2015 Stash Bust for Charity, Early November Status

Still working on busting out some stash…

As mentioned in my last post, things have been busy here.  So busy that I was three months late with that last post.  And, like many of you, late November and December are hectic for my family.  In anticipation of the upcoming overload of activities, I am getting some stash busting done ASAP to see if the goal of crocheting 5 pounds of yarn for charity can be achieved before year-end.

image_mediumAs of June, I had crocheted 3 pounds, 12.5 ounces into hats, a blanket and bears.  My current project should take a chunk out of the 5 pound goal!  In September I started a blanket for donation to a local nursing home.  I decided to use Beth Graham’s Inca Blocks Wrap pattern.  I’m working it with (mostly) Caron Simply Soft and it is turning out pretty cozy.  The pattern is easy to follow-I love the chart!  My goal is to finish the crocheting this week and then work on weaving in ends this weekend.

Once the blanket is done I plan to make some beanies for donation.  I’ll need to stash dive and see what I have that is on Halos of Hope’s updated yarn suggestion guide.  Check it out.   I also found out about another organization that collects hats for kids going through chemo therapy.  The organization is the Jessie Rees Foundation and they send out Joy Jars with a beanie in each.  The story behind the foundation is both heartbreaking and inspiring.  I’ve got something special in mind for Joy Jar beanies, so please look for that in the next week or two.

PatchworkKitty-001

Magic balls of yarn made with yarn scraps

Crochet and Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, Part 2

The 3 Rs and Crochet, Part 2- Reuse and Recycle

Our last post discussed a few ideas on how we can incorporate REDUCING in our crocheting and crafting.  By practicing the 3 Rs we are not only helping the environment be greener but in many was, but you can save a little green too!  So…

Let’s discuss REUSE!

Reusing can also be called repurposing or upcycling.  This is my favorite part of the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle waste hierarchy.   Once something is no longer useful in its current state, see if you can find a new use for it. Let’s explore how we can do this with our crochet.

FROG it!
One of my favorite ways to reuse is to take a damaged sweater (sock, scarf, hat, anything) unravel it and knit or crochet it into something new (reclaimed yarn).  Beth Graham (BethGraham on Ravelry) does this with hand knit socks and dishcloths.  She saves the good bits of yarn from worn-out socks for darning and for sock scrap blankets and she saves the good yarn left from worn-out dishcloths to reknit fresh cloths. Check out this blanket she is working on where she recently added a square that was made with the yarn from the very first pair of socks she ever knit!

Market bag crocheted from a thrift store sweater. Upcycled, reclaimed yarn.A few years ago I found a beautiful coral cotton Eddie Bauer sweater at a local thrift store.  It was damaged so I bought it for about $1-maybe 50 cents-and unraveled it.  I cleaned the yarn, removed the kinks, balled it up and then crocheted it into a market bag which I then gifted to a favorite teacher of my boys.  This is a great way to get great yarn for next to nothing, if you don’t mind putting in a little effort to unravel, clean, and dekink the yarn.  You can often find silk, linen and other expensive fibers for very little money.  There is a trick to this technique though.  You want to make sure you pick up the right type of sweater.  Sweaters with selvage seams will not unravel.  Check out this Reclaiming Yarn Handout created by Angelia Robinson (Quarternity on Ravelry).  She wrote the step by step instructions when she taught a class on reclaiming yarn at her local knitting guild.  http://www.quaternityknits. com/freebies/

Turning a damaged sweater into a market bag makes a unique gift most everyone will appreciate.  Seriously, who can’t use an extra bag?  And for fun, sew the sweater label in the bag.  I bet the recipient will love it.  And of course, you aren’t limited to crocheting market bags with reclaimed yarn.  Knit or crochet scarves, shawls, hats, mittens, anything and everything.  I have two damaged 100% cashmere sweaters in my stash waiting for the yarn to be reclaimed and crocheted into something beautiful.

Felted sweaters ready to cut up and turn into a crocheted kitchen throw rug.  And my cat. :)

All the sweaters are felted and ready to cut up. My kitty is anxious for her wool rug!

