Good Afternoon! This is TK with today's combination Indy Designer and Charity Idea Outpost. Put your hands together for Maz Kowk!
Maz is a crochet designer who has made wonderful designs for adults, children, and toys. You can find patterns to suit every taste and budget. She even has some Sewing patterns! The Sewing patterns are very nice because they are two pieces for the most part: front and back. Her crochet designs are cute and fashionable as well as versatile. For the most part they are made up of simple stitches and have simple construction, so they are perfect for beginning to intermediate crocheters.
Maz has designed a load of cosy hooded sweaters for women, my favorite is this one. Doesn't that look nice and warm? Not to mention elegant.
Also, Maz has a huge variety of tunics, perfect for wearing with jeans, skinny jeans, and leggings. This one is perfect for beating the winter chill, while this one is perfect for those coolish summer and fall days paired with some leggings, or even some Bermudas.
Maz has a lot of great hats too! My mom fell in love with the Berry Swirl set. She looks so fabulous in this style of hat, it's no surprise! I happen to like slouchy hats, and the Bright Like a Button hat certainly fits the bill.
The last item I want to discuss is Maz's toys. As everyone is aware, I love making toys, and I've been wanting to make them forever. This Little Lion is ready to be king of the forest! And here's everyone's favorite frowny feline in all her grumpy glory. Next, we have some beautiful doll dresses, First we have this top and skirt set for skinny fashion dolls like the popular Monster High and Ever After High dolls, I would make everything longer, however. But, here's a true classic, Barbie, in a simply gorgeous ballgown. The neckline really reminds me of the classic movie stars like Audrey Hepburn and Lucille Ball.
Now, what does this have to do with charity? In my little slice of the planet, it gets cold and fast, but far too many of the people in this town have to decide whether to buy food or outfit themselves or their kids for winter. Fortunately, there are people out there to meet that need. Fun and fashionable hats make that just a bit easier.
What can toys be used for in charity? I'm glad you asked. Of course, kids are happy to have the essentials, food and warm clothes, but children also need the stability of something that is their very own. A friend to carry with them when the times get rough. That's where the toys come in. As someone who was a child in crisis, you don't know what some of the toys that were given to me mean to me. Toys are also helpful in therapy from these times. Where can you donate toys you make or buy? Toys that you make would be loved in family shelters, battered women's shelters, as many of these places allow children, the shoeboxes of Operation Christmas Child and hometown toy drives. The same goes for hats and scarves, all of these essentials are so meaningful to those who give and those who receive!
DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL THIS BLOG POST WILL BE REMOVED. THE DESIGNER SAID HER ITEMS WERE FOR SALE BUT THEY ARE NOT. Not on Etsy, not on Ravelry, Not on Dawanda, as promised.
Good Afternoon I am here with my daughter T.k. Wilson of Laterose Doll Clothes and Doll repair. We're going to talk about stuffed toys for charity.
First a little background. Once upon a time there was a precocious little girl who, though allergic to strawberries, decided to ingest her brother's antibiotic medicine containing REAL strawberry flavor. Though left on the top shelf of the refrigerator and capped with a very solid childproof cap, she managed to open and drink. Unlike Alice In Wonderland, all that occurred was an ambulance ride to the hospital for a dose of liquid charcoal. Enter W.A.V.E.S ambulance crew in Fairmount NY. These great folks had a supply of hand sewn bears to give out to children who, like my daughter, needed a ride into the hospital. To this day, T.k. has the bear given to her on that day. Thus was born the idea to give toys to children who are in vulnerable situations.
I asked T.k. to assist me today because, though I have made toys for children in the past, she has a real passion for this outreach. Together we are going to share some places you can donate your handmade stuffed toys for use by ambulance companies and links to patterns. You can always check with your local hospital about donating toys.
Me: T.k. how long have you been making toys for children?
T.k.: About 5 years.
Me: How long have you been crocheting?
T.k.: On and off since I was 12 years old. My first project was a blanket for my Eliza Thornberry doll.
Me: So your first project was for a toy?
T.k.: Haha Yes, I guess it was.
Me: Why did you start creating toys for other kids in the first place?
T.k.: I was working as a volunteer with children at a local school and making toys just looked interesting as a hobby.
Me: Why did you start making toys for donation?
