Tabitha's Mountain Rhapsody Family Artist's Byway
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Above is a picture of my rescue dog Ginger Pye. She is a Ladner's Blackmouth Cur that my family rescued from the Potsdam Humane Society, in Potsdam New York. She's a real diva and my cardiac alert dog. Without ever being trained Ginger is totally in sync with the smallest changes in my blood pressure and heart rate. I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia, but because I have Ginger, it doesn't have to control my life. Hundreds of people have alert, comfort, service, or therapy animals. Added to the 5-10 percent of the 3.5 million homeless people in America who have rescued pets of their own, a lot of us here in the US alone have come to depend on our pets for help. We have also come to depend on animal rescue organizations large and small to help protect animals of all descriptions from abuse/abandonment. Yes fiber arts DO play a role in helping people and their pets.
A woman I've come to know through the art of crochet, and consider a friend, Amy Brewer, of Amy B. Stitched recently created a scarf that became an instant smash hit among my Facebook friends who do animal rescue! Within moments of putting the link up to Amy's Meandering Paw Prints scarf on my Facebook page I received orders for SIX scarves because Amy is kind enough to allow us to sell her designs with proper credit. That put the idea into my head to do this charity idea blog. Not unlike Ginger and I, so many people find that they and their pet operate as a team. How much good could we do with this ONE pattern to cheer people on or to keep them warm? One pattern turned into 4 patterns :) A scarf, 2 beanie patterns, and a BLANKET! PLEASE NOTE: ALL of these patterns are Amy Brewer's ORIGINAL patterns including the photographs. Give credit where credit is due when selling. Follow the copyright laws... the photographs are Amy's property and can't be used without permission. Also, the pattern in it's entirety is Amy's hard work.
Amy Brewer is a lovely, thoughtful woman with a real heart to serve others. When I wrote to her to explain the direction I was going with this blog and asked for a few comments from her to which she responded with this biographical sketch: "I remember when I first left the USAF and became a stay at home mommy to my then 1 yo son. Our family income had just been cut in half. I had this varying skill set. I could go out in the civilian world and get a job as a mechanic using my Air Force training. Or I could use my natural home making skills to help off-set our income by making a little money here and there with my stitch work. Fast forward MANY years and I am beginning to design for some major publications. It is EXCITING to get that big paycheck every once in awhile, but once that happens I mostly lose the rights to my designs. Around 2007-ish someone suggested that I begin a blog putting my own patterns out there. I did try selling for a while...but it just didn't feel right. I kept remembering the lean times in my life and made the decision to offer my patterns for free. All of them. Not everyone gets it. But when I see that a young mom is able to sell a few scarves or bowl cozies to add to her family income or that someone is working up my patterns to donate to a local animal rescue fundraiser or making a memorial blanket for someone who is grieving....well....it makes it all worth the while!!"
It takes a lot of time to design and write patterns (and I've tried). I agree with Amy in that giving even at personal cost is more than compensated by a heart full of joy! Therefore, when I thought about my friends who do animal rescue, who volunteer their time to go into HORRID conditions to remove animals from the most vile conditions, people I've met who couldn't get through life as successfully without their service/comfort animal, homeless people who lived for their pets, I knew immediately that Amy Brewer's Meandering Paws series would be an AWESOME charity pattern.
When I went to meet my Ginger Pye for the first time we stood in the foyer of the humane society waiting for the volunteer to bring her out. The foyer was PACKED with people waiting to meet animals, volunteers, cats, ferrets, even a pig in one of the front pens. In walked a young woman with a huge armful of pet snuggles. Of course the Snuggles Project is a great place to start looking for patterns (knit, crochet, sewn) if you are looking to donate pet blankets to a local rescue group. It might be good to call to see if they use/need blankets beforehand. Prior to adopting Ginger our kids used to bring blankets they had made to the Tri-Lakes humane society. They were pretty well overrun with cats and are a no-kill shelter. I thought Amy Brewer's BRAND new Puppy Love afghan, which can be made in many sizes, would be a "purrfect" addition to any shelter. The Puppy Love Afghan would also be a lovely gift to people with service/comfort dogs, and the homeless with pets. Veterans with PTSD often have pets to help them through the hard times. If you aren't sure where to begin start with the Snuggles Project and contact your local pet shelter to see if there is a program for homeless people and their pets to receive blankets.
