Tabitha's Mountain Rhapsody Family Artist's Byway
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Ladies and Gentlemen, I am happy to announce that escaped convict David Sweat has been taken into custody alive and will answer for his crimes. We are INCREDIBLY grateful for ALL the Law Enforcement officers who supported this effort and brought this to a SAFE end. Our officers acted with PROFESSIONALISM all the way. We cannot begin to tell you how relieved we are!
I am SO PROUD Of my fellow Northern New Yorkers. Its just been such an amazing thing to see us all come together. Truly amazing.
Photo by Diana Colwell
Amid the migraine of having 2 escaped prisoners on the loose near my home, I thought now WHO would my readers find most interesting? Who would give us a smile for the day? I thought of my friend at Purple Kitty yarns. She's fantastic... You'll see why.
First a little explanation about my friend at Purple Kitty: *Welcome to the Purple Kitty websites! My name is Debi and providing public domain content has become a bit of a passion for me. I have created several websites dedicated solely to that mission (such as Free Vintage Crochet Patterns, Free Vintage Knitting Patterns, & Our Soaring Eagle Classic Literature). I've also created a few websites (such as Christmas Movies & Boxed Set) just for fun about topics that I like." http://purplekittyyarns.com/about.html
Like me and my daughter she is a sole proprietor. We appreciate that about Debi. Many of us appreciate the preservation of art and history; Debi does both, with a little sense of humor thrown in.
Debi also offers a great selection of discontinued yarns and yarn colors, for those who want them, along with archiving some of America's handcrafting heritage. She only takes patterns published before 1965, in other words copyright-free works. These often have strange measurements, yarn names and other quirks from the past, along with the tools to use them. If you have some pattern books that were left to you by Great Aunt Millie and have no idea what to do with them, send them to Debi, she'll make sure that they are given a new life on the internet. AND last time I sent in a pattern book, I received a very nice coffee mug in return! So in return for your generosity, you may receive a fun gift.
Additionally, Debi has gotten permission from various copyright holders like Coats and Clark (Red Heart Yarns), Plaid Company, and Teresa Wentzler to make their in copyright patterns available for free, which is awesome, because it gives us access to patterns we wouldn't necessarily have access to.
Along with Purplekittyyarns.com, Debi also runs Freevintageknitting.com http://freevintageknitting.com/ and freevintagecrochet.com http://freevintagecrochet.com/ comprehensive databases of the patterns that she has available.
It is because of Purple Kitty Yarns I was able to locate the exact pattern that my Grandmother used to make my baby blanket, so I can duplicate it for others. How cool is that!? Also, the afghan pictured above is one created I created from a pattern I found at Purple Kitty and was given to my aunt for a wheelchair blanket. If you are looking for something vintage and interesting a la "Downton Abbey" check Purple Kitty Yarns. Any questions you have please direct to https://www.facebook.com/purplekittyllc?fref=ts
Today is Father's day, and its also a GREAT day to celebrate those remarkable Preemie babies who, every day amaze us with their resilience. My own Grandmother, if you'll recall, was born at 3 pounds in 1903! Yes she was loved, and she was a fighter. Today, there are some dads and moms spending the day with their preemies at a NICU near you. In fact we have a friend doing that very thing today. So Happy Father's day to them!
I chose The Preemie Project for 2 reasons. The first is that they have a 10 year history of doing great work for preemie babies in Iowa. Its important that a charity have a solid track record. And I also have long time friends living not far from Des Moines, one of whom is a nurse who also happens to knit. She's got a pretty spectacular life story! So H.S.R this is for you.
The Preemie Project started in the Spring of 2005 by Laura Pabich (Aker). Its difficult getting a project like this off the ground let alone keep it going for 10 years! Let me quote directly from their website. Let the full impact hit you the way it hit me! "The Preemie Project was founded in the spring of 2005 by Coralville, Iowa native, Laura Pabich (Aker). Laura wanted to use her passion for knitting to help others. After a suggestion from her mother, Laura decided to knit booties for the local children’s hospital, University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. After making contact with the staff in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Laura learned that they would need hats, booties and blankets for over 900 infants each year. Inspired to help warm these tiny heads and feet, Laura summoned individuals on blogs, online message boards, and email lists to join her in knitting and crocheting for premature and critically ill patients. From those invitations, The Preemie Project was born.
