Year of Projects, Year 2: Charity washcloths and other updates

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It’s been ages since I posted a Year of Projects update, but I have been working towards several of my goals for this year.

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Scrappy mitred square washcloths.
Scrappy mitered square washcloths.

My latest series of quick projects has been to make mitered square washcloths for the April Crochetlist charity challenge, which will benefit Mothers and Infants Striving for Success.

You may remember that mitered squares (also known as domino knitting) were on my original list of new (to me) knitting things, and I learned the basics for making them from Modular Mix: 12 Knitted Mitered Squares to Mix & Match by Edie Eckman late last year.  Since then, I’ve been exploring Domino Knitting by Vivian Hoxbro and have picked up the formula.

Making these washcloths has been a fun way to use up stash.  I’m currently working on a jumbo square, where I cast on 109 stitches to start.

MISS washcloth 2 in progress

I’ve also made some progress on another new (to me) knitting skill, which is entrelac.  Once again, a book has been my guide.  This time, it’s Entrelac: The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting by Rosemary Drysdale.

Entrelac 3 rowsThis swatch will probably eventually turn into a block for charity, too, and then I will make a new one in cotton for this washcloth challenge.

And I also finished hosting my second crochet-a-long of the year in the Underground Crafter Ravelry group.  (We’re now voting on the pattern for the next CAL, which will start in May.)  I made a striped version of my Pineapples for Everyone Shawl.

Pineapples for Everyone stripes on couch

I’m not sure yet if I can claim that this will be a project for me.  I like it a lot, but it seems to be telling me it might end up as a gift.  Or maybe it’s just because I haven’t taken a picture wearing it, so it doesn’t quite seem mine yet…

For more Year of Projects updates, visit Come Blog-a-long on Ravelry.

Year of Projects, Year 2: New Year, New List

After reviewing my progress in last week’s post, I decided to revise my list for the last half of the Year of Projects.  This may not seem as ambitious as my original list, but for right now it works for me.

I’ve been purposely vague about the exact numbers of projects, etc. because I would like to keep my Year of Projects participation fun and not obligatory!

So without further ado, here’s my new list.

1) Continue to reduce my yarn stash and track my yarn consumption.  I’m an active member of the Surmount the Stash group on Ravelry, but I’m always looking for new ways of tracking my yardage.  I started using KnitMeter yesterday, and I think this will be quite helpful.  I’ve already learned a lot from entering the projects I completed (and didn’t unravel) in 2012!

My goal is to have one less plastic bin of yarn by the end of 2013, so I guess I should be about halfway there by the end of the Year of Projects.  I have no idea what that represents in yardage!

2) Make more projects for myself.  I never seem to focus enough on projects for myself.  I’d like to make myself a pair of crocheted socks and a full winter accessories set (hat, scarf/cowl, and mittens or convertible gloves).  If I could do this by the end of June, I’d be pretty pleased with myself.

3) Learn at least one (hopefully more) new (to me) knitting technique or skill.  Some options I’ve been thinking about are entrelac, efficient use of DPNs (the horror!), circular knitting that starts with a small amount of stitches and increases rather than a large amount of stitches and decreases (like some of the great motifs from Knitting in Circles), and more advanced cast on, bind off, or colorwork methods.

4) Host at least 2 CALs or KALs in my Ravelry group.  I had a lot of fun with the Ripple Mania CAL last year and the Chubby Sheep CAL going on now in the Underground Crafter group.  I’d like to be more organized about how I approach these, though.  Maybe I might even write up a mystery project for a fall CAL…?

5) Donate crocheted (or knitted) projects to charity.  Crochetlist is a Yahoo group that I’ve been involved with on and off for years.  I’ll be hosting the September challenge this year (pet blankets for Bideawee again), and I’d like to donate my own projects to at least one of the other challenges.

