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As I was in search of a great designer for today's blog I came across both a great designer AND a great curated blog who featured the designer's work on her blog. So I decided why not use both in today's blog! Fantastic stuff!
If you are anything like me you have a lot of small odds and ends of yarn sitting around waiting for the perfect project. Enter Esther Sandrof! She's a Ravelry designer with a knack of taking left over bits of yarn and turning it into something fantastic. She's the creator of the "Blarf" blanket + scarf :) I think that's great! So The point of Esther Sandrof's Designs is to use up scraps of yarn BUT avoiding the "usual" stash busting project. These stash buster's have interest and a purpose. Hailing from New Jersey she knows the bite of winter cold and the chill of a Spring evening in New York. So she has designed shawls and an adorable cardigan. Her "Modular Cardigan" is a "hip" little boxy cardigan that is light and airy for Spring and summer. The pattern for the cardigan is more of a recipe with a schematic. Experienced crocheters should have no problem.
The "Blarf" and shawl patterns are pretty straightforward and give a crocheter something fun to create while also making a project that would be GREAT for a number of settings including nursing homes and Chemotherapy treatment centers. I happen to LOVE the the "Summer Evening Blarf". Its very pretty. Esther Sandrof makes the pattern easy to customize! No one size fits all :) The "Pop Scarf" looks like a lot of fun and depending on the yarn one could make this a very dressy piece or a very comfortable "funky" addition to a Fall outfit. This isn't exactly a pattern either it is again a bit of a recipe which is also customizable. I like this scarf/shawl very much. Done in a rustic brown it would be a perfect addition to a light jacket, or done in a metallic yarn it would look great draped around a prom/evening dress. Check out Esther Sandrof's Ravelry page here.
I found In The Loop Knitting while researching Esther Sandorf on Google. (yes I double check my sources to make sure I have my information right) In the Loop Knitting is strictly a knitting site. What I would call a curated blog on all things knitted. Terry Matz is the lovely and talented proprietress of In The Loop Knitting. Its very much like the blog I hope to be doing. In The Loop Knitting has a HUGE variety of patterns. Terry Matz is a very talented lady! Her blog reads: "Terry is a knitting late-bloomer, learning to knit as an adult from Internet tutorials, because she wanted a craft that was useful, fun, and portable. Knitting hats for cancer patients inspired her to design her own patterns—available for free at her blog, intheloopknitting.com. Terry met her husband Ken at a science fiction convention and moved to the Kansas City area to be with him more than 30 years ago. Terry supports her yarn stash by creating websites and other digital media. Terry firmly believes in Knitting in Public—it's a great conversation starter!" I so agree with Terry! Knitting for charity in public is a fantastic conversation starter. Many knitters say to me that they have projects knitted for charity but do not know where to send them. I'm happy Terry Matz has so many lovely projects to share at local hospitals, nursing homes, Veteran's hospitals, crisis pregnancy centers and cancer treatment centers.
I encourage you to take a look at the In the Loop Knitting Facebook page also Terry Matz shares great ideas with her readers here: Its very much worth a look! Right now, top of the page is "Star Wars" themed projects! Very good idea for Children's Hospitals and cancer patients. There are a number of fun hats and toys listed! There's some super cute themed projects from TV and Movies. Check out the Minion themed projects.
Well as we are getting a thunderstorm here in the Northern Adirondacks, I hope you all will enjoy the designers I've shared today. Terry Matz and Esther Sandrof have put a lot of time into their designs. I hope you will take a few minutes to check out their work and drop them a note. Thank you all for reading the blog today!
Cancer. Its not a pretty word but people with cancer are in need of a special loving touch. This is why I am talking about chemo caps today. Several of my friends and some family have had a brush with cancer. I've had the privilege of making hats or shawls for them to wear to keep them warm. One side effect of chemo is anemia which causes Chemo patients to feel cold. Healthline has an excellent graphic on the common side effects of Chemo. Those of us who work to keep chemo patients warm should have a look at this chart. Today my daughter is going to help me discuss how to help Chemo patients.
