Category Archives: charity

Christmas in September

Every year, a hospital in my town has a Christmas event in which decorated wreaths, trees, and even “rooms” of Christmasy things are viewed and auctioned off for charity. My knitting group has been toying with the idea of making a wreath for a couple of years now, but we always seem to just miss the deadline. This time I pushed a bit to get us to do it. We’ve even gotten the o.k. to use hand knitted/crocheted ornaments, so we’re going to have some of those as well as traditional things like big ribbons and shiny ball ornaments. I’ll talk about it more as the season progresses, but for now we’re just trying to get a few things started to make sure everything each of us is working on will coordinate in terms of colors and size (it so, so, helps that one of us is a graphic designer!)

I’ve been assigned to do a string of crochet Christmas lights. Found a few patterns on Ravelry, but none small enough, so I improvised. The plan is to make a bunch of them separately and then chain them up together later when I have a better idea of how many I’ll need and how they should be spaced.



If our plan works out, the wreath should be really cute. It’s going to feature a knitted monster, on a ladder, hanging the lights–so stay tuned.

In other news, I haven’t given up on Kayleen yet, but she is slow. This is why I can’t do knit-a-longs.


Now I need to get in gear, because I start having studio time again Monday. I spent some money at the local bead shop last week, and now I have lots of nice beads for riveted rings (if only my silver tubing would finally arrive in the mail!) I also picked out some pretty glass beads in even numbers so I can make some earrings to sell locally . . . maybe . . . hopefully . . . yeah, I really need more confidence on the business end of things.

I might do a post-a-day challenge again soon. That was a ridiculously productive time for me, and formed good habits which I immediately lost when it was over. Ha!


Filed under charity, crochet, knitting, sweater

Halos and Ginkos



All I’ve been knitting lately are hats, as I want to get my donation to Halos of Hope out by the end of the year.  I’d rather wait until the end of holiday craziness to ship them out, so I might make one or two more in the interim.  Actually, I think I’m definitely going to do that with some Caron Simply Soft in my stash because it is, indeed, simply soft.  I didn’t notice until today that Halos discourages the use of “afghan-type yarn.”  I’m not 100% sure what that means, but I think some of the yarns I used qualify as that.  Chemo caps are not just about covering hair loss; they’re about comfort.  They’re about a painful scalp.  They’re about taking off your wig at the end of the day and putting on something soft.  Maybe even sleeping in it.  So, I think I dropped the ball on some of these.  Perhaps those could go to a shelter instead.

So, of these seven, I’ve talked about three before. Most of the rest are simple stockinette with stripes or a regular knot pattern for interest.  The exception is the interesting guy in front on the left; this is Mixed Up May by Pat Salvatini, who I met at Stitches Midwest.  She gave me a free copy of the pattern, so I figured why not use it! 

Today I finished up a hat of my own with some old Red Heart (definitely an “afghan-type yarn”):

atari5200hatI call it Atari 5200 because the rainbows remind me of the old Atari logo with the little rainbow strip under the name.  Plus, I was probably playing a LOT of Atari back when I bought this yarn in the mid-80s, as I was learning to crochet.  I remember buying a bunch of skeins at Woolworth’s for $1 each on sale . . . why am I such a nostalgic old bag these days, anyway?  Oh well.  I like what I like, and I’m old enough to not have to care what anybody thinks.  MYAH.

I did indeed go to the open metals studio session last week; not too many people did, so I was able to run freely.  I did my usual end-of-the-season rummage through the scrap bin for bits to cut discs from (and now I do know exactly what I want to do with them, and hope to accomplish it soon!) The main thing I worked on, though, was this happy little hard-to-photograph set:

ginkosThese are pieces I had cut weeks ago from 22g silver; I intended them for the “real” version of my art deco necklace.  Alas, they looked too thin to be dramatic, so I repurposed them into “ginko leaves” (if I really wanted to go ginko, I could have cut some notches into the bottom edge of the earrings.) This was a simple project:  heat the silver to anneal it, mark guidelines with a Sharpie, carefully strike it with a cross peen hammer, and anneal again.  Drill holes. Now just use round nose pliers (wrapped in tape to prevent scratching) to ruffle out the edges.  Throw it in a tumbler and here you go.  I’m thinking of putting a patina on these with some liver of sulfur.  Don’t know when I’ll actually finish them with findings, as I’m rounding out the year by finishing off other unfinished projects . . .

