Checking off one of my 2017 Resolutions!

I’m a little proud of myself right now. Sadly, very often my New Year’s Resolutions sort of slide off into the mist of time as the year rolls along. This year I’ve already made one resolution happen and February is still nearly half a month away.

In my first post of 2017 I shared 5 resolutions. #2 was to open my Etsy Shop, and late Sunday night I made it happen. I have started with 5 listings. It all was a bit stop and go on Sunday evening, attempting to get the shop up, because our internet was being difficult (the joys of living on a mountain).

I’ve opened my shop with some jewelry listings.

When I learnt about the idea of wearing a safety pin as a symbol of solidarity I loved the concept. I wanted my safety pin to stand out a bit more and these decorated safety pins are what came from that. Each pin has beaded wire wrapping along bar opposite the “pin” part.

rainbow-bright-silver-wrap

rainbow-nickel-wrap

rainbox-gold-wrap

I experimented with the color of wire I used for the wrapping with the Rainbow colored glass beads. There is a bright silver wire (that I found out today is actually tarnish resistant silver-plating), nickel silver and bright gold.

black-jet-seed-w-bright-silver-wrap

I also experimented with using different size beads, like the seed beads on this pin.

silver-beads-w-bright-silver-wrap

This pin was my experiment with a subtler decoration. Still more noticeable than a plain safety pin because of the silver sparkle, but it is a coloration that can go with any outfit.

2/3 of the price for each pin sold will be donated to various organizations that support and help protect civil rights for all Americans. I’ll be adding more pins with different decoration as I develop my shop further, I also plan to have some stitch markers and shawl pins. I hope you’ll stop by and see if any of my pieces appeal to you. You can visit my Etsy Shop by clicking here: Mamas2Hands, Two Hands Arts & Crafts.

 

 

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Calling all Fiber Artists!

Hotel pool area

As you all know, I recently returned from the TNNA Winter Trade Show in San Diego. One of the things that is always under discussion at these shows is wondering what our consumers want, whether it is in yarns at the shops or types of patterns we publish. So now is your opportunity my dear readers to weigh in with your opinions.

The fiber arts community needs your feedback.
Please take the TNNA Fiber Arts 2016 Survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/fiberarts16, part of a major study of U.S. knitters, crocheters, needlepointers, cross-stitchers, weavers, and spinners. The survey will only take about 10 minutes to complete, and the more folks that complete it the better we designers and other yarn industry folks can understand your needs.

By taking this survey you will…
– Help fiber arts organizations and businesses serve you better
– Tell retailers and brands what you want
– Explore your fiber arts life
– Get the chance to win one of five $100 fiber arts store gift cards

This survey is anonymous – you will not receive marketing spam.

The results of this survey will appear in the fifth edition of the TNNA State of Specialty NeedleArts Study at http://www.tnna.org/?page=Research. The survey results will be available to non-profit fiber arts advocacy groups and TNNA members in mid-2016. TNNA is an association of hundreds of independent and family-owned fiber arts brands and retailers.

The TNNA Fiber Artist 2016 Sweepstakes Rules are at http://hartbusinessresearch.com/documents/tnna-fiber-drawing-rules/.

Please take the TNNA Fiber Arts 2016 Survey today:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/fiberarts16


Remember to VOTE!

One of the things I love in Colorado is that we can vote early and via Mail-in ballots. We even have early voting polling places for those folks that are more comfortable voting in a booth.

I-Voted

Himself and I filled out our ballots and dropped them off last week. But today is the only day for many folks across the nation to vote. So if you haven’t done so, please find the time to do it.

Remember if you don’t Vote, you don’t get to Moan about how government is working. This is your chance to make your voice heard.

Alright, next post will be about yarn and crochet again.

