Many of this blog's readers are beyond talented! Cooking, scrapbooking, paper crafts, sewing, weaving, painting, and wood crafts are just a few of the arts that captivate my artistic friends. I'm really honored to have so many gifted people read my blog faithfully. Local charities, especially during the holidays, need a wide range of volunteer help. Knowing this, I thought today would be a good day to share 2 of my favorite crafting and hobby, curated, super sites, The Spruce along with Knit and Crochet Daily.
The Spruce is a site with so many great ideas! The layout is really clean and easy to navigate (I'm not a big fan of graphics heavy pages due to information overload). It is especially handy if you need information in a hurry! (which is usually my problem LOL) The photo layout index to the site just creates a simple way to find what you need on the site without a lot of fuss. Less fuss during the holidays is a very good thing.
With everything from cleaning tips to recipes, and shopping bargains The Spruce is basically a one stop charity bonanza. I know some of my friends take the time to help churches, soup kitchens, and food pantries by decorating or doing repairs. The Spruce makes easy to find great indoor and outdoor decorating ideas that won't break the budget. It's a great way to get the kids involved too!
Our church has a beautiful kitchen that is staffed, and has been cleared by the health department to use for community dinners. I'm no great cook however, with The Spruce on your side you don't need to be a great cook. Cooking with the family to give something special to those less fortunate is a good tradition.
Ultimately charity really does begin at home. If you are stuck for ideas here are some fantastic ideas from The Spruce to help you brighten someone's day. I'm sure that as you read this blog ideas are already bubbling over. Holiday seasons are very difficult for some people, when we lighten a burden, we give the best gift of all.
Now to my favorite, "help I need a pattern NOW" knit and crochet site. WARNING: there is some content on this site that people MIGHT find offensive for which I apologize in advance. It seems one cannot get away from strident political statements these days. I keep politics OUT of my charity work!
Knitting, loom knitting, and crocheting, are the skills I know best (As I've mentioned before the folks at Knit And Crochet Daily have created an easy to navigate website. The eye catching photos are accompanied by both a search box and a category listing so you can find what you want easily. (whew!)
Right now in the Northern Adirondacks the temperature outside Out of the Parc Designs is 28 degrees F... We have already had some bitterly cold nights in the single digits and teens. In our area we have at least 2 groups trying to fight the cold with hats, scarves, and mittens. I found some adorable hooded cowls that serve to keep both the head and neck warm. They are an excellent 2 in one idea.
The chemo treatments save lives but they also have a whole host of other side effects including feeling cold all the time. A lap blanket or shawl can be the perfect thing to donate. During the holidays it must be especially hard to deal with the chemo, and a bright colored blanket and hat might be just what the doctor ordered.
I am not sure how many schools are involved with collecting items for underserved children. Some children fall through the cracks of the social services systems or their parents just can't quite seem to make ends meet. Therefore, the schools will collect coats, and other winter gear for kids to wear. Ask your local schools if they collect winter warm items. Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope Initiative donates to 2 school districts currently. Here are some good patterns for both boys and girls.
Knit And Crochet daily has hundreds of patterns literally, at your fingertips ready for you to make and donate. The curators have done all the work for you, all you have to do is point and click. I do wish to thank the curators for their hard work.
Both The Spruce and Knit and Crochet Daily have so many great ideas to share. Truthfully, when a day has been stressful I often visit The Spruce or Knit and Crochet Daily for inspiration. I thank them for their hard work and encourage everyone to visit their social networking pages. Thanks for reading the blog today.
Today there's a chill in the air, snow on the ground, and a happy song in my heart. Why? Because The Crochet Crowd did an update to free patterns page. Then I discovered a new to me site entitled Brome Fields, a knitting site that offers a unique challenge. Now this blog is only going to touch on the highlights, be sure to check things out for yourself!
The Crochet Crowd is a site I have mentioned more than once on this blog. Recently, however, the Crochet Crowd has updated the free patterns page on their site. It's FABULOUS! (for you knitters out there, check out The Knit Crowd.) They've added patterns to The Crochet Crowd site, organized the patterns into categories (which isn't new) and the page has a clean new look!
This overhaul took a lot of work checking link, adding pictures, tagging projects, and creating "pop up" description boxes. The team has done a great job.
The snow today got me thinking about Christmas. I remember helping to starch snowflake ornaments as a little girl. We used to hang them from the tree. There were some very cute snowflake patterns available at The Crochet Crowd project page. The Snowflakes Pattern Gallery contains projects that would be just as much fun to do with kids at the YMCA or after school programs.
The crochet projects available for the holidays are just about endless. I know it's close on time to the Holidays but some of the projects in the "Crochet Christmas Project Gallery" are hard to resist.
