their social networking sites, look at pictures, if its a gift I try to bear in mind everything I know about them. In short, I drive myself crazy LOL (For those of you who know me personally, its not a long jump) Like baseball players, I don't always hit it out of the ballpark but I sure try. That is why I really appreciate sites like Knit and Crochet Daily.
Knit and crochet Daily is a curated site about knitting and crocheting patterns. What is a curated site? "Curators, by modern definition, carefully and decisively choose among the best of all that's available and often create entirely new ideas and perspectives out of that information, all while using their own voice." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brittany-morin/the-curated-web_b_1096186.html (best definition ever!) Knit and Crochet Daily is a site curated by one person. Here's what they say about the site: "Just love crochet. Just love knitting.
I used to knit and crochet a lot but, as I got older life changed and I’ve lost touch with it. Whenever I see pretty projects it makes me think about starting again.
Meanwhile, I love finding and sharing patterns that inspire me, if possible free patterns. You will find collections of my favourite go-to crochet and knitting patterns from baby patterns to adult.
But most of all I’m having fun with my hobby."
No argument from me. Fun is what hobbies are all about. For those of us who have made the art of knit and crochet a profession its enjoying what we do every single day! BONUS!
I, personally, like the way that Knit and Crochet Daily is laid out. The opening page is clean and easy to navigate. Yes there are ads on the page but they do not clutter up the home page, in the slightest. The other thing I like about this site is that it is a mix of old and new. Whether you are looking to crochet a doily to add the perfect vintage touch to a room or trying to find a pattern for hard to buy for teen, this site has it right up front. Video tutorials and patterns for all skill levels. This site has it all with a click. http://www.dailycrochet.com/
Projects, projects, projects, I've always got something going! People who are fiber art fanatics like me are usually the same way. Looking for home decor? Look no further than the navigation categories on the right side of the screen http://www.dailycrochet.com/category/home-decor/ Are you a beginner looking for a photo tutorial on how to make a cute face cloth for a shower gift? Check out the "Beginner" category for the perfect idea: http://www.dailycrochet.com/photo-tutorial-crochet-for-beginners-how-to-crochet-reusable-face-washing-cloths/
This site is a snap to navigate. A REAL bonus if you are in a hurry.
Whats a great knitting or crochet website without ideas on how to keep your work tidy? I'm always at a loss for space. I've said often I have enough yarn to open my own store and yet, I always end up buying more yarn for a customer's order. Knit and Crochet Daily has a great page for just that need here: http://www.dailycrochet.com/best-yarn-storage-idea-ever-this-place-is-magical/ About 10 years too late there's this fantastic idea for helping to keep colors organized or EVEN to create a color sorting game for children: http://www.dailycrochet.com/clear-and-practical-way-to-select-colors-for-a-project-or-to-order-new-yarn/
Knit and Crochet Daily gives credit where credit is due which is the beauty of a curated site! Original ideas are collected, sorted, given the once over for their clear instructions and usefulness then placed up on Knit and Crochet Daily for our use. (not abuse!) Please remember that these ideas are collected BY Knit and Crochet Daily carefully "The very internet itself was created on the foundation of linking, sharing, and recommending good content from other sources on the web. Curation means finding good, well-written, and highly relevant material for our readers.
By choosing content from your site, we are giving it our vote of approval. This not only means that we excerpt your content, we also give it our highest recommendation, and we encourage our readers to view your content on your website with a direct link back your source material.
Our curation is designed to send our readers to your site so you get new visitors exposed to your top quality content." http://www.dailycrochet.com/curation/ They do a GREAT job too! But as curators they link BACK to the original pattern, design, tutorial, or article. They have a very strict policy they follow. Because they DO have a strict policy they are trusted to leave the site up and running. This does not mean that others may copy the material and claim it as their own. I LIKE the idea of a curated website and I think its BRILLIANT for people like myself who work very, very hard to find the perfect pattern.
In short Knitting and Crochet Daily is a great place to find patterns in one place when you need them but you don't have to be a fiber artist to look around Knitting and Crochet Daily. Its for everyone. Grab a cup of tea or coffee, find a comfy chair and have a look around for a great project. You'll be glad you did!