Some possible projects are

  • Cotton washcloths and hand towels (a great way to use up some cotton stash) due at the end of April for Mothers and Infants Striving for Success (MISS Inc.), a shelter for women and children.
  • 6″ squares (and I think we all know that I love to make grannies) for Casting Off the Cold  by the beginning of June.  But I’m not sure about the cost of shipping to Canada…

I could also participate in a charity drive through the New York City Crochet Guild or to send some 8″ squares to Sandy for Bridge and Beyond.  And I’m actually hoping to find a charity that accepts crocheted toys.  I know that I can look charities up on Bev’s Charity Links or Lion Brand’s Charity Connection, but if anyone has a suggestion of a US based charity that accepts crocheted toys that don’t need to be made in any particular colors, please let me know!


Right now, this list seems incredibly ambitious since I have two samples due next Friday, another one due at the end of the month, and I’ve just volunteered to help out Crochet Happy with her January CAL.  But I’m sure once February arrives, I’ll be amazed at the small size of my list.  I can always add more things to it if need be!

For more Year of Projects posts, visit Come Blog-a-long on Ravelry.

2012 Year in Review: Charity projects and crafting for a cause

This year, I donated more projects and patterns to charity (and causes) than I have for quite a long time.

I started off 2012 by making 6″ granny squares.  I sent off 40 to Binky Patrol in May as part of the Crochetlist charity challenge.

26 6″ granny squares.

In June, I hosted the charity challenge for Crochetlist on behalf of Bideawee‘s Manhattan Adoption Center.  I created a pattern e-book, 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets, and I donate all of the profits from its sale to animal welfare organizations.  So far, I’ve raised over $180 for Bideawee and the Humane Society of New York!

I also collected about 70 pet blankets for Bideawee.

In August, my very first knitting pattern was published in support of the 2013 Knotty Knitters for Autism calendar.  You can read my interview with Marsha Cunningham, the organizer, here.  (And calendars are still available for sale here.)

In the fall, I made two hats and also donated a scarf to the Hats 4 the Homeless drive hosted by Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

The Studio’s November window was all about crafting for charity.

This year, I made a strong effort to destash.  In addition to using up yarn for new charity projects, this also meant rummaging through my bins for existing projects and yarn to donate.  In September, I donated a bunch of yarn to the Roosevelt Yarnies and Knitters and Crocheters Care.

And in December, I mailed off 6 hats, 5 scarves, and 2 cowls I crocheted in years gone by to the Oyate Teca Project, a charity I found through the Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation.  I also included this wool scarf I made in 2012.

I sent out a very big bear I crocheted in 2008 to a drive for the children of Newtown, CT that I read about on FreshStitches.

I’m not sure why I crocheted an enormous bear (other than because I wanted to try out the pattern at the time), but I’m hopeful that he’s found a better home than squished into a plastic bin in my apartment.

I also packed up 60 (!) granny squares to send to Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge.  These included the charity squares I made as part of the second Year of Projects and a bunch of squares I found hiding in a yarn bin during the summer.  I will mail these out by the end of the week.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up this much charity crafting next year (especially since a many of my donations were actually crocheted years ago), but I’m glad I was able to help out this much in 2012.

I also started a Pinterest board of charities that accept handmade donations, in case you are looking for places to donate.

Do you have a favorite crochet or knit charity or charity project?

FO Friday: The delivery

Back in June, I was the hostess of Crochetlist‘s monthly charity challenge on behalf of Bideawee, an animal welfare organization headquartered in New York.  My main job as hostess was to be enthusiastic about the charity during the month, and to collect pet blankets.  I also organized an ebook of 30 crochet stitch patterns suitable for pet blankets (for sale on Craftsy, Etsy, and Ravelry), which so far has raised about $150 for animal welfare organizations.  (I donate all the profits at the end of each month, so if you are feeling charitable, download a copy 🙂 – this month’s purchases will be donated to the Humane Society of New York.)

Through the kindness of Crochetlist members, I collected almost 70 pet blankets!

For six weeks each summer, I work extended hours four days a week with Fridays off.  Today is the last “summer Friday.”  I knew that if I didn’t deliver the pet blankets today, they might take up semi-permanent residence in my apartment.

This is what 70 pet blankets look like, in case you were wondering.

Of course, about 5 minutes before I left home, it started to rain.

You can sort of see the grayness in the background.

I managed to hail down a cab in spite of the weather and squeeze into it with my bags.

The bags took up two seats.

When I arrived at Bideawee, the rain was still pretty steady.