Now for knitters there's a real treat! Brome Fields is a real treat for the eyes AND hands. I know many of you like a challenge for the new year so why not take Jennifer at Brome Fields up on her #100daysofknitstitches challenge. This challenge is part of the wonderful website Jennifer has created. (Add yourself to her email list to keep up with the latest!) If you want to know all about the gracious proprietress of Brome Fields you can find her biographical info here.
I do very much enjoy expanding my lexicon of knitting stitches. I've made sampler blankets with squares of stitches I've been learning. It is loads of fun! At Brome Fields' "100 days of knitting stitches challenge," the patterns are both in written form AND video! For example the "Sand Stitch" is featured on the Brome Fields blog. Here, you can see both the written pattern and a video demonstration of the stitch done by Jennifer. Why not jump into the challenge? You can always create a scarf or blanket for donation!
Jennifer graciously offers free patterns which you can find on her website and on Ravelry. Her patterns are full of texture and a striking simplicity. (She also gives beautiful names to her creations) The free patterns that would be excellent for donation include:
I do buy patterns to use for donation or for gift giving to friends who may need a bit of help or a smile. It helps the artist and it helps others. I think it is a "Win Win". I deeply appreciate all the hard work that goes into creating patterns for sale (which is why I don't sell patterns ;))
Brome Fields has a big variety of patterns that would be perfect to keep on hand for emergency needs like perhaps a house fire or a death in the family. It's deeply personal and a personal gift is often called for in those circumstances. Jennifer has offered ebooks, collections of her patterns, that would be excellent gifts of love.
Jennifer at Brome Fields exemplifies the gentle art of knitting. Her lovely natural looking patterns, the enticing textures, and peaceful names set the perfect mood for charity knitting.
I thank both the team at The Crochet Crowd and the lovely Jennifer at Brome Fields for the amazing work they do to provide patterns for all of us to work up for charity. Love is at the heart of why I started crocheting in the first place. That is why I do so much enjoy writing about giving.
We're back! Yes we took a weekend off to honor our veterans in Great Britain, Canada and the United States. Speaking of Canada, today's indie crochet artist makes her home in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Cyprianne Nolan is mom to two boys and is owned by a cat named Bijou. Her website, Pretty Darn Adorable, is filled with great designs for all ages!
Cyprianne Nolan has been in business since 2009. Originally the Speckled Frog, now Pretty Darn Adorable has offered crocheters a plethora of great designs! All of her designs are useful and many are great fun! You all know I cannot resist adorable kids patterns and of course Cyprianne Nolan has designed fantastically, or fantastical, fabulous kid friendly fashions. Looking for a special gift for the home? Look no further than Pretty Darn Adorable.
Winter is a great time for knitting and crocheting. Especially for kids. To see them all bundled up with in cute hats and scarves is just priceless. Beneath their hats, pink faces from the cold. Too cute for words. Of course Cyprianne Nolan has designs for both genders and all ages. Not to mention, donating to charity has never been easier with unisex patterns from Pretty Darn Adorable. Naturally, it is hard to choose a few examples but I don't want to ruin the fun of exploring this great site for yourself. I will do my best to keep this brief.
Just about every pattern designed by Cyprianne Nolan is written in a variety of sizes. Therefore, grown-up people will not miss out on classic accessories. What could be sweeter? (especially if you still have those last minute gifts!)
If your friends and family have diverse tastes like my friends and family do you'll be glad you visited Pretty Darn Adorable. You'll find that Cyprianne Nolan has created a lovely space with plenty of stunning patterns. If you like her website, become a fan of Cyprianne, check her profile on Ravelry, Etsy and Pinterest. Thank you for your time today and to all those indie designers to add flavor to our crocheting and knitting! :)
It seems like this year, especially the months of October and so far November have FLOWN by! With all the work I have to do and all the orders that have been piling up I have not even thought about gift giving. Then as I was reading my Facebook feed I saw a post from Maria Segares of the Underground Crafter on the Holiday Stashdown Crochet Along. It caught me up short! I thought is it that time of year? Then I thought to myself: "Girl if you are too busy to realize it's nearly Thanksgiving, you are too busy." Allow me a few moments of your time to talk about holiday crocheting... and to give a bit of a mea culpa.
First the mea culpa: By the 8th of November I will have visited with 6 health care professionals and specialists in 3 states in as many weeks. Yes, that's crazy. I'm also trying to keep up with my regular workload, volunteer my time, and take care of my family all while taking time to manage my chronic conditions. (I'm not sick, I have some chronic health issues that sometimes cause me to feel under the weather) I realized I'm not in the holiday spirit and I certainly haven't found enough time to deal with my charity giving. I really enjoy using my talent for charity. It's not a good thing and I intend to remedy my attitude, work on my commission load, and get into some charity projects ASAP. I have no reason not to enjoy this time of year to its fullest!
