I am a big believer in the power of prayer shawls to create a sense of peace and well being. The idea behind prayer shawls is that while knitting/crocheting the shawl you pray for the person receiving the shawl. I am also a big believer in prayer as many of the regular readers on this blog will be aware. When I read that Allfreeknitting.com and Allfreecrochet.com were participating in an initiative to collect prayer shawls for Rush University Medical System I knew I needed to spread the word.
I think it was about 16 years ago that the movement to create prayer shawls came to my attention. I remember thinking what an absolutely beautiful way to use my talent for knitting/crocheting and at the same time encourage someone through prayer. If I remember correctly (it was a while ago) The Waiting Room Ministry was my first introduction to the purpose of and patterns for prayer shawls. (the site has since been archived) At the time I really was spending hours of my life in waiting rooms between caring for my kids and trying to discover the source of my own health problems. It seemed appropriate to create something to help others during this time of waiting. There are websites with specific blessings or prayers you can use while creating a prayer shawl.
Allfreeknitting (AFK) and Allfreecrochet's (AFC) Prayer Shawls for Charity drive is bringing attention to the interplay between prayer and craft. That's always a good thing. I find that knitting or crocheting a prayer shawl is a welcome respite from all the negativity around us. Focusing instead on doing good with our hands and our hearts. The bonus being that this is that Red Heart Yarns provides even more incentive! When you donate your shawl you'll be entered into a drawing to win $100 worth of your choice in Red Heart Yarns! (personally I like Red Heart Stripes yarn)
There are requirements for the shawls. Quoting from AFK:
While both AFC and AFK offer pattern suggestions let me make a few of my own.
Knitters if you belong to Ravelry I suggest you go directly to Lois Chicquette's Ravery page. So many great shawls, SO little time! :)
Crocheters have so many great choices in the patterns for bulky weight yarns:
I think this is a great cause and with the added benefit of a drawing! Lets get all those needles and hooks flying! I hope you'll join Allfreeknitting and Allfreecrochet in blessing the patients at Rush University Medical Center! (Remember shawls postmarked by November 15) Please, leave a comment on the AFK or AFC site if you do decide to join in.
This past week I actually took 3 classes on Bluprint/craftsy. Why? Because I needed the overview of these three particular classes as I try to accomplish things for craft sales and comic cons this coming winter. I'm writing this blog, hoping the electricity holds out, to offer an overview of what I learned.
This past weekend the electricity inexplicably evaporated on both Saturday and Sunday. It didn't last long but you know how you have to go about resetting everything from electric heaters to your modem. I'm hoping it doesn't happen again as I am writing this blog. I don't have much time today. I've been offered the chance to test another pattern!
First I want to tell you that I've purchased a year's membership in Bluprint/Craftsy. I wanted to really go in depth with some of the classes. The only way to do that would have been to either buy the class or buy the subscription. There were too many classes that I wanted to take so it was cheaper to buy the year's subscription LOL Second, reached my goals for the first class I took which was, Knit Shawls 14 Ways: Exploring Shape and Design with instructor Laura Nelkin. Now I didn't dive into this class full bore because there was so much to learn. However, the class material downloads are brilliant and since they download right to the computer I can refer to them anytime. I am a visual learner as such I really have to be able to visualize a project in my mind before I get started. If I can't picture the finished product I usually have to give the project a miss. With Laura Nelkin's instruction I began to get a feel for how I could SEE a shape, how the shape is formed, and how the completed project will look. I have a long way to go on my circular and semicircular shapes (Pi and all that). But during the week I was able to put the class concepts into practice. I have some work to do yet, but if you are looking to better understand shaping in knit work, I'd recommend this class.