First Bear is Finished

Finished Bear

Today was our local CGOA Chapter meeting and I brought in my nearly finished bear. I facilitate the meetings, so I wanted to demonstrate how I sew my bears together. Kathy and Bear I had filled the arms and legs and head with stuffing and brought stuffing for the body. By the end of the meeting I had finished the bear and given him to my friend Kathy that is organizing this effort. Margie and her bears My friend Margie wins the prize for the most bears completed. She brought in all these bears. She said she cheated a little as these were bears she had made on a knitting loom and were just waiting to be finished with stuffing and bows. Kathy and I both said, they still count and will be very appreciated. Bear and Malabrigo Before my little bear left the shop, he had a cuddle with some wonderful Malabrigo. I am feeling very inspired with ideas about how I want to design my bear. Hopefully I will have a prototype worked up by Christmas time.

I Love Yarn Day

Today has been declared “I Love Yarn Day”.  A celebration that I can truly get behind, since I really do love yarn.

As many of my readers know, since the start of the school year I’ve been spending my Wednesdays at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. It’s one of my favorite places to hang out. Surrounded by yarn and other folks that love to play with yarn the hours go flying by, and inspiration always strikes.

Some of the great activities at LYS are all the charitable stitching being done for various organizations. My friend Kathy comes in most Wednesday with another friend and we all sit around the table working on our various projects. Lately Kathy has been working on knitting a Teddy Bear, she is making toys to give to graduates from the Front Range Community College’s Early Childhood Education program.

She asked me if I thought any of our local CGOA Chapter members would like to crochet some bears. Deadline for this project is November 1st, so not a lot of time. Fortunately there were chapter members up for the challenge. I brought some of my leftover yarns to donate to the effort and hunted down some patterns for bears. Both Red Heart and Lion Brand have some patterns available for 12 inch tall bears.

Red Heart's "Birthday Bear for a Prince"
Red Heart’s “Birthday Bear for a Prince”

I found this bear at the Red Heart website.

Lion Brand's "Bear in a Jif"
Lion Brand’s “Bear in a Jif”

And this bear at the Lion Brand website.

Before I got so busy designing and writing I used to crochet lots of charity projects. Blankets for Project Linus and premie hats for Save the Children were some of my favorite projects. I decided that I wanted to make some bears too, at least they are quicker projects than blankets.

So I’ve started with the bear from the Lion Brand website and I’ll be making the one from the Red Heart website next. It’s been really fun crocheting a project from someone else’s pattern for a change. I just have to follow along and pretty soon I’ll have a bear finished.

Pieces of LB Jif Bear_edited-2

Above is a photo of my progress so far, I’m finished crocheting all the pieces except his body.

I’ve actually been surprised at how quickly the crocheting for this project has gone. Of course, I had to tweak things a tiny bit. I’m crocheting his eyes and nose from size #10 cotton thread then sewing them on firmly, instead of using safety eyes and embroidering the nose. These bears will be in the hands of little ones, so I’m upping the cautious factor. Plus the crocheted eyes will be more washable than plastic eyes.

I’m also coming up with something a little different for his “scarf”.

A Bear for All Seasons Photo courtesy of Annie's/Crochet World
A Bear for All Seasons
Photo courtesy of Annie’s/Crochet World

Working on my bears made me realize that I need to design a teddy bear of my own. I’ve designed a little bear that was published in Crochet World in their December 2012 issue. But that bear is much smaller, I think my next bear needs to be snuggly size.

Okay, back to work on this bear. Hopefully I will have a photo of the finished bear very soon. Though I am reminding myself that it takes nearly as much time to put all the pieces together and stuff the bear as it does to crochet the bear.

Warming up Winter

My favorite things to crochet, back before I became a crazy busy designer, were items for charitable giving. Everything from hats and scarves for the homeless shelter to preemie caps for Save the Children.  There were also a few child’s blankets in there for Project Linus.

Recently I learnt about a small organization in Massachusetts that helps get hats, scarves and mittens to various charitable groups in their region and they teach crochet and knitting.  They are called “Warmer Winters”, because New England winters can get bitterly cold.