The staff in the Adoption Center were very friendly, and invited me to hang out with the kittens for a few minutes.

I couldn’t turn down a chance to play with kittens.

The black cat on the right is a superior hunter.  I hope he goes to a home with a supply of bugs to track down.

This little putty let me give some tummy scruffles.
This kitty was very serious and chose to sit in a box for most of my visit.

After hanging out for a little bit, I left, but not before taking some pictures of the mature cats in the front window.

Here’s one eating on a crocheted blanket.

If I didn’t have my very own alpha male at home, I would have brought a few of these putties home with me.  (Ok, I guess I would have had to ask MC, too.  It’s not good to make impulse adoptions!)

Nope, he’s definitely not welcoming in any new putties.

As soon as I left Bideawee, the rain got really bad, with heavy gusts of wind and those painfully strong “drops.”  My umbrella ended up getting destroyed, and I was completely soaked through, wet t-shirt contest style.  I managed to make it to the bus stop without destroying my camera (thank goodness).

But it was totally worth it, since I know these blankets will be used by the animals at the shelter.  I’m very thankful to the 15 group members who donated such lovely crocheted and knit blankets.  If it hadn’t been raining, I would have taken more pictures of the actual blankets so you could see all of the great colors and stitches.

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

Year of Projects 2: I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

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Like U2, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for (in an afghan motif).

I’ve done a lot of swatching this week and I’m not that much closer to choosing a pattern for the bedspread I want to make my mom for her milestone birthday.

At first, I was thinking that a hexagon motif was the way to go.  This is motif 14 from Lace Crochet Best Pattern 238.  It was very hot, so I was crocheting with Parisian Cotton.

Then the weather broke (from 100s to 80s/90s) and I decided to combine my swatching for this blanket with my goal of making 52 granny squares using different patterns.  So I picked out a bunch of square patterns to try.

This is my version of Dream Catcher, by Sherry Welch in Caron Simply Soft scraps.  I don’t think it is quite right for my mom’s bedspread, but I enjoyed making it.

This is my version of Locutus by Penny Davidson.  I started with a really ancient ball of white yarn from my stash that used to belong to my grandmother.  When it ran out, I moved on to some Caron Simply Soft in Buff for the edges.  I had some trouble with the pattern for the fourth round but I actually think this motif (the center of it) is in the running for my mom’s bedspread.

My next square was Crown Jewels by Melinda Miller.  This one is made with two colors of Red Heart Super Saver.  This one is also in the running, but I’m not sure how much my mom likes bobbles.

Then a friendly crocheter on Crochetlist heard of my quest for the perfect motif and pointed me towards the Renaissance Beauty by Carol Alexander.  Although this is available as a free pattern, I actually have it in one of my favorite books in my collection in 100 Afghans to Knit & Crochet.  This motif is much more beautiful than the pictures (of the blanket draped over a person or a chair) would lead you to believe.  My version of this motif probably my top choice right now, especially since it looks so good in a Lion Brand Baby’s First.  The idea of using a bulky yarn for this bedspread is very appealing – not only will it work up much faster, but I think the heavier yarn adds a modern look to a classic motif.

One of the hardest things about this search is that many of the best granny patterns are made with multiple colors.  It is really hard to envision them in one solid color, which is what I have planned for this bedspread.  My version of the Waterlily from 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans by Jan Eaton is an example.  It looks sort of dull and lifeless without the color changes.

The Venetian Star from Margaret Hubert’s The Granny Square Book is another motif that I’m strongly considering.  My version is a few rounds shorter since I ran out of yarn, but I like the look anyway.

I tried two other Jan Eaton blocks, which I think are successful in one color, but not quite what I’m looking for in this bedspread.  This is my version of the Peach Rose

…and this is my version of the Gothic Square.  Both were made with an old skein of Lion Brand Cotton-Ease that has been in my stash since around 2007.

If nothing else, I’ve made progress in stash busting.  I finished off three partial skeins and one full skein of yarn.  And, I’ve finished 8 more squares towards my YOP goal of 52.

A few questions: Do you have any favorite motif patterns that work well in a solid color?  And what do you think of the bulky yarn idea?

For more YOP posts, visit Come Blog-a-long on Ravelry.