In 2006, The Preemie Project’s Board of Directors was formed. With their passion and guidance, The Preemie Project has grown into a statewide organization with the mission of providing support and comfort to preterm and critically ill infants in Iowa Neonatal Intensive Care Units. We strive to meet the unique needs of the tiniest Iowa citizens and their families. With this expansion came the formation of new programs like our Family Support program which provides baby clothing, toiletries, and other personal items to families of with financial challenges and non-perishable food items for nursing mothers." http://www.thepreemieproject.com/about
WOW over 900 babies EACH YEAR? This is why I have such admiration for The Preemie Project. The bigger the request the harder they work to fulfill it! Their programs include
Hats, Booties and Blankets
That's a big list! They motivate their volunteers. Not only to work to fill the list of needs above but they incorporate the sports fans with the Cy-Hawk challenge coming up September 12, 2015. http://www.thepreemieproject.com/upcoming_events/entry/2015_cy-hawk_challenge/ People who thing Sports and knitting/crocheting don't go together haven't seen what The Preemie Project can do before the Iowa/Iowa State game! Oh yeah we knitters and crocheters can crochet up a "storm" when given the motivation. So all you Hawkeye or Cyclone fans get your yarn ready!!
Lets get down to the reason we are all here; how can we help? The Preemie Project has guidelines and patterns: http://www.thepreemieproject.com/volunteer/patterns
Please adhere to the guidelines, they are there for a reason. It saves the volunteers so much time and effort. Here's a little tip,
I buy a lot of my yarn from Knitting-warhouse http://www.knitting-warehouse.com/yarn.html. One of the primary reasons is they provide a softness meter. Its good for all of us who A. are new to knitting or B. haven't used a particular brand of yarn before. You can check to see if it will meet the guidelines for preemie/infant knitting. Of course you can always donate in other ways. http://www.thepreemieproject.com/donate
Where ELSE can you find The Preemie Project on the web?
I know I say this all the time but I am excited about today's post. Its not the usual post about a knit or crochet designer. Today my blog post is about and from a friend who was also a mentor to me at one point in my life. Her name is Sharon along with being wife, mom, grandmother is also a pretty amazing seamstress! Today I asked Sharon to write a little bit about her business so I could share it with you. You might ask, what does this have to do with crocheting or knitting... you'll see for yourself!
Without further ado:
"I’m a crafty kind of gal. I enjoy all kinds of creative activity so it was natural that I would try my hand at sewing. I had basic lessons from my mom as a girl, but the first thing I made totally on my own was a tailored suit jacket! What was I thinking? It turned out great and I couldn’t believe how I could make something like that from a pattern. Sewing became an even bigger part of my life when my two daughters were born. There’s nothing more fun than sewing for little girls! Eventually, I took up other crafty pursuits and sewing became an occasional diversion.
Two years ago, I designed a purse liner for a large hobo bag that I had. I was tired of the big black hole! I could never find my keys or lipstick! The liner I designed fit my bag and my life perfectly. It made such a difference in my my day. It had several pockets to hold everything I carried. It kept me organized! I loved it and decided I would never go back to randomly piling items in my bag! Interestingly, people began to notice my liner. They wanted one for themselves! So I made one for a friend, then another. Within a short time I had developed an Esty site and was selling purse liner/organizers. But it was slow going and I was looking for a unique item to carry in my shop that would generate more traffic.
One evening I attended an Essential Oils class that a friend was holding. As I sat and watched the teacher teaching about oils, I noticed that she didn’t have an appropriate way to store or carry them. Someone had kindly made her something to hold her oils that had little pockets, but it was really not adequate. Immediately I thought, “I can improve on that!” I was highly distracted the rest of the class time and couldn’t wait to get home and start designing! It wasn’t long before I had developed a pattern and a system for holding the oils that I thought worked better than what was presently offered in the market place.