T.k.: I had made a lot of simple stuffed dolls but did not know what I was going to do with them. So I asked the principle of the school where I was volunteering what I should do with them and she pointed me in the direction of the local hospital.
Me: How long did you make toys for the hospital.
T.k.: Three or four years.
Me: I know you still have the bear you got on your first ambulance ride. Do you think that influenced your decision to help kids in the hospital?
Me: Lets talk about designs for a few minutes. When it comes to making toys for children in hospital or in other vulnerable situations what would you say is the first rule of thumb.
T.k. Simple toys with as few pieces as possible.
Me: It may seem like an obvious question but why?
T.k.: Simple toys are better because they are safer for the children. For instance the eyes on handmade toys for donation should be painted on with non-toxic, child safe, fabric paint or purchase the safety eyes with the washer. Fewer parts mean less chance of the toys being pulled apart.
Me: How to you choose a pattern from the internet or what is your favorite type of toy to design?
T.k.: I have a go to internet favorite! Ravelry! I mix and match elements from patterns I have purchased to make my own toy designs.
Me: So far what is your favorite toy to send to hospitals or ambulance companies?
T.k.: Kokeshi dolls.
Me: Okay What?
Tk.: Kokeshi dolls are little dolls of Japanese origin that are made in 2 simple shapes; A head, and a body.
Me: There have to be a lot of dolls that are made that way why Kokeshis?
T.k.: VERY customizable. The hair is attached to the head so you can make any color skin or clothing color. They are normally 3 inches tall. That size is perfect for travel or to hold in the hand.
Me: They sound adorable. You do put a lot of thought into these things don't you? Because they are handmade with acrylic yarn they are surface washable correct? Toys need to be cleaned to prevent the spread of germs right?
T.k.: In my opinion they should always be surface washable especially in the hospital setting. If your child is sensitive to cleansers I recommend using a steam cleaning using the steam setting on the clothes iron. Simply hold the iron above the toy and shoot steam at them. My mom used to put our toys in a bag then place them in the freezer which also kills germs.
Me: What do you make for boys?
T.k. My favorites are bears and birds. Traditional bears, and brightly colored birds.
Me: Now that you have your own business making doll clothes and repairing dolls have you stopped making toys? College takes up a lot of time too.
T.k.: No not at all. I still make them for donation to groups like Operation Christmas Child and the local group called Holiday Helpers when I have time.
Me: Lets talk places to donate toys for ambulance crews:
T.k.: First you can call your local ambulance company, or the police to see if the toys are even needed or wanted. Sometimes they won't have the space to carry them in their unit. Or Check out these 2 great organizations!
We Care Bears: An official partner with American Greetings Entertainment! Very cool.
Me: That is very cool!
T.k.: Also S.A.F.E which is Stuffed Animals for Emergencies Inc.
Me: S.A.F.E has chapters in various parts of America right?
T.k.: Correct. There's really something for everyone with S.A.F.E so please check out their link and their facebook page.
Me: Would you be willing to share some of your favorite links with the readers today?
Me: Ok over to you!
I'll say goodbye and leave the rest to T.k.. We'd love it if you would consider checking out the links we shared with you today.
First off, for my sewing friends we have Dolly Donations free and easy doll pattern. It turns out super cute and comes in boy and girl options.
Next we have the Black Apple Dolls also cute and easy!
From the Web Archive we have this easy Bunny Rabbit. Two pieces, what could be easier?
Finally, we have fleece teddies also just two pieces.
Crochet patterns Include the wonderful All About Ami pattern for a Dragon. One of the best and suitable for boys and girls!
Finally, we have my favorite Kokeshi pattern from HappyBerry Crochet, yes, it is in US terms.
I hope you enjoyed this look into crochet toys for charity!
It's I love YARN DAY sponsored by the Craft Yarn Council of America. For today's blog I thought I'd share a crochet designer who has been a fiber fan since she was a girl of 6; Maria Bittner of Pattern Paradise. For those of us who really do love our yarnie world, Pattern Paradise is an oasis of happiness :) Help me celebrate the love of yarn!