The second class I took was a class by Edie Eckman entitled Join as You Go Seamless Crochet Techniques. I never really "got" the whole Join as You Go process. I guess because I had never found a pattern that explained it in a way that I understood. With Bluprint/Craftsy I had the ability to stop the recording and rewind anytime so that I could practice my join. (15 second rewind button!) It took me a few tries to understand the flat join with a basic granny square. I did not take the time to do the squares that Edie Eckman used in her materials. I wanted to get right to the joining. I am still working on my triangle motifs. Again, it goes back to visualizing the shaping my my head but I'll get there! Edie Eckman is a great teacher. She explained how to read the JAYgo (join as you go) charts step by step. (makes it so much easier to do crochet charts when someone explains it like that!) Not only does the Join as You Go process save time but it looks so much cleaner than a traditional whipstitch! Loving that! This is a technique that all crocheters should learn just for the simple time saving factor!
With these classes under my belt, plus a third class about which I will write a little later on, I feel I'm becoming a more proficient knitter/crocheter. No matter how experienced a knitter/crocheter/ sewist you are, there's always more to learn!
Did you take a class this past week? Or did you get the email that Bluprint/Craftsy classes are 10 dollars this week? Why not take the opportunity to take a class yourself?! Check out Craftsy.com for more offers.
I know, I know it sounds like a billboard right? LOL However, I have taken classes through Craftsy/Bluprint before and loved every minute of it! When, this past week, I got an email offering the opportunity to take classes free again, I jumped at the chance! It was like getting the proverbial "golden ticket". Here's what I hope to learn this week!
While Craftsy/bluprint are doing this as a promotional, I don't think they realize the boost this gives to crafters. Those of us who like to dig in to our crafts/hobbies are usually pretty "jazzed" about learning new skills. I know I am! I have a friend who is an absolute artist with colorwork. I am more of a knitted and crocheted lace person. I often feel like I have only just scratched the surface of all there is to know about my chosen art. (yes, I consider it an art) Therefore I'm taking 2 classes this week that I hope will help me become much more proficient with my knitting and crocheting.
The first class I'll be taking this week will be Knit Shawls 14 Ways: Exploring Shape and Design. This class is taught by Laura Nelkin. She's a knitwear designer and fellow upstate New Yorker! (The real upstate New York :)) She's energetic and fun from all I've read so I'm looking forward learning new design features from her. Her website, Raverly page, and social networking pages are filled with great ideas. She's endlessly on tour! Check out her blog for the latest... link above. Fourteen shawl shapes in 6 lessons. I may need a bit of luck here but I'm dedicated to learning as much as I can!
My Goals: First, keep up :) Second, get a better handle on creating different shapes in knitting while at the same time keeping those shapes neat. Making unique circular and semicircular shawl shapes for the first time.
The second class I'm taking is in crochet. Join As You Go: Seamless Crochet Techniques. This class is taught by Edie Eckman. She teaches both knitting and crocheting techniques, designs as well as appears on various blogs helping indie designers with entrepreneurship. Most appropriately she's written an ebook entitled Modern Motifs published by LeisureArts. I'm also partial to Crochet One Skein Wonders available from Amazon.com. The class includes learning to create, then join together squares, circles, hexagon, and triangle crocheted motifs with ease. I'm used to making the motifs then joining them with either a whip stitch, single crochet or a slip stitch. Motifs are a FABULOUS way for charity crocheters to use up little bits of yarns and learning to join seamlessly? Total bonus! This week you can learn for FREE!
My goals: Learn to join motifs neatly using the proper tension. I tend to crochet more tightly when learning something new. To learn more about adapting the the "JAYgo" (join as you go) method to many different projects. (scarves, shawls hats ect) I've not got much practice with triangle motifs. I'm interested to see how the JAYgo method works with triangles.
What will you learn this week? Are you going to take on a new skill or even a whole new craft? Will you be broadening your crafting horizons? Why not "join" me this week in learning a fresh concept in art? Thanks for reading today! I'm looking forward to updating you on my progress. You can see all the pics at www.facebook.com/OutoftheParcDesigns/
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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.