Crafters are often called upon in times of disaster. Rarely, in fact, do people think of the importance of those little items like blankets and toys until they are swept away by some unforeseen tragic event. We who craft for charity often find ourselves pulling together to answer the heart wrenching call to service by those who have lost everything. Such is the case, right now, in West Virginia as devastating rains have killed 24 people. Outreach to Appalachia is a group on Ravelry serving poverty stricken regions of West Virginia. Along with Appalachian Outreach Inc, a partner organization, "O2A" has called on crafters to do their bit to help those affected current flooding situation.
My own husband grew up not far from the border with West Virginia and has family and close friends who grew up in West Virginia or are still living in the state. West Virginia is, while beautiful and wild, also some of the most poverty stricken real estate in the USA. "Fifty years after the war on poverty began, its anniversary is being observed with academic conferences and ideological sparring — often focused, explicitly or implicitly, on the “culture” of poor urban residents. Almost forgotten is how many ways poverty plays out in America, and how much long-term poverty is a rural problem." ~Gabriel I have very good friends living in West Virginia efforting to better education and give children a chance at a more stable future. This outreach into Appalachia is a very important part of letting residents there know they are not forgotten.
Outreach to Appalachia or "O2A" from here on, is not an arm of Appalachian Outreach Inc or "AOI" the group does individually send packages to AOI where it is distributed. AOI is a faith based organization you can read it's mission statement here. O2A collects just about everything you could imagine for children and adults including toys. One of their ongoing collection drives for this year is Book and Blanket such a super cute idea "Match a book with a blanket and spread some smiles!Let’s run this campaign through the end of September." What a fun! Its not only fun but its also very practical we all know that a great book can spark a child's lively imagination. The teacher in me loves this project :)
Of course O2A is about meeting the very basic needs of communities in Appalachia. Newborn babies and their parents need a boost as they leave the hospital to go home. By taking a diaper bag or small plastic laundry basket and filling it with appropriate items, parents can have the help they need to get off to a good start with their new arrival. Rose of Appalachia Outreach puts together about 600 baskets per year. Obviously this is a tremendously important project for new parents. Many of whom need a little encouragement to start their tiny one off in the world properly. I remember what it was like to get the little basket full of gifts from the hospital when my babies were born. To have someone think of all the little things I had not in my nesting efforts. It gave me added confidence. New parents in areas where poverty is a way of life will certainly appreciate all that crafters do to make their infant more comfortable.
Though often we think of West Virginia as a place of warm climate it does get quite cold in the winter so winter warm items are necessary hats and mittens, scarves and shawls. All are gladly accepted by "Rose" who is coordinator of the efforts through AOI. There are no set patterns but easy care materials are appreciated. The group attaches tags to the items to let the recipient know what the item is made of and who created it. With folks losing so much to flooding it's vital that crafters pitch in to do what they can for the people of West Virginia.
Poverty is, in point of fact, everywhere in the USA including and sometimes especially in rural areas. However, right now at this point in time West Virginia needs our help to overcome this historic flooding. If we as crafters can pull together to bring hope to a region rocked by disaster, it would be an amazing show of support. A handmade box of joy is sometimes the nudge people need to keep moving forward.
My daughter was looking for a cute little crown pattern to use for an event she has coming up in July. There are plenty of crown patterns out there, make no mistake, but my daughter wanted something a little different and super cute. She found "Valerie's Princess Crown" on The Lavender Chair (dot com)! Its an adorable pattern that also has a matching princess dress! I thought The Lavender Chair would make a fantastic blog subject.
The talented designer at The Lavender Chair is Dorianna Rivelli. She is the designer of an impressive 92 patterns available on Ravelry! I like her patterns so much because they have classic styling! I love the fact that the patterns combine modern updates to those timeless designs we love.
I love being out in the garden its a great pastime! Dorianna Rivelli has some adorable hats that would be perfect for outdoor gardening or an outdoor garden party! Just change the yarn and you've got a more elegant look to go with a summer dress. Perfect!
