Last week 8 migrant workers died in the back of a tractor trailer in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Another 2 died in the hospital. Altogether 30 people were taken to hospitals in San Antonio. TWENTY were in extremely severe or critical condition. This is the toll of human trafficking. Gut wrenching, harrowing, and yet all too common story. My daughter and I decided we wanted to find a way to use our talents, and perhaps mobilize others to join in the fight to help men, women, children (a lot of children) caught up in the snare of human trafficking. We found 1 amazing, no, I take that back ASTOUNDING, entity that truly wants our help. I don't use organization or charity because those words don't even begin to touch the living movement that is Enchanted Makeovers. I spoke to the founder, Terry Grahl by phone, trust me when I say, this is a really big story and it is a story about which I am absolutely passionate. T.k. Wilson, my daughter, has also been touched, drawn in, and captivated by this story. We wish to share our heart with you.
Humans, people, flesh and blood, bone and soul, women with children, they need to be valued and loved. These are all words that come to mind when I read stories of the human/sex trafficking which plagues the world right now. The middle aged lady standing next to you in the grocery store, a child attending your Vacation Bible School, the noisy single mom with 4 kids in McDonald's. They don't wear a sign that reads I'm abused, I'm being molested, or I was brought to America in a metal box with 30 other people. They don't start a conversation with, "I've been taking meth so I can work more hours", "I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder", or "I was abused from the time I was 4 years old". You may look askance at them for one reason or another, and they may appear hardened to your judgement; don't you believe it. At one time or another as Terry Grahl reminds us, "They too had dreams, but where could they be found again?" However, I've skipped to the middle of Terry Grahl's story. There's a beginning to the Terry Grahl story. One you should read for yourself. It comes complete with tears of joy and trepidation. (tissue alert) Read it here:
When you talk to Terry, and really listen to her you find out pretty quickly that Terry Grahl, is not now, and never has been about herself. She was born to be a gardener of sorts, she goes into a bear patch of landscape pulls up the rocks, tills the soil, motivates the hands, plants seeds, and decides that beauty will be the watchword of that garden. While the essence of Enchanted Makeovers is to repair and make beautiful the places we call homeless shelters, (among many other projects), Terry Grahl works with people not with buildings. She goes into a place and through the power of God, volunteer help, handmade love, creativity, donations and time, in order to transform a place from a homeless shelter, to a place to call home. Terry Grahl and her army of "makers" will metamorphose a sterile dorm into an environment where hope grows free. Terry is a Christ follower, who believes in the power of God to change a life. "I knew without a doubt that God had much bigger plans for my life, and He needed to use me for His glory. We made a deal with each other on that day. I asked that He would continue to provide the needs for my family (food and a roof over our heads) and His request was, "Glorify Me''
~Terry Grahl. (please, I urge you, read these stories for yourself!) Every woman, child, volunteer, in a home/shelter (not homeless shelter) has hopes and dreams and needs... just like me, just like you. She IS me. Enchanted Makeovers is a HUGE injection of hope. We, crocheters, designers, knitters, people who sew, we the people who create the outer coverings of aspiration can catch this dream and join the army of "enchantment makers"
Now comes the part of the blog where you and I talk about how we can help. However, when you first open the link to the Enchanted Makeovers website, you'll first see a whimsical place with lace and flowers, very vintage, and you think "I thought this site was about homeless shelters" . It was, at first, at least when Terry started, and then, it wasn't . It became about empowering women and children. As we talk about helping, remember we're not helping some poor soul, as if she is beneath you. We are helping our equals move on, and give their children something to make them feel special. Let's get to it!