FELT it!
We’ve all done it, whether on accident or on purpose.  We have all shrunk a wool garment to teeny tiny proportions.  No worries, that sweater can be repurposed into many things.  In the past I have made lunch boxes, ice scraper mitts, a tea cozy and backed hot pads with felted sweaters. Check out this previous post about felting with a purpose.  Many of the wool sweaters I find in thrift stores have accidentally been partially felted already.
What about a rug?  Cut felted sweaters into strips and crochet them into a rug. I have two boxes of damaged wool sweaters collected over the past 5-6 years.  2015 just may be the year those sweaters finally turn into a kitchen rug!

RIP it!
Turn old, damaged sheets into rugs or baskets.  Cut up damaged cotton blouses into strips and crochet them.  I’ve seen jeans crocheted into rugs.  There are so many crafty options to use our worn out or damaged fabrics.  Think about it.  Caroline Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie) didn’t run to Oleson’s Mercantile when she needed something.  She saved all of her and Mary’s and Laura’s and Carrie’s and Pa’s old clothing and turned them into squares for quilts or strips for rag rugs.  Here is a video on how to turn a sheet into a rag rug. http://startingchain.com/2015/03/scrap-project-learn-how-to-crochet-a-rag-rug-out-of-old-sheets-.html

TARN!
Tarn = T-shirt yarn.  Yup, you can use the old Ts too.  I’ve started saving white Ts and undershirts once they are past wear-ability with a goal to crochet them into something.  Don’t forget, it is easy to dye T-shirts.  You aren’t stuck with dingy white.  Remember summer camp and tie-dyed shirts?  A little dye to transform them and you may have an awesome bright pink laundry basket crocheted out of your hubby’s previously dingy and underarm stained undershirts. 🙂  Here is a great tutorial on how to make TARN. http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2009/06/05/making-t-yarn-from-recycled-tee-shirts/

Japanese Knot Plarn Tote bag.  Crochet pattern by Cindy, aka RecycleCindy.

Japanese Knot Plarn Tote bag. Crochet pattern by Cindy, aka RecycleCindy. Click for pattern. Photo by RecycleCindy.

PLARN!
Plarn = plastic yarn.  This is such a great solution to all the extra plastic bags you accumulated BEFORE you started using your market bags.  Sure, we could always dump the extra bags in the blue recycling bin but recycling uses energy.  If we can reuse that plastic, we can save energy.  I made a bag and a trash can out of plarn.  Because I bring my own bags everywhere, I don’t get a lot of disposable plastic bags.  About 9 years ago I belonged to a knitting/crochet group.  I asked if anyone had extra bags sitting around the house and one lady jumped on it.  She came the next week with a lawn and leaf bag full of random plastic bags.  It was gigantic and took up my entire trunk.  I sorted, cut and wound the plastic into really large balls of plarn.  Eventually some of the bags did end up in the recycle bin but I was able to use a lot of them.  At the time my boys were in Tae Kwon Do and I would work with the plarn while they were in class.  One day the instructor couldn’t stand it any more and asked what in the world was I working on that was so crinkly. After that I decided I better finish it up at home.   Both the bag and the trash can were improvised, no pattern.  I always get compliments on my bag and the trash can is used in our hallway bathroom.  I’ve also seen people make doormats with plarn.  Here is a great tutorial on making PLARN.  http://www.thecrochetfoyer.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-to-make-plarn.html and another by RecycleCindy who designed the awesome Japanese Knot Plarn Tote Bag pictured here, http://www.myrecycledbags.com/tutorial-for-making-plarn-yarn/ for tutorial, http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2015/04/23/japanese-knot-plarn-tote-bag/ for pattern.

magic balls of yarn made with scraps to be used for crocheting a lapghan for donation

Magic Balls of Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice scraps soon to be a laphan.