Now as you know I knit/crochet for kids from preemies to tweens. I enjoy the work immensely. The clothing that Dorianna Rivelli has designed for children is again fantastic styling combined with updated looks and colors. I like little skirts on little girls! This pattern for the lacy shells skirt is so sweet. As you can see there's also a hat pattern. The PDF is available in Dorianna Rivelli's Etsy page, The Lavender Chair. There are so many cute patterns and The Lavender Chair makes the PDF patterns affordable. Of course you can't have a little princess without a crown and matching dress! On Dorianna Rivelli's Ravelry page she has both a cute sun hat and a sweet little crown to coordinate with a pretty princess dress. How cute is that? For the ultimate in vintage styling I love this dress and hat. Simply beautiful! I like that the PDF files can be purchased because I like to take my patterns with me when I go yarn shopping!
If you are looking for something a bit more grown up The Lavender chair has a series of beautiful bags, shawls and neckwear offerings. I've never made a crocheted purse but these patterns could tempt me I do like this "Vintage Market Tote". Thanks to women like Kate Middleton the shawl is now not only seen as practical but also beautiful. I am one of those women who loves to wear shawls. The Lavender Chair Etsy store showcases the beautiful Daisy Fields shawl. Depending on the color it would make a lovely holiday wrap or a shawl for a wedding! Stunning. The cowl is all the rage and with good reason. Certainly makes a lovely addition to the wardrobe and can be worn in so many ways. My favorite cowl design by Dorianna Rivelli is "The Antibody Cowl". Its beautiful and versatile!
I want to thank Dorianna Rivelli for such amazing work and for sharing her patterns with the world. The PDF's are wonderful and I appreciate that she's taken the time to design so many lovely things.
Please also find The Lavender Chair on Facebook and other social media sites. I'm really very happy to have found her work! I hope you enjoy her work as much as I have!
In my travels across the web I sometimes run into the COOLEST designers. This week while surfing Etsy I found The Hat & I crochet.
Another great designer who LOVES color and designs for children. Two great things that go great together.
The storefront for The Hat & I really captured the attention. The bright colors and well done photographs made me stop in my tracks.
The store owner and artist is Marken. Marken has a real talent for combining color with interesting designs that capture the imagination. Plus she has a super cute model :) She has an ability to use color and shape to turn ordinary items to crochet gold. :)
As I said I found the Hat and I on Etsy. However, Marken is also on Facebook, Craftsy, and Ravelry. The wonderful thing about the Hat and I Crochet is that the designs are fun for children without being boring to crochet or repeating the same old hackneyed ideas. Color, wimsey, interest, combinations that are well thought out and not overly complicated. Funny faced frogs, adorable owls, and as the name implies hats galore! Marken has really created a niche for her designs. So adorable!
Marken takes the designs to the next level, not simply selling the same thing over and over but reworking the patterns to develop projects that would sell to a larger audience. You know how I love that out of the box thinking. Take for instance the owls and cats. Same basic shapes but very different look. I like that the design can be used so many different ways. From appliques to handbags there is literally something for everyone.
Two of the designs that caught my eye were hats that really were quite unique. A bowler hat pattern (SUPER CUTE) to fit eight different sizes and a boater hat also designed to fit infants to adults! A summer weight hat and a winter hat... quite proper :)
Of course color color and more color at The Hat and I. I think the blanket patterns are marvelous. I really enjoy all the different ideas and designs that went into the blanket patterns at the The Hat and I. Marken designed 23 blanket patterns! All different, all completely adorable, like the "Follow Your Heart" Afghan pattern. Not leaving out the animal lovers this "Bunnies R Us" pattern. The stunningly beautiful "Baby Love" afghan is really not to be missed. I'm just loving Marken's designs!
I will be purchasing some of the patterns from "The Hat And I for and upcoming project. I hope you will look the shop over and take a moment to drop Marken a note to thank her for her gorgeous work.
