Friday, April 30, 2010

Two more preemie blankets

We're on our way to meeting our goal of collecting 35 homemade baby blankets for the NICU. I've had a number of people tell me they are stitching away!

Here are two more (with hats) that I've worked up...

Ripples are one my favorite types of blankets to crochet.

When I finished this hat E3 asked me, "Is that for a doll?"

This ruffle-edge hat needed a ruffle hat to go with it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Purse for H4-Tunisian style!

Since it was my birthday last week, I decided to treat myself with a 2-hour class at a local yarn shop. Armed with a little birthday money and a tunisian crochet hook I had never quite gotten around to trying out, I finally learned this "in-between knitting and crocheting" stitch. My favorite part about the afghan stitch (or tunisian crochet) is that it creates perfectly square stitiches, which is a great canvas for cross stitching.

Here's a great site for learning tunisian crochet.

I had made a little purse for A8 about a month ago and H4 has been waiting ever-so-patiently since for me to make her one. I finished the purse quickly and added the button and crosstitch. H4 loved it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Purposeful Crochet

Our youngest son, Baby L is now seven months old. He was born in late August with seemingly no complications. However, the day after we brought him home from the hospital he was readmitted after a routine checkup showed some concerns. We originally thought he had an infection, but later found that he had some neurological issues. God has been so gracious to us, and our little one has made a miraculous recovery from the brain injury with very minimal delays. But in the first couple weeks of Baby L's life, we had no idea what his future would hold.

You can read about our NICU journey here:
Please Pray
Continuing to Improve
Hard Day
Short Update
He's Home!!!

The eleven days we spent in the NICU were absolutely the darkest days of my life. Watching the heart rate and oxygen levels of our infant drop, praying that he would somehow maintain his body temperature, tubes and wires stuck through him everywhere,...not knowing when or how or if he would recover. And our story was nothing compared to most of the other families in there. This was our life for only 11 days...others were there for literally months. My heart still aches for them in a way that only a mother who has been there can understand.

One day while in the NICU we received a wrapped gift from a mom who's little one had been in the NICU a year prior. It was so sweet to receive this gift. Also, while I was there I kept myself busy crocheting hats for Baby L since staying warm was something that was hard for him to do. From the moment I came home I knew I wanted to somehow minister to the families who were going through what we went through.

Last month I announced to our homeschool group that I was hoping to get at least 35 homemade baby blankets to donate by the end of May. There are 25-35 families in the NICU at any given time, so this would allow us to give a blanket to each family. We are also collecting crocheted hats, preemie/newborn clothes, diapers, and $5 gas cards for the families. I'm teaching a group of girls at our our homeschool co-op to crochet and have hosted the first of three one-day "Crash course in crochet" classes. All of the kids and moms attending are working on blankets as well.

To kick it all off, my sweet friend, Marcy gave me a big bag of crocheted baby hats and blankets that she and her mom had made to donate when she was working as a nurse at the hospital.

Here are well over 20 hats all made by Marcy.

And nine blankets (most with matching hats) made by Marcy's mom. I wish you could see these in person...they really are beautiful.

Here's the first blanket preemie that I worked up. I used this free pattern.

Both hats I made are based on this free pattern.

I wanted an easy pattern for beginning crocheters, so I have been showing them how to make a simple 9 inch by 9 inch double crocheted square. After they complete four of them, they can sew them together and add a border. I made the teddy bear separately and sewed it on.

The border is a round of double crochet (brown), a round of single crochet (blue), and a shell pattern (yellow).

I'll keep you updated on all the blankets we collect!

By the way if you're interested in helping, leave me a comment with your email and I will send you the info on how to get the donations to me.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spinning a yarn.

A couple of months ago I decided to flip through a book on spinning yarn at a local bookstore. Within 48 hours, and after a failed attempt to make a homemade drop spindle from cds and duct tape, I had purchased a $5 drop spindle and some Shetland roving. Armed only with a youtube video and a determined will I began my first attempt at hand spinning.

Unfortunately, I couldn't quite take a picture of myself while I was spinning the yarn. But I did get pictures of the dying process...

First, we put the spun yarn in our crockpot and put just enough water in to cover the yarn. (I say 'we' because the kids helped - it was part of our 'Colonial period textiles' studies. :o) ) The contrasting yarn is what I used to tie the skeins together so the yarn didn't get all knotted up.

Then we mixed our dye which was just Kool-Aid mix and water. I used two lemonade packets for the yellow and two pink lemonade packets for the pink. Just add a little bit of water until you get the color you want. (You can see this was only about a cup or so of water.)

Carefully pour the dye over the yarn. I wanted more pink than yellow so I purposefully poured the pink over 2/3 of the yarn and the yellow over the rest.

Cover the crockpot and let it warm on a low setting until the yarn absorbs all of the dye. Never stir the yarn, just let it sit. You will know that it is done when all of the water is completely clear. You can then remove the yarn and very gently squeeze off the excess water.

Next, hang your yarn overnight to let it dry. Weight it down with one or two additional hangers.

This is how my first yarn turned out...skinny in some places, fat in others. I *think* I'll get better with more practice!

I fretted over what to do with the yarn and finally decided to make a hat for L1. I didn't have enough yarn for the brim, so the yellow is actually a manufactured yarn, but I added a little flower from the homespun to the brim.