This morning started out so gorgeous. I did a little housework then opened the windows to air the house out a little. Shortly after opening the window I heard Canadian geese fly over head. A sure sign that spring is on the way to the Northern Adirondacks. Spring is a GREAT time to knit and crochet for charity!
First, let me just say that the beginning of Spring is a great time to stock up on yarn for charity work. Every season the yarn companies join the fashion world and change over their colors. Therefore if you are looking for bargains the end of the season is a great time to go shopping. (Pantone is the color company. They are the color genius behind many color trends. Google the COTY campaign if you want to know more) Yarn sales at major craft stores, your LYS, or online. I like to shop Knitting-Warehouse.com, Mary Maxim, Herrschners, Knit Picks, among others at the end of the season. I have an folder in my email specifically for my favorite shops so I know when sales are available.
No matter what charities you work with Spring can be an ideal time to take a fresh look at your projects. Do you like one particular pattern made in many colors or do you prefer many patterns and many colors? Spring is the time for new things! I work with 2 charities in specific as most of you know by now. One charity is based out of Malawi and the other is right here in my hometown. Whether you donate baskets of handmade items to new mothers or work with an established charity like Operation Christmas Child there are always take-along projects perfect for warmer weather.
Here are some FREE fresh patterns for Spring 2018!
Light weight hats are still important for infants and young children.
Some charities ask for slippers, however there are places within local communities that need slippers. Group homes for foster kids, nursing homes, hospitals and chemotherapy centers. Growing up my handmade slippers were less than hip but now we have some great patterns AND thanks to Moogly we have a way to make them non-slip!
That's all the coolness I could find for today, be sure to check out the latest colors in your local yarn stores, or online! It's Spring! Let's celebrate color!
So my friend Jennifer, who feeds my yarnie habit at every opportunity, shared a picture of some adorable baby booties. There were no links with the pictures so I had to go on a quest for the link to the baby shoes. Of course I turned to Ravelry to find the same or similar designs! During my hunt I found the lovely designs of Deborah O'Leary Patterns. Thanks to Jen who always does her best to keep my skills sharp :)
(Editorial note: btw, crafty facebook pages that randomly take photos from designers pages and don't post the links? That is not fair to the designer at all! It's very frustrating to both those who might want to work the designs and those who might like to commission the work done.)
Deborah O'Leary lives in Los Angeles, California. She's a mom of three children and creator of fabulous knit and crochet patterns for her fellow fiber addicts. She is a self described knit and crochet addict. her dedication to beautiful and practical designs shows in every stitch.
While my work mostly involves home decor and children's clothing/accessories, I want to point out Deborah O'Leary's fabulous purse patterns. These bags have great details that really create standout accessories. There's more than enough to keep felting addicts happy for quite a long time. I've never been particularly adept at felting so I appreciate those who are able to create classic felted pieces.
Speaking for myself, I have to say that designers who both are able to create beautiful patterns in knit and crochet are some of my favorite go to designers. I never have to worry about searching all over to find a pattern. I go directly to these designers for any immediate pattern needs. Deborah O'Leary will likely become a "go to" designer, especially for baby gifts! Such a fantastic variety! Cute clothing pieces, photo props, blankets, and baby cocoons. LOVE! :) 💝
There are so many blanket patterns created by Deborah O'Leary that any knitter or crocheter is virtually guaranteed to find something that suits them. Usually I pick a few of my favorites to share however, Deborah O'Leary Patterns are all beautiful! (how does she do it?)
Baby cocoons are some of my favorite projects. They are good for use when a baby needs a little extra snuggle (with proper supervision of course) and are super fun photo props!
When looking for infant clothes Deborah O'leary has created some patterns that are too adorable to pass up. I love the little pants, hats, and diaper covers. I think diaper covers are not only super cute but also serve a practical purpose. Especially if you use cloth diapers.
