What's listed under your "Favorite Hobbies" section on Facebook?
For me it's always the same three, knitting, reading and baking pie. In that order. Sometimes when I sit down to knit I'll also watch whichever show on Netflix I'm binge watching at the time, currently it's Supernatural (for the third time.) It is easy to do this if I have a "no-brainer" pattern and I can listen to the dialogue and look up from my work on occasion to follow the action in the show.
What about that other favorite hobby, reading? I have not found a full proof way to read and knit. Yes, There's audio books and I know a lot of stitchers that use them and love them. Unfortunately, unless they are being narrated by several people, my brain starts to wander. I've been an avid reader all my life. My mother taught me to read before I entered school because after asking her to read everything to me, including billboards, store signs, etc. she just figured it'd be easier if I could read them myself!
And when I read, I don't just read. I interpret the dialogue the way I think the character would sound. I imagine their facial expressions and paint myself a mental picture of their gestures and surroundings. My father is a speed reader. He can read an entire book faster than I can read the book jacket and remember every word he read. This is not me. I'm not a slow reader per say, I just love to take my time reading the book and making it come to life. I'm that person who always reads the book, watches the movie and says "the book was better." Don't get me wrong, I think movie directors, writers and producers have done amazing things with book to bigscreen movies, but there's just something magical about reading a book and be able to get lost in it.
With all the cool new technology it is easy as pie to digitally download a book on our phones, iPads or Kindle readers, but I still love the smell and feel of a well loved paperback or the crinkly sound of a hardcover book being opened for the first time. I don't judge though. However you read your book is your preference and I'm just glad to see people still enjoy the written word.
So why all this yammering on about books on a knitting blog?? Well, to incorporate my second love with my first, I've decided to start an online book club! That's right! The first blog of the month will be all about books. I will give a review of the book we just read as well as announce the new book. So to start this off right I've chosen a book recently loaned to me by a good friend. The book is titled "Last Chance Llama Ranch" by Hilary Fields. I will give a warning that this book does have some profanity in it but is also filled with hilarity. I'll be honest and tell you I've already begun reading it but I'm only a few chapters in. If you would like to join in on the fun you can purchase the book on sale right now thru Amazon.
Most of the books I'll be selecting will be fiction books that have some kind of knitting, crochet or yarn theme. If you would like to join us you can subscribe to the blog for email updates when I post a new blog. I've also created a Facebook Group for everyone to post and join in the discussions about the book. There is no pressure to read every book we cover nor do you have to rush to finish it in a month. There may be times I don't even finish the book in a month! Life gets crazy sometimes and we all have things come up or important yarn projects to finish so don't get down if you don't finish in time or decide not to read the current book. If you do decide to read a different book and it turns out to be one of the greatest books you've ever read please feel free to let me know! I will always be open to suggestions!
Please help us get the word out by subscribing to the Blog, sharing our Facebook Page, or by following us on Instagram. Invite you friends, the more the merrier!
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We all love hand knitting/crocheting a gift for a loved one, but have you ever thought of knitting for charity? There are several nonprofit groups that either except items or are built around making items for charitable reasons. It feels good to donate and can be fun too! Find a group that is passionate about what you are passionate about or find a charity in which you could donate in honor of someone close. You can think locally, or worldwide. Pick a one or two or 12! You could join a group that knits for a particular charity or start one of you own. Just remember to use new yarn, unless the charity is okay with used, and don't smoke around your items. If possible try to keeps pets from them as well. Most of all, keep a smile on your face as you work on your items and send them on with love.
The following are a few examples of organizations. This is a very small list and there are so many more out there. If you don't find one here you'd like to donate to, please let me know and we can find something for you.
When a woman undergoes a mastectomy they have an option of wearing a heavy, sweaty prosthetic or they can request a soft, lightweight knitted knocker. Often made with cotton yarn these little knitted beauties take the shape and feel of a natural breast and don't carry the hefty price tag prosthetics often do.
On their website you can find local groups, or how to start your own group, as well as patterns for both knit and crochet. You can also request a pair if you are in need of one.
This nonprofit group out of Kansas provides hospitals with knit/crochet cradles to hold babies born into heaven in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. They also provide support to the families during bereavement and grieving. The project helps to raise awareness of pregnancy loss.
