Tabitha's Mountain Rhapsody Family Artist's Byway
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Because I'm already running very late I want to just give a brief introduction then get right to the topic at hand. With summer coming on it's a time to start thinking about fun outdoor activities for kids. What if your child is ill?? Can fiber artists help? There are some great places for kids with illnesses! Yes fiber artists have special opportunities to help.
The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp is an amazing place for kids with illnesses of all types. This camp, started by actor and humanitarian Paul Newman is an exceptional place where kids can "raise a little hell" in Mr. Newman's words. The camp provides all the fun a kid can handle in the beautiful setting of Ashford, Connecticut.
The kids to whom The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp is a special, safe place where kids can be kids at no cost to the families! One young man, close to our hearts, went to this very special place pretty regularly. Born with Cerebral Palsy it was a place he could let off a little steam and learn new activities. It brings back some great memories of seeing the utter joy on his face when he talked about all that he did (and the girl he met ;) That young man is now in college :) Time flies. I was overjoyed when I learned that fiber artists could play a part in "The Gang" by being a part of the "Bandit Quilters".
You don't have to be able to sew (which is good because I can't to save my life LOL) to be a Bandit Quilter. All you have to do is be willing to share your time and talent to make a blanket! These blankets and quilts along with handmade pillowcases are given to the kids to take home as a memento of their visit to camp. HOW COOL IS THAT? Your blanket and thoughtfulness will be a part of a child's memory of a special experience. I think that is spectacular! There are some requirements that really must be followed which I will copy here:
Is your group interested in learning more about being Bandit Quilters? Contact Nicole and set up a time for us to visit your group and chat in person!"
Please remember that you are donating to a child who has come to camp for fun so I encourage you to do your very best work. :) Use COLOR!
I've asked my friend Doug Speeckaert to share some of his favorite blanket links with all of you. Doug has a heart as big as all outdoors himself... and is a designer in his own right. Thank you Doug!
Thanks also to EVERYONE who makes The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp a reality! My apologies for the late entry... and Thank you for reading the blog today.
Are you a crocheter? Have you noticed how Spring brings out an entire BATCH of amazing designs from the needles of indie designers? This week has brought out a near record number of marvelous patterns. In my personal stream of crochet consciousness rose the shining star of Crochet It Creations!
Jessica, the amazing proprietress of Crochet It Creations, is a busy lady. Wife, mom to 3 children AND a full time nurse. (Nurses are some of my very favorite people on the planet.) How she finds time to design amid all that I'll never know. My brain just isn't that organized. She burst on the scene with her own patterns in 2017 though as she says in her biography, she's been designing her own patterns since 2011. Gratefully she decided to share them with us on her blog! How cool is that?
First, yes, I love all the patterns. Choosing my favorites to share was a very difficult process for me. This also means that Jessica's work is tempting me to put aside all my personal, non-commissioned, projects to make one of her designs. LOL I know... not a great idea. However, on the plus side I do have all the yarn I need on hand?! So that's good right?
I think I must start with my obsession... the Cameo Cardigan. Yes I WILL be making this sweater. I am on the tall-ish side like my cardis roomy so I will very likely be making the XL size FYI. The Cameo Cardigan popped up in my facebook feed. When I found out it was seamless I was thrilled! I prefer not to have bulky seams everywhere. Perfect. This sweater is designed to fit children's size 10-12 through Adult 2XL. The pattern is free on Crochet It Creations blog however, a PDF copy can be purchased here for ease of use. All three patterns are included.
Accessorizing during months when there is a chill in the air is a must. If you have to wear a hat it might as well be fabulous! Crochet It Creations has collection of hats that range from the practical to the whimsical. Jessica has designed hats for adults and children. I have my favorites but you can check out all the hats here.
Winter seems to last a long time here in the Northern Adirondacks. It's still cold here but that's to be expected. Local kids had Easter egg hunts today IN the snow :) Mittens or fingerless mittens were on display today not the traditional Easter bonnet. Jessica's Woodland Mittens are the perfect thing to keep hands warm. I really like that this mitten has a longer cuff... I have long fingers. Sized toddler to adults plus a fingerless version can be found here.
I don't want to give away the WHOLE game but Crochet It Creations has a couple of blanket patterns that definitely need a mention because they are very attractive! These blankets would, absolutely, make a lovely home accessory. I think a blanket is good for any space including porches or even the beach on a windy day.