If you’ve been paying attention to environmental news at all, you’ve most likely heard about the dropping population of honey bees, due to colonial collapse syndrome. You’ve probably heard that honey bees are dropping like... well, like flies. Such a population drop could mean disaster for our food supply; but it would also be a catastrophe for the fiber industry. Bees pollinate billions of plant species, including plants that produce fibers, such as flax, and natural dyes like henna and woad. Plus, bees pollinate plants that are essential to the diets of sheep and goats.
But what if I told you that honey bees are actually going to be OK? “Wait!” you cry “I read the honey bee colonies are collapsing!” Well, they were. The problem was partly due to the use of a synthetic pesticide known as a neonicotinoid; it mimics the effect of nicotine (a powerful natural insecticide). No one is exactly sure why they affected honey bees so seriously, but they did. Then the US and European countries enacted laws limiting the use of neonicotinoids; now the honey bees are no longer in as much danger as they were. They’ll be back on their own six feet in a few years.
Honey bees are gonna be alright; so what’s the problem? The problem is not honey bees; the problem is the nearly 4000 other bee species native to North America. That’s right; 4000 species. These bees are more efficient at pollinating than imported honey bees; and they are more fragile. A recent study found that 50% of native Midwestern bee species have disappeared from their natural range.
Honey bees were brought over from Europe to pollinate food crops and produce honey. They are not native to North America, and often compete with native bee species for the same food sources. Additionally, they have farmers, beekeepers and researchers to help them along. Native bee species do not enjoy that benefit; they’re on their own. Furthermore, if these other bee species disappeared, honey bees would not be able to pick up the slack. Without native bees, our agriculture industry would completely collapse.
So what should we do? Plant wildflowers. Plant them anywhere. Find out what species grow in your area, get some seeds and plant. It doesn’t matter if your lawn is tiney, they don’t need much space. And if you use synthetic pesticides, stop immediately, and switch to something safer. If we all contribute a little bit of our lawns, then the bees can be saved.
For More information see: www.pollinator.org/
(Thanks to Ian Wilson for his contribution today. Pollinators keep our natural dyes and plant fibers vibrant for the future. It's so easy to help them thrive.)
I have a mad love for shawls, shawlettes, ascots, wide scarves, any kind of wrap for the neck and shoulders. I am also a genealogy and history buff. Today's designer, Kate Whiting, combines clothing history with rich color combinations and enticing stitch attributes to create patterns any knitter would be proud to wear.
With the hope of Spring whispering in my ear specifically looked for a designer who created beautiful shawls and neckwear for this blog. What is better for spring than a lovely shawl to throw over your shoulder? Kate Whiting seemed to combine everything I love.
Kate Whiting is a busy mom of 6 living in Buckingham, UK. To quote her own words: "My inspiration is very much from nature and folklore for my hats and many of the shawl designs stem from the interest I have in Scottish and Cornish clothing history in the 17th and 18th century, as well as the colours of Scotland’s nature and landscape.
Both Outlander and Poldark play a part in my fascination and inspiration." Kate Whiting
Without doubt this is why I found Kate Whiting Designs called out to me from a sea of design choices.
Shawls reminiscent of history are not only interesting to knit but also create a point of conversation. One of the things I appreciate about knitting and crocheting is that it tends to invite questions from non-knitters/crocheters. This is especially true if one is working on or wearing a piece based on a television program. I honestly do not know how she comes up with such magnificent designs time after time. Speaking of time, these specific designs caught my eye (be sure to check out all of Kate Whiting's designs however)
Cowls are a versatile accessory. I've created many cowls since learning to knit and crochet. Recently I've purchased a few new basic pieces for my wardrobe and intend to make a couple cowls to give them a fresh look. Kate Whiting blends the new with the old in her cowl patterns.
I do like the fact that Kate Whiting's designs include scarves and even a beautiful cape. It is testament to how she's incorporated history and fantasy into knitted beauty.