There are a couple of things to know first: First, there are SO many ways to get involved with "EM" . Terry and her team are brilliant at finding new ways to release women and children into their dreams. I know that my readers are very, very creative. If you find a way to plug into one of these programs please contact EM. Second, PLEASE follow the instructions. I've said before, I'll say again, the instructions for donations are really crucial to the success of your mission. Thirdly, Laterose Doll Clothes and Doll Repair Abbey will be writing part TWO of this blog for those who sew and make the toys that are needed at EM. (I don't now sew. Sewing machines appear to be allergic to me LOL)
Black and white
Sage green and white
Apple green and white
Pink and White
Mustard yellow and white
If you are in doubt check this list of colors: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colors:_A%E2%80%93F
(Colors are listed alphabetically)
size 35X40 (please feel free to use your favorite pattern)"
I hear people say... "That's it? Just lapghans? " These are NOT just lapghans they are gifts of elegance, fun, but mostly love, sent in the form of yarn and stitches. If you pray, pray over the lapghans or pray while you work on them. Pray for the person receiving the lapghan. Pray with love. Terry and her team use HUNDREDS of these blankets so do not hesitate to contact her if your group wants to create a box full of these to send to EM.
Check Pinterest, YouTube, Ravelry, Link Parties, My Picot, Red Heart, Yarnspirations, Lion brand, Premier, JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts, and Michaels stores websites if you need ideas for stitches or lapghan patterns.
It has been my privilege to write about Terry Grahl and her team at Enchanted Makeovers. Her passion became my passion. I love this project. It's filled with the joy and it honors the ideals with which I was raised. To serve others with love and prayer. Terry's dream is infectious because it was God's will for her. Others have seen where God is working and have joined HIM there. Thank you Terry for taking those first steps of faith. If you are touched by the work of Enchanted Makeovers, please let Terry Grahl know.
Well I started this blog once... it then disappeared. However, today's designer is so amazing, I had to re-write it. Two years ago in June I wrote a blog on Lacy Crochet's Olga Poltava, a wonderful designer with a true gift for creating lace patterns and gorgeous children's projects that will become heirloom pieces. Since then she has added many patterns. With the popularity of historical dramas on television where lace patterns are displayed in regular use, I thought a look at Olga Poltava's patterns would be very timely. It is very easy to get caught up in the beautiful lace, vintage colors, and modern touches of Lacy Crochet blog.
I really enjoy making heirloom pieces for babies and children. I make many customized pieces for friends, customers, and relatives every year. I find that people are interested in replica pieces similar to those seen in family photos or in their favorite television series. Finding these patterns would be difficult except for Olga Poltava's hard work. She has designed several blanket patterns that would be perfect for some of those "firsts" in a baby's life.
Lacy Crochet offers some beautiful little girls clothing projects for someone looking for a special little dress, or hat for their little sweetheart. You can even find the little victorian-esque baby sacque to keep little ones warm. These pieces are just beautiful. ( I almost wish they'd fit grown ups!)
Olga Poltava has created some pieces for women that share the same attractive lace as her clothes for little ones however, these are very sophisticated.
This is just a small look at Olga Poltava's gorgeous work. Her patterns have a lovely sophistication that is rarely matched on other designer's pages. She chooses texture and understated colors to create pieces that any crocheter would be proud to make. I thank her very much. If you'd like to contact Olga Poltava you can find her on facebook. PLEASE like her page!! She's amazing.
(below is a picture of my heirloom blanket that my grandmother made for me)
First, a bit of housekeeping. Allow me to introduce the new name of my Saturday blog, the original name "Indy Designer Saturday" caused a little confusion. I was trying to be a bit clever with my words and of course the word "Indy" usually indicates Indianapolis. Also, most, if not all, the designers I cover on this blog are involved in far more than designing knit and crochet projects. Therefore, my favorite independent designers (those not allied with a major needle craft company) will now be featured in The Unallied Artist blog on Saturdays. Same blog subject, new name !
Today's blog will cover both The Unallied Artist Saturday and the Charity Idea OUTpost Sunday blogs. Joanita Theron proprietress of the Creative Crochet Workshop is a designer who has created a whole host of different projects as well as some beautiful projects for charity! Get ready for some fun and encouragement from Joanita Theron. She's spectacular.
Joanita Theron writes this about herself on her Ravelry page : "I love to crochet! To design and make patterns for both young and old is an absolute life’s passion.
My daughter is my greatest inspiration!