You can sign up on their website to become a volunteer and receive the official patterns and info on local groups.
Halos of Hope
Halos of Hope is only one of many organizations that makes chemo caps for cancer patients. Their website gives great tips, patterns and other information concerning making chemo caps. You can also find other Angel Ambassadors or info on how to become one.
Warm Up America
What started as just joining squares for afghans has now turned in a huge nonprofit reaching out to help tons of thousands of people. The basis of WUA is volunteers knitting or crocheting 7" x 9" squares and then sewing them together to create afghans. These afghans are then donated to other groups such as the American Red Cross, Ronald McDonald House, Hospice and homeless vet shelters. The website lists what their current needs are, how to donate and other various information.
Heart Full of Love, Johnny's Socks
Purchase a kit!
Johnny's socks was started after Rosemary "Chappy" Chapman lost her son to heart disease. With this group you aren't actually donating your item. You are purchasing kits to make socks that will remind you to take care of your heart. The kits are $25 and contain the yarn and pattern as wells as beads, a heart stitch marker all delivered in a zippered pouch. So far they have donated $46,400 to Genesis Heart Institute and are very close to reaching their goal of $50,000. The kits can be purchased through Chappy's Ravelry store.
Knit, Crochet, Pray
I belong to a Prayer Shawl ministry through my church. We make lap blankets, prayer shawls and pocket prayer cloths to donate to anyone who is recovering from an illness, injury, surgery, or loss. We also deliver items to Hospice House when they are in need. If you would like to join our group let me know. You can check with your local church to see if they offer this ministry or would like to start one.
The Snuggles Project
More of an animal person? From blankets, to penguin sweaters, and birdie nests. There are several organizations to donate knitted items for animals. Snuggles Project is one that accepts blankets, and toys for animals in shelters. They have patterns for knitted, crocheted and sewn projects as well as information on how to become a Snuggler.
MCAS New River
If you are local to the Jacksonville, NC area the Red Cross is currently seeking volunteers to rebuild their Crochet Corner. This group does a ton of great work providing afghans to Wounded Warriors, baby blankets for the Naval Hospital, and gifts for military spouses. They are also planning to start on plarn sleeping mats for veterans, and military families. If you are interested in joining and/or leading this group please contact the lovely Debra Moore as (910) 449-4756. (Base access is required)
Join us in the shop next month for a "plarn" demo. Plarn is a yarn made from plastic shopping bags. My good friend Sharron has volunteered to teach us how to make plarn and how to crochet it into sleeping mats. These mats are then donated to our local homeless shelters and other various groups. If you are interested in attending please let me know and I will contact you with more information.
This is only a few of the great groups out there helping others in need. I hope I have inspired you to start knitting for charity, even if its just part time or one or two items a year. Every bit helps.
"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention."
No calorie counting required!
Have you ever gone yarn shopping and been overwhelmed by all the different types of fiber? Wool, alpaca, viscose, rayon, acrylic...the list goes on and on.
This week I'm going to give you a taste of what each of those fibers has to offer. That way you can vary your yarn diet according to your stitching needs!
Wool is measured by microns aka prickle factor. Different wool fibers have different diameters and some have larger or small scales that make up each individual fiber. This pertains to all wool, not just from sheep. The smaller the micron count (diameter of the fiber shaft) the softer or less prickly the wool is. Human hair has a micron count between 40-80. Typically, anything over 30 microns can be quite prickly. Keep this in mind as we discuss the different types of wool.
Made from synthetic polymers
When picking which fiber you want to work with, think about what you are making, who or what it is being made for and what your budget is. You wouldn't want to select a $20 ball of silk/bamboo to make kitchen washcloths with. Despite the fact that bamboo is so absorbent, you're probably not looking to spend $10 a wash cloth. Opt for a less expensive cotton. Baby items work well done in a superwash merino wool where as heavy aran sweaters can be warm and durable in a great wool/alpaca blend. Linen blends are great for lightweight woman's wear that only needs to be hand washed every few wears. As tempting as it may be run in the yarn store and grab the first ball of string that catches your eye, it is important to check the labels and make sure it is right for your pattern.
I hope I've quenched your thirst for yarn knowledge and feed your fiber appetite!
Knitter, Crocheter, Small Business Owner, Teacher, Mom.