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.  You can find the four versions of the bear pattern ( 2 knit, 2 crochet) here: Mother Bear Project pattern

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

Crochet Potholder Swap!

Potholder swap 1 WEB

First completed potholder for the swap!

I’ve always loved potholder patterns.  There are so many cute, silly and fun patterns available.   I have a lot of crocheted potholders.  They were my first crochet projects.   It was a great way to perfect my tension.  But because they were so simple, they are plain and not at all exciting and are showing some wear.  I’ve had them for about 10 years now.    So when I heard about a potholder swap, I was super excited.

I’ve never participated in any swaps before and have always been curious about them.   I’ve learned that you make the item then mail it along with return postage to whomever the organizer of the swap may be.  She (or he) sorts them all and mails you an item made by another person.  For this swap we are each making three potholders of the same pattern.  The colors can vary but the pattern is to be consistent.  Then, we will receive back three potholders made by three different people!  I think it will be awesome to see the work of others.

I had a heck of a time deciding on which pattern to use.  I was tempted to go whimsical.  Many of my bib patterns could easily be converted to potholders and I was really leaning toward making three pigs (three little pigs, get it?)  But then I saw this Granny Stitch Potholder pattern by Recycle Cindy.  I thought it was adorable and genius in its simplicity.   And I’m really into grannies lately as I’m working on three different pattern designs that incorporate granny squares.  So, the combination of this cute potholder pattern with my quest to work from stash and I quickly became hooked (sorry, no pun intended).

So far I’ve completed one potholder.  Each one is using up a lot of scraps, which is great but results in a ton of ends to weave in.  My goal is to get them in the mail this weekend.  I have a lot of weaving and crocheting to do to in order to finish!

Are you interested in participating?  Check out the Ravelry group here: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/2016-potholder-swap

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