Of course there has been ooodles written about Pattern Paradise but on such a celebratory day as this, one had to write about a designer who has contributed a great deal to the fiber arts world! Maria Bittner has worked hard to elevate the fiber arts, crochet specifically. It's thanks to people like Maria Bittner that crochet has made a revival and is now showing up on runways all over the world. She has some fashion forward patterns in her collection which you can find both on her website Pattern Paradise and on Ravelry.
Because there is so much to write about Maria Bittner's work I have decided, for the sake of brevity, to write about just a few pattern types. Otherwise this blog post could easily be longer than the United States Constitution. Christmas is coming so I thought Maria Bittner's Christmas patterns would be an appropriate topic, also her children's patterns, patterns for the home and some of my fav. Pattern Paradise fashion pieces. I will try to be brief.
The Christmas season is fun for children and a great time to take those adorable family pictures. Well Pattern Paradise has the most adorable costume pattern for your little girl size newborn to 4T. "Missy Claus would make Mrs. Claus very proud indeed. There are two pattern sets for this costume. First a hat and apron. Adorable all by themselves but they can also be paired with the Missy Claus skirt and headband. If your little one doesn't care for the hat the headband is a picture perfect solution. Maria Bittner writes all about her sweet patterns here. I'm always looking for new ways to include the family in my projects so the Flurries hat is ideal! The hat pattern written in sizes Newborn to Adult, everyone could get into the holiday spirit for those great picture postcards :) Best of all? Its a FREE pattern right on the Pattern Paradise blog here. Christmas stockings are a great gift and can follow a child right through to adulthood. Maria Bittner created this fun stocking pattern that can be made with a endless color variety. She includes detailed instructions with this pattern so that is always good for those of us who might not be familiar with all the techniques used. Find the links to the pattern listed on this page. If you want to see all of Pattern Paradise holiday patterns check the Ravelry page.
Pattern Paradise has so many adorable patterns written for children and babies. Most of my regular readers know that my real passion is crocheting and knitting for kids. I love seeing their little faces light up. That's the BEST feeling. On her Ravelry page Maria Bittner offers the Snow Friends pattern. It's the most adorable snowman mittens and matching scarf entitled Snow-Friends. Baby Layettes are a beautiful gift and keepsake. I enjoy making them for friends and on commission for Out of the Parc Designs. The Jasmine set is my favorite Pattern Paradise Layette. It's SO sweet. I love the delicate shells. It would be a wonderful gift. Find the information on where to purchase this set here. Of course blankets are high on my list of great things to make for kids. I'm currently working on another personalized blanket. I have a few favorite blanket patterns designed by Maria Bittner. Including the Dragonfly Chevron blanket which is FREE on the Pattern Paradise website. I think it could be made unisex without a problem. Just use a darker color for a baby boy. (there is a matching Dragonfly Jacket for newborn to 12 months) The Coastal Splendor pattern is sold in various sizes and can be made very neutral. Its beautiful!
Maria Bittner has a some fantastic patterns for the home. On Ravelry you can find the "Bath Set eBook". It includes patterns for scrubbies, a soap cozy, and washcloths. Perfect for a birthday gift or even a package topper for Christmas. Also on Ravelry is an equally useful set, The Oven Mitt and Dishcloth Kitchen Set is perfect for those newlyweds or people relocating to a new home. For those who enjoy the soothing feel of creating a doily Pattern Paradise offers the Clea Doily.
Now for my fav. fashion accessories from Pattern Paradise. Okay this is probably the hardest part of this blog post. Choosing just a couple fashion pieces. Maria Bittner has created so many great pieces! First and foremost the Blue Ridge Wrap is gorgeous. Its for sure on my list of things to make... maybe even for myself :) Amazingly this pattern is FREE! Another great pattern for Caron Cakes Yarn. I do really like the design of the slouchy hats on Pattern Paradise. Very cool and different from those I've seen elsewhere. The Waves of Warmth Slouch is a very pretty pattern and would look great in self-striping yarn. Its a free pattern! Add to it the Waves of Warmth cowl which is also a FREE pattern. While I could write another 3 pages about the stunning patterns from Pattern Paradise, I'm going to close with the elegant Evening Shimmer Wrap. It's the perfect accessory for that evening out light and airy so that it doesn't detract from that perfect dress!
So Thank YOU Maria Bittner for being a great subject for today's I love YARN DAY subject! I hope you all enjoyed reading about Pattern Paradise as much as I enjoyed writing about this great site. Also check out Pattern Paradise on Facebook!
