Tabitha's Mountain Rhapsody Family Artist's Byway
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Good afternoon and Happy New Year readers! T.K. here to tell you all about a great group of ladies making dreams come true for little girls. Ladies and gentlemen: The Pixie Faire Company!
Not long ago, I was searching for simple free patterns for the popular 18 inch dolls. Now these aren't hard to find, but I ran across a particular company, a collective of designers going under the name Pixie Faire. Think of Pixie Faire as like Ravelry for doll clothes. So I found their free patterns section and discovered that not only did they have clothes for the 18 inch dolls, but they had patterns for bedding, shoes, and all sorts of other garments for them. AND not just the 18 inch dolls, they also had baby dolls, other large fashion dolls, Barbie, Monster High, Ever After High, and many other lesser known dolls.
Not everything is free, the free patterns are really just a small section of the website, but it's just a taste of the great stuff they offer that brings you back for more. The patterns are inexpensive and come as an instant download, like Ravelry, you can also sign up for their free newsletter, where they give away a new pattern every week. Pixie Faire also sells doll sized notions, shoe soles, and even cloth kits, all for a fraction of the cost of the clothes from primium companies like American Girl. In addition, Pixie Faire is an exlusive outlet for several doll brands such as Britian's A Girl for All Time and the Hearts for Hearts Girls, a collection where a portion of the proceeds goes to support World Vision. So pretty!
Now on to the good stuff, Patterns! This first one isn't free, but I love it anyway. The Bohemian Beauty Maxi dress fits both standard Ever After High and Monster High dolls. I haven't made it yet, but I am really looking forward to it.
For crocheters, we have this trendy slouchy cap. Perfect for the fashion concious doll, and best of all, it's free!
Next we have a free pattern for making a t shirt for 18 inch dolls, which is made in four peices, but you could make it sleeveless and then you could do three peices!
Here's a swimsuit for 18 inch dolls. A few strech fabric remnants, and ba-da-bing, a swimsuit you don't need to give a kidney for.
Then we have the more unique dolls. We have free t-shirts for the Girl for All Time and Hearts for Hearts Girls,
and of course Barbie!
Pixie Faire also offers cool free crafts like these DIY doll books. So awesome! I'm making some for my photo prop collection this afternoon. Great for those winter break bordom busters. You can even get patterns for girl and doll dresses from the ladies at Pixie Faire!
If you knit, crochet, or sew, please give Pixie Faire a look-see, you won't be disappointed!
Those of us who craft for charity often find ourselves needing to be themed patterns for blankets, wash/face cloths, or pillows. I covered face/washcloths in this blog by sharing the work of my friend at Down Cloverlaine. Today I want to introduce my readers to Kari Philpott. A very creative crochet artist/designer, a fellow resident of Upstate New York, and a Weebly blogger like myself.
I actually came across Kari Philpott's work on Ravelry.com while looking for a square that was a certain theme. I usually end up stuck in Ravelry-land for hours. Kari's work caught my eye because of the wide variety of charts and themes. Though she crochets a variety of items from baby dresses to fingerless mitts, I was struck by the sheer volume of charted picture afghan squares (though squares have many uses). Kuddly Kreations by Kari uses the bobble or popcorn stitch in her work. However, I believe the charts could also be used in knitting to represent knits and purl stitches if you do not crochet.
Kari Philpott has a facebook page, a Ravelry page, an Etsy page and of course, her blog. However, the reason I felt that her designs were right for the Charity Idea OUTpost was due to the sheer volume of free charts of differing themes. Of course, she has some adorable infant patterns for free like the "Cabled Love Dress" and the "All Tied Up Beanie". When creating blankets, bibs, book covers, lapghans, or washcloths for charity, it can be difficult to find variety. Kari Philpott pretty much covers the gambit! Where to begin?
Those of us who knit or crochet for kids charities know that animals are always a favorite for hospitals, homeless shelters, and for kids in foster care ect. Kari Philpott offers the kind of picture squares that make for a fun blanket with a fun texture. Either knits and purl stitches or popcorn stitches would make for interest for developing minds. Check out these fun and unisex animal squares:
Whale bobble Chart
Snail Bobble Chart
Giraffe Bobble Chart
Hippo Bobble Chart
For girls, there are some cute popcorn patterns by Kari Philpott. For instance:
Princess Carriage Bobble Chart
Flower Bobble Chart
Tiara Bobble Chart
Castle Bobble Chart.
