You may wonder why I publish this little nugget on the blogosphere. I, like probably several thousand other people have decided that we'd like to offer our talents, time, our escape from stress, our true passion, our coping mechanism, our dream with you. Perhaps we didn't really pick our dream, perhaps it picked us. Either way we want to succeed in some small way... or a big way in introducing people to what we do best.
Oh yes, I knit/crochet on commission like thousands of other people and yes they too want to succeed. I'm not interested in volume of commissions, I'm really interested in building relationships with my customers. Getting to know them, working with them to create something special is really at the heart of what I do. It not only gives me a great feeling but it also helps me to connect with people who might need my special skills at a moment of high stress. I'm a better person and a better artisan because of the connections I've made with my customers.
I've been told that the prices I charge, or really, many of us as artists charge don't match with the quality of our work. Don't get me wrong, the money is what provides the patterns and the supplies. Its the reward for a job well done. However, truth be told there's no amount of monetary compensation that can repay a
crafts person or an artist for doing what they love! As far as I am
concerned, making money is secondary to the creative process and making connections with people. I know many of my fellow fiber artists feel the same way.
Yes, pay people what they ask, give credit where credit is due, and spread the word about the skill of the people who have helped you find the perfect hand made gift.
In the end the legacy my grandmothers, Aunts, and my mom left me is, as I like to say "stitched into every fiber of my being". So when you see a hand made item, look at it not for what it is on the surface, see the artist behind the item. You can tell a
lot about people by their work. Perhaps you can tell them how much you appreciate the craftsmanship that went into their work.
Now, I have a zillion thoughts rolling around in my head on this subject. To be honest I hardly know where to begin! I guess a few personal pictures to start with then maybe it will be easier to explain why Knit Your Bit is a subject close to home. :)
There are more members of my family, and my husband's family that served before during and after World War II. Which is where Knit Your Bit comes in to play. First the history:
http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/knit-your-bit/knitting-during-wwii.html "Many of those who were knitting items for soldiers during World War II had previously participated in the World War I Knit for Victory campaign as children or young adults. Knitting provided warmth and comfort for the soldier and therapeutic distraction and a sense of civic participation for the knitters. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was often photographed knitting for the war effort, or at least carrying her voluminous knitting bag. During the evening broadcast of war news on the radio, idle hands were turned to service as Americans once again knit for victory."
Civilians were very heavily involved in providing needs for our soldiers during WWII. My grandmothers, Aunts, Uncles, and my parents told me stories about the many sacrifices that were very happily made by Americans to be sure our "boys" had what they needed. Men, women, children, communities banded together to make socks, hats, scarves, mittens, bandages from what material was available. They did so willingly and thankfully.
Back in 2006 the WWII museum had the fantastic idea to bring back the Knit Your Bit campaign! It started small and to date the knitters of America have contributed 30,000 hand knit/crocheted/loomed scarves! Why scarves? Its a symbol of esteem that provides warmth. Where will my scarf go? http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/knit-your-bit/ patterns included! More questions? http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/knit-your-bit/frequently-asked-questions.html
Have a group? http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/knit-your-bit/knit-your-bit-flyer.pdf
Why now? Because more than ever our Veterans need to know we still remember what they've done on our behalf. As one knitter/crocheter to another why not show your appreciation by knitting a scarf or two or THREE :) I have the perfect yarn for you to try, one of my personal favorites! http://www.yarnspirations.com/caronunited Soft, warm, washable Caron United has rich, beautiful colors that create a wonderful fabric. Don't take my word for it, try it yourself.
An absolutely wonderful collection of patterns have been uploaded to the American Red Cross Museum http://www2.redcross.org/museum/exhibits/knits.asp
On Facebook? My membership is pending... join me at https://www.facebook.com/groups/35427872496/
Ira Rott is a designer from Southern, Ontario Canada. Her skill was passed down to her through her family, like myself. Her passion to carry on the family traditions is wonderful but I will tell you what caught my attention, the tagline on her website "Where yarn meets fun" http://www.irarott.com/about_me.html and she's spot on! She has some adorable designs on her page! Can YOU pick just one? I couldn't!
Owls, being all the rage, are everywhere on the internet. Ira Rott however takes the average owl pattern and gives it a kick of color and more than a splash of fun. While looking for the perfect infant owlie type set I ran across this adorable pattern. I think you'll agree its great! http://www.irarott.com/Rainbow_Owl_Cocoon_Crochet_Pattern.html
Ira Rott designs can be found on her patterns page. There are so many designs its impossible to sum up everything she has available. Of course her children's designs are my favorite. You can see her many many patterns on her page http://www.irarott.com/Patterns.html She sells her patterns at very reasonable prices.