SCRAPS!
Save your scraps and turn them into MAGIC BALLS.  A Magic Ball is when you take scraps of a few yards each, join the ends and then wind them into balls of yarn.  Once you have enough, crochet something with it.  If you do neat joins, like a Russian join, you can make anything and you will have a self striping ball of yarn.   Or you can just knot them together securely with a square knot and not worry about the knots or the ends and crochet a dish rag.  Let the ends poke out all over the place, who cares.  This might even be an added benefit if you make a Swiffer cover.   I suggest grouping yarn by type (cottons with cottons, acrylics with acrylics, etc).  That way you know what you have and you can make cotton dish rags or an acrylic bag or wool pot holders.  You can also group by color choice, all blue hues for example.  You are in control of the striping and only limited by the scraps on hand.  Here is a tutorial for a little more information on Magic Balls.  http://www.scribd.com/doc/ 19680430/The-Magic-Ball-Tutorial  This was a new concept for me and I’m so glad I found it while doing research for this post.  I’ve started working on a lapghan made with lots of scraps using the Magic Ball method.

Save all the teeny tiny ends too.  I’ve used them to stuff cat toys.
This suggestion came from Kaila via my Facebook page

“I save all my small scraps of yarn (like from weaving in ends) and the little pieces from sewing and put them in a zip lock. It makes a fluffy filler that my 8-year-old son has decided to use to make smaller pillows for people who sleep on the streets.”

What a sweet and caring little 8-year-old!
I’ve seen others put the tiny scraps out for the birds to use as nesting materials.  I believe this is best for wool scraps.  Acrylics and other synthetics should be avoided.  Wool provides warmth and water resistance to the nest.  I’ve read the synthetics can be dangerous to the birds’ respiratory system.  I don’t know if it is true or not but makes sense.  Wool is found in nature, fun fur isn’t.

SEW!
Can you sew?  I found this Craftsy class, Project Upcycle, Thrifty Sewing Projects.  It is on my to-do list waiting for a day my sewing skills improve some.   And Angelia has a great tutorial on how to add a fabric lining to your crocheted or knit bags.  I bet you can find some fabric to upcycle for these awesome ideas.

THINK!
The one thing I would like to stress when it comes to reusing is to make sure the item is no longer useful in its current condition before you reuse it.  For example, if you decide to shop thrift stores for sweaters to frog or felt try finding ones that are damaged first.  No one wants to wear a sweater with moth holes but that doesn’t matter for felting.  Maybe you can talk to the manager of the store and get the damaged clothing for a discount or even free.  And with plarn, please don’t buy plastic bags to crochet them.  I have seen folks do this because they wanted pink or purple plarn.  Or they go to stores and asked for a stack of unused bags.  If that is what you really want to do then fine, just realize you aren’t “recycling” that way.  It is the same as buying a skein of yarn.

Recycle

OK, I’ve Reduced my waste, I’ve Reused as much as possible, now how do I recycle?
Wkikipedia’s definition of Recycling

Recycling is a process to change waste materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfilling) by reducing the need for “conventional” waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions as compared to plastic production. Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” waste hierarchy.

Choose yarns and products made with recycled materials.
Unfortunately, it seems this must not be a profitable area for major yarn manufactures. Most yarns I found that contained recycled materials have been discontinued.  I did find these.  If you know of more, please let me know!

Berroco Remix is made with 100% recycled fibers.
Lion Brand Fettuccini is made from the remnants of garment manufacturing.
Red Heart Silk Sari is made from the remnant fibers from the manufacturing of silk saris.

Reclaimed-yarnI’m sure (hope) there are other, smaller manufactures of yarn that use recycled materials.  However, if you don’t want to reclaim your own yarn, you can buy recycled (reclaimed) yarn and support some small business owners too.  A quick Etsy search yielded many sellers of reclaimed/recycled yarn.

I was pleasantly surprised when I was stuffing my Bloodshot Eyeball Pillow with polyester-fiber fill that not only was stuffing made in the USA but was also of recycled materials.  https://www.fairfieldworld.com/store/big-bag/poly-fil-premium-fiber-fill-32-ounce-bag/

Recycle it.
Finally, when your crafted items (or any another clothing, fabric or scraps) are beyond repair or reclaiming for another use, don’t throw them out, recycle them!!  Many of the larger donation stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army) sell the unsaleable clothing and fabrics by the pound wholesalers for recycling.  Our little local charity thrift store does as well so check with the small ones too.  Or drop them into the clothing drop boxes around your town.  We have USAgain in this area of the county.  http://www.usagain.com/  http://www.smartasn.org/ collectors/

And last, but not least, recycle the paper label wrapped around your skein!

