Little Bitty Noggins

When my first son was born he was in a bit of a hurry and arrived 4 weeks before his due date.  He was a tiny little guy at first, weighing in at only 5 pounds. He measured a mere  12 inches around his little noggin.

My hands are not very big, but I could cup the entire back of his head in my palm.  I remember being amazed that such a tiny fragile being could be as alive and robust as he was.  He is now grown to be a busy, healthy and energetic young boy.

Many full-term newborns in  impoverished nations around the world are no bigger than my son was, and some are much tinier and far less robust.  There are multiple challenges facing these babies and their mothers.

I wanted to design a special hat pattern to support the efforts for the Save the Children Caps for Good campaign.  This is a program to provide hats for newborns in many countries where keeping a tiny head covered can make a real difference.  A baby that isn’t using energy to stay warm can use that energy instead to grow and gain critical survival weight.

The only payment I ask for the use of this pattern is that you donate at least 2 caps to the Save the Children program or, after February 28, 2011, to a similar program that you know of in your community to help newborns.  Thank you for helping to warm up some babies.

Little Bitty Noggin Cap by Andee Graves

Materials: Yarn – Any  Sport or Light worsted weight  yarn can be used. Samples used approximately .6 oz (56 yards) of  Red Heart Designer Sport, CYCA #3 weight, 100% acrylic. Colors used are Iced Violet (discontinued), Sky (discontinued) and #3820 Denim.  Hook size H-8 (5 mm).

Gauge: First 6 rounds should be 4 inches in diameter.

Stitches used: Chain (ch), slip stitch (sl st), single crochet (sc), half double crochet (hdc), front post half double crochet (fphdc), and back post half double crochet (bphdc).

Special Stitches: Increase (Inc) – hdc thru both loops of next st, hdc  in back loop of same st.

Notes: Cap is worked from the center crown down to brim. Rnds 1 thru 15 are worked spirally. Use a stitch marker in the last st of each rnd and move up as rnds are completed.

Instructions:

Rnd 1: Ch 2, sc and 7 hdc in 2nd ch from hook.

Rnd 2: (Hdc in next st, hdc in bk lp of same  st) 8 times [16 hdc]

Rnd 3: (Hdc in next st, Inc in next st) 8 times [24 hdc]

Rnd 4: (Hdc in next 2 sts, Inc in next st) 8 times [32 hdc]

Rnd 5: (Hdc in next 3 sts, Inc in next st) 8 times [40 hdc]

Rnd 6: (Hdc in next 4 sts, Inc in next st) 8 times [48 hdc]

Rnd 7:  Hdc in each st of round [48 hdc]

Rnd 8 – 14:  Repeat Rnd 7

Rnd 15: Repeat Rnd 7, sc next st, sl st next st

Rnd 16: Ch 2,( fphdc next st, bphdc next st) 24 times, sl st to 2nd ch of beg ch 2. [48 hdc]

Rnd 17 : Repeat Rnd  16, fasten off

Weave in ends.

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Friends I am Thankful For

The Thanksgiving holiday is almost upon us here in the US.  Amongst the mayhem of preparing to have guests for dinner at our house, I have been thinking about all the wonderful blessings in my life this past year.

Warning – This post may become a bit mushy for those of a less sentimental nature.

The last 12 months have been an amazing whirlwind of growth for me as a designer and a small business owner.  Opportunities that I thought would be years down the road have come far more quickly.

So I think it is very fitting to give some public “Thanks” to those who have helped me find my way into this amazing career path and are my continuing support system.  I’ll try to keep some order to this list, but no promises (after all, I’m generally typing quite late at night for these entries).

First on the list must be my Mother.  I’m sure she never imagined that putting a crochet hook in my hand all those years ago would eventually lead me to become a crochet designer.  Though she has commented many times that I never followed patterns in my crocheting or sewing efforts.  So I’m guessing she really isn’t that surprised.

The slew of friends that have stuck by me over the years, despite a propensity for drama and other growing pains.  Particularly on my mind tonight are my friends, Terie and Melodi.  They have both known me over 20+ years and somehow held fast despite some real stupid times on my part.

My wonderful family.  My dear husband, who has never complained about my incredible expanding yarn stash or the ever-growing collection of crochet books, hooks and knitting needles.  My 2 sons, who have an insatiable curiosity about mom’s yarn and have learned that they need to wait til the end of the row to ask a question.

The talented Doris Chan and especially her book “Amazing Crocheted Lace”.  I find myself still very inspired by Doris’s take on design and the lovely pieces she keeps cranking out.  When I met Doris in person it was a joy and each time I see her at conferences I am still delighted.

