Mother Bear Project-a volunteer that combines service with eco-thrifty

A few months ago I found out about the Mother Bear Project.  If you haven’t yet, check it out.  I have made four bears so far and plan to make more.  They are adorable, fun and quick to make, and serve a great purpose.  There is a group on Ravelry that focuses on making bears for the Mother Bear Project, Mother Bear Project.  It is in this group that I met Bitsy and Bobbie, two bears knit by Grace (uknowmeas on Ravlery).  I was completely smitten when I saw these two bears as they are not only adorable and made for a wonderful cause, but because Grace made the bears with scrap yarn.  And with a sense of humor, aptly named them Bitsy and Bobbie for “Bits and Bobs”.  I love it!  I asked Grace if should would agree to an interview for my blog and she graciously said yes.

bitsy

Bitsy

How did you find out about the Mother Bear Project and how long have you been making bears? How many bears to date?

I learned about Mother Bears from a blogger Compassionknit and decided to look into it, in May of 2017. I have made 186 bears for MB and about 11 for others.

WOW! 186 bears for Mother Bear Project and 11 others.  That’s a lot of bears since May 2017!
Bitsy and Bobbie are Scraptastic! Is this the first time you have used scrap yarn on a project? If no, what else?

No there are a couple of other bears out there made of scrap and I make scrap shawls and or blankets all the time. I usually crochet the shawls and blankets. In my projects bears 151 thru 154 are all scrap sweaters, and bear 127 is all scraps.

127-jo

Bear #127 made of scraps as well.  “Jo”

Please describe your process to save the scraps and then knit with them.

I almost like knitting with scraps more then knitting with a fresh new skein. I knit what I want out of the skein, hank, ball whatever the put up is and then I have a bin I put the leftovers in. These go to bears, sometimes there is enough left over for an entire bear, sometimes I need to stripe or helical knit the bodies to use more then one color.  When I have little bits left over 6” to about 3 feet, I roll them up in a ball and just keep adding to it. I just slip knot them, the knots wind up inside the bear. I keep the ball next to my chair and it grows, then when I decide it is large enough, I combine it with a fingerweight yarn and start a bear. This gives it continuity and strength and I do this with the blankets and shawls too but then I will use worsted weight.

What is your motivation for using your scraps? general thriftiness? Eco-conscience? other?

I just hate to see anything go to waste, although thriftiness plays in too.  I also love to play with color and I think the randomness adds to the bears personality.

Do you have a preference of crochet or knit?

I do both although I prefer knitting, it fits better with my sense of orderliness and neatness. I like the density of the fabric or the flow of lace that knitting creates

When you aren’t stitching Mother Bears, what do you like to knit or crochet?

Everything–I am very charity minded, partly because of the undeniable need but also because my family just doesn’t want anymore hand knits LOL so I knit hats for Linda’s Hats for Hope, shawls for any place that can use them, toys for a children’s support house in the neighborhood, and still the occasional scarf, mitten, fingerless glove or baby gift for the aforementioned ungrateful family (again LOL).

 

bobbie

Bobbie

Thank you so much, Grace! Your bears are adorable.  And I’m sure your family loves all your handcrafted gifts :).

If you haven’t checked out Mother Bear Project, please do.  It is a wonderful charity that is dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear.

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day here in the United States.  This is a day that is known as a Day of Service.  You can honor Martin Luther King by serving your community.  Whether your community is local or global, you can make a difference in someone’s life by volunteering your time.  So if you are not able to go out and support a local cause, consider putting your knitting or crochet skills to service and make a bear or two for a child who could use a little comfort in his or her life.

Happy Crocheting!
Darleen

#familyfun tic-tac-toe game board crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

Stash Bust Update, Second Half of 2018

I’m still, slowly, working on my stash.  I had a lofty goal of reducing my boxes of crochet from 12 to 6 by the end of 2018.  It is the end of 2018 and I now have…drum roll please…9 boxes.  While I didn’t make it to 6 boxes, the 9 boxes aren’t quite as stuffed as they once were. Not what I had hoped but a little progress.  In 2018 I only purchased two skeins of yarn.  This was to make a hat for my brother.  And I received some yarn support for two designs that will published in 2019 by third parties.  So overall, my yarn stash did decrease, just not as much as I had intended.  Once again, the second half of 2018 was busy and I just did not get to crochet near as much as I had planned.  Here is what I did complete in the last 6 months of 2018-

Pumpkin Eyeballs

 

Harvest Corn Pillows

candy corn crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Christmas Tree Pillows

Crochet pattern for Christmas Tree Pillows, set by Darleen Hopkins

Mother Bears for donation

MotherBears234

A potholder gift

FranklyFractalMandala

An ear warmer headband for me.

Calgary Ear Warmer Headband

And last, but not least, 3 more octos for donation to local NICU.

octos 6, 7, 8 for NICU

I’ll be back at stash busting in 2019.  However, I think I’ll make my 2019 goal a little easier to measure.  I plan to set a goal by weight rather than volume.

Happy New Year to you all.  May 2019 be filled with lots of happiness and lots of crochet.

Darleen

Owl crochet pattern

New Pattern Alert! Textured Christmas Tree Pillow

Textured Christmas Tree Pillow crochet pattern now available!

Textured-Christmas-Tree-pillow-crochet-pattern-by-Darleen-Hopkins-webThe Textured Christmas Tree Pillow crochet pattern is now available.   This is the second tree shaped pillow pattern in the Christmas Tree Pillows set. The pattern is written for heavy worsted, aran weight yarn.  I used Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice for the sample.  Adjusting the yarn will result in a different sized pillow.  Just be sure to use a hook that yields a tight stitch.  You don’t want stuffing creeping out of your pillows.