Black Raspberry Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Enough Snow Already

 Seriously? More snowy yuckiness?

Crochet Flapper Hat by Darleen Hopkins http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/waiting-for-spring-flapper-hat-with-roseI had just stepped out of the shower when I received the call that my boys’ school had a two-hour delay, what?  Thor (is that the name of the latest winter storm?) was only supposed to bring us some nighttime lows.  Shortly after that call, I received a text that my job, the local university, had a one hour delay.  Universities aren’t so quick to close or delay, so I figured that warranted a look outside and sure enough, there was snow on the ground.  It was only a dusting and I can’t really complain as I know other southern areas got a lot of snow and northern areas will receive even more, but still, enough is enough!

Spring will be here in TWO WEEKS! so in celebration of warmer days ahead, I’m offering my Waiting for Spring, Flapper Hat at 50% off for the next week.  Use coupon code EnoughSnow2015 at checkout, Ravelry purchases only, expires 3/15/2015 midnight EST.  This is an awesome hat for young ladies in sizes to fit American Girl doll/preemie to small teen/preteen (approx. 12.25-20.5″ head circumference).  Crochet yours in aran/heavy worsted cotton for warmer days ahead or acrylic or wool for the colder days that continue to linger.

Why delay school with only a dusting?  Georgia isn’t equipped to handle snow or ice.  Our best winter mess removal tool is the sun.  See this post for more info on the lack of snow preparedness in Georgia.

Whispers, Crochet by Darleen Hopkins http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/whispers-shawl-shawlette-or-scarf

2015 Stash Bust for Charity, Early February update

Fun Fur Silliness, Phase One

Fun fur crochet hat for donation  https://crochetbydarleenhopkins.com/category/2015-chemo-hat-challenge/My last post stated  “I’ve got some funky fun fur that needs to used…” and this is the result of the first fun fur hat in 2015.   It’s pretty stretchy and should fit most about 8 years old and up.  I’m hopeful it will find a home to someone with a unique sense of humor. This hat weights 2.25 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 4

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date:
8.25 ounces

 

Happy Puppy Hat, crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins

2015 Stash Bust for Charity, Mid-January update

New Challenge for 2015

It’s a new year and therefore time for a new challenge.  A couple of years ago I decided I was going to work on busting out some of my stash yarn and make hats for chemo donation.  My 2013 Stash Bust Challenge was focused on a box full of Bernat CottonTots yarn.  I ended up crocheting 5 pounds, 15.5 ounces of it into 32 hats for Halos of Hope or other charitable donation.  I had also crocheted other hats for donation in different yarn that I didn’t include in the count.  I was pretty busy with hats that year.  Last year’s challenge didn’t focus on any yarn in particular, just random yarn in my stash.  Last year I made 24 hats out of 5 pounds, 4.25 ounces!  I must have made some pretty heavy hats!

It would seem that most of my stash yarn would be close to gone at this point. Sadly, no.  I still have too many boxes of yarn.  So 2015 will once again be all about working from stash yarn for charitable causes. This year’s goal will be a minimum of 24 hats and 5 pounds of yarn.  I’ve got some funky fun fur that needs to used and a ton of cotton and cotton-blends that will be perfect for chemo hats.  I also hope to make a lapghan or two.

Let’s start this challenge off with the first 3 hats of 2015 completed!

Hat for Halos for Hope, crocheted by Darleen HopkinsThe first is called End’s Swell.  I won this pattern in the Gift-A-Long on Ravelry last month.  It is stitched with slip stitches which was totally new to me.  The final result is adorable.  The pattern is a great way to use up smaller leftovers without having to work in a million ends.  I can see making more of these in random stripes as leftovers come available.