My good friend Tessa who introduced me to the world of online resources that eventually led me to Ravelry.  Tessa doesn’t crochet or knit, but is an encouraging and loving friend that tolerates my obsession with compassion.

A very big Thank You to Jess and Casey Forbes for creating Ravelry, since everything else that has happened was because of connecting with other crochet and knitting enthusiasts on their wonderful site.

Laurie Wheeler of the Crochet Liberation Front.  Laurie’s group on Ravelry was a revelation and reward all in one.  To converse with others who loved crochet and yarn like myself was a freeing and joyful experience and one that lead me on to other groups on Ravelry that would change my Life.

Jenny Dowde whom I met thru Ravelry as well.  Her FreeFormations group was a fun place to learn and explore the world of Freeform stitch work and opened my eyes to using fiber arts in my other artwork in ways that I will be exploring for the rest of my life.  Her 3 books on FreeForm techniques are still favorites on my shelf.

It was also because Jenny was coming to the US to teach in Portland that I discovered the CGOA and attended my first ever Knit and Crochet Show.

The Lovely Sarah, who has become a cherished friend and one of my most staunch supporters in my efforts to create a career path that matches my ethics and creativity.  Getting to meet her at that first show in Portland after having met her on Ravelry was a real treat.

My dear friend Pam, whom I first met in Portland in one of Jenny’s classes.  Her grounded approach to life has been my rock when I feel like I am flailing about in my life roles.  Whether it is the challenges of being a mom and self-employed, or just deadline madness…she always has the right words to help me find my sanity again.  Pam also was the one that told me about Mary Beth Temple’s podcast “Getting Loopy”.

Dear Bonnie Pierce, who adopted me at the Portland Knit and Crochet Show.  Her generosity in including me in all the madness with the FreeForm group that was represented there was so kind (plus she introduced me to “Moonlight Chocolate”).  The further invitation to join the online FreeForm Yahoo group has also been a blessing and inspiration.

Then of course, is the talented and dynamic Mary Beth Temple. Listening to her podcast I heard about her class, “Designing for Print Publication”.  I took it in March 2009 more out of curiosity than anything else.  It was online and only 3 weeks, so I figured I could fit it into my life.

As part of the class Mary Beth had us create a design proposal and submit it.  I sent mine off fully expecting to  be rejected, so it was with some amazement that I sold that first design.  She has cheered me on every step of this mad journey.

Zoomie, who I meet in the “Getting Loopy” chat room.  When I found out she lived in the Denver area we made arrangements to get together.  Now, we see each other once a month  and go play at one of my favorite yarn stores The LambShoppe.

Thru Zoomie I met all the lovely fellow yarnies at the LambShoppe’s monthly Pajama Jam.  Many have become good friends and we get to have other yarn adventures together like going to the Estes Park Wool Market.  They are also great about cheering me on in my design adventures and have even offered to help me with my knitting attempts (unsuccessfully so far, but that is a reflection on my failings as a student and not their’s as teachers). 

My official CGOA mentor, Karen Ratto-Whooley.  Karen has been so generous with her time, advice and encouragement.  Our time as mentor/mentee is drawing to an end, but our friendship will last a lifetime.  Sometimes the most help has just been the laughter we share at the craziness of living the busy life of designers and moms.

Janet, another fantastic acquaintance from that first Portland show.  Over a year later we ended up rooming together at the Chain Link show in Buffalo.  We had such a lovely time being roommates that we vowed to do it again.  So we shared a cabin at the recent CLF Retreat.  It probably isn’t legal for friends to laugh so hard and long, but we sure enjoy ourselves. 

The fun and sweet Cozy.  So talented and entertaining, as well as very understanding about the madness my life is.  Someday soon we have promised ourselves to meet in real life.  Meanwhile online, email and the telephone will have to suffice.

All my other fun online friends, especially those on Ravelry.  Whether you know it or not, all of you lift my spirits with every post and message.  Having a chance to share ideas, encouragement with learning new techniques, or just drooling over yarn is so much fun. 

Thank you to all these friends and more.  I’ve likely forgotten to name someone who should be on this list, but you are all in my grateful heart this Thanksgiving Day.

Scrubbie Scrubbie

It’s not my usual design project, but last fall I was asked by the lovely Bobbie Matella of Coats and Clark to adapt a 1940s dishcloth pattern for a book they would be releasing.

The book, “Vintage Crochet for Your Home” is now available. My adaptation of Mitered Dishcloths is on page 24.  They are worked in Coat’s Creme de la Creme cotton. 

The citrusy colors are cheerful and the ridges on the cloths make them ideal for getting stubborn bits off the dishes when washing up, or could be great in the bath for exfoliating.

Seeing this design again is reminding me of some other ideas I got while working on it.  I may have to clone myself to get even half of my design ideas done.