Giving Tuesday – The Crochet (and Knitting) Way

Today is Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving. I’m sharing some of my favorite crochet and knitting related charity links today in honor of this event, which encourages us to put aside the shopping for a moment during the holiday season. I hope this roundup with inspire you to share your talent (or money!) with charities that are important to you.

If you’re looking for a crochet-a-long, Sunset Family Living is hosting the annual 12 Days of Christmas Charity Challenge (also known as the NICU charity challenge). She is challenging people to crochet 12 hats for preemies in their local neonatal intensive care unit. Last year, over 26,000 (!) hats were donated as part of the challenge, which runs through January 6, 2015. 20 crochet designers have donated hat patterns, and if you’d like to sign up to participate, you can read more about the project here.

Dozen Baby Hats (in the round), a free knitting pattern by Denise Balvanz. Image (c) Denise Balvanz.
Dozen Baby Hats (in the round), a free knitting pattern by Denise Balvanz. Image (c) Denise Balvanz.

If you’re more of a hat knitter, check out Denise Balvanz’s free patterns, Dozen Baby Hats (in the round) and Dozen Baby Hats (knit flat). Both patterns were inspired by the Afghans for Afghans June-July Baby Shower, and are great projects to donate to a local charity, too.

Some designers sell specific patterns to raise funds for a favorite charity. Some of my favorites are the Mitered Cross Blanket (knitting) by Kay Gardiner. All proceeds from the sale of this pattern are donated to Mercy Corps, an international emergency response/disaster relief organization.

Mitered Crosses Blanket by Kay Gardiner. Image (c) Kay Gardiner.
Mitered Crosses Blanket by Kay Gardiner. Image (c) Kay Gardiner.

Dawn Hansen donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales of her Autism Awareness Puzzle Hat (knitting) pattern to the Autism SocietyCharity Windham’s Ten Stitch Twist for loom knitters pattern raises funds for Frankie Brown’s (interviewed here) favorite charity, the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.  And speaking of Frankie Brown, she has has over 240 (!) free crochet and knitting patterns. She would greatly appreciate a donation to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation through her Just Giving page.

Wheels within Wheels, one of my favorite patterns by Frankie Brown. Image (c) Frankie Brown.

Anastacia Zittel uses the same model, and appreciates a contribution to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in exchange for her free knitting pattern, Armwarmers, or for any of her over 65 free crochet patterns. (I also interviewed Anastacia here.)

Alexis Winslow’s Caring Cowl (knitting) is another fundraiser pattern. Alexis donates proceeds from this pattern to the American Red Cross.

Caring Cowl by Alexis Winslow. Image (c) Alexis Winslow.
Caring Cowl by Alexis Winslow. Image (c) Alexis Winslow.

I donate $1 from each sale of my 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets ebook, which includes 20 crochet and 10 Tunisian crochet patterns that are great for pet blankets, to a local no-kill pet charity each year.

A selection of stitches included in 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets.
A selection of stitch patterns included in 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets.

I also donate pet blankets in the sizes suggested by the Snuggles Project. (I interviewed Deborah Green from Bideawee about blanket donations here, if you’d like to hear how local shelters use these blankets.) The website allows you to search for a local pet charity that accepts handmade blankets. The Snuggles Project is a program of Hugs for Homeless Animals.

Another organization that accepts handmade goodies is Project Linus. Their mission is to “provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer ‘blanketeers.'”You can find out more about donating a crocheted or knit (or sewn) blanket to a local chapter, contributing funds to help defray shipping costs or volunteering on their website.

The Kitty Cap by Bella Crochet. Image (c) Bella Crochet.
The Kitty Cap by Bella Crochet. Image (c) Bella Crochet.

If donating an entire blanket is out of your crochet comfort zone, Warm Up America is another charity that distributes blankets and accessories to a variety of social services agencies. You can send a blanket square, or accessories such as hats or scarves to them for distribution. The Kitty Cap by Bella Crochet is a great free crochet pattern for making children’s hats for charity.

Twisted Cable Scarf and Headband, a free crochet pattern by Kim Guzman. Image (c) Kim Guzman.
Twisted Cable Scarf and Headband, a free crochet pattern by Kim Guzman. Image (c) Kim Guzman.