For boys, Kari Philpott has designed some fun popcorn charts that will make boys happy.
Frog Bobble Chart
Dragonfly Bobble Chart
Football Bobble Chart
Baseball Bobble Chart
Sometimes charity fiber artists are asked to donate items to women's shelters, chemotherapy centers, and maternity hospitals. It is always nice to be able to donate something that is feminine and fun! I like these patterns at Kari Philpott's Ravelry page:
Lips Bobble Chart
High Heel Bobble Chart
Heart Bobble Chart
Simple Ribbon Bobble Chart (which can be made in any color)
It is not at all easy to find knitting/crochet patterns suitable for men. However, nursing homes, hospitals, hospice, shelters, and physical rehabilitation centers are places to which we do donate blankets, scarves, and lapghans, especially for men. So Kari Philpott offers these charts for our use:
Cowboy Hat Bobble Chart
Cowboy boot Bobble Chart
Sailboat Bobble Chart
Airplane Bobble Chart
Now of course if you are donating to charities having to do with animal rescue there are so many adorable charts produced by Kari Philpott but be sure to check with the rescue before donating a blanket made with crocheted popcorn stitches. That particular raised stitch might not be appropriate. However, if you are using knits and purl stitches these charts might be perfect. I love how versitile these charts are!
Today I would very much like to thank Kari Philpott for all her work. She has over 1,000 likes on her facebook page. A testament to her popularity! Thank you everyone who has read this blog today. If you visit Kuddly Kreations by Kari please tell her how much you appreciate her work.
I have a confession: I've been putting this blog post off mostly because I'm a chicken. I've seen Jody Pyott's designs probably 100 times. She's a genius. She takes 3 stitches and makes masterpieces. Her skills are pretty astounding. I'm not sure that I could create the same amazing works of art she has made available in pattern form. I'm a little intimidated if I'm honest. However, I decided that writing about her work would be the first step to tackling a piece.
I was first introduced to Jody Pyott on Facebook. Her gorgeous work began making the rounds in those posts people share with something like "Wow have you seen this?" written at the top. Of course I hadn't and immediately felt, no way. I couldn't even begin to touch that skill. The "Sunshine" blanket was the first blanket I saw making a big splash. You can see why. It also touched my heart because it was a song I used to hear sung as a kid. A little sentimental tug at the heart strings. I followed her designs at a bit of a distance because I honestly thought I'd never pick up how she made those cool squares.
It turns out that Jody Pyott makes her designs with 3 stitches. Okay so yea, some of the blankets have a lot of squares but it is reassuring that the blankets do not require a lot of over-the-top skills to create. I think it's marvelous! That being said there's nothing simplistic about the finished product. The themes of her blankets range from baby to anniversary blankets. She has created blankets with Bible verses and blankets designed for family members. Of course you know my favorites are going to be the baby blankets. ;)
When I saw the array of blanket themes listed on Jody Pyott's Etsy shop entitled Color & Shape Design (LLC) I was impressed. Naturally I made a "beeline" for the Baby Blankets. I LOVE the sentiments expressed. Most of the blankets have words written in the bobble stitches (a crochet stitch) along with the pictures. Obviously Jody Pyott is incredibly thoughtful. I could probably write the rest of the blog about these blankets but I have chosen three that I think will give the idea. Three blankets that will be a cherished gift and will also be a privilege to make. At least it would be for me :)
The natural segue might be to discuss the family blankets. I love my family so I think it is lovely that Jody Pyott created blankets especially to give to family. I have 2 sisters and great parents. It's very cool that Jody created blankets for brothers, sisters, moms and dads. I am partial of course to the "Sister" blanket which reads "Sister, you are a mirror shining back at me a world of possibilities, you are loved". Now there's love stitched into a blanket for sure. Try to get through the rest of this blog without crying my eyes out. Goodness!
I am a BIG fan of giving blankets as wedding gifts. I was given several beautiful handmade gifts which I still have in my possession all these years later. The fact that someone would take the time to make a handmade gift for one of the biggest moments in life is a beautiful thing is it not? Jody Pyott's wedding and anniversary blankets experess in words what we feel. It's wonderful. What a great way to celebrate.