As spokesperson for Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope Initiative people often wonder if we, up here near the Canadian Border, have homeless people. Yes, we do. They don't necessarily sleep out on the streets in the bitter cold more than likely they will move from house to house staying with friends or family. They have no fixed address and everything... including their pets must be mobile. I often hear very difficult stories of whole families living on the go. Homelessness is a worldwide problem! Pets are very important to families as they offer so much peace of mind. The Meandering Paw Prints scarf and matching hat would be the perfect accessory to give to keep people without a permanent address. Warm, cozy and also a way to show their love for their pets. We can do so much to brighten people's day with these cute hats and scarves. Just something extra special to say we care and we care about your pet too. If you are wondering if the pets get proper food and veterinary care, there are excellent non-profit groups looking out for pets belonging to people without a permanent address. Check out The Street Dog Coalition or Pets of the Homeless. Here in the Northern Adirondack Region I have found that schools are a great place to donate for whole families. School officials know which families are struggling and need a hand providing for their children. It might be a good thing to ask your local school district if donating winter warm items would be acceptable.
Being a shelter volunteer is often a thankless job. They do work that many of us couldn't even if we wanted to. I know these great volunteers rarely hear the word thank you for all that they do to protect animals and their humans. I'm sure that a gift of a Meandering Paw Prints Scarf or Beanie would be greatly appreciated by local shelter volunteers. A small token of appreciation goes a long way. If your local shelter holds fundraisers a Puppy Love Afghan would be a good donation for a raffle or a silent auction. Not sure about your local shelter's bonafides? Check give.org or Charitynavigator.org.. Better to be safe than sorry.
Thank you for reading today and I want to personally thank Amy Brewer of Amy B. Stitched for ALL her amazing hard work on these particular patterns. There are other ways to use these patterns for GOOD. If you think of one... please share it on this blog or with Amy at amysastitchatatime.blogspot.com/. She would be so happy to hear from you!
I have never actually done a complete 3 part series on a designer. That will tell you something about the huge portfolio of patterns Elaine Phillips has created. Today in the last installment I wanted to write about her selection of patterns for adults clothing and accessories.
As I mentioned in a previous blog Elaine Phillips has been knitting and crocheting far longer than I therefore her skills outstrip my own. In fact it seems to me that the only thing limiting Elaine Phillips is knitting or crocheting that hasn't been done yet. Given time, I'm sure she'll find the far reaches of the knitting and crocheting universe. She is really outstanding.
Men and women will find something on ABC Knitting Patterns that they will love or want to add to their wardrobe. The one pattern everyone has been talking about after reading the first installment of the blog series is the Summer Shell Skirt it is classic AND classy. This skirt pattern offers multiple sizes so no worries that you have to be built like a celery stick to wear it. The skirt style is timeless and I envision that I could be worn as a simple piece for a warm summer day or something to wear to a business meeting. It is eye catching as attested to by all the comments about it on Facebook.
The shell skirt is stunning, yes, but the sweater patterns for all seasons are amazing. Sweater patterns for both men and women are available for knitters and crocheters to be worn all seasons and available in many sizes. One point that I should make is that Elaine Phillips is a star at designing patterns for the Brioche stitch. I have not yet had time to learn Brioche but if you know how, Elaine has the patterns! I can easily share my favorite sweater patterns in both knit and crochet for both sexes.
Hello internet! This is T.K. Wilson here (a day late, but not a dollar short!) to talk about ABC Knitting and Crochet's collection of Doll clothes. My biggest problem is picking out patterns! All of them would delight any little girl or collector.
Elaine Philips has designed a dream wardrobe for your favorite 18 inch dolls, that includes American Girl, Our Generation, and My Life dolls, and even a few smaller dolls like American Girl's Wellie Wishers and Hearts for Hearts Girls.
Let's look at the crochet ones first. I loved this Princess Dress. The color she used especially appropriate for this weekend's release of "Beauty and the Beast." Any doll would be proud to twirl in this beautiful gown. This two piece summer suit looks really sharp! Next we have the Wildflower dress that would be perfect for Easter. It even has a purse that would be perfect for egg hunting.
The Seashell Summer Dress would be great as a nighty, a play dress, or even a bathing suit cover up. The theme continues with the Summer Seashell Top and Skirt. Very pretty! Switching gears, we have the Real Easy V-Stitch Skirt which would be really nice for a pretty church skirt or part of an ice dancing costume.