Currently they are a bit low on donations to send out. They especially need Adult sized scarves and hats.  They can always use all sizes of mittens (adults, children & babies) as well as Hats and Scarves.

Donated items can be crocheted or knit, just need to be made in easy-care materials. No animal fibers to avoid any allergy issues.  If you don’t have time to crochet or knit an item but want to donate yarn for their teaching programs they prefer bulky and worsted weight acrylic yarns.

You can mail donations to:

Warmer Winters

22 Hill Top Drive

Leominster, MA  01453

Hat-n-Scarf

If you need an Adult hat pattern you can adapt my Little Bitty Noggin Cap pattern.  Use worsted weight yarn with an H (5mm) hook and work additional increase rounds until the diameter measures approximately 7″, then work even rounds until the measurement from the crown is 12 inches, work 1 or 2 more inches of alternating hdc post st ribbing and you have a hat that will fit most adult heads. This is my basic “go-to” hat pattern and it makes a nice stretchy hat.

Simple Double Crochet Scarf

This simple scarf uses worsted weight yarn with a size I-9 (5.5mm) hook. My gauge is 3.5 dc sts = 1″ & 2 dc rows = 1.25″. Finished scarf is 8″ wide and can be worked to desired length. The turning chains are left as a decorative edging and not worked into.

Scarf-close-up

Foundation: Start with a chain of 29, sc in back bump of 2nd ch from hook and in each chain to beginning of chain [28 sc]. If you are comfortable with the foundation single crochet (fsc) make 28 for your starting row instead.

Row 1: Ch 3, turn, work a dc in the first st and each st across [28 dc, 1 ch3].

Row 2 and following rows: Repeat Row 1.

For a 4′ long scarf work 76 rows, for a 5′ long scarf work 95 rows, for a 6′ long scarf work 114 rows. My sample in the photo was 84 dc rows.

Finishing Row: Ch 1, sc in each st across leaving ch-3 un-worked. Fasten off, weave in ends.

If sending items to Warmer Winters isn’t in the budget for you, but you want to help out, look for organizations in your locale that need items. Remember to contact them before sending stuff to see what they are needing and any restrictions.

Time to Vote

Okay folks, I generally try to stick to crafting and health subjects in this blog. But today, I’m going a bit off-road.

This coming Tuesday, November 6th is Election Day.  Over the years many of our country’s men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice to guarantee that our country’s freedoms are safe, one of those being the right to vote.

In 1920 women were finally granted that same franchise with the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution.  Personally I was able to vote for the first time in 1981 and voted in my first Presidential election in 1984.

If you live in one of the “Battleground States” or an area that has a hotly contested race for a local, state or federal seat you are very likely utterly sick of political ads. I sympathise, I live in Colorado and have taken to not watching regular TV.  Everything is recorded on my DVR so that I can fast forward thru the ads.

But no matter your annoyances with the ads, it is very important to go to your local polling place and cast that ballot. Voting is more than a right, it is a privilege and a responsibility.

It is an important way to make your voice heard in how government works, from your local towns and counties to the national stage.  It affects our lives in myriad ways, even ones that might seem small, from the quality of education for our children to the pot-holes in our roads.

Vote in order to be sure that our government is one that is “of the people, for the people” and not just the people with the most money or the corporations that are attempting to buy the legislation they want.

Find out everything you can about the candidates and issues for your area, as well as on the state and federal levels and make the best decision you can. Most polling places have “practice” ballots available, or you can find them online, to see what other issues you may be asked to vote on.  If you need help finding your polling place check your State’s website or you can go to this website to look it up.

Colorado has early voting, so my beloved and I voted October 23rd (where the nifty sticker in the picture came from), on Tuesday I will be helping folks get to their polling places.

So if you haven’t voted and you want the right to gripe about how government is handling things, then it is time to Vote.