But again I caution my readers COPYRIGHT does apply. Attribution is the name of the very serious game. http://www.irarott.com/Customer_Information.html The copy right information here is not just suggestions... its law in both Canada and in the United States. Also, do the designer a favor... don't "share". Ira Rott puts time in designing and testing her designs, "sharing" in any way takes a sale away from the designer and is the reason many very good designers get out of the business entirely. Its upsetting to those of us who care about the law, the business, and most importantly our craft.
My opinion is, that this is not an arts and crafts business, this knitting and crocheting thing I do is an art. Its a gift. Lots of people can knit/crochet. They know the mechanics of knitting and crocheting but don't have a feel for the art. HOWEVER, When someone diminishes the craft by breaking the law or just sneaking a picture, because they think "who will know"?, it diminished all of us. Some great designers I have known have stopped designing altogether out of discouragement. That's always sad!
She too has a large presence on social networking so I would encourage you to follow her "mad capped" adventures on your favorite social networking sites! You won't be disappointed! http://www.irarott.com/Main_Page.html
Are you knitters and crocheters ready to help AND have fun at the same time? Let me introduce you to the Hat Box Foundation! Its a great charity accepting hand knit, and crocheted hats for cancer patients and others in need. Basically anywhere you are in the United States, there is a hospital accepting donations from The Hat Box Foundation. Is that the coolest? http://www.hatboxfoundation.org/about.html
I had been looking for a nation wide organization accepting hats for cancer patients. Men, women and children included. The bonus is that The Hat Foundation also shares its work with The Medical University of South Carolina where they treat children needing heart surgery and a pediatric burn unit. So you can imagine the relief and comfort a hand knit/crocheted hat would provide for a child who had been through such immense trauma. Here's the link to the hospital's burn center http://www.musckids.org/burncenter/ I am so grateful places like MUSC.
The Hat Box Foundation is named because (and I quote)
"Each hat is individually wrapped and packaged in a small boutique-style box with a bow. Not only does this protect hats from dust and germs but it emphasizes each hat as a hand-made gift." http://www.hatboxfoundation.org/about.html I think that is such a fantastic idea. Nothing quite like getting a special gift just for you when you are vulnerable. The fact that they take so much time with each hat is priceless.
The excitement builds when you read the website's quote:
"Amazingly, to date, we have collected and distributed over 10,000 FREE hats to nearly 120 cancer treatment centers across the country!"
To get a little personal now, all of us have in one way or another been touched by a friend, family member, neighbor, or classmate who has suffered with cancer. While there are a lot of charities doing yeoman's work in fund raising, however the Hat Box Foundation is an organization that provides tangible gifts of love. When you really stop to consider the overwhelming nature of conditions like cancer or burn trauma it pulls hard at the heart strings.
Enough of my words already here is how YOU can help. Volunteer! http://www.hatboxfoundation.org/volunteers.html All the necessary information you need to make the hats including size, materials, and helpful suggestions is found at the above link. Don't crochet? Couldn't knit if your life depended on it? You an STILL help by donating funds. 100% of all the money donated goes to packaging and sending out the handmade hats: http://www.hatboxfoundation.org/donations.html
Have questions? The Hat Box Foundation has a facebook group and you can send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please look at this wonderful group and consider how you can help.
Amy, the gracious hostess of Crochet Jewel, is a prolific pattern designer and avid crocheter. Her designs are simply amazing! She is very active on social networking sites so that EVERYONE has the chance to take part in her patterns and tutorials! I've used her tutorials myself and I have been crocheting for many years. In our online chat Amy said "I have been crocheting for 5 years and like to show my free patterns I create on you tube". Which tells you how gifted she is at designing. I do design, but I am NOT at all gifted at writing my patterns for others to use. She has an exceptional talent for taking complex concepts and making them easier for her fellow fiber artists to understand.
When researching the designers that I want highlight on my blog, my focus is not just the type of patterns the designer writes but the clarity of their instructions. I am dyslexic so by necessity I choose designers whose patterns are well written, planned out, and have been tested or proof read for accuracy. So when it came to my attention that Amy had a large presence on the internet I was able to read some of the comments regarding her patterns all of which were favorable. I also noted especially that when there was a question about any aspect of her patterns, Amy tried to answer with as much detail as possible. Her answers were clear, concise, and very thoughtful.