Two of my favorites are the "Forever" blanket and the "Loves" blankets these express the whole hearted nature of marriage.
If you are looking for a general gift to give someone as a house warming gift, birthday present, or maybe a gift for someone who needs a handmade hug, check out these beautiful designs available on either Ravelry (join up!... its free) or Etsy
As a person of faith myself I really appreciate Color & Shape Designs Bible blankets. There are not many designers who have created as many blankets that share Scripture. These blankets will bring comfort to people struggling or uplift with a favorite Bible verse. I really appreciate "Be Still" and "Psalm 4:8". Comforting, warm, and uplifting. I do thank Jody Pyott for her commitment to creating these blankets.
A couple of final points. Jody Pyott has several patterns in the French language. For my neighbors to the north in Quebec may find these patterns easier to use. Living almost on the border with Canada, I have learned to keep my eye out for patterns in French. Also Color & Shape Design has a YouTube page where Jody Pyott explains the manner in which she counts stitches and how she joins squares. Lastly you can find 62 of Color & Shape Designs patterns on Ravelry.
I would like to thank Jody Pyott for ALL her work. I can imagine just how much commitment it takes to writing these patterns for sale. They are beautiful and challenging. You can find more of Color & Shape Design on Facebook. I'm going to have to start slowly and work my way up to the more difficult pieces.
Back when the world was younger, the internet came into vogue for the general public. I had a very noisy modem and a "dot matrix" printer... also noisy. But I found there communities of knitters and crocheters using rudamentary chat forums to others to give back to groups like Project Linus. Knitting and crocheting were not at all the national phenomenon that they have become in the last several years. I began my journey into charity crocheting at first, then knitting. It can be a bit overwhelming with so many people looking for your assistance so I am writing this article as a kind of guide to aid you in finding the best fit for your work.
First, believe it or not, there are some "charities" accepting knit or crocheted items that are not really reputable so it is always good to look into the charity before donation. However, there are some well known bloggers, websites, and organizations that offer lists of charities. These are generally nationally known charities that have established good reputations over the years. Let's begin with my favorite: Bev's Country Cottage. Bev's Country Cottage has researched the list of charities she provides and is comfortable recommending them to you. Craftsy is a very well known website offering everything from yarn and patterns to classes on cooking and painting. They have access to an entire array of resources from the Art/Craft world. Ashley Little wrote this article to help people looking to donate their handmade items. There is an entire website devoted to giving handmades entitled "Giving Artfully". Their goal is to connect the fiber artists with charities that need their help. The coolest thing is that they have an entire program for children! It helps children reach their full potential by learning to give to others through crafting. I'm SO glad someone took the time. Two skill specific organizations The Crochet Crowd and Knitting For Charity have extensive lists of charities on their pages. The great people at The Crochet Crowd and Knitting For Charity do their best every day to help create an attitude of giving and gratitude but, they can't choose the right charity for you. That will take research, knowing what motivates you, where you can do the most good, how much time you have to devote, and if you have the skill set necessary. Above all please read the guidelines for each charity carefully and give something that you would be proud to give a friend or family member.
Sometimes people have an overwhelming passion for a certain kind of charity. For instance toymaking, creating shawls, blankets, nests for baby animals, or blankets for homeless animals Finding a charity might be more difficult so here are a few specific charities that may assist you in following your passion.
If you need patterns, check my archives for Indy Designers or Charity Idea OUTpost free patterns. You'll find zillions! I know some debate the validity of giving handmade items to charity however, no one can debate the validity of giving of yourself to others. There is no limit to the amount of lives that can be touched by one person who is kind enough to share of themselves. Thank you in advance.
Generally I do not blog about single fiber companies or their blogs but I am making an exception. Knit Picks is a growing company with a small company feel. Currently owned parent company Crafts Americana, Knit Picks has made a committment to charity.
I am not exactly sure how long ago KnitPicks.com came to my attention. I do know that I ordered some of my first lace weight yarns from them. A sampler of their beautiful luxury yarns... but NOT the luxury price tag. I have ordered high quality yarns, tools, and books from them ever since that first order.