Kate Whiting's designs are so gorgeous. I could hardly give the designs the justice they are due in one blog post. However, my readers should see them for themselves. Please do drop Kate Whiting a note if you take the time to get lost in her patterns as I did. I know you'll appreciate her talent.
SIDE NOTE: I wrote my first blog entry February 4, 2015. At the time I was going to be one of those crafty bloggers who wrote endless streams of words that captured the attention of others but then... no. I'm not really the sort to follow the trends so I decided blogging just two days a week with the view towards introducing great independent artists and helping charitably minded fiber artists. Thus saving myself and any readers from the humiliation of reading a blog that moved from the simply inexperienced to the completely incomprehensible. :) (returning you to our regularly scheduled blog)
There's an old song that was performed in a musical by Cole Porter entitled "Friendship". The word "blendship" is used in the song (not a real word by the way LOL) to describe the way the characters felt about their loyal association. I think that is how I see Yarnspirations.com, the affiliated designers, and loyal customers.
While writing blog posts about the vintage fiber arts magazines/books/pamphlets I have in my possession I often come across the old-time advertisements from various yarn companies. Some have long since gone out of business while others have become institutions in the fiber arts community. Spinrite LP created Yarnspirations.com as "The official home of: Patons, Bernat, Caron and Lily Sugar 'n Cream" brands. Four yarn brands that have stood the creative test of time have supported acts charity for years. If you want to know a little bit about the history of Spinrite LP (Listowel, Ontario, Canada) Read here:
Each of the yarn brands now manufactured by Spinrite were originally produced at separate spinning mills built as far back as the 1700's. Reaching out was something my mother and Grandmothers did because they could and because it was the right thing to do. Clearly it is a tradition in the fiber arts world sewn into our DNA as an act of pure kindness. It is beautiful!
Yarnspirations.com has formed "Blendships" with various people who knit, crochet, tat, latch hook ect. both on their website and the blog Spokespersons such as Vickie Howell and Michael Sellick, of The Crochet Crowd fame, have represented the Yarnspirations name in recent years. Artists featured on the Yarnspirations blog include Brittany from B.hooked, Kristin of goodknitkisses.com and Sandy Davis, a blogger for Yarnspirations among many others.
Yarnspirations has MANY great patterns, project ideas and charities to choose from on both their website and their blog. Not to mention the bonus of having access to all the resources of The Crochet Crowd. One of my favorite things to do when I'm hanging out maybe not feeling well or sitting in a waiting room with wifi is peruse the pages of the lookbooks. The lookbooks start out from the year 2014. There is plenty to see! Check these out:
As to charities that are regularly featured on yarnspirations.com look for Project Linus Recently The Crochet Crowd has been supporting Project Linus with blankets created on The Crochet Crowd cruises. Here are some charity blanket patterns listed that could be used for Project Linus if you so desire. PLEASE be sure to check the requirements for Project Linus before you start into making one!
If you want to support a local charity but aren't sure how to find a local charity there is a tool on The Crochet Crowd just for that purpose:
thecrochetcrowd.com/placemarks/neighbourhood-charity-crafters/ Here is another list of 27 Crochet Charity Patterns and Ideas which may help you find a way to express your kindness. Don't hesitate to contact the charity you are interested in if you have questions about their work. Everyone has a niche you'll find yours! If you want to know more or have questions of The Crowd... you'll find that the Facebook Social Group is the place to be welcomed and share your work. You will hear from other crocheters who participate in helping charities.
Yarnspirations is a one stop shop. If you need yarn to complete your project Yarnspirations as a shop online so that you can purchase just the right yarn for your project. Don't forget to check out the clearance section!
I think the best part about Yarnspirations is the community spirit. The blog, the website, the various artists, and The Crochet Crowd enthusiastically welcome conversation! We all have something to give... it starts with kindness and ends up a lasting legacy.