You might also be interested in the Red Scarf Project from Foster Care to Success. Each year, they coordinate the delivery of Valentine’s Day care packages, including handmade scarves, to young adults who have aged out of foster care as they experience life on their own at college. You can learn more about this charity in the current issue of Crochetvolution here. There are also two great free crochet patterns in this issue, Big Red and Vino Scarf, that would make great projects for the Red Scarf Project. You can also try some of Kim Guzman’s many great free winter patterns. (I interviewed Kim here.) Two of my favorites that would be perfect for the Red Scarf Project are the Reversible Pinstripe Scarf (double-ended crochet) or the Twisted Cable Scarf.

What are your favorite charities to share your crochet and knitting with?

Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL: Finishing Off

Pineapples with Underground Crafter CAL

Welcome to the Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL!  If you’re just joining in, you can find the free pattern here.  Ravelry members can join our CAL chat here.  Our tag is 2013PFEcal.

As I mentioned last week, I finished my shawl but it was in need of some blocking.  Confession time: I hate blocking.

It may be the fact that I live in an apartment with a cat, or perhaps it is the delayed gratification aspect.  It might also be that I’m not so great at it.

I’ve arrived at a comfortable halfway point with my crocheted and knit projects.  I agree that blocking is a necessary evil.  I will block them, if necessary, but only if I can figure out a way for spray blocking, my favorite method, to work with my project.

Blocking Pineapples for Everyone Shawl

I’ve mentioned before that I use children’s play mats, rather than “blocking boards,” for blocking.  I found these on sale and it has worked for me so far.  Above, you can see my shawl pinned out on my mom’s bedroom floor (thanks Mom!), waiting to be sprayed.  I decided to accentuate the points a bit more by pinning those in place.

The amazing thing about blocking is that my shawl already looks better, and I haven’t even blocked it yet.  Otherwise, it has a rumpled appearance.

If you’re new to blocking, here are some of my favorite online resources to help you get on your way:

I hope everyone has had fun with the CAL so far.  I’ve been seeing some amazing projects on Ravelry.  Remember that if you’d like to be entered to win prizes, you’ll need to share a picture of your finished shawl by next Friday, March 29.  You can follow the links below (The big reveal) to show off your shawl.  Good luck!

Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL Schedule

Friday, February 15: Start your chains: Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL kick off!  

Friday, February 22: Laying down the foundation: Rows 1-8

Friday, March 1: The first repeat: Rows 9-14

Friday, March 8: The second repeat: Rows 15-20

Friday, March 15: The third repeat: Rows 21-26

Friday, March 22: Finishing off: Edging and blocking

Friday, March 29: The big reveal: Flash your shawls on RavelryFacebook,Twitter, and/or your blog for a chance to win prizes from Galler Yarns!

Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL: Kick Off!

Pineapples with Underground Crafter CAL

Welcome to the Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL!  If you’re just joining in, you can find the free pattern here.  Ravelry members can join our CAL chat here.  Our tag is 2013PFEcal.

I’m making my second shawl striped using Galler Yarns Inca Eco in Denim and Raspberry.

Inca Eco wound

You can read more about why I chose this yarn here, but the great news about the Pineapples for Everyone Shawl is that it’s a recipe pattern, so you can use any weight of yarn to make the shawl.

As people start their shawls, I wanted to share a few tips.

  • The Pineapples for Everyone Shawl is worked in rows.
  • Although it’s a triangular shawl, you only crochet along the two shorter sides until the edging.  (The edging will finish off the long edge so the shawl will have a neater appearance.)

Pineapples for Everyone Row 1 righties

 

Pineapples for Everyone Row 1 lefties

  • Crocheters might find it easier to keep track of the center shell by using a removable stitch marker.  You should take this marker out and move it up each row.  (You can also use a piece of scrap yarn as a stitch marker.)

 

If you’d like to follow along with the CAL schedule (listed below), I’ll be working one week ahead and sharing progress pictures.  You’re free to crochet at your own pace during the CAL, but to be eligible for prizes, you’ll need to post a picture of your finished shawl by March 29.

 

Here are pictures of the first 8 rows of my new version.  You will work one pineapple on each side during these rows.

After Row 1.
After Row 1.
After Row 2.
After Row 2.

 

After Row 4.
After Row 4.

 

blog Pineapples for Everyone Row 5
After Row 5.

 

After Row 6.
After Row 6.

 

After Row 7.
After Row 7.

 

After Row 8.
After Row 8.

As you can see, the long edge will look a little wobbly at this point.  Don’t worry, because after you add the edging and block the shawl, the long edge will be nice and straight.

I’ll be back next week to show you the steps for the first repeat.  I’m looking forward to seeing your shawls!