The Crochet Jewel pattern that caught my attention is the Crochet 0-3 Months Dress http://crochetjewel.com/?p=13678 , because I have a friend due to give birth to a baby girl some time in July. Naturally I wanted to see what other people thought of the pattern, how other crocheters changed the colors of the yarn to suit the recipient, and what yarns were chosen to create the dress. The pattern received really rave reviews! It gave me confidence that this was going to be a fun project to crochet and give as a gift.
The very important point that must be made at this juncture is that Amy works very hard on her designs and out of respect for HER talent and as per her request, she would like credit where credit is due. If this article leads you make one of Amy's designs she'd like credit for designing the pattern. The LAW in the United States is that one cannot copy any original pictures, or charts and claim them as their own nor is it acceptable to copy the words of a designer's pattern. Its not only the law but it goes against the unwritten code most of us who knit and crochet try to live by. Post a link, give credit!
Where can you see all of Amy's designs and how can you contact her on the web? Let me count the ways! She very kindly sent me all the links to her social networking pages, YouTube channel, and webpage. And I quote:
"Please Subscribe to my Crochet Jewel You tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/amray767
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crochet-Free-patterns/204421996298905?ref=hl
My Crochet Site with Free Patterns and Instructions: http://crochetjewel.com/ http://amray1976.blogspot.com/
I want to thank Amy for taking the time to do an interview with me. You are simply fantastic. I have subscribed to Amy's YouTube channel, all her social networking sites, and will be receiving her notifications in my email. I encourage you to do the same!
I am your basic one person show, occasionally I have the very great pleasure of working with my beautiful and talented daughter. As a creative type I'm not hip to all the jargon of business. I make every effort to stick to the "KISS" principle. "Keep It Simple Stupid". That works for me.
One thing however, is always true in most every aspect of your life re-evaluation is a necessity. Recently, with unique health issues popping up and feeling less than satisfied with my efforts on behalf of my favorite charities, I have had to re-evaluate my business practices. I've made /drawn some conclusions and made some small adjustments.
As you all know by now I LOVE working with, and on behalf of children. Its always been my passion since the early days of my fiber-y journey. Recently I've had more and more adults ask me for complex, projects and patterns that I've had to do a good deal of re-sizing or redesigning completely. While its interesting and challenging its just not what I set out to do. I find I've gotten behind schedule, and have failed to make deadlines. Granted that much of it is as a result situations beyond my control, failing to make a deadline is simply unacceptable. Its not what my customers expect, and its really not what I expect of myself.
One thing is for sure, I set out, originally, to make preemie, infant, and children's clothes for sale. Through those sales, devote resources to creating beautiful projects for charity. That's truly my heart and soul. The news flash is, I'm going back to my first love! Out of the Parc Designs (for tiny ones to tweens.) That's the slogan. That's the selling point and better yet that's what brings me GREAT satisfaction.
BEFORE you ask will I have to go to some unfamiliar knitter or crocheter to have a garment or blanket made for an adult? The answer is: Time permitting and project dependent, I will continue to make the occasional project for the teen to adult set. :) Its just a matter of whether I have time to do your project justice... especially if you have a deadline. I appreciate ALL of you MORE then you could possibly know. Your patience, love, and truly genuine concern is what keeps me going. I can count on 1 hand the dissatisfied customers, and the ones who have ducked out on paying me, in the many years I've been in business. So thank you for everything... and I hope you'll be happy for me.
Any of you who know me personally, know how strongly I feel about knitting for our littlest citizens. Today I want to introduce you to a group that I have held in high esteem for more than a few years. God's Tiny Angels, a very active group with hundreds of members and followers.
I know that not all of my readers knit or crochet. God's Tiny Angels has provisions for you to give a couple of skeins of yarn to their project. S before I launch into my description of what fiber artists can give I want you ALL to know that there's a place for you in the Tiny Angels Army :) According to http://danettesangels.tripod.com/about.html One 8 ounce skein of yarn is enough to make a small blanket AND a hat for a preemie baby! How cool is that?
God's Tiny Angels began in 1999, and is still growing. The lovely lady to originally set up the main web page has since passed away but her legacy lives on at http://godstinyangelspatterns.blogspot.com/ Most of you, I'm sure, are aware that the patterns you see on the blogspot are for charity purposes only and really shouldn't be exploited for other purposes. I feel very strongly about that issue. These charity groups work VERY hard to provide patterns specifically written for the needs of their focus group. If the patterns are copied, or worse yet sold, then this takes away from the original purpose of the patterns.
