Yes every once in a while I have to stand on my soap box and share something that is super important to me. Things like heart month. Heart disease is the NUMBER ONE Killer of women in America
As a woman and a knitter I've made prayer shawls (a shawl given with the express intent to let people know they are being thought of distress) for families grieving the loss of a mom, wife. grandmother, friend to sudden heart attacks. Please if you do nothing else take a moment to consider your heart health both men and women. Common sense changes can keep us heart healthy... no fads, just simple common sense. Our family takes this very seriously because of the number of women we have said good bye to as a result of a heart attack. Thank you for reading this :)
I had to make a road trip so I will turn an MUST into an opportunity to do some shopping and catching up with friends. Nice thing about my sole proprietorship business is that its portable! I pack up a bag with my knitting and head out to appointments, visits with family and friends, or long car rides. I'm very grateful that I can travel with a little joy... special gifts for special people who have done so much to make life easier for others. Caregivers, those who teach, nurture, clean, organize, or cook... the unsung heroes. My upbringing taught me to understand the significance of the unsung hero and to recognize them for their quiet devotion to people. This little trip of mine affords me an opportunity to say thank you to some very special people. Rest assured I have everything covered back home! No worries about the homestead. I won't be gone long. Pictures forth coming. :)
And not just in your diet. :) The market for yarn has exploded and because fiber artists are innovative the types of fiber you can buy has evolved! Now those of us who knit have our favorite sorts of fibers. I personally prefer natural fibers or natural fiber blends and recycled fiber. Recycled cotton is fantastic for children's clothes. I couldn't even begin to list all the amazing fibers out there for knitters to use. Lion Brand Nature's choice is a beautiful organic cotton. They also make Baby's First which is a cotton acrylic blend. Berroco remix is a fiber made from blue jeans among other recycled fibers. Its composed of 30% nylon, 27% cotton, 24% acrylic, 10% silk, 9% linen and retails for about $10.50 or $11.00 (American) per skein which is a bargain for such a lovely yarn. Of course Knit Picks, another of my favorite online yarn "shops" has many beautiful and unique fibers. (all of which I love). Wool isn't just for winter. Its a versatile fiber for any time of the year. No longer will you find yarn to be super scratchy and uncomfortable. Newer wool blend yarns come in fabulous colors, have loft, and drape, with the natural characteristics we've come to expect from wool. Breathable, insulating, strong, sustainable, biodegradable, with a natural flame retardant! The lanolin in natural wool keeps skin soft and helps with eczema. (My son had eczema as a baby so I've tested that theory personally) Did you know that wool is flame retardant up to 1,112 degrees F? All from those cute little sheep you see leisurely grazing in the field! Some of my favorite recycled or natural fiber projects:
W.I.P "work in progress", part of the lexicon of the fiber artists. I have several W.I.P's. One of which is a blanket for a little boy. Currently I am doing a little embroidery on the blanket. First the name of the child and then a picture of a dinosaur. I'm learning a new technique for this blanket. I always enjoy learning new things! Its exciting to see things unfold (as it were) then to see the joy on a child's face when they receive something that was made especially for them. I'll give you a sneak peak at my latest W.I.P:
There was a song entitled "The Things We Do For Love". Silly really but catchy. :) Sometimes an act of love requires going that extra measure to make sure that the people you care most about get something they really need, and sometimes it really is about going that crazy extra mile to obtain just the right thing for a child, grandchild, spouse ect.. I know my parents went to extensive lengths to make sure I had what I needed... like braces on my teeth, and sometimes what I wanted, like saddle shoes for cheer leading (yes my team still wore saddle shoes... they looked cute!) In my case I've had grandparents call and ask for something extra special for their grandchild, something they could find no where else. Do you KNOW how wonderful it is to be the person who could make that ONE thing that no one else could provide? I LOVE that part of my job! I still have the sweater my grandmother made me when I was a wee little girl, each blanket, and hand stitched sweater my children were given, the shawl and hand bag my grandmother carried to weddings, I even have the hat and gloves she wore to my mom's wedding. I will treasure them always. LOVE is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Long after the heart shaped boxes are gone, and the flowers have lost their luster, love will be the memory that keeps on giving. My parents have been married 50 years this year... a testament to long lasting love :)
