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

Buy 2 Get 1 Free on Ravelry

It’s HERE! Ravelry’s Indie Designer Gift-A-Long!

It’s HERE! Ravelry’s Indie Designer Gift-A-Long!

Giftalong-logo-400What is a Gift-A-Long?

It’s a chance to save some $$ on your favorite gift patterns, participate in knit/crochet-a-longs, share photos of your finished projects, see what others are making, win prizes and HAVE FUN!  In other words, it’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

From November 1st through November 15th any pattern listed in the “List of Participating Patterns” thread is 25% off when you use the code “giftalong”. (Ravelry only)

Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, please join a relevant KAL/CAL.  (For instance, if it is a cowl, please join the cowl KAL/CAL.) KAL/CAL participants are eligible for lots of lovely prizes (check out the Prizes thread for details) but you gotta post to win!

Almost 175 independent designers from Ravelry have banded together to offer their best gift patterns at a discount of 25% off (you gotta use the coupon code “giftalong” to get the discount) from now through Nov. 15, GMT.  In addition, designers will be monitoring the various KAL/CAL to see if there are any questions.   And there will be prizes, lot’s of prizes-almost 300 hundred-with lots of chances to win.  KAL/CALs will run until December 31st, plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting.

Save 25% on the following Crochet by Darleen Hopkins patterns.  Remember, you have use the coupon code “giftalong” to get the 25% off.  I can’t wait to see all your finished items!

Crochet by Darleen Hopkins Gift-a-Long

Crochet by Darleen Hopkins
Gift-a-Long

Piranha Monster Fish Hat 25% off

The Cubed Hat, Super Slouchy and Relaxed Beanie 25% off

Stars and Flowers Slouch Hat 25% off

Owl Drool Bibs 25% off

Bobble Head Blanket Buddy 25% off

Mr. Springy, The Robot Hat 25% off

Join Ravelry, join the Gift-a-Long, get your patterns and have fun!

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Handmade with Love – Downloadable tags

Handmade with Love

example-handmade-tagThe gift giving holiday season is fast approaching!  If you haven’t started your gift crocheting yet, you’d better get on it.  And to make it a little easier, I’d thought I’d share these adorable tags I stumbled upon.  Compliments of Craftsy.

What are you making this year?  Dishcloth set for the kids’ bus driver?  Pizza Potholder for your youngest child’s teacher?  How about a Piranha hat for Uncle Stan, the marine biologist?

Crochet by Darleen Hopkins on Ravelry, Buy 2 Get 1 Free!
(no coupon needed!
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