. . . including a commission I’ve been putting off way too long.  I’d better go do that right now.



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Filed under charity, earrings, hat, knitting, metals, pendant

November Knits and Sparklies

I rather enjoyed getting away from the blog for a while, but now I have a lot to catch up on.  So, without further ado . . .



These mittens were a car trip project.  They’re easy and fun, and done in the round, but alas I forgot to bring my double-pointed needles, so I decided to just make them flat.  They came out well, but I don’t care for the seams too much; I should have added an extra stitch to each side for a better seam.

halosThree hats for Halos of Hope so far!  My goal is to make five by the end of the year, but the rest of the yarn in my acrylic stash is . . . not great, and I think wool would make an itchy hat, especially for someone who has lost hair.  Maybe I can use certain scraps to make a really stripey one.  Anyway, the yellow one in back is improvised, the pattern for the striped one is here, and the entrelac is this. (I linked that last one to my own Ravelry project page because I made some notes on the final tier, which was incorrectly written in the free pattern.  I shouldn’t complain about free patterns, but something really grinds my gears when a pattern writer tells you to stop and pay careful attention to the rest of the instructions, and then botches them completely, because I guess she wasn’t paying attention to writing them.)

There are a couple things I could show from my efforts in jewelry class, but I’ll wait until the final polishing. Suffice it to say, the box clasp worked out, my art deco pendant is only in need of a chain (I’ll make it soon!), and my copper box . . . oh the copper box.  It’s going to take a lot more time than I anticipated.  This one hinge–and I need two–took an entire class period to fabricate successfully.  But I did it!

hinge1This thing is pretty darn small, but the first version I tried was smaller.  I just couldn’t do it, though.  You have to have all three knuckles (tubing bits) lined up on a pencil lead (or steel pin) during soldering, even though you only solder one side at a time (i.e. solder the first and third knuckles to the copper rectangle on the left; pickle, etc; then solder the middle one to the plate on the right).  The trick is not to let the solder flow onto any knuckle you don’t want to solder, or the hinge will be frozen and won’t work.  Yellow ochre on the piece you don’t want soldered helps, but as I said, this is a very small piece and it takes a careful touch.

One more thing:  some seed bead earrings my friend/favorite customer Beth wanted me to make:



I’ve grown to loathe seed beads because they’re tiny and fussy and always getting dropped on the floor, but I was glad to use up some of my stash.  Now I have a chunky bead bracelet she wants me to make for her with the beads from a broken watch band.  I’d say that should be an easy one, but I’ve learned better than to tempt fate like that.



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Filed under beads, charity, earrings, hat, knitting, metals, soldering

Up for Bid!

My start date for NaKniSweMo (“Nanny Sway Mo,” I’ve been told it’s pronounced) got pushed back about five days because a friend approached me about making some knitted things for a charity auction.  I was happy to comply, and finally find a use for the beautiful but totally, totally not stretchy silk bamboo yarn in my stash, which I’d bought on clearance at least a year ago.  The purple one is based on the two-and-three stitch from the Harmony Guide to Crochet Stitches (with a frilly little picot border).  The blue one is the interesting and popular boteh scarf, the pattern of which I have in a crochet magazine but never cared to make for myself.

I have just learned that, at the silent auction, “two ladies were fighting over them”!  People actually wanted to know if I have a shop.  This is really good news and bolsters my confidence a little.  More importantly, together the scarves earned about $75 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.  I’ll definitely be doing this again next year.


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Filed under charity, crochet, scarf