You can find out more about the pattern here: Textured Christmas Tree Pillow Pattern

Check out the set here: Christmas Tree Pillows

Crochet pattern for Christmas Tree Pillows, set by Darleen Hopkins

This pattern is included in my Buy 2, Get a 3rd for FREE sale! No coupon needed, Ravelry will automatically deduct the lowest priced pattern from your purchase.

Happy Crocheting and Happy Holidays!

Christmas stocking crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

New Pattern Alert! Striped Christmas Tree Pillow

Striped Christmas Tree Pillow crochet pattern now available!

Striped Christmas Tree Pillow crochet pattern by Darleen HopkinsThe Striped Christmas Tree Pillow crochet pattern is now available.   This is the first of at least two Christmas Tree pillow patterns.  I hope to share the second one with you soon. The pattern is written for heavy worsted, aran weight yarn.  I used Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice for the sample.  Adjusting the yarn will yield different sized pillows.  Just be sure to use a hook that yields a tight stitch.  You don’t want stuffing creeping out of your pillows.  This pillow also looks great crocheted in one color and decorated with buttons.  OR for a large pillow, crochet with two strands held together.

You can find out more about the pattern here: Striped Christmas Tree Pillow Pattern

This pattern is included in my Buy 2, Get a 3rd for FREE sale! No coupon needed, Ravelry will automatically deduct the lowest priced pattern from your purchase.

Happy Crocheting and Happy Holidays!

Christmas stocking crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Eco-Craft update, dryer balls

Homemade Dryer Ball Update

I originally posted about my homemade dryer balls in March and I’ve been using them ever since.  At first I wasn’t sure if they worked but now I am sold on them.  Almost always my items are dry when the dryer beeps.  I rarely need to add time and run a standard load in the dryer longer.  This wasn’t the case before I started using them.  I’ve also used less dryer sheets.  I still use them, but I’m definitely using less.  Static is not bad either but that is hard to gauge because I’ve been using them during the warmer months where the heat hasn’t been on much.  The true static test will be in December and January.  But, less time in the dryer results in less static so I’m anticipating less static this winter.

A couple months ago I made two more dryer balls out of t-shirt scraps wrapped in wool.  And I lost one of the original balls somewhere in the house.  I’m sure it will turn up eventually.

Because we do a ton of laundry, my dryer balls have taken a beating.  One in particular unraveled a good bit today so it is time to fix them.  As you can see, they have been well used.dryer balls

Four of the six balls needed fixing.  I wrapped the unraveling one up with some wool scraps and finished it and the others with 100% wool yarn wrapped really tight.  I tried to work the ends in a little better as a few came loose with the initial batch.  Then I washed them with a couple of loads of towels set to hot.  This time I did not place them in a lingerie bag.  They seemed to felt better and we are ready to do some more laundry!

homemade dryer balls with wool and yarn scraps

 

Hello-Fall-crochet-by-Darleen-Hopkins

New Pattern Alert! Harvest Corn Pillows

Harvest Corn Pillows (candy corn) crochet pattern now available!

candy corn crochet pattern by Darleen HopkinsThe Harvest Corn Pillow crochet pattern is now available.  I’m really excited to FINALLY share this pattern with you.  I added the design to my “designs to do list” in February, 2016, and made the first sample in June, 2016 on our road trip out west.  But I wasn’t happy with the way the sample turned out.  The shaping wasn’t true to candy corn’s actual shape.  So the design sat. And sat. And sat until last month when I decided it was time to rework the sample and figure out how to make it look like real candy corn.  And I’m really glad I did because I LOVE these pillows!!  They add a little whimsy to fall decorating and something different from the usual items you see in every store.  The pattern includes two different sized pillows and is written for heavy worsted, aran weight yarn.  I used Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice for the samples and went with a rustic color combination.  However, if traditional candy corn is more your thing, then by all means, break out the bright orange, bright yellow and crisp white and make some pillows that look good enough to eat.  Adjusting the yarn will yield different sized pillows.  Just be sure to use a hook that yields a tight stitch.  You don’t want stuffing creeping out of your pillows.

You can find out more about the pattern here: Harvest Corn Pillows

This pattern is included in my Buy 2, Get a 3rd for FREE sale! No coupon needed, Ravelry will automatically deduct the lowest priced pattern from your purchase.

Happy Crocheting and Happy Fall!

Eyeball-Collection

Halloween pumpkins with crocheted eyes pattern by Darleen Hopkins

No MESS Jack-o-lanterns with Crochet!

This Halloween, Decorate Your Pumpkins with Crochet!

It is almost that time of year.  My favorite holiday, Halloween. I love the silliness of the holiday, the tackiness of the decorations and of course, the candy. I love seeing children using their imaginations and turning into a character for the afternoon.  I love trick-or-treating, haunted houses and spooky snacks.  And I love carving pumpkins and making jack-o-lanterns. But pumpkin carving is messy. Sometimes we don’t want to make a mess.  So here is a non-messy alternative to pumpkin carving. Crochet some eyeballs and attach them to the pumpkin!  Make a patch of scary pumpkins with some alien or demon eyes.  Or go for silly pumpkins and crochet surprised eyes or eyes with eyelashes.  Attach the eyes with double stick tape and use them year after year.  Whether you go for scary or silly, have fun and Enjoy!

The pattern for all the eyes below can be found here: The Eyeball Collection.

Ghost pumpkins with crocheted eyes. Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Ghost Pumpkins with crocheted eyes.

 

Halloween pumpkins with crocheted eyes pattern by Darleen Hopkins

#AwkwardFamilyPhoto Halloween pumpkins with crocheted eyes

Bentley-Unisex-crochet-hat-pattern-by-Darleen-Hopkins-for men womenFacebook