I love to try and learn new techniques, and although patience is not my strongest virtue, I have found that committing to a project and having the pleasure of a finished item, is one of life’s greatest and most satisfying pleasures.
I believe that anyone can learn a new craft. I try to design and make my projects so that even a novice can do them.
“Crochet is an art and crocheters it’s artists. Each crafted item is unique and own to its crafter”
Most of my readers know I love color. The brightly colored creations of Creative Crochet Workshop will draw you into the site and keep you smiling :). Just for your information I did already purchase the "Fairytale Playbook" pattern. Joanita's out of the box thinking really gets the the wheels turning. You look at each item and really see the project come to life. This is true also of her charity patterns. She obviously gives 100 percent to everything she does. Her patterns ideal for charity:
Of course both my daughter T.k. Wilson and I love to make things for infants. T.k. rehabilitates dolls for children and I am frequently asked to make gifts for children and babies. It's been my very real pleasure to create layettes to welcome babies into the world. Creative Crochet Workshop is a great resource for both children's clothing and home accessories
Joanita Theron includes some stunning designs for women in her collection. Accessories for all occasions. Makes things easy to find something you love in the Creative Crochet Workshop.
There are toys and doll clothes galore available through Creative Crochet Workshop. A lot of time and effort has gone into creating play books, baby doll clothes, play food, tea sets, and stuffed toys, to name a few.
Joanita Theron is on all the major social networking sites, including Facebook, where you'll also find Out of the Parc Designs. Check out her Etsy Store and her website Creative Crochet Workshop. If you stop by the website or the facebook page be sure to thank Joanita Theron for her hard work!
I was looking through Ravelry for an applique in a fish shape, and also thinking about today's blog. As I looked at the page in front of me on my laptop an idea flashed through my head. Something I hadn't thought of for years and years and yet it was a GREAT idea for today's blog.
All through my growing up years and into my 20's I attended church with my parents and sisters. As did many people of my generation. At church we had a closet which was named the "Missionary Cupboard". I remember as a kid collecting specific items to put in the cupboard. They were just items that might be necessities or little comforts of home visiting missionaries could take with them back to their home place. I always thought it was fun to collect up all the items to place in the cupboard but now I realize it was more than a curiosity, for some it really was a vital service. AND what, you may ask, does this have to do with " Getting Started" ? Well as one quote I heard said so aptly, "Don't start somewhere, start everywhere". Start your own charity cupboard or box!
Beginners often find it hard to know where to donate or who to trust. That is a legitimate concern and I fully understand the feeling. This doesn't mean you cannot help. Everyday there are needs to meet all around us. Beginner fiber artists are certainly able to help bring handmade comfort to people right in their own community. Let us look at some patterns that would be appropriate for a "hope closet or box" .
There are many fantastic designers that have great patterns for you to use! This blog is really just a sketch of what you can find on the web for ideas. You can broaden the list to near infinity :)
I thought I might just list patterns by season just offering a few suggested patterns to try. Getting started with one of my favorite seasons, Spring .
Spring weight projects for beginners:
Summer is always an interesting time for fiber artists. What to make in summer while it is so hot outside?
I know Fall and Winter are when people really start thinking about their knitting and crocheting projects. The list of what one can make is almost endless.
Early this morning a large fire in an historic building that featured prominently the center of the village where I live left 30 people homeless. Because of this tragedy and the ceremony to say goodbye to Trooper Joel Davis who lost his life in a tragic shooting, I wanted to write a bit of a special blog as a way to highlight three designers and also acknowledge the amazing work of volunteer fire departments, Paramedics, and Police/Troopers who do so much to protect and save lives.
First designer today is My Fingers Fly, Silly & Sweet Crochet . I was looking for crocheted clothing patterns with a first responder theme, and was very happy to find My Fingers Fly's very collection of first responder/military themed sweaters for children. There are also some adorable accessories to match. I really encourage you to check out her page because there are so many themes represented in her patterns. I will focus on our first responders and military for today. As a raveler I am always amazed at what my fellow artists design. Today Lisa Ferrel's patterns are not just reminders of the great work of our first responders and military but also a fun way for our little ones to learn about the real life heroes all around us. As the wife of a veteran, I think I probably would have made these for my kids if I'd known how to crochet when my kids were little. :) I love these patterns so I will be sharing the lot of them so you can see what a great job Lisa Ferrel has done!