Just to be clear chemotherapy is NOT just for cancer. Chemo is also use for treatments for diseases such as Lupus, Sickle Cell Anemia, Scleroderma, and Rheumatoid arthritis patients. Its able to keep cells to keep the from rapidly multiplying causing more damage. So when looking for outlets for your Chemo Caps, do not hesitate to talk to local chapters of S.L.E foundation, Rheumatology office, Sickle Cell Association of America chapter, or ask at your local hospital for other ideas. These associations will be most appreciative of your thoughtfulness.
There are a couple of "go to" websites I use when in need of ideas for Chemo caps. The first is "Headhuggers.org". I have used this site countless times over the years that I have been knitting and crocheting. Their whole purpose is to provide warm, attractive, handmade, hats to those going through Chemotherapy for whatever reason. Sue Thompson is the founder of Head Huggers. She tells her story here. If you knit, crochet or sew you will find hat patterns for men, women, boys and girls at Head Huggers. We've all seen the ads of people going through chemo, but there are very specific needs for hats for people going through chemo. The yarn/fabric must be very soft and machine washable.
One organization you can work with is Crochet for Cancer. Its a marvelous organization. There are chapters all around the United States, Canada, and Australia. There are patterns available, as well as the opportunity to meet the chapter leaders. There are patterns for hats for all ages. Many of the people I've made hats for like their hats a little special. Put a team logo or a flower on the hat just for fun. No pins or anything that might rub on the sensitive skin.
If you are looking for another way to donate look no further than Handmade for Charity or Create the Good's volunteer match . These to pages put you in touch with charities all over looking for your handmade items! I found plenty of opportunities on both sites. Make sure you add your zip code to Create The Good's volunteer match to see if there's a place near you to donate your caps! I did a google search and came up with several more organizations like Knots of Love. Check out the organizations with other knitters and crocheters on Ravelry or through Charity Navigator so that you are sure you are working with dynamic and growing charity.
Donating chemo caps started for me many years ago when a friend of our family was diagnosed with breast cancer. Do you have your own story? Even though it may be difficult to think about that word "Cancer" remember that your loving gift will bring a smile. You can energize a survivor!
Some of you who have been crocheting for a while are probably aware of Cute & Crafty Crochet. She came up with the pattern for a hat that looks like a Roman soldier helmet? It was a sensation on the internet! As unfortunate as it is Martina Gardener can no longer crochet. Her body rebels rather violently so she's taken up knitting and applied her skills as a designer to creating some of the cutest clothes on the internet. So today I have the pleasure of introducing you to two designers in one :)
I found Cute & Crafty Crochet while searching for a swaddling baby cocoon to give as a gift to a friend. It took a while to find one that wasn't A. impossible and B. unisex. I finally found the Celine Swaddle Set on Craftsy! Super CUTE. You can find it here. Unisex and completely customizable to suit any taste. Other great designs include the Cute & Crafty Alvie the Alien hat. Its so cute and a little retro. I'm a little vintage myself so retro appeals to me. Ha ha! If you are a Raveler, (which if you aren't you really should sign up... its FREE and its a fibery wonderland) you will find more of Martina Gardner's crocheted designs. I really like the Selina Sundress found here. Its JUST precious! I love the little drop waist look of this pattern. Its FREE and it comes in sizes up to 2T isn't that great?! If you aren't a Raveler check out this same adorable pattern here. Can't complain about that price for the pattern. Most things that Martina Gardner designs are fairly Unisex but this, "You're in the Army Now" beanie seems distinctly male and really creative! I really enjoyed "surfing" Cute & Crafty Crochet. I think you will too!
Now we turn our attention to MAG Knits. Martina Gardner turned to knitting after crocheting began to cause her physical pain. Most people who crochet or knit know that the actions of knitting/crocheting are very different physical movements. I myself wear wrist braces from time to time or end up with "tennis elbow" from overdoing the crocheting. I can very much understand why Martina Gardner left the crocheting behind. When she set her mind to learning to knit and design knits she really gave it her all. WOW her designs are so adorable.