I talked with my oily friends and developed a list of criteria. My friends wanted a bag that opened wide, so bottles were easy to store and easy to see. They wanted to be able to carry several sizes and types of bottles in the same case. They also wanted elastic loops so their oils would stay upright in their appointed places to prevent leaks and the bag needed to be padded to protect from bumps. I thought that laminated cotton would be a great addition to make the bag wipe clean. It wasn’t long before I had a working model that people loved! I called it an Essential Oil Dumpling! I offered a Mother’s Day give away on my Needlebean Facebook page which brought in over 30 orders in a couple of weeks and had me frantically sewing round the clock. I was off and running! Since then I have honed my design and added options for loop sizes as well as Mini Dumplings for 6 or 8. I’ve recently added an extra large Dumpling which will hold a tube of pain relief cream or what have you.
Choosing beautiful materials is key to providing a product that is not only functional but also lifts the spirit! I wanted my bags to be cute and classy. But I also knew I would be sewing the same bags over and over. I wanted fabrics that would not only bring joy to my customer but also hold my interest, too. So, I choose what I love! I’m always on the look out for lovely fabrics. I buy most at local fabric stores. It has been a challenge to find laminated cotton that has small enough prints in appropriate colors to coordinate with my relatively small bags. Most laminates have large prints which work well for table clothes or rain coats but not so great for my little Dumplings. I have half a dozen go to laminates that I use regularly.
Etsy is not only a great place to sell items, its also a great resource for materials. I buy all my laminates from Etsy shops. A favorite shop is Laminates (www.laminates.etsy.com). I also purchase all my zippers from Zipit (https://www.etsy.com/shop/zipit). They carry YKK zippers at prices far more inexpensive than local fabric stores. Etsy has also given me the opportunity to interact with my customers. Its a unique community, where the handmade item is appreciated and celebrated. Customers enjoy the opportunity to be part of the design process and I enjoy making them happy!
Customer review: "Love, love, love my bag! The fabric colors are bright, the patterns coordinate with each other-and it holds my roller ball bottles and my 10 ml/15 ml bottles. Shipping was fast, too. Great product, great service.” ~Joy
Now I sell the occasional purse liner but I sell a lot of Dumplings. I have several sizes and am always happy to take custom orders. You can find me at: www.needlebeandesigns.etsy.com and Needlebean on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Needlebean/740279926050328?fref=ts. Facebook messaging is the easiest way to connect with me! Drop me a note and we can talk Dumplings!"
*As always photographs are property of the owner and not to be used without permission
Sharon and I have known each other for a long time. She's a good person to have in your corner! Her story about how she got started in her business mirrors my own. Though we work with different mediums, knowing someone appreciates your work gets the creative juices flowing.
In my opinion you'd be hard pressed to find a better product or a more professional business woman than at Needlebean! She has never been slipshod about anything she has attempted. Now in my world my knitting bag and my handbag are pretty much the same thing... HUMMM I may have to contact Needlebean about an organizer for my knitting bag? .... Stay tuned ;)
Once upon a time, there was a dog. Her name is Ginger Pye We adopted her from the Potsdam Humane Society in Potsdam New York. She was abused as a puppy and was injured in a dog fight. Her owners were given the choice of facing a legal charge or surrendering the dogs. They chose to surrender the dogs. Now... lets turn back time about 15 years or more. Before Ginger.
I had just learned to crochet, was learning to knit, my kids were young, and needed things to occupy my time while my husband was deployed on and off with the military. I found that there were shelters in need of handmade blankets for the "critters" that inhabit the walls :) PERFECT!
A little information about the founder: "Comfort for Critters was founded by Linda Kastiel Kozlowski, after she adopted a kitten named "Anna," and wanted to do something for all the pets which she couldn't take home that day. Instead of bringing in old towels, as was suggested, she asked if she could crochet blankets for the cats and dogs, never envisioning she was starting on a road which would bring thousands of blankets into shelters across the US.