Maria Segares, is a marvelous crochet artist with a true dedication to both her art, her community, and charity. I find that I'm usually amazed at how tapped in Maria Segares website, Underground Crafter is to all things crafty. She's done some great work for charity and has bundled all her patterns in one place for easy access on Ravelry here: www.ravelry.com/bundles/crochet-for-charity. Every single one of these patterns are great for donations. I know Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope Initiative (NY) would really appreciate any or all of these beautiful patterns.
I am sorry to have missed the start of so many holiday crochet alongs like the CAL Central Holiday Stashdown Crochet Along. It's not too late to join other crocheters on Ravelry and on Facebook for the "Stashdown"! There is a cowl I want to try for sure and I'll try to get that done for our Hats for Hope group. There are 17 total patterns used in the Holiday Stashdown. You can join Maria Segares and all of the other great designers here: www.facebook.com/groups/CALCentral/.
The good news for me is that Jennifer Dickerson of Fiber Flux has not started her Holiday Crochet A Long is coming later this month! Are you interested in a little holiday crochet warm-up both literally and figuratively? Check out last year's Holiday Crochet A Long on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYBhZf2O04I This cute project is perfect for the holiday decor in your home. Just as an F.Y.I, the recently completed Forest Splendor Shawl CAL is stunning! The clues and pattern are available on the Fiber Flux Blog Jump right in! Be sure to let Jennifer Dickerson know you've started one of her CAL's on her twitter feed or Facebook page. Fiber Flux does a lot to help the charity knitters and crocheters.
Kali at The Friendly Red Fox has the cutest Holiday CAL running right now. She has designed a pattern for a holiday moose. The moose easily converts to a Reindeer. The moose/reindeer patterns are free on The Friendly Red Fox website. However, Kali has made these patterns available in an advertisement free format on Ravelry and Etsy for only $3.99! Act quickly there is a bonus elf pattern with purchase. This would make a sweet gift for someone special.
Of course we cannot leave out The Crochet Crowd. Recently "The Crowd" went on one of their famous crochet cruises. During this cruise they wanted to do something that would make a difference. As of last count Mikey and the staff collected 150 blankets to be donated to Project Linus. It's a beautiful thing. Thank you to "The Crowd". The staff at The Crochet Crowd has put together a magazine on ISSUU specifically for holiday charity giving. The Festive Ideas Charity Giving magazine contains 26 pages of ideas. (this is also available for download here: thecrochetcrowd.com/mikey-magazine-festive-ideas-charity-giving-edition/ It's wonderful to feel that I can be a part of this wonderful group on Facebook through the Crochet Crowd Stitch Social.
I hope this blog has given you some ideas for gift and charity giving. I'm aware how easy it is to become jaded about donating however, there are people who would truly appreciate the gifts you give freely from the heart. I want to thank Maria Segares, the designers for the Holiday Stashdown CAL, Kali, Jennifer Dickerson, and the Crochet Crowd for all their super hard work. Thank you all for reminding me what this season is really all about. 💟
I am very excited about today's designer! Heather Anderson has a great sense of style in her crocheting. I know when I've hit on a great designer because in my mind's eye I can see a friend or family member wearing their designs. The first design on The Unraveled Mitten, "The double Waffle Stitch", jumped out as a perfect texture for a man's scarf. I knew right away that I HAD to write about The Unraveled Mitten for today's blog.
In my opinion, the beauty of Heather Anderson's designs is in the texture. For me, a unique texture and a good blend of color is really what gets my juices flowing, especially in Fall months as we prepare for Winter. (The Anderson family lives in a climate not unlike the Northern Adirondacks) Apparently many others feel as I do about Heather Anderson's work as she has 1.8k likes on her Facebook page. That's a lot of people showing her some love!
I love tutorials. Even after all these years of crocheting (WAY over 10 LOL) I still like to see picture tutorials to learn new stitches or crocheting skills. When choosing an indy artist for today's blog I wanted to choose someone who had tutorials on unique stitches available. The really exciting thing is that Heather Anderson created tutorials for the following stitches I'd not seen to the date of this writing!
I am always on the lookout for great patterns to donate to charity. Being the volunteer coordinator of Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope, it stands to reason that I would be looking for warm hat, scarf, cowl patterns. Heather Anderson contributes some great hats to our collection. (printable instructions can be purchased from Ravelry)
Most of my Maker friends are asked at some time or another to make a baby or kids project. The Unraveled Mitten offers a few super cute patterns for babies and kids.
Heather Anderson is well on her way to becoming one of the top crochet artists on the web. I hope you'll check out her designs this afternoon as time allows. Looking to connect with Heather Anderson? You can find all her social networking information and email here: Don't forget to drop Heather a note if you have found her patterns useful or have a question! Thanks to The Unraveled Mitten for the great patterns!
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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.