You can find MAG Knits on Facebook here. That's how I happened to find her work. As I was looking on Ravelry for something a little different by way of bonnets for babies I found this GORGEOUS leaf bonnet! Oh my goodness its simply stunning! I really enjoy lace knitting it's just one of the aspects of knitting that I do not get to do very often but creating a lace keepsake is just a priceless opportunity. So when I found this set I was over the moon! Really it's so delicate perfect for a special occasion like a baby baptism or christening. For those who like beading added to their knitting there is the all occasion onesie. I prefer using the duplicate stitch but Martina Gardner offers a tutorial to help those of us who are a bit more timid over the rough parts. Check out the pattern here.
We all know that sometimes when working for charities we sometimes run a little dry on ideas. Internet archive is a charity crafter's rescue. Out of ideas. Well let me introduce you to a gold mine!
We've talked about internet archive before. My daughter wrote a great piece on the archive for this blog but I did not realize until recently that there are literally volumes of patterns available. Has your favorite pattern website gone down? No longer available? One of my favorites known as "Groovy Crochet" went down a few years back, it contained a skirt pattern that I very much wanted to duplicate. Okay so I'll grant that Groovy Crochet is a bit of a flashback to my years as a kid growing up. I remember my my friends and family making some of the projects available on the site especially the ponchos. I was a bit upset when Groovy Crochet was hacked by teen porn :/ awful. INTERNET ARCHIVE to the rescue! So how did I use Internet Archive to find my patterns? First the main page here. Then click the link for the "Wayback Machine" its an amazing internet time machine! Once you click the link you'll be taken to this page. The page looks like this:
At the top there is a search box. In my case I typed in Groovy Crochet's address like so:
This is the page you see when you click "Search History" link:
If you want to see the pages saved one clicks the toolbar at the top in this case year "2001". Click the blue "dots" on the screen which brings you to a page that looks like this:
Though I'll admit the page is very "hippie" but the poncho patterns are pretty cool! The links on the page are clickable though some of the pictures may be missing. By clicking the link to the "Groovy Ponchos & Shawls I was taken to this page:
As you can see this is a VERY handy index of patterns and websites that have been taken down for various reasons. If you are missing your favorite webpage for crocheting or knitting patterns why not check internet archive? I found this great page for lots of fun ideas!
Another reason to check and support internet archive is that the site is constantly growing and adding new content. Today I found something really exciting while investigating Internet Archive. A tool entitled Archive-It where I found a collection of knitting pattern sites. Turns out that these pages were saved by a college!
Looking through the many resources and books can be a bit tricky as some of them are LONG out of date so the terms for the crochet/knitting stitches, tools, and yarns have changed. However with a little digging... you can find great and more recent reference materials to use for free! Like this little magazine. Download as a PDF for free!
One more free idea before I close up this Blog entry/tutorial check out this bonanza! Pretty incredible isn't it? Well that's all I've got for now. Please let me know how you do if you choose to mine the depths of knitting and crochet on internet archive!
With Spring and Summer warm temperatures here in the United States and other countries in this hemisphere knitters and crocheters are looking for "take along projects" and lightweight but fun projects to keep them occupied through the summer months. That vacation with family or the lazy day picnic with friends its always great to have take along projects. Knit and watch the sun go down. Happily I have THE perfect designer for this summer! Ezcareknits designs some of the coolest looking face/wash/dishcloths.
I know I used to be a little skeptical of "dishcloth" patterns until I realized both my kids had sensitive skin and really needed 100% cotton wash cloths for their baths. Of course I could buy 100% organic cotton cloths from the store but those aren't very much fun. I still like to use the 100% cotton cloths to this day. Ezcareknits really makes finding a great cloth pattern easy and fun. Like a treasure hunt. Something for everyone! I first discovered ezcare knits when looking for a cloth with a dragon design. Which of course I found almost immediately here. Such great detail. Naturally when someone asked about cloths with farm animals designs my mind turned to ravelry and right away ezcare knits had a wonderful barnyard full. With chickens, horses, a baby lamb, a mother goose, and even a buffalo! Bathtime becomes FUNtime!