As many of you know I knit and crochet nearly exclusively for children. I love my job! It gives me a challenge and a purpose. I've been really blessed to have been doing this work for several years. Seeing the resurgence of knitting and crocheting along with the explosion of new designers. So it is really a privilege to be able to write a blog with my daughter about fiber arts, toys, and fun crafts on Children's Day.
One of the very first websites I used when I started knitting (I learned to crochet first) was HGTV's "The Carol Duvall Show" her crafts were always fun, interesting and uncomplicated. Carol was as excited about the idea of using crafts to engage children as I was! I will share this link to a few of the ideas Carol shared on her show now in Archive.org
My daughter Tamra really enjoys making toys for kids. The art form from Japan named Amigurumi has burst on to the scene, exciting young minds from all around the world. Tamra recommends websites entitled allaboutami.com and Sayjai Amigurumi Crochet. Its a lot of fun to create toys for children and to donate toys to local charities. We have donated to our local small hospitals. They need our support.
I give much of my knitting and crocheting as gifts. Sometimes babies are born a little early and need a gift in a hurry. When I need to fill an order for a preemie baby I turn to Bev's Country Cottage (where there are crocheted, knitted, and sewn projects galore all for charity and gifting) and Marianna's Lazy Daisy Days. Both Bev Qualheim and Marion Leys put so much work and love into their websites. I don't know what I would do without these two lovely ladies. Bev and Marion are so gracious. I'm blessed to have found them on the web.
Tamra wanted to share another of her favorite pages Mamma that Makes. Myshelle Cole is a really lovely lady and extraordinarily talented. She's mom to 3 daughters and 1 son. Her patterns range from doll clothes to delicate preemie dresses. There are play clothes and play food patterns. All kinds of fun to be had on Mamma that Makes. If you're running a little dry on ideas check out Myshelle Cole's blog!
I COULD NOT have a Children's Day blog without mentioning the AMAZING Felted Button! Susan Carlson is not only fabulously talented, she's also very gracious. I cannot put into words how much I enjoy Susan Carlson's wonderful patterns. Her patterns are a feast for the eyes. Color, color and more color. Fun doesn't even begin to describe it. She's designed a toddler teepee (too adorable) and beautiful blankets that you'd be proud to give as gifts. Susan Carlson is a STAR. Thank you Susan!
Tamra recommends Repeat Crafter me! Of course no blog for Children's Day would be complete without a mention of the ubiquitous patterns of Sarah. Everything she touches turns to gold it seems. There are hats for everyone from newborns to adults, toys, and fun ideas for kids.
Crochet Jewel is one of my personal favorite websites. Amy is the very gifted proprietress of Crochet Jewel. I covered Amy's designs some months back and the blog was one of my most popular. Her designs are classic treasures you'll enjoy making and others will keep for years to come. She's innovative yet her patterns are written so new crocheters can understand them. Check out her patterns on Ravelry.
Of course these are just the tip of the iceberg but if you are interested in mining for Crafting gold check out one of the best curated websites around! The WHOot has something for everyone DIY ideas galore! Cooking, sewing, crocheting, knitting, the list doesn't end. Its SO much fun. :) Warning it's addictive! You AND your children will love it!
Thanks for reading and HAPPY CHILDREN'S DAY!
I am SO excited to write about today's designer. Talk about A M A Z I N G.
I don't even know where to start! (I know I write that a lot) Sandy's Cape Cod Originals are truly original and so fantastic. Yes Sandy Powers has written for Annie's Attic but she's still selling independently through Etsy, and Ravelry.
So what makes Sandy Powers so different? Well EVERYTHING. :) She's dropped all the conventional wisdom and created such unique patterns for infants, children AND adults it just blows my mind. For the purposes of this blog we will concentrate on the children's designs. I've seen Sandy Powers around the "net" for many years. She's been an inspiration not only for her patterns but for her tenacity in life, and her faith. A crocheter for 40 years, she turned what she loved into a business and I am SO glad she did! Sandy Powers has been featured in Annie's Attic. My daughter and I have purchased patterns through Annie's Attic and through her Etsy Store.