Divine Hat for Halos of Hope, crocheted by Darleen HopkinsNext is another Divine Hat.  This is a great pattern and my third one.  I used Caron Simply Soft for this one.  It looks great but, going forward, I’ll use thinner yarns when making this pattern.  I loved it in Caron Spa.

Happy Puppy Hat, crochet pattern by Darleen HopkinsLast is a Happy Puppy.  Last month I re-worked the pattern in Vanna’s Choice by Lion Brand.  I also re-formatted the pattern and took new pictures.  The pattern was originally written with Bernat  Denim Style-a great cotton/acrylic blend.  Unfortunately this yarn has been discontinued.  I (of course) have a few skeins of it in my stash and found this hat partially finished.  Because Denim Style is super soft and perfect for chemo hats, I finished it and will include it in my next batch of hats to Halos of Hope.

This 2015 challenge is on and off for a good start!

The three hats weigh 7 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 3

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 7 ounces

CrochetForMen

 

Got Drool?

Got Drool?

I’d like to introduce a few of my latest designs….Drool Bibs!

 Penguin Drool Spit Bib

Penguin Drool Spit Bib

Polar Bear Drool Spit Bib

Polar Bear Drool Spit Bib

Hippo Drool Spit Bib

Hippo Drool Spit Bib

Lion Drool Spit Bib

Lion Drool Spit Bib

Baby Bear Drool Spit Bib

Baby Bear Drool Spit Bib

Bunny Rabbit Drool Spit Bib

Bunny Rabbit Drool Spit Bib

My oldest was a drooler-big time.  He was an adorable, chubby, happy baby that soaked everything!  I wish I knew how to crochet back then (I learned when he was about 5) because I spent a small fortune purchasing cute drool bibs to soak it all up and keep him dry.

Babies like him are what inspired me to design these adorable drool bibs.  Make them in cotton or cotton blend yarn for maximum absorbency.  I made mine in Knit Picks Comfy Worsted-what a great yarn!  These bibs work up quick and are sure to be a hit at any baby shower.

Each bib pattern set comes with 2 patterns.  So far I have made 3 sets; Forest Friends-Adorable Bunny and Sweet Baby Bear, Safari Friends-Happy Hippo and Loveable Lion and just released, Polar Friends-Preppy Penguin and Charming Polar Bear.  Be on the lookout for more.  I’m addicted to designing them and have plans for many, many more Friends!

Patterns are available on Etsy, Craftsy and Ravelry for $3.50/ SET (2 patterns per set)  Don’t forget, all Crochet by Darleen Hopkins purchases on Ravelry are Buy 2, Get 1 Free!  No coupon needed!

Stash Bust Update-March 2013

Stash Busting for Hope, Update March 2013

P1010969 (750x750)Phew! It’s been a busy month and it’s only the 10th! I spent this last week finishing up a few hats I had started but hadn’t gotten around to completing. My incentive was to get the Kissy Fish Hats out to Halos of Hope ASAP. I also heard about a little girl in Michigan who could use a few hats. This is what was written about her on a facebook page I stumbled upon.

575945_10200270821846047_1728585048_n(From Debbie Fry Kruse via Crochet Club Facebook Page)
This is Kaelee, (on the right) and her twin sister. She is in the 3rd grade. Kaelee just had to shave her head as she is fighting cancer. She is from a small town and I’d like to show her no one fights alone! Her teacher will post pictures of the hats from around the world! If you would like to send a hat to her at school, the address is: Hopkins Elementary School, 400 Clark St., Hopkins, MI 49328 attn: Heather Fuss

and this article about an upcoming fund-raiser for her family.

P1010973 (750x750)P1010961 (750x563)So this month, two of my Stash Busting for Hope hats will go to Kaelee (green with flowers and pink stripes with heart) and two (fish) of my hats will go to Halos of Hope.  The four hats together weigh in at 13 ounces.

Total Stash Bust Yarn Weight to Date: just over 2 pounds! (1/3 done!!)

Total Stash Bust Hat Count to Date: 10