With 443 wash/dishcloth patterns to choose from everyone can find something they enjoy. However, I wanted to draw attention to what could be the perfect thank you gift. I have dear friends and family who are in the medical field and while not a medical person persae my husband Tom is a fitness trainer and coach. He's also a paraprofessional in the local school district. We are often served by people who rarely get the thanks they so richly deserve. A lovely, and simple way to show appreciation is provided by ezcareknits. Check out her collection of cloths for professionals and volunteers. The detail in each design really shows a knitter put effort into creating it. Here are a few great ideas: stethoscope, paramedic symbol, first aid kit, an apple, even a full set of numbers for that special teacher. For every hobby or profession there's at least one cloth in the collection I'm sure would fit the occasion. Ezcareknits has specials too.
You all know I'm big on knitting for children and babies. There are so many genuinely lovely patterns for baby gifts, showers, first birthdays, and charities that collect little items for diaper bags. Ezcareknits is the place to go for GREAT gifts. Blankets? Absolutely! Diaper covers? Definitely! The all important hats? YES!
How about bibs? Patterns ready and waiting! What about baby shower themed ideas to reveal the gender of the baby or to roll up in one of those cute diaper cakes?? Super cute ideas! A "cowgirl" might be a cute reveal or how about the train themed baby cocoon in a lovely blue color? There are a veritable plethora of baby themed washcloths to suit every taste with the ezcare knits pattern small cloth pattern special!
I really enjoyed ezcareknits new "Zibbet" store. I'm sure you will too! Check it out: https://www.zibbet.com/ezcareknits! Do you tweet? I have a twitter account but I must admit I rather let it lapse. However, ezcareknits has a twitter account!
With such a large presence on the web you are sure to find ezcareknits busy creating designs or answering questions. I'm really excited about this find because ezcareknits lives just over the border from me in Vermont. YAY So get your cotton out and get your knit on... its time to enjoy some fun knitting! Thank you ezcareknits!
Have you seen ISUU? Holy Mackerel! Free magazines and great content for fiber artists of all kinds! Yes FREE! I'm going to talk about one such FREE publications that would be perfect for charity work. There are others that I will share at a later date. :) I love magazines. I have a couple that I subscribe to on and off when I have a promo code.
Stitch it Forward by Yarnspirations is a magazine or properly a "Look Book" specifically for charity work. Obviously the name is a play on the "Pay it Forward" theme. Of course fiber artists of all sorts are prolific contributors to charity. Despite some naysayers who wish to dampen the spirit of fiber artists we still give and give to some of the most amazing causes on earth. Stitch it Forward can be found on ISSU here.
Each idea in the Look Book contains a link to a FREE pattern on the Yarnspirations website. I think that's fantastic. It's a bit like a treasure hunt! There are all sorts of "gems" for knitters and crocheters! The navigation on the Look Book is really simple. Simply click the arrows below the book to find the pages OR on page number three there is a contents page with clickable links. However if you navigate to the end of the book starting on page 56 you will find a link "Download Pattern" transferring the reader to the page from which you may download the pattern directly to your computer via "PDF" file. It also contains specific information for the yarn and hook/needle size to make the pattern as written. For instance on page 56 the reader will find the information for the "Baby's First Cluster Hat". The "Download Pattern" link transfers the reader to this page. This is a page on the Yarnspirations website where there is more information on ordering supplies and the download. FREE!
In this book there are a plethora of really attractive patterns with an updated look. You'll be proud to give these handmade articles of clothing or blankets to your local hospital, Salvation Army, homeless shelter ect. Categories include "Little Gifts", "Baby Blankets", "Blankets", and "Warming Accessories". Each category has patterns for every skill level. For instance there is a pattern for a "Classic Granny Square Throw" now I know what you are thinking. Granny Squares how "hip" can they possibly be? Take a look. Updating this classic with a very nice yarn makes the good old "granny square" look sharp! Or the "Toasty Texture Blanket" is a pattern I've made myself. It is simple but so classy looking all worked up! I used a aran and natural brown tone for my own version. The Look Book has been photographed in such a way to make ALL the projects a "must make" adventure.