The knitting selections are equally beautiful, some of them are even prettier than the crochet ones! First up we have this simple Raglan dress with matching dress for girls!
This cozy looking Cardigan would look amazing on any number of the "Historical" American girls, particularly Samantha and Ruthie (earlier 20th century) or Kit (1930s). This Flared Skirt would be great for the ice skating doll or Julie, the American girl from the 70s. That's not quite history, but hey, what do I know...
For the smaller, 14 inch Wellie Wishers and Hearts for Hearts girls we have this sweater dress. The color and style of the dress shown makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. This Summer Raglan dress looks really pretty... and if it were a bit longer would look kind of "Lord of the Rings" like. That gives me an idea...
Anyway, enjoy browsing the doll offerings by ABC Knitting! If you have a little girl, you won't regret poking around.
Anyone who has been knitting or crocheting very long has run into the very talented Elaine Phillips of ABC Knitting and Crochet Patterns. She's practically a legend and has been covered by bloggers with a much larger audience than I. However, I thought my regular readers would be as taken with Elaine Phillips' designs as I am therefore, I wanted to share them with you all.
Elaine Phillips' skills are wide ranging. Her website proves that she can turn out beautiful pieces month after month without duplicating her effort. I'm amazed. She writes "This page features the latest knitting and crochet patterns that I've uploaded. I add new free patterns every couple of weeks, so come back soon!" Yes you read that correctly, she turns out new FREE patterns every couple of weeks! Amazing. I'm lucky if I can knit a project in a couple of weeks let alone design, knit/crochet, write the pattern, and have it up on a website in a couple of weeks. From doll dresses to beautiful clothes/accessories for men and women Elaine Phillips does it all. Each design comes with carefully written instructions and difficulty level. No guesswork! :) She writes this about herself: "My name is Elaine Phillips and I've been in love with the hobby of knitting since I was very little. Like everybody, I used patterns from books and magazines. Pretty soon, I was modifying the patterns to suit the particular projects I was working on, and from there it was just a small step to designing patterns of my own. Then, one day, I decided to make my work available to everybody online.
The knitting and crochet patterns I have created range from the very simple to the complicated, so you should be able to find something to suit your needs whatever your level of experience.
I hope you enjoy knitting and crocheting my patterns as much as I enjoyed making them!"
Today I will be focusing on the baby and children's patterns because, as you know by now, my work is focused primarily on children and tweens. Since I discovered ABC Knitting and Crochet Patterns on Ravelry, I went back to Ravelry to sort through my favorite patterns. You do not have to be a member of Ravelry but I recommend it :) (As an aside, you can also find ABC Knitting and Crochet Patterns on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest) It's really hard to choose a favorite when there are so many fantastic choices however I'll do my best, starting with baby patterns.
Elaine Phillips has created some exceptional patterns for babies and toddlers. I'm always amazed at her gift for designing patterns to suit every occasion.
There are some fantastic blanket/afghan patterns that can be made in any color and would suit a baby's room or child's first bed. They are expertly written. My favorites include
For now that's all I have to share on ABC Knitting and Crochet Patterns by Elaine Phillips. Read on next week when T.K. Wilson will join us to discuss the beautiful 18" doll patterns offered by Elaine Phillips! Stay tuned! :)
I remember back in 1999 or 2000 reading about various crocheting friends donating to a charity named We Care Blankets. I happened to be working with Project Linus at the time so this group caught my attention. They've come A VERY long way since 1999! A great group of people including women who have won the Women of Distinction Awards! It just goes to show what tenacity and determination can do. Today I want to try to encapsulate the work of this wonderful group. (I will only be able to scratch the surface so I hope you will take the time to read for yourself.)
We Care Blankets (tm) was once again brought to my attention by Oombawka Crochet Designs during the "Crochet and Donate, Featured Charity of the Month 2017". When I looked at the massive growth of this charity I was so thrilled. They now have a fantastic webpage and Facebook page giving the group even greater outreach to more people. Who benefits? Children with cancer!
We Care Blankets (tm) shares this mission statement, "Mission: Every child who is undergoing cancer treatment will be given a handcrafted blanket." As many of you may know, in the recent past one of my husband's young cousins was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma and went through treatment. Though his family was supported by friends, extended family and through churches all across the country, it taught us all many things including what happens when children do not have a good support network. A handmade blanket would let a child know that they are thought of by someone who is genuinely concerned for their welfare. What a fantastic encouragement.