It was 45 degrees when I woke up today. My son said he wore his wool hat while walking the dog. It's time to break out the hats here in Northern NY. On a serious note, we have to consider that those in the path of Hurricane Matthew especially babies will need hats to keep warm. This is why I chose hats for today's theme.
I learned a long time ago that a handmade hat, pair of mittens, scarf, or blanket can make a world of difference to someone who is in need or is alone with no one to care for them. I also learned that my skills (and in the beginning they were pretty pathetic) were necessary. I'd never really felt necessary before. That's why I started following Emily's Hats for Hope Initiative and why 5 of us got together to start a spin off group as many of you already know. With the cool weather now bearing down and Hurricane Matthew causing havoc, I thought it was time to really focus on hats. Did you know wearing a hat is actually healthy? Yep wearing a hat when it's cold out is actually healthy for you according to a Harvard Health Letter posted here. Of course preventing hypothermia is important... Hypothermia (your body losing heat faster than it can create heat) can happen in many different environments, it needn't be snowing! According to the Mayo Clinic hats are one way to prevent hypothermia. A couple years ago a professor kind of de-bunked that whole idea that adults lose 50% of their body heat through their heads. However children are a different matter according to this article in kindercare.com.
Now that we have the facts, let's consider patterns. Yes, there are probably a million :) but I found some links to hat patterns that are free and for every skill level. Now, I'm a simple person. I think taking a great basic hat and kicking it up a notch by using my own embellishment is a lot of fun. However, in these collections you will no doubt find something for everyone!
Let's start with Knitters. Here are some great collections of knitting patterns that are perfect for charitable giving.
Thank you for taking the time to read the Charity Idea OUTpost today and KEEP ON serving the community! There are song lyrics that read "What the world needs now is love, sweet love. That's the only thing that there's just too little of". While I'm usually not that kind of sentimental on this blog, I will say that right now, those lyrics are true! :)
Today I wanted to share the work of my fellow Weebly blogger and lovely young crochet artist Erangi Udeshika. Her designs are young, fresh, and wonderfully bright. She resides in Sri Lanka with her parents and brother. Her Aunt taught her the art of crochet and as you will see she's quite talented. Her blog is fun to read and full of good information.
I appreciated Erangi Udeshika's blog because it is very warm and welcoming. She also tells her own personal story. At the age of 9 she became ill and must live in a wheelchair. It is very inspirational to see such ingenuity put to good use in her crochet designs and blog. Besides her blog you can find Crochet For You on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter. Nice!
I found Crochet For You on Ravelry. I was looking for an easy crocheted topper for an older baby/toddler. You know I am always on the lookout for sweet baby clothes. The Lil' Darlin Baby Cardigan pattern is written for babies/toddlers 12 months to 24 months. Later Erangi Udeshika wrote a pattern for a 6 months size baby. SO CUTE. The perfect thing for all seasons as it is great for layering to keep the body warm. It works for either a boy or a girl depending on the colors you choose. It is entirely neutral. Another neutral pattern that would make a gorgeous keepsake is the Sugar Candy Stripes Baby Blanket. Crochet For You takes what might be a standard stitch or an ordinary yarn and absolutely turns it into something attractive. Also If you look at the notes on her Ravelry Designer page you'll find that there are helpful tips to create her patterns. I believe there may be a few more Crochet For You patterns available on Ravelry than there are on her website for those interested in taking a look.
Crochet For You has some precious attire for baby/toddler girls. Dresses, skirts, hats, and booties all very sweet. I think 2 of my personal favorites are the Crochet Toddler Size Girl Dress and the Shelly's Crocheted Shells Skirt. I like the Toddler Girls Dress because it is so feminine. It would make a lovely dress for a special occasion! The Crocheted Shells Skirt is so cute. The colors that Erangi Udeshika chose are so delightful. I'd choose the same colors because they look so great. Of course to match these adorable creations one MUST have a hat right? :) Erangi Udeshika designed the Stripy Playful Baby Hat with Loopy Sunflower. Crocheters may have to adjust the hook size to make it large enough to fit older toddlers.