There's so much to love about this Yarnspirations Look Book. Stitch It Forward by Yarnspirations, is really a fantastic resource. The fact that its FREE just means we can donate more resources to our local charities. Thank you to Yarnspirations for giving these patterns to us!
Happy Mother's day to all of my friends, family, and readers who are mothers or who serve as mothers/mentors for children around the world. Thank you for all you do! In that spirit I wanted to introduce you to Leelee Knits or Aly818 on Raverly. Her designs are exclusively for babies and kids. You know she hit my weakness. I HAD to write about her gorgeous designs.
Aly or Leelee has created some designs that are just spectacular. She explains her design journey on her blog: "Welcome to my blog!
I have been knitting and crocheting since I was 10 years old. I love the satisfaction of making something beautiful that I can gift to family and friends or use in my photography (I am a newborn photographer as well). However, I have found it very difficult to find knitting and crochet patterns that are beautiful and modern. Most patterns out there are outdated or just not something I would want to wear or make! So I guess my goal is to provide current, soft, beautiful designs that are also fun to make.
I personally design and write each pattern so that it is easy to read and follow. Each pattern includes the type of yarn that I used for the item in the photo, needle size, and row by row instructions.
On this blog you will find patterns for purchase, as well as some helpful free tips related to knitting and crochet.
Thanks for visiting!" They say necessity is the mother of invention and Leelee Knits has really proven that statement to be true! Her stunning patterns include photo worthy baby pants to kids cowl patterns. All available on her own storefront, Ravelry page, and Etsy shop.
Leelee is from Calgary, Ontario, Canada so she understands that sometimes cute things also have to be warm and functional. This is one thing that attracted me right away to her designs. She offers plenty of blankets, lace baby wrap, hats, clothes, mittens, mitts, and scarf patterns to choose from, however they are not the usual colors or designs. She chooses her color schemes to attract the eye, yes, but the designs are functional as well as beautiful. We know how much it costs in time and materials to make a beautiful project, but knowing it will also be used and passed on is truly the treasure in the knitting/crochet craft. Yes there are a lot of us out there chasing the dollars of people who wish to purchase cute photo props or gifts, but I think when we look at it honestly those of us who have been in the business a long time are in it for the sheer joy of knowing what we make is a treasure. Clearly Leelee Knits has those same aims in mind also in her designs. Really just so precious.
I am always looking for fresh approaches to my photography and presentation of my work. I've been working at selling my handmade knits/crocheted items for over 10 years. Sometimes I struggle with the photographs simply because I've just run dry on ideas and I do not have small children/babies in my life to photograph. I really appreciated that on the Leelee Knits blog there is an article about photographing one's projects more effectively. Recently I've purchased a doll that is the same size as a small preemie baby and I have also purchased a doll which is the size of a small newborn baby. Leelee gave me some pointers on better photography. Now I just have to implement them. Trying hard not to go overboard. :) The article is primarily aimed at helping people with their etsy store but I think that the same can be said about those who sell on facebook. You can check out the article here.
I stumbled across Leelee Knits blog when looking for something a bit different to make with some pretty pale pink chunky weight yarn I had at home. I came across this pattern. It was so eye catching and nearly the identical pink as the yarn I was looking to use up. After seeing the pattern I decided I should add a contrasting chunky weight color to "liven" my project up just a bit (that yarn is currently on order). :) So as I perused the blog I fell in LOVE with the little bonnets for newborns. As she wrote in her blog it is hard to find modern, soft, patterns that we'd want to put on babies! My favorites are the pixie bonnets which you can find for sale in her Etsy shop.
Some of the clothing patterns for kids these days are not very imaginative. Leelee Knits has some CUTE baby and kids clothing patterns. The little overalls, pants along with this set of patterns are so adorable! Totally photoready! The imagination runs wild when you think how sweet babies will look in those designs with the right accessories.