Lisa Ferrel has created sweaters for our military families. I sure wish I had had these sweaters when my little ones were growing up!
Another designer who has created some really sweet items with a fire department theme is Caryn of Caryn's Yarn Basket. VERY sweet photo props! She has developed firefighter photo props for both boys and girls. They are fun and I'm sure any parent, grandparent would love these little sets for the baby in their life. Each of the patterns comes with boot style booties, and a crocheted helmet as well as either pants or a skirt
Last but not at all least is The Stickler Guide by Beth Taylor. She's come up with a very ingenious way to create graph patterns that are simplified so that the graph turns out exactly as it should! I can get behind that idea! The graphs she has designed for the first responders are amazing.
One more piece I want to share with my readers. Today as I watched Trooper Davis funeral live I thought would it not be sweet if there were a crocheted version of the trooper style hat. I did find the State Trooper Hat by SheChellesCrafts which can be made in any color to represent your state or particular service.
Today was a day to be thankful. I hope you will check out these fine artists and thank them for thinking of our first responders because they are a treasure. Thank you to Lisa Ferrel, Caryn, and Beth Taylor for your hard work.
Often times beginner crocheters start out wanting to learn to crochet for very altruistic reasons. They want to make things for charity or give gifts to family. Of course the many adorable ideas for kids or warm clothes for adults make the rounds social networking. How can one resist picking up a hook and some yarn to give it a try? The problem becomes how to make a start? Where can crocheters turn to find help learning the latest style or the newest stitches? Yes, freecrochettutorials.com! It's a perfect place to start because it's organized by the amazing Rhondda Mol of Oombawka Design Crochet and Amy of The Stitchin' Mommy fame. Two names that are trusted by long time crocheters to provide great patterns and accurate information.
I am a professional knitter and crocheter, Rhondda and Amy are professional crochet designers. The world of professional knit and crochet designing has it's challenges but what I see as someone who works as a consumer of patterns is a world where people do, set aside their differences to work together. Free crochet tutorials is evidence, along with the many "link ups or link parties" held on various crocheting blogs. The crocheting world is one with a very refreshing perspective. People actually get along and they work together! Charities are often the benefactors of these collaborations! freecrochettutorials.com is a well laid out website with links to the best tutorials on the web in one place. From stitches to full projects you'll find it all listed and linked so there's no reason to shy away from trying something new! Charity groups will find this site extremely helpful when looking for patterns to share with their members.
Some of the groups I work with are constantly in need of items ranging winter accessories (hats, scarves, mittens), and baby items. It all starts, however, with learning stitches. Freecrochettutorials.com has collected some of the best learning videos and picture tutorials on the web for those looking to learn the art of crochet.
Because I've worked for a long time with national and international charities I've learned a lot of lessons about the kinds of things that are generally useful. I try to stick to the simple designs and solid materials. Remembering that not everyone has access to the same washing and drying facilities I do.
If you already know how to crochet or have a crochet group and want to kick your donations up a notch with something different or add a dimension to your group's giving, check out these pattern collections.
This blog really only scratches the surface but if you want to get lost in the world of crochet for a while, take a look at freecrochettutorials.com. I can pretty much guarantee that you won't want to leave.
Thanks to Rhondda Mol and Amy for all their hard work. Thank you for reading along today!
You all know how much I appreciate designers who design classic and functional pieces that are enjoyable to make, especially when it comes to children's clothes. Bina Alper creates designs that fill that need for color, functionality and FUN! Best yet? She designs for both knitters and crocheters so none of us have to feel left out. I'm a little more than jazzed, can you tell?