 

Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL Schedule

Friday, February 15: Start your chains: Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL kick off!  Ravelry members, join us here in the Underground Crafter group to chat.  Use project tag 2013PFEcal.

Friday, February 22: Laying down the foundation: Rows 1-8

Friday, March 1: The first repeat: Rows 9-14

Friday, March 8: The second repeat: Rows 15-20

Friday, March 15: The third repeat: Rows 21-26

Friday, March 22: Finishing off: Edging and blocking

Friday, March 29: The big reveal: Flash your shawls on RavelryFacebook,Twitter, and/or your blog for a chance to win prizes from Galler Yarns!

 

FO Friday: Pineapples for Everyone Shawl and upcoming CAL!

I’ve been keeping today’s finished object secret since September, so I’m really excited to finally share it.  It’s a pineapple shawl I crocheted for the Spring, 2013 issue of Crochetvolution.

I crocheted this shawl with Inca Eco, a super soft, organic cotton yarn.  It’s a worsted weight, thick and thin yarn.

I picked this yarn for a few reasons.  The combination of the yarn thickness and the cotton fiber makes the shawl a little heavier, so it’s great for transitional weather without being very long.  (As a, shall we say, vertically challenged person, I don’t really like very long scarves or shawls.)

The yarn thickness also means you can make it relatively quickly, which I like.  And although cotton tends to be heavier per yard than many other yarns, it’s really breathable, so that’s another reason I really love this yarn for a transitional weather shawl.

These pictures were actually taken on an unusually cold and somewhat windy day in September. I convinced MC to be my photographer in Riverside Park.

I know from being a crochet teacher that a lot of people struggle with pineapples.  I chose a thick and thin yarn because it is really forgiving.  You can always cover up your mistakes by saying it was a yarn irregularity :).

Although this picture has the least shawl detail, it’s my favorite one!

You can check out the free Pineapples for Everyone pattern here.  The pattern is really customizable and can be made with a lot of different yarn weights and to different lengths.

I’ll be hosting a CAL starting on February 15 for this shawl (more details here), and the nice folks at Galler Yarns will be sponsoring some prizes for a giveaway for participants!

I hope you’ll consider joining in and will spread the word.

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

Announcing the Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL!

Whether you’re a pineapple pro or you’re just a wee bit scared by crochet lace…

If you have a shawl for every day of the week or you’ve yet to take the shawl plunge…

I’m inviting all crocheters to join the Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL!

The Pineapples for Everyone Shawl is my latest free pattern, available in the Spring, 2013 issue of Crochetvolution.  It’s a shawl “recipe” that allows you to customize the size of your finished shawl (or shawlette).

The version shown here was made with 3 skeins of Galler Yarns Inca Eco, an organic cotton yarn dyed with low-impact, environmentally friendly dye.  It’s a thick and thin yarn, so it covers up those little boo boos you might make if it’s your first time crocheting pineapples.  Since this is a recipe pattern, you can size it up or down and gauge isn’t critical.  (However, if you’re working with a different gauge, I can’t predict how much yarn you might need for your desired size.)

If you need a little more support with crocheting the shawl, each week I’ll be sharing progress pictures as I make my second, striped version.

My CAL shawl will be crocheted with Inca Eco Denim and Raspberry.

Or you can just dive into crocheting at any point during the CAL!  I’ve shared a schedule below, but of course you can crochet at your own pace, and you can make your shawl larger or smaller.  To be entered in the giveaway, you must share a picture of your completed shawl by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, March 29.  More details about prizes will be available in March.

Attention all readers in Southern Maryland: Be sure to stop by Crazy for Ewe in Leonardtown or La Plata for the in-store CAL with prizes sponsored by Galler Yarns!

Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL Schedule

Friday, February 15: Start your chains: Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL kick off!  Ravelry members, join us here in the Underground Crafter group to chat.  Use project tag 2013PFEcal.

Friday, February 22: Laying down the foundation: Rows 1-8

Friday, March 1: The first repeat: Rows 9-14

Friday, March 8: The second repeat: Rows 15-20

Friday, March 15: The third repeat: Rows 21-26

Friday, March 22: Finishing off: Edging and blocking

Friday, March 29: The big reveal: Flash your shawls on Ravelry, Facebook, Twitter, and/or your blog for a chance to win prizes from Galler Yarns!

If you’re new to shawls and need some styling tips, I recommend these tutorials:

I’m looking forward to crocheting together!