Yesterday I had a chat with one of the managers of God's Tiny Angels Facebook page. I wanted to know from their perspective, what their current needs were. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gods-Tiny-Angels/106733879382872?sk=timeline. In reply to my query, I received a lovely response: "Hi Lyn, we can use anything from Preemie to newborn We always need newborn blankets, hats, booties, sweaters, etc and for the preemie blankets 20x20, hats to fit 3-5 lbs, going home outfits and of course the demise gowns."
You might ask what a "demise" set is... well, its exactly what the name implies. Some of our littlest citizens become angels and their parents are in need of clothing in which to lay them to rest. Organizations like God's Tiny Angels and Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep provide these sets. It takes a special kind of person to understand, these needs.
I have some very wonderful, understanding and thoughtful readers, followers, and customers. Knowing that they accept not only handmade items, but store bought and gently used items along with skeins of yarn, there are many ways to get involved :) Thank you and have a beautiful Sunday.
One MUST give credit to our friends in the United Kingdom for contributing some of the most beautiful knitted and crocheted projects on the planet. I'm certainly not taking away from the designers on this side of the ocean as-it-were. However, the United Kingdom has their own brand of stunning... and their own lexicon.
As I favor children's designs in my work I wanted you all to see, and enjoy the work of Tanya from Bridgend, Whales, United Kingdom. Her blog http://vitalinacraft.blogspot.co.uk/ has, dare I say OOODLES of adorable patterns. Of course it helps that she has an adorable model. Her own daughter is just as sweet as can be. Tanya, the blog's gracious hostess offers her patterns for sale at various online venues. I have my absolute favorite patterns, of course.
I introduce you to the "Brilliant Heart Tunic" and the "I Love Mom and Dad" blanket. The Brilliant Heart Tunic can be found: http://vitalinacraft.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/brilliant-heart-tunic.html The "I Love Mom and Dad" blanket pattern can be found here: http://vitalinacraft.blogspot.com/2013/09/i-love-mom-and-dad-baby-blanket-pattern.html As one who has joined the ranks of the owl lovers I couldn't help but fall for http://vitalinacraft.blogspot.com/2015/02/owl-adventure-backpack.html So adorable and so much fun.
The pictures on Tanya's website are copyrighted so I could not share them with you without permission but as you know I recently completed an owl hat for an owl fan. Designed by The Pattern Studio:
Woke up to this view on Tuesday and it was snowing yesterday but I know Spring is on the way.
Some of my favorite Spring time projects are those lovely light weight Spring scarves and hats. If your weather is chilly like ours think warm thoughts with the knowledge that, light weight hat and scarf season is on the way! I love to wear hats!
Today I am proud to present a blog post from my daughter Tamra. She is a skilled crocheter of all things cuddly and loves to share her talent with children. Her love for making sure kids are safe and warm occupies part of her day every day. She is the proprietress of https://www.facebook.com/LateroseJumbles?fref=ts
and https://www.facebook.com/dollclotheslaterose?fref=ts and writes reviews of family movies in a facebook group entitled Movie Wimsey. (Anyone who reads Dorothy L. Sayers books will get the reference)
And now: Having lived for the majority of my life in a climate famous for the cold, I have a deep appreciation for a sweater. But too many children in this world are missing the warmth a sweater can provide, much less the love that comes from a handmade item of clothing. but World Vision’s Knit for Kids project changes that. World Vision encourages knitters and crocheters to make hats, scarves, blankets, and pullover sweaters for children in need all over the world. According to their website http://knitforkids.org/ they have even delivered warm clothes to children here in the United States, from places as diverse as Brooklyn and New Orleans, so when you make a sweater, it may go to a child right here in America.
The process is simple, the fiber artists choose a pattern, (World Vision provides several on the website) make it from acrylic yarn, and mail it to the Knit for Kids headquarters in Pennsylvania, where the goods are processed by volunteers and distributed to children in need. This is the link to my all time favorite pattern for this project, the Ernie sweater. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ernie-sweater-2
The Knit for Kids project is a worthy cause for all craftspeople. By using our skills to comfort children in need, we can touch the world. For people who aren’t crafty, the option is open to donate funds to World Vision to ship these items around the world, or to donate yarn to someone who makes items for the project. If you can, please participate in some way. We and the recipients of the cozy items will thank you!
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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.