From the moment you open Sandy's Cape Cod Originals page on Etsy or her Ravelry page the mind is swept away by the wonderful imaginative designs! I have never seen anything like them and I've been crocheting a while now :) (not 40 years but long enough) Sandy Powers takes the current trends and kicks them up a notch or just ignores them altogether and creates a beautiful world of innocence and grace. As you all know I haven't the skills to write my own patterns so when I see a designer like Sandy Powers I am typically in awe of the talent!
Sandy's Cape Cod Originals has 216 designs for infants available for sale on Etsy. Each one is so ADORABLE. In fact Sandy Powers had the only cuddle sacks for twins available in a pattern that was simple enough that I could change the color and add an applique, made by my daughter, to make something very unique. I'm looking forward to showing you the finished project. Several times I have seen twins swaddled together and I think this will make a cute gift. You can see this project pattern here: Its really unique to find a cocoon/sleepy sack/swaddle sack for twins. I love it and can't wait to finish it! Now this particular sleepy sack is made for a boy/girl twins BUT if you want to have a little fun with photo props Sandy Powers has just the thing!
When my kids were babies (a lot of years now) there weren't "photo props" if there were, I would be using Sandy Powers' patterns! She has a line of "storybook" style photo props that are just so clever!! My daughter read the "Oz" books, as in the Wizard of Oz, several times. Wouldn't you know Sandy Powers has created photo props that are reminiscent of the characters in the Oz stories. What fun! Check these adorable patterns out: Tinman, Dorothy, Good Witch, Queen of Hearts, Scarecrow, Cowardly lion, Rabbithatter, even a Tea Pot. I have never seen sets this well made in all the time I've been making photo props or cocoons for babies as a business. (which has been a while) Absolutely brilliant!!!
This is really only scratching the surface but if you are more interested in the "royal" look Sandy Powers has exactly the right photo props for both BOYS and girls! Have a little Prince entering or in your life? Sandy Powers has designed the most adorable props for photographs and make believe I've seen in a long time! Check out her Princely garb in her Etsy store. How fun!!!! Princesses? Oh yeah Sandy's Cape Cod Originals has you covered there too! Check out this collection on Sandy Powers' Etsy page.
Holidays are a great time to use photo props for those family Christmas pictures. Once again Sandy Powers' creates imaginative, totally original looks for babies and children. You won't be able to choose just one pattern (I bought an entire book!) I think this "Gingerbread man" set is so precious! What a great picture that would make! Finding little sets for boys is so difficult but Sandy Powers offers up the perfect outfits time and time again. This Toy Soldier cocoon and hat is priceless. This little outfit for a baby girl is one of my favorites of all time. Its pretty and very festive for that most wonderful time of year!
What about your basic beginner patterns? Blankets? Tutorials? Yes, yes and Yes! I bought this book full of just basic cocoon patterns that can be embellished any way a crocheter likes. Beginners can look no further than this particular cocoon pattern, written by Sandy Powers just for those who are new to crochet!
Blankets? Yes Sandy's Cape Cod Originals has everything from lovies to lace!
Sandy Powers of course knows that tutorials are a big help when crocheting a pattern for the first time. This set, for instance, has a video tutorial included. As you peruse the store front on Etsy you'll find that there are patterns for every skill level.
Where can you find Sandy's Cape Cod Originals on the web?
Ravelry, where you will find literally 10 pages of designs By Sandy Powers
There are so many lovely patterns designed and written by Sandy's Cape Cod Originals. You are almost guaranteed to find something to match nearly every taste. No question her patterns are high quality and well written. I've started my cocoon for twins already!
I have enjoyed writing about Sandy Powers today, I hope you will take the time to look at her pages, like and comment!
This is the start to my twins baby cocoon. :)
The shawl pictured above is from the Lion Brand yarn company free email newsletter. I made the shaw for a friend. I love lace knitting so any time I get the opportunity to knit lace I'm a happy person! So what do you love? Knitting, crocheting, weaving, sewing? All of the above? There are a lot of truly USEFUL newsletters that can help those of us who craft for charity! Do you use any free newsletters in crafting for charity?