I have only given a little taste of the patterns available from Crochet It Creations! Why not spend some time looking through Jessica's patterns on Ravelry an keep up with her on Facebook (if you can LOL). I've joined the Crochet It Creations Friends group on Facebook. Share your pictures chat with more of Jessica's fans. I am glad that Jessica decided to share her patterns with us! Find a pattern you like? Why not let Jessica know! As always, thank you for reading the blog today!
Just by way of warning: I will shed tears writing this blog. I struggle, I get angry, and I have had anxiety about writing this blog because it does bring up difficult memories for me. While this blog posting is genuinely intended to help bring joy to the people it touches there may be just a hint of sadness that I can't tuck away. With that said let's talk about a couple of ways fiber artists can love on Alzheimer's patients.
First a couple of facts just to give us some scope. 5.7 million people in the United States live with Alzheimer's disease. www.alz.org/facts/ 5 percent of people afflicted with Alzheimer's disease develop symptoms before the age of 65. When we think about making gifts for people who have Alzheimer's disease remember that some are starting to struggle with the effects as early as age 40 years. Knitting and crocheting can help provide comfort to those suffering with Alzheimer's but so too can encouraging people to learn to knit and crochet. Intellectual stimulation and social engagement are 2 of the things that help knock back Alzheimer's progression according to this study. Aging isn't easy, period. Aging with Alzheimer's can be pretty scary. Learning to do needle crafts or picking up those needles again can really add to the quality of life.
My own story. My grandmother on my dad's side was the reason I decided to pick up a crochet hook. Both my grandmothers and my aunts tried their best to teach me fiber arts. I am a dyslexic so the skill was a little tricky for me as a kid but I remembered what I was taught. I wanted to make my grandmother a wheelchair blanket. Granted, it was pretty wonky but I knew it would keep her warm. Then Alzheimer's struck my mom's family. My Aunt Velma, also instrumental in letting me play with yarn, developed Alzheimer's disease. As a child I had spent many long days with her at her home and cottage by the lake. When Alzheimer's Disease crept in to her life also, it was quite a blow to me, However, it was years from her diagnosis until her death because of early detection and treatment. She was able to live at home for quite a while. By the time Aunt Velma was placed in a nursing home I was a fairly accomplished knitter so I knit her a throw in her very favorite color. (yellow) Aunt Velma, for a moment, remembered who I was when she was given the throw I made. She said Velynda made this (Velynda is my given name). Naturally it was a poignant moment for me to realize that my work was associated with my name in her mind. One by one my mother's sisters developed Alzheimer's Disease. Each has passed on now. (Mercifully my mom, who briefly participated in a study at the Cleveland Clinic learned that she was not affected by Alzheimer's. She is in her 80's at the time of writing and can still run circles around me.)
Many if not all of my fiber arts friends actively seek out ways to bring comfort to others through their talents. Believe me, despite the naysayers, those talents are deeply appreciated. In that light I want to just share a little bit about a wonderful organization that is providing hand knit and crochet lap blankets and shawls for people with Alzheimer's Disease. Alice's Embrace (a 501-C3 organization) is providing comfort to those in Memory Care Units in California and Nevada. It's a fantastic outreach and they are looking for OUR help! There are multiple ways to offer your support to this organization check out their webpage and jump in. Their main focus is prayer shawls and lap blankets for those living in Memory Care Units. Whether you knit or crochet there are patterns available to you. Alice's Embrace does prefer that you use their patterns so that all pieces relatively the same (it makes for an easier when they go to deliver to the Memory Care Unit.) The patterns are beautiful and easy to follow! Each guaranteed to make your donation a piece of art. Alice's Embrace has created an FAQ page here to clear up questions you might have. Anyone can help by donating funds directly or using Amazon Smile to donate funds while also doing your shopping. Maybe you know a knitter or a crocheter who might be interested in helping... why not share the website?! Please remember to follow their requirements for yarn and pattern. It makes it so much easier for the volunteers.
Does your local care home have a Memory Care Unit? Do you think they would benefit from a little handmade love? Check with the volunteer coordinator about donating shawls or lap blankets. Based on the need perhaps you could partner with others in a church or library to create prayer shawls or lap blankets. Spread your passion for helping those with memory loss to others. I like to think one person can make a difference. There are many FREE patterns on Ravelry and other sites like Allfreecrochet. Check out these links for more patterns found on Ravelry. (Ravelry is great for finding specific patterns)
If you are looking for lap blanket patterns check out these very nice patterns and most are quite simple to work. These smallish blankets are always good conversation pieces and may help you grow your outreach to Memory Care Units.
