My little shop resides in a small town called Cedar Point, NC. It is surrounded by several other small towns including Cape Carteret, Emerald Isle, Swansboro, Atlantic Beach and more. I wouldn't say we are rural but we surely aren't big city material either!
It's been awhile since I've posted a blog because last month I was out town, evacuated actually, while Hurricane Florence made her appearance on the east coast. Once I returned two weeks after her departure I was taken back by the mess she had left us in. Familiar roads didn't seem so familiar with their missing trees, debris littered ditches and road signs struggling to stand tall after the abuse sustained from 130+ mph winds. By the time I made it back many of our residents had already returned to their rain soaked homes and missing roofs. It was time we all banded together to help each other out.
It has been over a month since the hurricane hit and I've been nothing short of amazed at how quickly the city has worked for our people, restoring power, clearing roads, and providing assistance. I was blessed that my home only had minimal damage (a few missing shingles and shutter blown off) but a few of my friends and fellow stitchers have suffered more. While doing what I can and watching others help in many ways, it has inspired me to write again about the importance of charity work. By charity work, I don't mean you have to go out and sign on to run fundraisers or 5Ks for huge organizations. I simply mean doing something nice for someone else without the expectation of anything in return. Help an elderly neighbor pick up limbs in her yard. Take a hot meal to someone without electricity. Take a friend to lunch who's house is now unlivable. These little acts of kindness are important. Sometimes they help solve a problem or sometimes they just put a smile on a face.
There are several ways to tie knitting and crochet into charity as well. You offer hats to the homeless on cold winter nights or premie booties to tiny newborns. Locally, we have a group of woman who meet twice a month at Cape Carteret Presbyterian Church to stitch pocket prayer clothes, lapghans, prayer shawls and more for those going through unsettling times. They gather several shawls once a year to donate to Hospice house while donating a dinner to the families there as well. Currently, they are working with the youth of the church, working up scarves that will be on display in the atrium of the church. These scarves will not be for sale but are available for a donation. The donations will be used to fund local mission projects for the youth.
The group has been named Knit, Crochet, Pray and is headed by a wonderful woman (and good friend of mine), Vera Fellows. I sat down with Vera last month to talk with her about how the group came to be and why. Mrs. Fellows had previously been a member of a knitting ministry and decided Cape Carteret Presbyterian needed one. The group she belonged to before was where she had learned to knit and after bringing up the idea to the church's woman's group, others had their interests peaked as well.
Once she knew there was an interest, she put a call out in the church bulletin and had 22 people attend the first meeting back in May of 2015. These were women of all skill level and both knitters and crocheters. Now with roughly 15 active members, the group meets twice a month in the church parlor to stitch, pray and share stories about each other's lives, families and fellowship. Mrs. Fellows feels the group has been very beneficial for both the church and for the members of the group. Each meeting begins with a prayer and a discussion of the groups needs, accomplishments and current projects. They rely on a small budget as well as yarn donations and member purchases. She stressed that it is open to public and anyone can join them. Their only mission is to knit or crochet for charitable purposes. Another important aspect of the group is that all items made by the group are blessed by the church's pastor, Ben Burrows. My favorite part about this blessing is that the children are involved in the blessing. Pastor Ben talks to the children about the ministry and what it does for others, then asks them to lay a hand on the items while they pray over them.
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!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Our love affair with cake has crossed over into the world of yarn. It began when Caron released their Caron Cakes as a 3 month promotion to celebrate their 100th birthday. It was a Michael's exclusive and they didn't last on the shelves long. Some of the colors sold out in a matter of hours! They were round squishy cakes of 80% acrylic, 20% wool. Each cake promised rich, chunky stripes of vibrant color. Due to the huge success of the line, Caron has since released more colors and a couple of new lines to include baby cakes, chunky cakes, cotton cakes and even cupcakes. Since then other companies have also jumped on the yarn cake bandwagon.
Lion Brand Yarn has also come out with their Mandala line of self striping yarn cakes. You can check them out on Amazon here:
Here in the shop we carry Sirdar Snuggly Pattercakes. Right now we have these three color ways.
Designed with babies in mind, Pattercake is a DK weight, 70% acrylic, 30% nylon blend. This means it is durable and best of all, machine washablele and dryable. Each cake features a FREE blanket pattern on the label. With a whopping 545 yards per 150g cake this yarn has tons of potential!
Here it is completed and on display in the shop window. Now, my favorite thing to knit is lace, so patterns that are somewhat monotonous don't hold my attention well. However, this was a great project for catching up on Netflix, riding on the airplane, or hanging out at the pool with the kids. I think it makes a perfect snuggly wrap for a newborn baby but this yarn has potential for so much more. It was an easy yarn to work with and the colors flow into each other just enough to provide a nice strip but without being able to tell where the color change happens. If you're local, stop by the shop and check out the colors or you can order a cake or two here.
Feel free to post pictures of your Pattercake or any yarn cake project on our Facebook or share them on Instagram with the hashtag @afrayedknotnc so we can admire your work!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
It is time to close the books on one of the most successful WWKIP days I've hosted yet. I decided this year to host my event at The Market at Cedar Point. I chose the Market for two reasons. First, Mary and her husband are some of the kindest, most generous people I've met. They work long hours seven days a week to provide our community fresh produce, local organic products, free range meats, fresh milk, eggs and more. They've recently added Chadwick's Seafood to their list of vendors. My crab loving daughter can attest to how awesome their fresh blue crabs are! The second reason for hosting the event there was to tie in a fundraiser for a local charity. Named after Mary's late daughter, Hannah's Hope is the Market's charity organization. Their website describes the charity:
We are hoping to change the lives of today's children by giving them a chance for their future. In today's world, a lot of children can not participate in extra curricular activities due to the financial position of their family's circumstance. Extra Curricular Activities are some of the first cuts from a family's budget when times get tight. We want to help these children begin or continue activities that they are interested in or passionate about. Whether it is fees for Soccer, football, basketball, or horseback riding lessons, ballet classes, guitar lessons or piano lessons, to anything that will enhance or continue to enhance a child's life, Hannah's Hope can help!"
Everything is set and ready to go!
A huge thank you to Jeff for setting up a canopy for us!
World Wide Knit in Public Day isn't just for knitters anymore! Here are two lovely crocheters, Julia and Sharron, showing off their handiwork.
Did I mention WWKIP day fell on the same day as my birthday!?!?!!?? Look at this giant cookie! Thank you to my sweet and thoughtful stitching group The Knotty Ladies!
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.