I am a big fan of making kids accessories that will last and look stylish. (and of course persuading kids to wear the hats/scarves/mitts is easier if they have a modern look) I think Leelee Knits has developed a look and style that is all her own. With matching sets of hats, scarves, cowls for both boys and girls. There's a plethora of adorable patterns you can check out on the blog. I wanted to link to my favorite neckwear design for boys and the most darling hat and hand warmers for girls! Of course there are dozens of patterns on Leelee Knits blog, shopping page, Etsy site and Ravelry page so please take a look around the pages! You don't knit or crochet? Thats alright I do.. contact the linked page or send me a note through this page.
I would really like to thank Leelee Knits for making this Mother's Day weekend a little bit more FUN! I am going to purchase this pattern today for my own use!
Well I'm excited! My family and I got together today to brainstorm ideas for this blog. Lo and Behold we came up with the notion to share ideas with my readers for projects that can be done to help people in YOUR local area. Whether its big city or small village we hope you'll find an idea here that will be useful to you! In our family of 4 we have had plenty of experience being on the receiving end of people's generosity. We want to share our talents on this blog to you make an impact locally or maybe globally! Obviously, the first blog post in this series would be my own, Lyn, humble proprietress of Out of the Parc Designs. I feel so privileged to be able to share some of my favorite preemie blanket patterns with you. Right now I'm struggling to find how to post links in the new Weebly format so just click the link to my Facebook page you'll find everything you need there :)
Many of you who read this blog regularly know that preemies have a special place in my heart! Our littlest citizens come into the world tiny little fighters who often amaze me with their strength and inspire me with their brave hearts.
First, maybe I should write about where you can donate preemie blankets. Start with your local hospital, church, crisis pregnancy center, department of social services, WIC office or high school/college health center. If you cannot find a place in your own locale try The Preemie Project. http://www.thepreemieproject.com/ I wrote about the preemie project as one of my first blogs. Its a wonderful organization! On their website and facebook pages you will find everything you need to donate plus information on preemies. Preemie babies are babies that come into the world before they are full term. My friend was just blessed with two preemie grandsons! Wow are they sweet.
Now I have several great preemie blanket patterns that I use fairly regularly for donation purposes. I will begin with JPF's Thermal Stitch Preemie Blanket. Its got to be the most used pattern in my pattern collection. The blanket crocheted using a bit of a twist on basic crochet stitches creating a beautiful, warm, "squishy", soft fabric PERFECT for preemie babies delicate skin. The pattern was written by Julie A. Bolduc and it is brilliant the pattern can be found here: So great for donation or a gift to a special little one.
Another "Go To" pattern is knitted. Ellen's Easiest Ever Blanket is archived but you can find it at:. The blanket is knit in garter stitch using simple increasing an decreasing techniques to create a really cute blanket that turns out different every time its made! I've used this pattern at least 4 times when I've found out that someone had a baby on "short notice" :). It turns out beautifully.
One project I recently used is the Dc Preemie or Doll Ripple afghan. The pattern is located at Crochet Cabana and was written by Sandra Petit So cute! Sally LeCroix's Bright and Bold afghan pattern is also easy, suitable for a beginner crocheter. Its also a great way to use up some of those soft but small skeins of yarn that we sometimes have left over. I can't think of a better way to use up yarn!
Last but not least of course there is Myshelle Cole's, Small Mitered Blanket. Its very sweet and like the other blankets is unisex. I like this pattern because it is a little different than the usual preemie blanket. Myshelle Cole has written many lovely patterns for preemie babies.
Many preemie blanket patterns you will find are made for that preemie child who did not survive its entrance into this world. My daughter and my friend Jill have both written blogs about this subject. I wanted to focus on making blankets because no matter whether the child survives or not a blanket can be a special keepsake. Personally my experience has been more with the preemie babies who have survived. Like my grandmother Lefa Lillian Hyde Bennett.
For inspiration I wanted to share a picture of one of my littlest customers at Out of the Parc Designs. His Aunt is a very good friend of mine. I was asked to make him a blanket. When he came a little early, we worked as quickly as possible to make up a couple of projects that his mom could use immediately. He grew FAST, and now he is a happy healthy little 2 year old boy who keeps his mom on the move!
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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.