In her "spare" time she's the chief (volunteer) cook and bottle washer for Comfort for Critters. She's loves all God's creatures, from Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches to newborn kittens. She's had most of them as pets, as well! She endeavors to demonstrate that love by making blankets to comfort all the "critters" waiting to join families. She's grateful to her many volunteers for truly paving they way on the Comfort for Critters journey" http://www.comfortforcritters.org/about-us Isn't that cool?!
One of the things I most appreciate about projects like Critters for Comfort Project is that blankets for shelter animals were some of the first items I made when I first started my "fiber art" odyssey. Now having owned dogs most of my life I could quite understand the idea that the "Critters" has been trying to convey; One pet at a time. It doesn't seem so overwhelming when you think of it that way. Consider that well run animal shelters, by necessity have a bit of an industrial feel. Clean, open, a bit of a medicinal smell, busy people attending to the various animals. Ginger, our dog, was surrounded by beautiful open, modern shelter environment dotted by lovely, handmade blankets given by volunteers. In fact while we were waiting to be taken back to meet Ginger, a woman came in with a whole arm full of hand made blankets. I felt a kindred spirit to these blanket makers. Great to see that people in the community were invested in the shelter. They cared enough to bring blankets by. We saw the volunteers washing and drying the blankets so that each would be clean. Also if a person ready to adopt a pet can PICTURE the animal in a home environment surrounded by a bed or a blanket. It gives the sensation of home. Many people adopt pets from shelters for many reasons but lets face it most of us love our Critters because they are our companions. Its the little touches like blankets or brightly colored toys donated to a shelter that sometimes make the difference between an animal going home to their forever home or staying at a shelter. I know that to be true because of our personal experience with Ginger Pye. So here is a list of the supported shelters, listed by state, that will gladly accept your donation http://www.comfortforcritters.org/shelters-supported.
As some of my regular readers know Ginger Pye is my companion dog. I have a heart condition and Ginger alerts me and others when there's a problem. She's a real inbred natural gift as a companion animal and guardian. I don't get out as much as I used to, and sometimes that causes me to feel cut off from the world. Not really the best feeling. Its one of the reasons I write this blog every week, a chance to show people that they can be of benefit to people, and to the world at large. Making blankets with Comfort For Critters is a HUGE boost to the people working so hard at the shelters to make sure pets are cared for appropriately. Feeling that you've made a difference to everyone, the animals at the shelter, the people working at the shelter and even the new forever home. Each blanket goes home WITH the animal to make the transition easier. On http://www.comfortforcritters.org/volunteer-resources you will find ALL The information you need to get started and "Critters" is happy to answer questions!
I think we all know why shelters are important but I do want to say THANK YOU to the shelters who are well run and to the volunteers who work every single day to assure animals have a safe place to go. They also assure that the right people are paired up with the right pets, making absolutely sure that the pets will go to their forever home. Comfort for Critters supports all this great work with a really interesting Blog! http://www.comfortforcritters.org/blog-comfort-from-critters Because they know that without these shelters and good information, animals would go on being abused, streets would be over run with the animals left to wander, and people would have no way of meeting up with a dog like my Ginger Pye. We have a rabbit, who too, has her own blankets. She was adopted by my daughter from a farm where a gentleman rehabilitates small animals or takes them in when the owners can no longer care for them. My daughter started when she was young supporting animal shelters and shelter animals by making blankets. The staff loved to see her and her brother come in with the donations. :) Let me say that Comfort For Critters is fully worthy of support for all it does to connect people, shelters, and animals together with yards of love stitched with hope. If you would like to participate download their volunteer packet and get started!
Every week I have the distinct pleasure of introducing my readers to great designers. This week I wanted to present the work of Kristi Simpson. She's got a fantastic sense of style and has brought that into her patterns. It would be easy to spend the better part of a morning looking through all her lovely patterns for sale.
With so much to offer I am not even sure where to begin so I'll start with the where: RAKJpatterns is located in the great state of Alabama! The fair proprietress of RAKJpatterns, is as the name suggests, Kristi Simpson. Creator of many fresh, modern looks for crocheting. Her Ravelry page introduction reads "Welcome! I enjoy creating creative crochet patterns with a fresh and modern touch. I have authored several books and my designs have been published in international magazines, including Crochet World, I Like Crochet, Inside Crochet and Crochet! Check out some great crochet patterns today!"