Where do you start looking for useful free newsletters? Well why not start with companies you trust? Coats and Clark is a well known name among crafters with sewing, knitting and crocheting projects updated regularly you can pretty much count on Coats and Clark. Names like Anchor embroidery thread and Rowan fabric, Red Heart yarns to Rowan yarns. You can find the link to the e-newsletter at the bottom of the screen. You will even find a story on the page today (June 5, 2016) asking fiber artists to help Red Heart to support the Red Cross.
Lion Brand yarns has an excellent newsletter for those who love knitting and crocheting. It is filled with great ideas for adults and children alike. The search for patterns can be daunting but newsletters like the "Weekly Stitch" make it a bit easier to scroll through and find exactly the right pattern to bookmark for your purposes. Check out Lion Brand's PatternFinder while you are signing up for the newsletter. You'll find the link to sign up for the newsletter along the left hand side of the page exactly in the middle. I enjoy the selections in the newsletter and of course their NEW yarns! Always fantastic. (oh and signing up gets you an extra discount if you order!)
Yarnspirations one of the fiber-y-est sites on the internet. Yarnspirations is a parent website for several brands of yarn and "Wonderart" if you sign up for the newsletter you get an extra discount off a purchase through the website! (their service is very good!) I think one of my favorite aspects of the Yarnspirations website is the "lookbooks" page. So many wonderful designs to choose from.
What about our favorite crochet or knit artists? Well MANY of them have newsletters to enjoy. Mikey, of the Crochet Crowd has a FREE magazine that comes right to your email! Okay so I don't usually "Squeee" as my Kids call it. You know the noise some women make when they find something particularly exciting? Well I have uttered the occasional "Squeee" at "Mikey Magazine". I know very uncharacteristic of me but yet, there it is. Mikey Magazine is also available online you can look at back issues! March was "Baby" month inside Mikey magazine. Though Mikey might be the "front man" for Mikey Magazine there are a lot of contributors and sponsors that go into making a magazine like this work and its a challenge to please everyone. If you don't find something in one issue you're sure to find something you really enjoy in the next. And its FREE!
The Crochet Crowd is VERY concerned with supporting your local community and charities. They often have giveaways that are centered around charitable crafting. Don't miss out on "Mikey Magazine"!
Knitters there's a fantastic knitting newsletter from AllFreeknitting.com! Many MANY more "Squeee" worthy projects in the newsletter and on the website. GREAT fun for those of every skill looking for just about every project need! From baby booties to lace shawls AllFreeKnitting has a pattern. Even free ebooks! The free newsletter sign up is along the right hand column at the top of the page. There are always great charity ideas available through AllFreeKnitting.com. Use their search engine to find various charities. Just be sure to look at the date of publication, some of the charities are no longer functioning.
Another great indy designer is "Zooty Owl". A crocheter and acquaintance (a very lovely person!) Zooty Owl's Crafty Blog is a really special space on the net. You'll find lots of great projects, tutorials and fun pictures. I have used some of her beautiful patterns for charity. There's so much to take in on her blog, you better grab a cup of coffee or tea! To subscribe to the updates to the blog just scroll down to the bottom left hand side of the page or at the top right hand side of the page. You'll see a link that reads Subscribe (ATOM). Please remember to thank these indy artists for their beautiful contributions. Her year thus far has been so busy but finally my friend Zelna Oliver is back and better than ever :) Congrats! Much happiness to you and yours!
Another prolific crocheter with a great newsletter is Crochet Jewel! Amy does not just cover her own designs but the designs of others also. She tries to find the best of the best patterns and share it with others. So much of what she shares on the site would be GREAT for charity work. Homeless shelters, battered women's shelters, after school programs for the underserved of the community. Her blog is jam packed with great ideas and you can sign up to get her newsletter by entering your email on the right hand column of the page.