A good friend of mine is having her fourth baby. Even though it is early on in her pregnancy I thought I'd have a look around for some ideas of what I could make, depending on the gender, of course. One of the first things on my list was Bina Alper's, Bella Dress (with matching hat, and slippers of course) It is a sweet dress that would be perfect worn as a sundress or as a little jumper over a long sleeved onesie. As I looked through the nuttypatterns page on Raverly I thought that Bina Alper would be a great designer for my Indy Designer Saturday. Bina Alper has been knitting and crocheting for years, (since she was a very little girl) and has a passion for sharing designs with bright colors and rich texture.
Many designers have moved on to Winter type patterns but honestly parents with young children are still looking at the Summer months because children don't time growth spurts to coincide with fashion week. LOL . In that spirit there are some great designs by Bina Alper would be perfect fashions for little girls to wear in what is left of the summer months.
I like winter accessories as much as the next person. Especially because I live in the Northern Adirondack Region of New York State. We have variable weather in the Winter so it's best to be prepared. This is something that Bina Alper has taken being prepared to a whole new level (of adorable that is)! She's created some hoods and hats that are really clever. Nothing derivative here! Most are completely unisex because they are animal themed hoods or ski type hats. :)
Bina Alper has created some adorable slippers and slipper/boots for kids and adults alike. I like her use of color and unique stitch combinations. She designed an array of shapes of boot or slipper to choose from on her Ravelry and Etsy page. Everything from baby sandals to mid-calf slipper boots .
Before we loose electrical power due to storms again, I'd better sign off. I surely hope you will check out nuttypatterns on social networking including Facebook where you'll also find me at Out of the Parc Designs. Bina Alper is fabulous designer and I want to thank her for all her very hard work in preparing the patterns we find on her Etsy and Ravelry page.
In my blog of June 11, 2017 I talked about Adam West who passed June 9, 2017. Adam West, best known for his role as Batman from 1966-1968 was a well known actor and philanthropist. Also starring in that same series was Burt Ward, a young actor who played the role of Robin (though he has done many things in the world of entertainment since then) However, Burt Ward had a bigger mission in mind... he wanted to rescue very large breed dogs so he, along with his lovely wife Tracy Posner Ward, created Gentle Giants Rescue for expressly for large breed dogs. Which dovetails nicely in with the work of Amy Brewer of Amy B. Stitched and a bit of a special collection for pets and their people.
Those of us who are owned by rescue animals, (I say that jokingly but truly my dog Ginger Pye does seem own me as my companion, drama diva, and cardiac alert dog), know that the work of Dog Rescues worldwide is vital. Maintaining the species, to maintaining a safe environment for both dogs and humans, and to saving dogs from horrible lives in unsuitable living conditions, physical abuse, or worse. I believe strongly in rescuing pets from abuse and caring for them as best we can. When I found out Burt Ward and his wife were founders of Gentle Giants Rescue , of California, I thought it would be an appropriate subject for today. Burt Ward and his wife are both well known in the hollywood circles and Tracy has fame of her own but instead of attending every red carpet affair they choose to spend their time with the dogs they rescue. 45 different breeds of dog are rescued, nursed back to health, housed, fed, and trained they are treated like royalty. Believe me when you see the pictures you won't believe how good these dogs have it at Gentle Giants Rescue.
Most of us never know what goes into rescuing a large breed dog. However, Burt, Tracy, and their family work tirelessly and chronicle everything they do so that we can peek behind the curtain. Gentle Giants Rescue not only cares for the physical surroundings they have developed a unique dog food especially for their extra large friends. Gentle Giants Dog food is specially formulated to give a dog a better chance at a long life. Burt and Tracy share some of the ways you can extend the life of your Giant friend. It is truly a legacy of service Burt and Tracy have developed. This state of the art facility run by Burt and Tracy allows dogs to live in a fully communal space with no issues. There are no cages, no bars, not even separate bowls! Check it out! There are pictures of everything so that any potential adopting families can see how the dogs are trained. The legacy Burt and Tracy Ward are building is stirring. Some of us who depend on our dogs to protect us during life threatening health events see this kind of commitment to rescued dogs and we are beyond grateful.