I am a collector, I admit it. I have all sorts of knitting and crocheting magazines from 2017 back to the early 1950's. There's just something so much fun about walking down the lanes of time seeing what survived the march of time and what, thankfully, did not. Really, I suppose it's part of being a student of history. I love looking back at the clothing styles from earlier generations!
When my grandmother and Aunts passed on not only their skills but their vintage knitting magazines, they really did change my life. I'm sure they never envisioned that I would become so enthralled with the whole industry. Like most of my family, I suppose some would say I'm an "every day" knitter/crocheter in that I really don't buy luxury yarns, own luxury needles or hooks, or create those fashion runway pieces. I like creating pieces that people aren't afraid to use. Most knitting or crocheting magazines I own are for just those purposes. Today's look at 1966 will highlight some of the wearable, shareable world of fiber arts in the middle of the 1960's. I think you'll see some styles that are familiar from the "Modern Needlecraft" Spring/Summer number 47.
This knitting/crocheting magazine is simply a fashion magazine. (There are very few "gift" ideas and most are the type we are all glad stayed in the 1960's.) The nice thing about this magazine is that each design shown has a corresponding pattern in the magazine. Not all magazines then, or now, have that feature. It cost a mere 60 cents to buy this 94 page magazine chock full of pictures and project patterns. Yes there were plenty of advertisements too. (I'll put a little slide show in with the ads!) The headline "Excitingly New" and the words "for a very colorful season", grab the attention as the (black and white) pictures of the latest knit/crochet/woven designs splash across the pages. Some of these designs would be considered quite in style in 2018.
I think many women of the 1960's would have considered most of these sweaters and skirts to be something they'd wear shopping or to an appointment. My mother certainly made sure she and her three girls always looked our best when going out. In the "night out" category the magazine certainly offered some pretty smart looking fashions. There is even a jacket made with yarn with sequins already attached! Bonus? Yes! There are patterns very similar to these below, designed by our more modern designers: www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/02-lace-jacket (sequins AND lace) Vogue knitting
store.vogueknitting.com/p-1432-vine-lace-dress.aspx (Vogue Knitting)
www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/summer-diamonds-tee (Adrianne Novic)
There are some pieces in the magazine are those we'd probably consider shell-type tops or just sleeveless tops. They are shown worn by the "younger set" as they said in the 60's. These tops definitely have a place in our modern wardrobe. Modern shell, tank tops, cover-ups, ect. are not that much different than those pictured in the slideshow below: www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/dylan-tank (Rowan Knits) www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/charlene-tunic (Shiri Designs)
www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sweet-tee-4 (Crystalized Designs)
www.premieryarns.com/products/premier-two-tone-tee-top-free-download (Premier Yarns)
We still love our basic sweaters and tunics don't we? Some of these styles got a bit of an upgrade in 2017-18 however, we knitters and crocheters are often asked to create a lovely warm sweater or a sleek tunic for the cooler months (today it's snowing to beat the band here at Out of the Parc HQ). I think some of these sweater designs from Modern Needlecraft are timeless as you can see by their contemporary counterparts.
www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/newcastle-pullover Lion Brand yarns.
Vintage-y cardi www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/a-good-vintage-cardigan in Simply Crochet Magazine
Crocheted in chunky weight www.redheart.com/free-patterns/classy-cardi (Red Heart yarns)
www.lionbrand.com/knitting-pattern-shawl-collar-sweater-1.html (Lion Brand yarn)
www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sunset-tunic (Be a Crafter)
For a little fun I put together a slideshow of some of the advertisements. You won't believe the prices!
I hope you enjoyed your walk thru Modern Needlecraft magazine. I certainly enjoyed wandering through Ravelry to find the contemporary counterpart designs. Fiber artists take their inspiration from many places, not the least of which is the past! Thank you to all the designers who work so hard to provide us with great patterns!