Last but not least is The WHOot! One of my favorite sites as you know, I haven't mentioned them in a long while so I thought it was time to do so again. The WHOot is a site filled with ideas for cooking and crafting of all sorts. The WHOot invited little old me to join their pinterest board. I was quite happy :) I don't often get invitations for my help or opinion from other crafters. It was lovely of them to ask. Check out the crochet section of their page. Then sign up for their emails! You'll find that you can count on the WHOot for innovative FUN ideas that will really brighten someone's day.
So there are just a few ideas on where YOU can start to look for ways to donate to charity. FREE newsletters are fun to get and open in your email and fun to share with friends. Remember however, credit where credit is due please. Make sure that if you use a picture one of the patterns from the newsletters you give credit to the author or source. It's yet another way to pay it forward. Hope all of you enjoy today's blog post if you are looking for MORE newsletters please feel free to contact me!
Many of you who read this blog regularly know I LOVE color especially for children! So its SUPER cool to have found Attic24 or Lucy of Attic24 as she's known on Ravelry. She is also enjoys the use of bright colors in her work. I found her blog through a general search on ravelry for ripple blankets. (love ripples) There's a HUGE amount of beautiful work and yarns to check out on Attic24 so let's get started!
Attic24's wonderfully creative proprietress is Lucy. She's a mum of 3 living in the North of England (Great Britain). She has many interests besides crochet and wonderfully allows us as her readers into her world. Holidays and day trips with friends. Its a "homey" blog. A place where you can sit for a while and enjoy the common feeling we all share with Lucy. I admit to being a bit jealous of Lucy's incredible fortitude, energy and organization. She even has a shop where she pairs all the wool with the notions needed to make her projects! I guess the question is "What can't she do?" Everything Lucy does turns to magic :) I'm going to focus on the crocheting aspect of the Attic24 blog.
Does Lucy of Attic 24 do tutorials? You bet! Lots of great tutorials on her blog. Like this tutorial for a ripple blanket. This is a very handy tutorial no matter how experienced you are in your crocheting. Its a beautifully simple pattern that can be done in many colors and still look polished. I like this particular pattern very much. Lucy shares how she pairs up colors. I personally go where the creative spirit leads me when it comes to these ripple type blankets. I confess to disliking color changes every row. How about hexagons? Yes hexagon shapes are a lot of fun to make and to sew together to make a sweet little blanket, table runner, outdoor throw for your porch, how about something a little funky for your travel camper? Check out Lucy's hexagon tutorial! What's not to love? New to crocheting? American and wonder if there's a difference in the British and American crochet terms? Yes, and I have a site for that.
I don't even know where to begin with the great projects Lucy of Attic24 makes available to her readers! One of my favorite blanket patterns is a granny stripe. Its simple and yet fun. I like the fact that its a bit more airy and light for children, easier to layer on a bed, cot, toddler bed, crib or even stroller (pram). Pick a theme for your color scheme, go with what you love, mix and match, or just make one bright color. Lucy of Attic24 gives us a great pattern for her version here. My daughter and I love this pattern. I'm partial to her "Cupcake Stripe Blanket". If you check out Lucy of Attic24 on Ravelry, you'll find a bright explosion of yarny happiness! Everything from crochet trim to fingerless mitts (where were these a few months ago?) Got a little left over yarn? How about making up some beautiful flowers to add to a package or a wreath? Lucy has some LOVELY selections on her Ravelry page. The "Valentine Sweet Heart" is so pretty! What a charming decoration for a door or hall tree. If you let your mind wander a bit you can see hundreds of possibilities for the projects Lucy of Attic24 shares with her readers. many of which would make spectacular take along projects. Like this beautiful "Harmony Blanket"! I LOVE the colors!!!
I'm looking forward to hearing from you all to see if you try any of Lucy's lovely projects. I started a hexagon. Lucy, have I done this properly? I've never made hexagons! :) Thanks to Lucy of Attic24 and to her family for sharing her with the rest of the world. We know she invests a lot of time into her blog and the patterns she writes for the rest of us to enjoy. If you have clicked the links and found the blog you know Lucy of Attic24 is about so much more than crocheting. She's a genuinely thoughtful person. Thank you Lucy.
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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.