Are you looking for more ways to give back? Check out this thoughtful list from DIY & Crafts. (remember to ASK the volunteer coordinator at the Memory Care Unit before gifting!)
I think my Gram and my Aunts would be thrilled to see knitters and crocheters putting their hooks and needles such great use. Please, if you choose to make items for your local Memory Care Unit have a chat with the coordinators to assure your items will be accepted. If you aren't sure about going out on your own... I encourage you to join with Alice's Embrace to help them in their work with Alzheimer's and dementia patients. It's such a rewarding experience. Thanks, as always for joining me today.
NOTE: Please see the comment from a representative of Alice's Embrace following this article! It is full of GREAT information. I really want to thank everyone for helping to spread the love. What I thought might be the most difficult blog to date has ended up being one filled with cooperation. It shows the camaraderie that is formed between those looking to do good. Many MANY thanks! 💜
It's the 17th of March 2018 and much of the North East is covered in a thick blanket of snow. It's sunny, windy, and quite cold today. I'm not complaining, mind you, it's part of living in the region. However, with Easter and other traditional Spring celebrations coming, we face the yearly dilemma of how to put our little ones in cute Spring clothes and still keep them warm. Today, I have at least one way that fiber artists can help. The traditional bonnet or helmet style hat for little ones. I thought I'd tip my hat to several designers who have created priceless little hats from which to choose.
I would not have thought, when this idea first popped to mind, that I could write an entire blog about traditional bonnets or helmet hats. However, I found a surprising number of designers who have created entire lines of these adorable little hats. This blog is merely an overview of what the designers have to offer in patterns. I hope that by giving a thumbnail sketch of each designer my readers will take a look for themselves!
I begin today's blog with Louisa Rull of Felt Soap Good in Auckland, New Zealand. Felt Soap Good is on Etsy, Ravelry, Facebook , and YouTube. (her YouTube channel is a must see by the way) Louisa Rull specializes in creating photo props. She designs and sells patterns as well as finished pieces. The patterns in her collection are beautiful and can be added to any outfit to make it picture perfect for those holiday events. (PLEASE note that hats with ties should be used only under direct supervision as they can pose a choking hazard) From wonderfully whimsical to lovely lace, it's all available from Felt Soap Good:
The next designer I found in my search for perfect bonnets or helmet hats is Kristin Nicole Knits! Kristin Hazel lives in Maryland and has a business specializing in newborn and maternity photography. To that end she has created some perfect bonnets (and clothing items) as photo props but let's face it for those "first" outings we want picture perfect outfits. With an entire line of bonnets to choose from how can you go wrong with Kristin Nicole Knits? (again, as with anything these designs are to be worn with direct supervision because of the ties.) Kristin Nicole Knits is on Etsy and Ravelry
I do not want to leave out the crocheters. I love crocheting pieces for babies and kids as does Mel Harrison! Mel Harrison of Pixie Noggins and the Mahogany Turtle is a busy mom and indie designer who makes her home in Australia. She's not only a great designer but she dyes and sells beautiful yarns. (the yarns are amazing!) Mel Harrison has some very sweet offerings for little ones.
Last but by NO means least is Christine of Sweet Potato 3 Designs. She does everything and her skills in crochet are definitely a step above mine for sure. However, looking specifically at bonnets Christine has several SUPER cute and fun patterns to offer those of us who crochet.
Now for you sewists, I have 3 patterns to share with you handpicked by my own sewist.
Anyone having to dress a little one for the unpredictable Spring holidays knows that having a back-up plan is a good idea. You can count on fiber artists to have your back when it comes to dressing your child. Also if you are a fiber artist I hope you'll visit the pages of today's designers and thank them for their hard work. Putting a design together is no easy task. Thank you all for joining me today!
You might be asking why I would choose a topic like blankets for kids for today's blog. The picture of the "Winter wonderland" is my backyard. We're currently experiencing a Nor'easter (in March, yes.) here in the Northern Adirondacks and in the North East. While to some, it may not seem like there should be a problem providing warmth for children, the fact is, that we do have a problem. We have a problem in the United States where 2.8 million children with families lived in "worst-case" substandard housing according to a 2015 Housing and Urban Development study Picture that globally? Of course we're not going to tackle the problem of substandard housing with knitting needles, a crochet hook, or a sewing machine. We can do something to provide warmth, hope, and a reprieve from the isolation of poverty.