Sunday February 4 was World Cancer Day. I felt that it did not get enough attention on social networking. It's so vitally important that we as fiber artists (including sewists) support cancer fighters. (I hesitate to call them victims. So many of the people I have met with cancer have a victorious not a victims attitude) It is important that cancer fighters know that they are being thought of while they are in the middle of the battle.
Last year (Jan. 7, 2017) one such victor did pass on from this earth to heaven leaving a husband and 4 children behind but her legacy shines brightly. Amy and I never actually met in person she was a friend of my parents. I followed her journey and tried to help by knitting and crocheting for her. She IS a beacon of hope to this day as many remember her with great respect. Today's blog is dedicated to her legacy. 🎀
Many of the fiber artists I know are looking for ways to help others, to reach out with our talents to those who truly need comforting. I hope today's lists will help you in that quest.
Children are some of our bravest fighters. It's so difficult to think of young ones struggling through cancer. Here are some charities that need your help. These projects are offered 100% free of charge to any cancer patient or patient dealing with hair loss due to disease. There are websites that charge cancer patients for hats and other comfort products. please know that you can donate to these organizations with confidence.
Some of the stories I hear from cancer fighters are heartbreaking and yet challenging. I've never charged anyone for a warm cap or scarf to keep warm while undergoing treatment for cancer or other diseases. Nor do these organizations
This may look like a short list, and it is, but these charities have been vetted by myself or my daughter T.k. Wilson. Please note that if you are looking for a charity in your specific state you can turn to the Crochet Crowd. As the poet Horace once said: "Whatever advice you give, be brief." And I shall. Thank you all for reading and for caring!
Today's independent artist is multi-talented. Both a sewist and a crochet artist. What initially caught my eye was the absolutely beautiful Hearts Blanket Pattern. Then when I explored a little further into Kathie Schoren's Ravelry store I was floored by the number of truly lovely patterns she has available. I have seen her patterns pop up from time to time in my Facebook feed. I do think it's about time I wrote about the very talented maker behind them.
Kathie Schoren is a mom and a grandmother. Like many moms and grandmothers she is also an independent teacher at her local JoAnn Fabric and Crafts and a talented designer. She has shops on Ravery, Craftsy, and Etsy. It would be fairly simple to get totally lost in the her designs! I have had to mind my own schedule so I didn't get behind in my work LOL. For clarification, many of my regular readers know I do not sew. I've asked T.k. Wilson to comment on the sewing patterns following my thoughts on Kathie Sew Happy's amazing crochet patterns.
The majority of the crochet patterns that Kathie Schoren offers are blanket patterns. I was actually looking for a crochet artist that was as much into designing blankets as I was into making them. Baby blankets seem to be the center of her crochet inspiration. Clearly some of her skills surpass my own. (Most of what I do both in my volunteer crocheting and my business crocheting has to do with creating little things for sweet little people.) In my own mind I sort of divided the blanket patterns into those with special stitches I have yet to try , basic stitches those that are fun to make no matter how long you've been crocheting, and lacey stitches that create visually stunning projects. All of these patterns are for sale.
I've been crocheting a long time, but there are still many things I have yet to learn. Kathie Schoren offers patterns for stitches I haven't tried but would very much like to make an effort at.
Basic stitches can make you look like a crochet genius! Given the right yarn or combinations of yarns these gems make fabulous blankets.
One of my favorite things to do is knit or crochet lacy patterns. Kathie Schoren's lace or fan stitch patterns are stunning. These patterns will be a crowning jewel for any new parent or new home owner. I really can't say enough about how much I appreciate these great patterns.
There are so many more blanket patterns available through Kathie Sew Happy. I encourage you, even if you don't crochet, to check out her lovely collection. Don't miss T.k. Wilson's contribution on sewing.
Hey there! T.K. with you to talk about Kathie's sewn items. After a quick perusal of the patterns offered, I've seen a couple I want to buy right now!
Click the button to see my portfolio!
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.