Welcome to the first installment of a new series based on some of the wonderful area farms I've come to be acquainted with as a result of having my own business here in the Northern Adirondack Mountains of New York State. I decided to write this series because so many of these small farms make up the backbone of our local economy and yet go largely unsung in our local press. I'm willing to bet its the same where you live. Those of us who are fiber artists often have the small farmer to thank for those lovely natural fibers we work with. :)
For the first issue of this new series I want to highlight ThunderCrest Farm. A wonderful local farm in Burke, New York and one of the first farm I became acquainted with on Facebook. I decided to send a private message to ThunderCrest Farm on Facebook and got a really kind response from Janet Burl. Janet Burl is a crocheter who also sells her projects online. You can find their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ThunderCrest-Farm-150889948294354/. She has has been working hard all Winter on projects for sale!
I chatted with Janet about her crocheting. I asked her when she began crocheting and if she had a favorite material: "I started crocheting when I was 7, and though I don't use it often enough, I love using the hand spun yarn. I usually stick with wool blends or polyester blends because most people can wear them without reactions" Next I asked if she had a favorite type of project: "I love making shawls, sweaters and markets bags more!" Janet Burl recently had a set back with her health but it has not stopped her from creating BEAUTIFUL work. Currently her favorite projects are hats and cowls. Really here in the Northern Adirondacks, we love our hats and cowls and handmade with love always the best.
I caught Janet Burl's work on my Facebook feed in the Summer of 2015 she was straight out busy with the farm that she and her family run, farmer's markets, and of course crocheting. I was so impressed with her "can do" attitude and her energy. I followed her posts as often as time would allow. Now that Janet and I have become acquainted I am even more impressed with her tenacity. Of course those of you who have known ThunderCrest Farm as a staple of the local economy for years aren't surprised!
I really began focusing on local farm because I prefer to by local produce. As a result of learning that I have celiac (have done for most of my life but didn't get the diagnosis until a little over 2 years ago) I became largely vegetarian. The fact that many of the local farms grew their food carefully (even organically) and I could ask specific questions about their planting practices made me much more comfortable about my food sources. Then my son, Ian, began to show real interest in buying and working his own farm. Janet Burl has been wonderful about inviting me to ThunderCrest farm, and answering questions about her growing practices. Not only for my sake but also for my son.
ThunderCrest Farm is a member of Pride of New York https://www.prideofny.com/PONY/consumer/viewEstablishment.do?estabId=10892 Janet Burl and John Eick are Adirondack Farmer's Market vendors http://www.adirondackfarmersmarket.com/2014%20Vendors/thundercrestfarm_burl.html They are very big supporters of the Future Famers of America an organization started in 1928 https://www.ffa.org/home. I thank Janet Burl for her time and for encouraging my son to go into farming. Now I will turn the blog over to Ian to talk about the farming aspect of ThunderCrest Farm.
ThunderCrest farm is one of the largest smallholders in the North Country, producing a variety of fruits and vegetables on less than three acres. They are one of a disappearing breed of farmers; farmers that do things the old fashioned way.
ThunderCrest farm grow vegetables, fruits and animal products on the same piece of land, in what is referred to as intensive agriculture. Basically, in conventional agriculture, farmers usually only grow one, or maybe two crops on their land. ThunderCrest farm, and other smallholders and homesteaders, grow multiple crops on the same land, often planting two or three crops on the same field. They use some of these crops to feed their animals, which of course produce waste, which is returned to the field, starting the process again. They also rotate their crops, so that a different crop, or crops, is grown on the same field every year.
The unfortunate thing about living in Northern New York is that there are many vegetables that simply won’t grow here. Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, celery and several other vegetables will not grow in this climate for one reason or another. “But wait; I’ve seen people grow tomatoes and peppers around here”. Tomatoes and peppers have to be started in a controlled climate weeks ahead of time. In order to meet the demand for those vegetables, ThunderCrest farm grows them hydroponically in greenhouses.
Unfortunately, this way of farming, this very way of life has become a rarity. A century ago, this was a common practice in agriculture. The average farmer produced a variety of commodities; fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, etc. Today, the average farm produces only one commodity. A century ago, the average farm was only a few acres. Today, enormous industrial farms are the norm. In a world plagued with environmental and food security woes, some have suggested that a return to basics is in order. Intrepid individuals, like the owners of ThunderCrest have taken it upon themselves to preserve this way of life.
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**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.