Of course there are beautiful patterns for women. Some of which I plan to add to my own wardrobe. I'll try to keep my favorites to three... though its hard :) First pattern to catch my eye was the Crochet Crystal Drops Cowl. Relaxed enough to wear every day and yet dressy enough to put with a business suit. I like it! Next the Fall-in-Love cowl and scarf. The genius of this pattern is that she wrote the pattern to wear as an infinity cowl or a scarf. It's great to have choices! A newer pattern to the collection, added in September, the Shells N Picots Cowl is designed to look great with self-striping yarn.
There is just one more pattern that I've put on my list to make and it is for the home. The Crocheted Snowman Granny Square and Blanket is fun and will match Winter decor. It would also be very cute for a baby to be born in the Winter. :)
I hope you enjoyed looking over the Crochet For You blog. Please visit Erangi Udeshika's social networking pages. Maybe leave her a note telling her how much you appreciate her free patterns!
Today's Charity Idea OUTpost is indy designer Clare of Wool and Stitch. A knit and crochet designer who has recently opened a new blog! You may know her as Freya Esme on Etsy. Her blog promises "Free Modern Knitting and Crochet Patterns". Both her blog and Etsy store offer a lovely selection of patterns. I'm sure you'll appreciate her offerings. I also wanted to give an update on the Crochet Charity Drive Forum for those of you who have been following along.
I apologize for not being able to post a blog yesterday. Weebly was giving me a bit of a fit. By the time I got into this blog it was very late however, I think that Wool and Stitch is a great place for those of us who knit for charity to find great patterns. :) Clare's Etsy store offers patterns at an amazing price so you don't have to break the bank to buy something that will work well for charitable knit/crocheting.
Wool and Stitch is a sleek, modern looking blog that really catches the eye but reading a little further on the home page one sees that it's all about FREE patterns. So perfect for charity knitters who really do not have the money purchase multiple patterns. While the blog has only been up and running for a couple of months there are several patterns offered for free (30 listed). Of course the Etsy store, named after her daughter, Freya Esme has been open since 2013.
The first pattern on the page was so gorgeous I had to read further. Of course I totally concur with Clare's statement "I love making baby blankets, i love when you can easily remember all the row repeats and you can then just knit anywhere on the go - this makes me very happy!" Its a beautiful blanket, possibly because of its clean lines, or because of the cornflower blue color, I am not sure which I find more attractive. Very unisex, it's this is a great blanket pattern to keep in your "favorites" for later!
Clare offers both knit and crocheted patterns on her blog. Clare's Mini Kids patterns are adorable. Because sweaters/pullovers are extremely popular for charity giving I was thrilled to see that Wool and Stitch offered a wide variety of patterns. The Mini Kids Pocket Sweater is unisex and super cute. An adaptation of a top Clare designed. It's adorable and looks so cozy. Also there is a Granny Stripe Sweater pattern which would be great for little ones. Layering a mock turtleneck under this sweater would make it extra cozy. If it's kids top you are seeking after check out the very sweet Openwork Top.
Clare doesn't stop at kids tops or sweaters there are also several hat patterns Cute little slouch cap that I thought was really sweet and could be unisex depending on colors or accents. The Mini Kids Slouch is one to "Favorite". Another really cute unisex pattern that's perfect for active little ones that don't like the feeling of a "hat", is the Mini Kids Knit Flower Headwarmer. Remove the flower and add an applique of a favorite animal for a boy and you have a great little pattern for play or athletic endeavors.
I am so glad I found Clare's blog online and I do plan to purchase one or two of her patterns from her Etsy store.
In the second part of this blog I just wanted to make a mention of the Crochet Charity Drive Forum. It's a facebook group focusing on scarves this year. Every week a new designer posts a brand new scarf pattern to this Facebook Group page. These patterns offered by gracious designers will remain free for two weeks after the drive ends. The group is currently on week 6. This is a PERFECT group for crocheters who work locally to help underserved in their community or for those who send projects to groups such as Emily's Hats for Hope. Of which Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope is a Spin-off. As one of 5 ladies who began this Spin-off, I'm grateful to the Crochet Charity Drive for the patterns they are giving away FOR charity. It's all about the continuing tradition that is so prevalent among fiber artists for giving to those who are in need.
Thanks to Clare and to ALL the designers in the Crochet Charity Drive Forum for the hard work you do and give away for free. You are all amazing.
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.