Gentle Giants is a not for profit organization that depends on people like us to help them keep their good work going forward! How can you help? www.gentlegiantsrescue.com/donations.htm#donation-form follow the link and make a financial donation. These folks go all over the world to rescue animals. They don't just jump in the batwing to go rescue. There are a lot of logistics to work out. If you can help, please do.
Just as Burt and Tracy Ward are heroes to many dogs and their humans, I've come to know a pretty special lady who is also a hero in her own right having served in the US military. Amy Brewer of Amy B. Stitched is a person I consider a friend even though we've never met in person. She's a dynamic, fun, creative, gentle, generous person who has offered an entire line of crocheted accessory patterns JUST for our pets with paws :) . Amy entitled her collection "Meandering Paws" . Significantly, thanks to the additional hard work of Doug Speeckaert there is a blanket in the collection to commemorate our four footed friends who have crossed the rainbow bridge. It is always sad when one of our pets pass on. Doug worked with Amy Brewer in collaboration to bring this blanket to the public. The collection IS the brainchild of Amy Brewer and though it is free to use, it is under copyright. As Doug has so wonderfully demonstrated you give credit where credit is due! If you use the pattern please credit Amy Brewer.
The Meandering Paws projects are among my favorite. As I said I made the scarf several times and it really does work up beautifully!
I do hope today, during this weekend of family and fun you will remember that dogs and cats are part of the family too and to keep fireworks away from them. The Fourth Of July can mean independence for everyone, and their pets :) I wish to thank Amy Brewer and Doug Speeckaert for their contribution to today's blog and also I wish to give a HUGE thank you to Burt and Tracy Ward for Gentle Giants Rescue. There are so many dogs who need love... the bigger they are the more love you can share right? Thank you to my regular readers!
First allow me to apologize for missing last week's Charity Idea OUTpost. Our internet was slower than molasses in January. I could not get this blog to update at all. That being said let us hope for a better result this weekend because I have another fabulous, amazing, superb, Indy Designer to share with you this weekend and my Charity Idea OUTpost practically writes itself! It's going to be a great weekend!
Kate Wagstaff has been crafting "professionally" since she was 14 years old when she began to sell afghans to friends, neighbors and family. Now, 30+ years later the lovely Kate Wagstaff has 141 beautiful designs on ravelry, and a mind boggling array of project patterns for sale on Etsy, and her own blog . I believe the tagline to Kate Wagstaff's blog says it all "Enriching lives through hook and yarn" which is a sentiment I share. She has been given a talent which she chooses to use to give others handmade love. That's why I chose Crafting Friends as my blog subject for today!
Kate Wagstaff obviously shares my love for crocheting for children and infants. I really have never been one for crocheting designs for children that are garish or overly complex. In my opinion Kate Wagstaff creates clothes for kids that are classic and modern but also leave enough room for individual creativity. Looking on Ravelry I've seen how people have adapted the children's designs from Crafting Friends. So adorable. Kate Wagstaff makes sure to test all of her patterns and offers pattern support. I am super excited to share just few of Kate Wagstaff's patterns.
If you aren't sure what to make for that new baby in the family or a shower gift for a friend Kate Wagstaff has designed some beautiful blankets! These can always be put away for use when a baby is older or when you are out and about. Crocheted blankets make a good quick cover for a stroller or a car seat, they allow air to move through and yet protect the baby from heat or cold. (of course always check the baby!!!)
Kate Wagstaff has designed a lovely and varied collection of home decor patterns for those of us who love to give handmade as gifts. Weddings, housewarmings, re-decorating a home, or off to college, all good reasons to grab your yarn and a hook to create a beautiful gift!
Kate Wagstaff has also designed projects for American Girl Dolls. Now by now you all know my daughter does a brisk business selling doll fashions so I thought I'd share some super cute fashions for AG dolls on T.k.'s behalf.
I feel like I've only scratched the surface of what Kay Wagstaff has designed at Crafting Friends Designs. I hope you'll take the time to check out the site. There really is something for nearly everyone. Kate Wagstaff has done a beautiful job. Is she all over Social Networking? Yes :) You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!
Click the button to see my portfolio!
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.