Kristie's designs range from the super adorable infant photo prop to the really fun and innovative crocheted slipper that is added to a pair of flip flops! So cool! Now of course if you click the link to http://www.kristisimpson.net/#!books/c1irt You'll see Kristi is another crocheting rock star having been published in several magazines and books but she's maintained her independence from the "run of the mill" (pun intended) fiber artist. I like the way she thinks!
On RAKJpatterns by Kristi Simpson's facebook page you'll find this description of her product line "Creative Crochet Patterns for beginners and beyond" (https://www.facebook.com/RAKJpatterns/timeline)
Its quite literally true. Something for every crocheter, at every level and style. She has obviously put a lot of time into choosing her designs and you know what to design when you know WHO your audience is! It cannot be said that every designer is in touch with her audience but Kristi Simpson has a large presence on the web. In addition to her own website she has a group on facebook in addition to her main facebook page, a page on pinterest, and a page on Ravelry.
Being a woman of many talents Kristi balances all this with having 5 children. How great is that? So when she designs something for a child, its probably been tested ON an actual child. I buy patterns from designers like Kristi because I know she cares about the product she puts out. As she writes on her Etsy page " You’ll find patterns for all different levels of crocheters in this collection. But no matter the level, each pattern is designed to be irresistible! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced crocheter, every pattern you make should be a delight, and the designs in this collection are made to be just that!" https://www.etsy.com/shop/RAKJpatterns?ref=l2-shopheader-name#
Testing is an exceptionally important part of the process of designing. You'll note that Kristi Simpson designs for babies, children, tweens, teens, women and men! She exploded on to the scene in 2010 and its been full steam ahead since then.
Okay with such a big presence on the Web lets review the places YOU can find RAKJpatterns by Kristi Simpson:
Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/kristi-simpson--rakjpatterns Kristi is extremely approachable and kind, so if you have questions I'm sure she would be happy to answer!
(Remember all images Kristi's pages belong to her and the patterns are her own creations so please remember to give credit where credit is due!)
As my regular readers know I'm always on the hunt for great independent designers because I'm usually on the hunt for a new project for inspiration. With the recent "uptick" in pregnant friends I needed to look for some pretty little girly gifts. My search led me to "Lacy Crochet" a blog written by a very talented designer named Olga Poltava. It was a BONANZA of beauty! Wait until you see :)
I sent Olga an email with the link to my blog and inquired about using her great designs in my latest blog post. She very kindly and most humbly agreed.
Olga Poltava has been blogging since 2009. To introduce herself as a blogger she writes: "Hello and welcome! My blog started out of my love for crochet doilies and lace handkerchief edgings, but now you will find all kinds of crochet projects here. " So very welcoming introduction but her designs and the lovely photos really draw you in! You may have caught some of her designs on Etsy and Craftsy. This is the design that first caught my eye: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YDhIHlJBJZo/VXUWV0R6liI/AAAAAAAAF6Q/FIdzWijUlEU/s1600/lilac%2Bbaby%2Bblanket.JPG WOW! Gorgeous! (image OWNED by Olga Poltava) I do so enjoy working lace and as someone who started out crocheting lace and lace doilies I have to say, these designs keep tempting me! I wish I had more time.
Olga's designs are varied. Lots of styles, colors, stitches, textures, and skill levels something to challenge all crocheters, as a bonus Olga provides tutorials! Check out her FREE tutorial on the Lacy Baby Blanket. http://lacycrochet.blogspot.com/2013/02/lacy-baby-blanket-tutorial-step-1.html (fiber artists are so generous with their skills) Since I do not always crochet, in fact most of my work is knitted, I sometimes need a tutorial to remember how stitches are made. *This tutorial uses one of my favorite stitches known as the "crab stitch". It makes a beautiful edging.
I could go on probably all day with this blog posting there are so many beautiful patterns. But I am sure you are like me. You want to explore for yourself. (there's a BIG wow factor) So where can YOU find Olga Poltava?