Most of us are naturally limited in how much time or finances we can dedicate to our charity work. We have 2 hands, 24 hours, 365 days, and bank accounts. We clip coupons, hit sales, gratefully accept yarn from someone destashing, schedule crafting time, set aside time on our "vacation days" and rely on the generosity of free patterns to aid us in doing the work we love. I write these blogs so that those of us who work within limits can have boundless impact.
Blankets, are a part of the lexicon of our culture. They speak a language all their own. As fiber artists we probably all have a story of a handmade blankets that have become the "most favorite" blanket EVER. :) This is why I thought, on this VERY snowy day, I would share some links to freely published kid blankets. (remember the designs and pictures are the work of the designers and deserve recognition. Don't take the designs and pictures, then call them your own)
Some of my favorite blanket patterns have animal themes. My son loved animals as a kid. He'd usually have a plastic animal toy tucked in a pocket of his pants or overalls. Kids do love animals whether forest animals or prehistoric animals there are a lot of free patterns to choose from!
Superheroes are very big theme running through pop culture right now. of course fiber artists aren't far behind. There are are some really fun blankets to make up for kids who need a smile.
Naturally one couldn't have kid blankets without some space and fantasy themes.
We simply must have color! Yes kids love color, they need color to stimulate their brains, and what better way to give a huge smile than a happy colored blanket?
Sewists yes, we have something for you too!
Thanks for hanging out with me today and for taking the time to read the blog. I especially thank all of you who work so hard for charity.
If you stop by any of these pages I am sure the authors would appreciate a note to say hello!
It's been snowing, again, here in the Northern Adirondacks. Winter still holding on but the fashion world has long since moved on to clothing styles for Spring and Summer. This is why I chose a Spring/Summer magazine from 1960. Many of the popular styles for Spring 2018 look very much like the popular styles from 1960! I was surprised to find that some of the fiber arts that were lost are alive and well and living on the internet. You'll see as we take a look at Huck Weaving.
Sweaters were the by-word in the Spring/Summer 1960 McCalls Needlework and Crafts magazine. 1960 was an Olympic year. McCall's took the opportunity to celebrate the olympics in their magazine. A little history on that olympic year: The Summer 1960 Olympics were held in Rome, Italy. They were historic games and something to celebrate in many ways. Wilma Rudolph, a black athlete from St. Bethlehem, Tennessee, made her mark on the world by taking gold medals in 3 events in track and field, beating olympic records. Both the women's and men's swim team won gold medals in the freestyle and medley relay races. USA came in second to the former Soviet Union in medal count. (part of the long standing "grudge match" between the former Soviet Union and the United States of America) Now on to the knitting/crocheting/sewing!
This is the main page showcasing the Olympic game theme. These sweater/blouse patterns have a timeless look and each have a modern counterpart. From Left to Right: Cyclamen Blouse, Wood Violet Cardigan, Forget-Me-Not Blouse, (a design from Switzerland) the Lilac Mohair Cardigan. Such a cute set of blouses and all patterns are available in this magazine for a whopping 50 cents! Let's take a look at look at up-to-date patterns available on the internet.
One of my favorite things about this magazine are the really lovely pieces created for nearly every occasion. Most are knit so we'll move on to a few pieces for the sewists!
I love pockets! Ever notice how very few clothes for women (even blue jeans) have pockets? The Cobbler's Apron to the left is a cute pattern AND the good news is that there are patterns for Cobbler's/Gardener's aprons online FREE.
I'm not a collector of aprons but I could be persuaded to collect a few dozen of these aprons with pockets. It would be perfect for my needles, hooks, stitch markers ect. Here are some patterns:
Tailored aprons as the one pictured above have been in use for who knows how many years. They are still fabulous and can be made out of leftover fabric, or even recycled blue jeans! Anything with pockets works for me LOL!
Huck Weaving used to be a big thing when I was young. I remember seeing tea towels that were decorated with Huck weaving. Beautiful work. Personally I didn't think anyone did Huck Weaving any more. However, I did find a link to a Huck Weaving lesson!! The picture below isn't very clear but neither is the picture in the magazine. However I'm going to TRY Huck Weaving. I do believe that we ought to try to preserve these graceful arts as best we can for the future. I found a lesson here:
(Huck Weaving fabric is available on ebay!)
