Lapghans for donation, charity stast bust challenge by Darleen Hopkins

2015 Stash Bust for Charity-November, blanket done!

Blanket for donation is done!

lapghan for donationI’m super excited to share with you the finished Inca Blocks Lapghan!  The pattern was adapted from Beth Graham’s Inca Block Wrap.  The only change I made was to add some stripes and work a few less rows.  Basically I worked the pattern until I ran out of yarn.  The finished blanket is 42″ wide X 39″ long and should be a nice and cozy lapghan.  I know it kept me cozy while I was stitching it 🙂

This blanket and the other lapghan I made earlier this year, will be donated to the local nursing home.  Every year, just before Thanksgiving, the nursing home puts up a wish tree of items needed by residents who don’t have much or don’t receive many visitors.  I always see lap blankets listed and I always wish I had time to make one.  This year I (finally) thought ahead and made two ahead of time.  The tree should be up this week.

Lapghans for donation, charity stast bust challenge by Darleen Hopkins

This blanket is included in my Stash Bust for Charity, 2015 challenge.  The blanket weighs just over 1 pound, 1.5 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 10

Total bears made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 6

Total blankets made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 2

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 4 pounds, 14 ounces!

Just Treats this Halloween!

Generous Crocheter Sending Treats this Halloween

Gifted yarn.  www.cochetbydarleenhopkins.comCrocheters (and other crafters too!) are such generous people.  We love our craft and want to share it with as many others as possible.  How often have you found yourself saying to others “If you’d like to learn, I’ll show you.”  Not only do we share our skills, we also share our stuff.  Last week, one of my regular pattern testers mentioned she had some cotton yarn she couldn’t use and asked if I’d like it.  She said maybe I could make a couple of hats for Halos of Hope with it.   Because she lives rather far away I suggested she see if she might be able to find someone local so we wouldn’t have to worry about shipping costs.  Her response was, if I wanted, it was mine and she would treat on the shipping.  I said sure thinking it was maybe 3 or 4 balls of yarn.  Yesterday (Halloween),  I arrived at my house to find a large box at my door.  “What?”  I wondered, “What treat did I receive?”  I opened it to find 17 full and a couple partial balls of cotton yarn. WOW!  Yeah, I think I can make more than a couple of hats for Halos of Hope with it!  The yarn weighs over 2 pounds, 10 ounces, almost as much as the yarn I have used in 2014 (to date) to make 16 hats!

This isn’t the first time someone has shared her craft items with me.  Last year, a woman my husband knows through his job, was clearing out some knitting items.  She sent him home with 2 large bags of books, patterns and needles for me.  She said for me to take what I wanted and donate the rest.  How sweet!  I pulled out a couple of books and some lovely bamboo needles and brought the rest to the thrift store that supports a local women’s shelter.

Thank you both Heather and Maggie for your generosity.  All of these gifts will be put to good use as I continue to bust out my stash for Halos of Hope.  If you’ve received a generous gift from another crafter, I’d love to hear about it!

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The Spirit of Gifting-A Touching Story

The Spirit of Gifting-A Touching Story

P1010644 (600x419)Every Christmas I try to make a special handmade gift for my boys.  See photo at left for last year’s Minecraft Creepers.  Earlier today I purchased a pattern to make this year’s surprise and I’ll start working on it tonight after they go to bed.  We are fortunate enough where these handmade gifts are special treats for our kids and although they receive plenty of store-bought gifts, they always really enjoy the crocheted creation they know will arrive.  A few minutes ago I read a very touching story of a family who hit hard times and the store-bought gifts weren’t so easy to get.  Crochet helped this family bring Christmas surprises to a couple sweet children.  The sweetest gift though, was the gift from the son.  If you have a couple of minutes, please check out this story,  written by Crochey Day and posted in Crochetvolution Winter 2012.  You can find it here:  http://crochetvolution.com/winter-2013/the-year-there-was-yarn-for-Christmas  You may need a tissue, I did.

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The Spirit of Gifting-My Favorite Gift Ever

The Spirit of Gifting-The Foundation

With the first week of Ravelry’s (hopefully annual) Indie Gift-A-Long behind us I’ve been thinking a lot about handmade gifts.  I’ve made number of them over the years; from the traditional macaroni necklace I’m sure I made as a child to some of my own crocheted designs in more recent years.  However, without a doubt, my favorite handmade gift is the blanket I designed for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.

50th Anniversay GiftI began the concept for the blanket on their 49th anniversary.  I wanted to make them something special and unique, they deserved it.  But at the time, although I had “winged it” on a couple of different hats, I hadn’t made or designed anything so huge.    The design needed to represent them and the foundation they gave me and my siblings from which we would build our lives and relationships.  To me, the design was obvious, a family tree.  Someone I knew directed me to Lion Brand’s Tree of Life knitting pattern and although beautiful, it wasn’t personal enough.  So I did as I so often do, I  made up my own pattern.  I learned how to do front post stitches as I wanted my design to POP and learned how the front post stitches worked with flat stitches and graphed out the tree.  I learned after much trial and error, that a crocheted stitch isn’t always as square in real life as it is on graph paper.  Online I found a make it yourself graph paper where you can determine the shape of the “squares”.  I searched high and low for the perfect yarn and ended up with two types.  One cream with gold metallic for the 50th anniversary to use as an accent and a soft, easy care cream yarn for the main afghan.  The colors had to be an exact match.  After finding the perfect yarn I had a hard time finding enough of the same dye lot.  By complete luck someone was selling an entire paper box full of the perfect yarn (eBay).  And bonus, they were only about 30 miles away and therefore, no shipping.  An unbelievable and perfect find.

Designing 50th Anniversary GiftI remember re-doing the graph a number of times and so pleased I was able to find my final graph from which the blanket is made.  The trunk represents my parents-their foundation of love and support for each other and the family.  The three main branches are my brother, my sister, me and our spouses.  The six smaller branches are our kids, their grandchildren; my brother’s son and daughter, my sister’s two daughters and my two sons.  And the branch turning into a bird is our special angel,  my son who died shortly after his birth.  Very much a part of our family but whose life was cut way too short.

Many variations of edging were worked.  I wanted a little gold to represent the 50 years and wanted to frame the design. I’d never done a puff stitch before this and not even sure if that’s the stitch I used, but the result is perfect.

My parents were and still are great examples.  For my brother, my sister and me, they provided a strong foundation as parents should.  They taught us marriage is about love and support and with this foundation we have survived – as couples – some of the toughest days of our lives.  I’m so very thankful for that.  Next month they celebrate 56 years.  How very lucky they are.  My mother, my #1 fan, has often encouraged me to write down this design and self-publish it.   I can’t, it’s too personal.  Maybe one day I’ll create a similar design but for now it will remain as my favorite gift ever.

50th Anniversay Afghan, original design

Read other stories about gifting here: http://www.heartstringsfiberarts.com/gal.shtm

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