For some people writing up a pattern is simple, sharing the pattern with friends for testing, not a problem; but it does take a piece of your heart when you put a project out there for others to see, read, and use. I write poetry, every time I put a poem out there I feel I've shared a piece of myself with others and its a little scary. For knit and crochet designers to share their creative spirit with us, is no little matter. So when I share my favorite designers with you I want you to know that generally they have huge hearts and humble souls. Make sure that if you critique a pattern that you are gentle.
*PLEASE remember my constant warning. ALL the designs on Olga's page are HERS and you may not share them as YOUR own nor is it right to make a project from her designs and not give credit. The photos on her page are HERS and are copyrighted so please don't share the pictures without permission.
I happen to LOVE watching the wild birds around my house. Ever since I was a little girl I have watched wild birds... and oddly one time we had a wild blue jay living around our house that watched me! Here in my backyard I have seen Kestrels, Flickers, Pileated Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Robins, Sparrows, Juncos, Chickadees, so on and so forth. When this project came to my attention I thought it was a really lovely way for knitters and crocheters to become involved with conservation. Its also a great way to get youngsters involved. Motivating them to learn to knit or crochet for our feathered friends.
First we'll start with the who: WildCare's website states "
"Everyone wants to do the right thing for wildlife... WildCare is here to help! We're located in downtown San Rafael, California — Marin County's largest city — making us a truly urban wildlife hospital.
Marin has grown a lot since our inception in 1974, and as the county stretched into the wild places that surrounded it, people and wildlife found themselves calling the same place home. We work to make sure all species can coexist-- not just by treating sick or injured animals (over 3,000 of them a year), but also by teaching people how to live peacefully with wildlife and by advocating for better protection of wildlife and our remaining open spaces. This integrated approach is essential to WildCare, and we address both the symptoms of human/wildlife interaction and their underlying causes. By doing so, we hope to create a more sustainable world for all."
http://www.wildcarebayarea.org/site/PageServer?pagename=About At one point the folks at WildCare realized that the makeshift bowls in which they were placing the rescued baby birds were leaving bruises or injuries on the birds. They put out a call for help and true to form the fiber arts community answered with a great alternative. Hand knit or crocheted nests! Brilliant right? I thought so too. The baby birds all tucked safely in the cozy knit nests
This image: http://www.wildcarebayarea.org/site/PageServer?pagename=babybirdnest_homepage
Now for the what: The response to the original call for nests was so fantastic that they extended the opportunity to knitters and crocheters all around the world. According to the WildCare Baby Bird Nest website "The 2014 Baby Bird Nest Campaign was a great success!
We collected over 3,500 nests and outfitted WildCare’s hospital along with over a dozen others throughout the United States. We had over 350 different crafters donate nests from all over the US, Canada, Australia and the Ukraine. Many of the bird hospitals we outfitted are individuals who work out of their homes and who simply don't have the resources to run a campaign like this. They were very grateful for the nests.
The campaign was covered by NBC Nightly News, the San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, KPIX Channel 5 News, KTVU Channel 2 News, the Marin Independent Journal, and dozens of other television stations, independent blogs and websites."
Who? YOU of course! Everyone can be involved with helping baby birds at WildCare by donating money of course because baby birds gotta eat! OR check out the t-shirt and mug collection http://wildcare-wild-merchandise.myshopify.com/collections/baby-songbirds! If you are a knitter or a crocheter there is a simple matter of filling out the Nest Pattern Request Form and you'll get an email with the specific patterns needed for this project. Are you a Raveler?
http://www.ravelry.com/groups/baby-bird-nest-campaign. And of course you can find WildCare on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WildCareBayArea?fref=nf. The MOST important thing to do is spread the word about this great project.
Everyone has an opportunity to engage with this group in one form another. Teachers, parents, kids, 4H Groups, Girl Scouts/Guides, church youth groups, local assisted living homes, YMCA, inner city, town or even small country village. Its fun and like WildCare's slogan says "Live Well With Wildlife"!
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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.