Just because I love shawls I wanted to share a pattern from my magazine. It's out of print, and out of copyright. (I contacted McCall's already to see if anyone owned the rights and to their knowledge no one owns the rights to McCall's Needlework and Crafts) Again, the photo of the shawl wasn't very high quality but the pattern can be read clearly. The knitting needle size is 11, and I think that though the Unger Mohair DeLuxe yarn is discontinued a suitable substitute would be a light worsted weight mohair. (but anything light and fluffy would be pretty) I won't be sharing patterns often but I thought this time I would celebrate Spring with you. **I cannot offer pattern support**
If you want to save the pattern to your computer or laptop, simply right click on the picture of the pattern, then click "Save image as" and this should allow you to save the shawl pattern. (you can always google how to save a photo to your particular device)
I hope you have enjoyed reading today's blog. Below are some random pictures taken from the articles and adverts from the McCall's Needlework and Crafts Spring 1960 magazine.
I'll admit it, I'm a bit of a wimp. My wonderful friend, teacher, craft guru and cheerleader Jill has always been my source when I've needed help with my knitting and crocheting or other crafts. She speaks the language of many crafts :) When she forwarded an email from Craftsy advertising a free weekend of lessons I sort of mentally resisted. I usually just ask Jill then problem solved. :) I'm not accustomed to crafty kinds of lessons but I thought I'd check it out anyways. I'm glad a did! I took 2 classes and enjoyed every minute. For those of you who haven't taken a Craftsy class, allow me share what I learned.
If you follow Craftsy you know that every once in a while they offer the opportunity to learn from experts at lowered prices or as in this past weekend, free. Streaming right from your computer, laptop or pad! :) Recently I've been feeling like my ideas were drying up, I needed a breather for sure. My ideas have been stagnating (or got derailed somewhere in the train yard of my brain). In short, I just needed a way to recharge my batteries that wouldn't cost too much. Craftsy seemed like a great idea! I looked through the course offerings the first thing I saw was the name Salena Baca! I really like Salena Baca Crochet designs. The designs are fresh, stylish, and some are just plain adorable. Okay I was sold. I decided to take the Modern Crochet Afghans: Color and Texture. Perfect.
I got started by pulling out about 100 skeins of yarn (no really it was about 20 but when I stacked them all up it looked like 100), grabbed my crochet hooks and my little bag of everything (containing all the little things including tapestry needles, stitch markers, needle sizer, tapestry needles, scissors, and tape measurer) Right after I located my reading glasses I would be ready to learn. LOL
Salena Baca was very polished in her presentation for the class. From first moments of the class I felt engaged in what was being taught. Even though I knew all the stitches, there were tips I really LOVED! From adapting the patterns to using stitch markers, even how to successfully complete that first row of crocheting! The classes are designed to allow you time to complete the entire afghan project from start to finish, however because I only had a weekend I basically worked the swatches. The instructions for the swatches are included with the course materials. In this way 1, you know you are getting the gauge for your particular afghan size correct, and 2, if you are working this class in a weekend you are able to get a feel for each design. I happened to have the correct weight of yarn and the correct size of hook on hand to complete each swatch. (I know shocking LOL)
The second class I took was a class in lace knitting taught by Eunny Jang has been a leading light in Knitting since 2007. Her class Lace Knitting: Basics and Beyond was spot on! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE lace knitting! There's something special about knitting lace. It's gentle and harkens back to a time when creating a piece of lace was an artform. I can remember seeing small pieces of handmade lace at my Grandmothers and Aunts homes. Being from the Depression Era they knew the value of such things and used the pieces wherever they could. Not wanting to throw anything away. I remember snatches of lace inset into pillows dresses, even coverlets. It's been a long time since I knit lace therefore, my skills were rusty. I needed to upgrade :)
Eunny Jang is a very enthusiastic teacher. Her instructions were very well laid out with tips and tricks along the way. The course included several lace patterns as well as instructions for cast ons and bind offs. Even simple lace looks elegant when done in the right yarn. Eunny Jang covered the beauty of various hand dyed yarns and lace weight yarns. I have both hand dyed yarn that was gifted to me and lace weight yarn that I purchased from Knit Picks. However for this class we used worsted weight wool to illustrate the "forgiving" nature of protein fibers in lace.
The process of learning to knit lace, or in my case brushing up on my technique, was taught by creating a swatch of the lace pattern. It was so much fun to create each swatch. Eunny Jang setup each swatch of lace so that it could be made into a full project such as a scarf or shawl. Eunny Jang taught how to prevent errors and how to read lace charts. After a while you could envision what each lace pattern was to look like upon finishing the pattern repeat.
I HIGHLY recommend that anyone looking to take on a new crafting skill or improve their crafting skills take a look at Craftsy first. The programs are incredibly well done and the written instructions are very detailed. I came away from the weekend feeling very good about myself, my skills, and my ability to choose the correct yarns for the projects I am undertaking.
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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.