These wonderful folks working with We Care Blankets (tm) have spread the love to 25 different hospitals in 7 states in the United States of America. They are making a HUGE difference in the lives of children facing a battle for their lives. This group of people are absolutely tenacious about seeing that every that can be touched with handmade love will have their own blanket. You can be a part of the joy too! See their "Getting Started" page!
Besides being an encouraging and thoughtful gift the blankets have very practical purpose. I could not sum up the necessity better than this quote from a We Care Blankets (tm) Facebook post: "During treatment, many children are cold. The founders of We Care Blankets ™ knew that a hand made, colorful blanket would be a wonderful gift to give to each child. That´s how the organization began." So many of us have been touched by loved ones who have had to face cancer treatment. It can be very brutal process for children some of whom are still infants. Did you know that roughly 23 of every 100,000 babies are diagnosed with cancer every year? This is according to Dr. Erin Breese MD, St. Baldrick's Foundation.
Donations are accepted all year round 365 days a year because cancer does not take a vacation. You can get all the information about donating to We Care Blankets (tm) on their website here. Financial donations are very welcome and of course you can read all the latest about meetings here. Why not consider making a donation? There's no limit to how many blankets you can give, or how many lives you can touch.
Thanks for reading the blog today, and thank you to We Care Blankets (tm) for the incredible work they do. Please check out their Facebook page and webpage. If you stop by their pages please say hello and consider making a donation. As I have often said, fiber artists are some of the most generous people in the world.
Elaine Fitzpatrick is the talented proprietress of Down Cloverlaine. One of my very FAVORITE knit designers on the planet. Why? Because her designs are FUN! She's also a really lovely person. I did a blog post on Down Cloverlaine in May of 2015. Since that time Elaine Fitzpatrick has added to her collection of designs with some super cute hats, facecloths, and bibs.
Elaine Fitzpatrick describes herself on her blog: "I've been happily married for almost 35 years and have two terrific sons and a wonderful daughter-in-law. I also have three of the cutest grandsons on the planet. My home is in the beautiful Berkshire Hills in Western Massachusetts. I've been knitting since I was about six years old having been taught by my beloved grandmother. Every time I pick up my needles, I think of her." I too was taught to knit by my grandmother. (I'm dyslexic so it was no small project) Elaine has been knitting for far more years than I. It shows in the quality of her patterns. On her Ravelry page Elaine Fitzpatrick describes why she does not charge for her patterns: "Although I’ve been knitting since the earth’s crust cooled (okay, maybe not that long), I only started designing with the births of my grandsons. People ask me why I don’t charge for my patterns and the answer is simply that I just do it for fun. If I did it to make a living, then it would be a job and I already have one of those. Besides, who doesn’t like a free pattern?" I like free patterns :)
It is hard to know where to begin with all the fantastic patterns made created by Elaine Fitzpatrick for her readers. Bibs and washcloths are super cute baby shower gifts, or great spa gifts. Everyone has a different decor for their bathroom but if you have kids usually that carefully chosen decor is sometimes obscured by baby shampoo, fun tub toys, soaps and of course your child's favorite washcloths. Her specialty is creating images in cloth with knits and purl stitches. Her patterns range from Animal images to images to celebrate the holidays. I've made a few things using Elaine's patterns so I can assure you the patterns are extremely well made.
Down Cloverlaine is filled with adorable animal images to suit every child. Whether you've decorated the nursery in Hippos or your little one loves alligators, I'd almost be willing to bet Elaine Fitzpatrick has a bib/washcloth to suit! I love the wide range of choices. Children love being able to find their own special washcloth at bath time. You'll be the talk of your play group with the endless number of bib patterns to choose from that are just too adorable for words. What are my favorite animal patterns?
Along with adorable animals Elaine Fitzpatrick has designed some cloths with symbols and objects. Hearts, flowers, ice cream cones, pretty patterns, and a sweet patriotic themed cloth. My favorites are these:
It's not all bibs and washcloths at Down Cloverlaine. Elaine Fitzpatrick has designed some super cute hats, mittens, and even a pretty t-shirt which I NEED to make :)
There is so much more to write about Elaine Fitzpatrick's page. I could go on all day with the adorable animal patterns but maybe you'd just like to see what I've done using Down Cloverlaine's patterns.
You'll find the cow picture and the truck pattern on Elaine's page.
Thanks to Elaine Fitzpatrick for such great patterns. I hope many of you will visit her page to take a look around
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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.