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Friday, April 24, 2015

Crochet for Charity

When I was preparing for the big Yarn Bomb we displayed during last year's Knit and Crochet Show at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH (in honor of CGOA's 20th anniversary), I was contacted by Pat Heinrich.  She generously offered to help me install the knitted and crocheted pieces and even took many pieces home with her before the event to help me stitch them together.  Once it came time to install the yarn bomb, she came with friends who were all a great help to the project - I couldn't have done it without them!

It turns out that many of these friends started out as Pat's crochet students.  They've had a fun time in her community classes and continue to crochet with her for their own projects and for others.

Peg Welch, Jean Marks, Pat Heinrich and Sandy Keeple
Holding a blanket made with a pattern Sandy, Jean and Pat "designed" and crocheted by Chris Clement and Darcy LaBrosse

Last fall I visited one of Pat's crochet groups and met these women. They were finishing up another blanket for charity and figuring out who was going to take home some squares I brought from the yarn bomb project.  They had already put together several squares into a blanket.

I admire these women for all of the time, skill and heart that they put into the blankets they make for others.  It is heartwarming to see how crocheting for others as brought them together and fostered caring friendships.  Here is what Pat has to say about her special group and their endeavors:

The blankets made with the yarn bomb panels went to the Canaan School District or to BAE Independence Hall in Manchester. 

As a group, we "specialize" in putting whatever together with whatever else, but we do like things to look like they were intended to go together.  Ergo the pattern we designed - meant for a team of two to easily create one harmonious afghan.   I now have three+ variations of our pattern:  Don didn't like the large color band in the middle of each panel, so I designed another version with a smaller center panel - and then I got an idea about scrap variations of mixed sc and dc rows.  And so it goes to keep things interesting. 

Besides Canaan School District and Independence Hall, this past year we donated mittens to a Reeds Ferry School (Merrimack) classroom mitten box Girl Scout project and afghans to Camp Allen (Bedford).  We have also donated afghans and scarfs to Dalianis House (Nashua), purple infant caps to NH Click for Babies, scarves to last year's Boston Marathon and baby blankets, shawls and other crocheted items to Angie's House (Manchester).  We are thinking about comfort shawls for the various chemo wards at local hospitals as well. 

We try to have project concepts that anyone who joins us will find something to be interested in - and for anyone with no specific project, we ask they simply donate squares each week they visit us. 

And we all take time to work on personal projects - plus this winter many times, people just popped in to chat.  We have gone on field trips to WEBs (coming up again soon) and we have gone on "crochet-aways" to Maine and Conway, NH - a weekend of rest, crochet, fun, reading - whatever - and no phones or TV.   

Here are more of their recent blankets - just wonderful!
Congratulations on your excellent work and finishing so many for those in need!

Pat's group expertly edges each square from the yarn bomb display with the same color - once it all is stitched together, it looks great.

This design is done in panels so several crocheters can work on it at the same time.

Another colorful throw made from yarn bomb donated squares.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Kerry Shrug for a Bride

Yes, it is already April and the National Crochet Month has ended but our celebration of crocheters has not! 

Last fall a bride-to-be contacted me about the Kerry Shrug - she was hoping to wear a version of it over her wedding dress in October.  I was very busy with several designs and projects so I referred her to Corinn Barnum of  Meraki Designs (an Etsy shop).  Corinn made a beautiful shrug for the bride in a rich red color.

Here are some photos and thoughts from the bride.  It looks like it was a wonderful day and I love how her shrug turned out.

"I have a lot of Irish blood in my family and I have always known I wanted to have a Celtic piece to my wedding day. I carried my great grandmothers four leaf clover handkerchief that my mother had given me that morning, all my jewelry was Celtic knot work and I made a Celtic heart knot of my own with a back ground of a red wooden heart to wrap around the giant Oak tree we were married under.
My husband and I are fortunate to have a wonderful friend who happens to be a internationally known bagpiper and an ordained minister. He married us with beautiful heartfelt words from the Anam Cara and a brief history of the Claddagh. We both have rings that bear the emblem of Friendship, Loyalty and Love, and we live our lives by those words everyday. Our kilted friend then played us a beautiful tune to walk down the isle as Mr. and Mrs. 
 . . . we were married in October in Oregon and we were not expecting it to be 80 degrees. I had in mind when I ordered the shrug that it would be cooler. Alas it was not, and I never got to wear the shrug on my wedding day, although since then I have worn it many times and absolutely love it. I have received many compliments on it every time I wear it." 
Mrs. Schmitt