Every mom has a different way of caring for their infant. Now, my kids are 23 years and 21 years old but I can still remember bringing them home from the hospital in warm North Carolina sun to an air conditioned apartment courtesy of the US Marine Corps. Babies can't regulate their body temperature as well as adults. Its a fact. Every mom is different but one fact remains the same. Babies need to be monitored for proper body temperature. I make hats, I've made literally hundreds of them because I believe that a hat is one of the easiest ways to help regulate body temperature in newborn babies. Most charities, hospitals, and doctors offices my daughter and I have worked with in the past have asked for hats and garments/blankets that will help keep an infant's core temperature even. You've seen some of the photo props we've made for sale but those aren't for helping an infant stay warm. When I was little mom's used baby buntings now with the resurgence of knitting and crocheting the baby sleep sack seems to be the way to go. So here are a few pictures of the MANY projects my daughter and I have made to help keep baby core temperatures constant. We are always considering new ways to make our littlest customers more comfortable.
Frogging: to frog, a verb, meaning to rip out, or rip-it, rip-it, rip-it... Little knitting humor. Though sometimes frogging isn't so humorous, I am very glad yarn isn't like fabric where if you make a mistake its probably permanent. Yarn you can rip the mistake back and start all over again. Frogging also happens for good reasons too, like when someone loses weight and a project has to be started again! That's cool right? I've had to frog projects to perfect a design or to make a project more seamless. Yarn is very forgiving. Unlike many mediums yarn can be adjusted in many ways to help keep its shape, to make it more free flowing, or to make the project more personal. Thats why I so enjoy my yarn. Its a ball of art just waiting to be made :)
The idea of starting my own business started sort of by accident. I had raised both my kids as a stay at home mom while my husband served in the military. I had not had a job working for pay since I was pregnant for my daughter. Mom's work, make no mistake about it, and the rewards are such that no money can buy. My kids got older and I knew I would be able to go out to the workplace. As I improved my skills at knitting and crocheting I found people were actually willing to pay me for my handmade goods. Baby clothes, afghans, toys, and shawls. (yes shawls... I live in Northern NY, it gets cold) So little by little the idea of turning my craft into a business came to me. Then Facebook offered a great opportunity in their business pages. I have had my doubts about whether the concept would work. Here I am, over 5 years later and the business is growing. I like to keep my work personal, keep in contact with my customers, see how they are doing. I want to make sure that people who order from me know I care about the work that goes into their purchase, but more than that I care about them. I appreciate each person who sends an order my way.
Blankets, in my opinion, are like a big canvas you make yourself. Probably not a thought you hear very often but think about it. Some blankets are home spun looking like a Grandma Moses painting, some are geometric, some whimsical, some brightly colored like a splash painting, some are deeply personal... each blanket is made with care. Unlike painting where the painter starts with a blank canvas, knitters/crocheters create the canvas, the colors, the texture, even the pictures. For me to make a blanket, I need to know about the person for whom the blanket will be made. Whether its an infant car seat blanket, or a larger throw for a couch or bedroom I try to adapt each blanket to its setting. I especially enjoy making the car seat blankets for the little ones. They can take their favorite blanket with them and its just the right size for mom to put in her backpack/diaper bag. Below are some of my favorite pieces:
I don't know why but I love working lace projects. I do not get the opportunity to work lace very often. Its challenging but wow the final product is so pretty its worth every minute of the time it takes to complete the project. I've done a couple of really special projects in lace. Of course lace knitting for babies is the best of all! Here's a little project I made for a friend's baby.
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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.