This week I was thinking about what to write about this close to the Christmas/holiday season. Then I recieved a newsletter from Knit Picks in my email. Of course a Eureka! moment. :) Writing about a company that makes gorgeous yarns at an affordable price AND frequently offers great patterns to charity knitters/crocheters. In fact their Blog "Stash" is a great place to go for tutorials, ideas, free patterns, fun personal stories from the Knit Picks staff. I love their sense of humor :)
While I did not have time to personally participate in this campaign, the "Craft to Give Back" (#craft2giveback on Instagram) was a big success! You can read about it here. There was an impressive amount of money donated to both Woolaid and the United Nations Refugee Agency. Not only did Knit Picks donate money but they also created a downloadable ebook "Helping Hands" with patterns for both knitters and crocheters. Knit Picks is not a huge company so when they put together something and give it away for free it is cutting into their bottom line, yet the staff takes great joy in doing so.
The "Stash" archive articles about charity giving go back to 2010. Six years of giving and many more to come, I am sure. The articles in the archives talk about giving back to charities in Vancouver, Washington and through the United Nations, to the world. It's an amazing thing what fiber artists can do when we gather together. We can put aside everything to concentrate on a cause. I've seen it many times over the years.
If you follow Knit Picks at all on Social Media, you are aware of the many things they give away for free to everyone through the media and also in email. I get their newsletters in my email. There is a sign up for a member account (its free) here. At the bottom of every page on the website is a sign up for their email newsletter. Sometimes teaching someone the art of knitting or crocheting gives them a whole new perspective. Some of you, who know my personal story, know that knitting and crocheting helped keep me sane in otherwise crazy situations. The email newsletter is full of ideas and great sale prices. I encourage you to check that out when you have time.
I know first hand that at times learning a new skill is challenging and you might not want to sink a lot of money into it at initially. Knit Picks wants to make sure that folks who want to learn to knit or crochet have some free patterns from which to choose. It's not easy to produce patterns. They need to be written out, photographed, tested, put in download form, then the word goes out to email or social media. They actually do ALL of this while keeping the prices on their yarns reasonable. Amazing.
When people ask me to choose a good project for a beginner knitter/crocheter, I usually say dishcloths. They are small so the stitch count is low, the patterns teach new skills or patterns for skill improvement, and nearly instant gratification :). Knit Picks offers FIVE pages of FREE dishcloth patterns. FIVE! That's a lot of writing, testing, photographing, and time putting the patterns online. Looking for a first project? Why not start with the "Dreamy Spa Cloth" if you are learning to knit or the "Nice-n-Easy" Cloth if you are learning to crochet. (One cool thing that I should really mention is that they have a "Kit Builder" so that you can buy the materials to match the downloaded patterns. Great way to get folks started on their knitting/crocheting journey!) Of course the 5 pages of FREE dishcloth patterns contain patterns for every skill level and many different decor choices. If you put some thought into it, they might even make a good sampler blanket!
People start down their knitting, crocheting, or loom knitting journey for the purpose of giving thoughtful gifts without spending a fortune. I began mine because I needed to find a way to occupy my time while my husband was deployed with the Army. I had two babies only 16 months apart and I really needed something to do that was "for me" yet would help make gift giving easier. My first projects were blanket patterns. Like this "Rainbow Knit Blankie" (also available in the "Helping Hands" ebook) I remember how happy I felt that I'd done something with my own hands! Now that I am a more experienced and have worked with charities for a while I know that things like a "PICC Arm Band" is a really great way to help people who need to have a permanent way for doctors to give fluids or medicines to cover that access port. It keeps the port covered and discreet.
Other FREE patterns include gifts that bring comfort and joy... and this time of year, a little comfort and joy under the tree is always welcome. Certainly appeals go out from all kinds of charities for help but we all know that a lovely handmade gift to an elderly neighbor or a foster child is a beautiful way to keep the joy alive in your own neighborhood. This "Knit Beginner Blanket" is a fun take a long project that would be lovely to give as a gift. Easy enough for the beginner, super quick for the experienced knitter. Perfect! For women and girls there is the "Hyde Park Hat" is crocheted and super cute! (to match there is the "Simple Shells Cowl" also FREE) There are men, elderly gentlemen and veterans who might appreciate the "Benefaction Crochet Hat".
Be sure to check out the prices on the yarns at Knit Picks. If you want to do a special project for donation or perhaps a fund raiser, Knit Picks is really the place to find excellent quality yarns at fantastic prices. I want to thank this excellent company for all they do for those of us who love fiber arts and want to give back.
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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.