Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2014 NICU Charity Challenge

12 Hats. 12 Days. Are you Ready?

Some babies need help when they are born. They may need extra care because they were born too early, and therefore still need time to be ready to enter the world. These tiniest of babies are often fighters, despite weighing no more than a couple of bananas! Even full-term babies may end up in the NICU, because they have troubles like breathing adequately, staying warm, or regulating their blood sugar.

Whatever the reason for the intervention, NICUs are a huge blessing to these little ones and their families. It’s also a very stressful time for everyone involved. Most mothers envision a day of snuggles and get-to-know-you time on their baby’s birthday, not seeing their baby attached to tubes, wires, monitors, and behind the glass of an isolette. It can be very lonely and very frightening.

Our annual challenge is to each make 12 hats for these sweet NICU patients.

My annual NICU charity challenge goes along with the 12 days of Christmas. Your official challenge is to make 12 preemie hats in 12 days that you will donate to your nearest NICU. The challenge starts today (November 20th) and officially runs through January 6th (the traditional end of the 12 days of Christmas). This gives all participants some extra time to finish up their 12 hats, since we all know the holidays can be crazy-busy. 

TO JOIN:  Enter your name and e-mail in the box on the right side of my blog.  You will receive 1 pattern per day via email.  That's it!

Last year, we had well over 26,000 hats donated to NICUs all over the world. I hope that this year we will be able to increase that effort!

Several incredible designers have each contributed patterns to this challenge that you'll get simply for joining the challenge. These hats are adorable!! You are welcome to use all of the patterns, only one of the patterns, or any combination of repeats (or your own patterns) to make your 12 hats. We ask that you share a photo of your finished hats with us before you drop them off to your local hospital/birthing center/NICU. You can post the photos to Sunset Crochet's Facebook page or you can email them to her.

It's always a good idea to call your local NICU before you actually start stitching. Some NICUs have strict requirements about what fibers they allow. Others are happy with just about anything! If you're unsure, crocheting with cotton is always a pretty safe bet! It's usually best not to use buttons, flowers, or applique for a NICU hat, as they don't like to have the potential choking hazard for a baby. The same is true with the braids on the bottom of ear-flaps. It's better just not to have the risk with these little ones.

Thank you for donating & happy crocheting! :) Danyel

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Worldwide Artist Blog Hop

I was nominated for the Worldwide Artist Blog hop by Maria from Pattern Paradise!  This Blog Hop has traveled all over the world, and all sorts of creative artisans have answered these 4 questions about themselves and their crafts...

Why do I do what I do?
I have always been "crafty".  I love to paint, sew, knit, and cross stitch... but once I learned to crochet, I fell in love.  When I took up crocheting in 2007, I immediately began making gifts for my friends, and made a stack of hats to donate to chemo centers.  Shortly after that I began designing my own patterns, and I haven't looked back since.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It's really amazing how so many people who do the same craft can create such different works of art!  I don't think my work is super unique, but I strive to create designs that are colorful, textured, interesting, and have a "this is easier than it looks" feel.  I also love to create quick and colorful designs that are perfect for gifting, or for making in bulk for craft fairs or consignment shops.

How does my creative process work?
My creative process varies widely.  Sometimes I'm inspired by something I see in a store, sometimes I'm inspired by a fun stitch, and sometimes I'm inspired by the color or texture of a cool yarn.  I then work up a swatch or sample to see how I like it, then I begin making the item in different sizes.  I always work up one of each size (if there are several sizes included) and I write the pattern as I go.  Then I have the pattern tested, proofed, and edited by a group of reliable pattern testers.  After all that, it's ready to go!

What am I working on now?
I have been knitting a Doctor Who scarf as a gift for a friend.  That, and my job with Happily Hooked Magazine, have kept me quite busy.  I also have a new cowl on my hook, but that won't be ready for a week or two.  I have big plans for some Christmas gifts... guess I should get busy on those, too!

HERE ARE MY NOMINATIONS…….
I’d like to nominate Alessandra from Just Be Happy Crochet and Pam from Sincerely Pam!
Keep a eye on their blogs, they’ll be answering these questions within 2 weeks and announcing who they nominate next!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Crochet Tip: Bug Antennae



I just wanted to share my method for crocheting antennae for Bumblebee or Ladybug Hats.
The antennae are firm, but can also be shaped with your fingers for a curved effect.

You can use this method on hats, amigurumi, or any project where you need the antennae to stand up.
(Note: I am not providing a hat pattern with this tutorial.)

You will need WW yarn, I hook, and scissors.

Holding 2 strands of yarn and leaving 4-5" starting tail, ch 6.  Slip stitch into 2nd ch from hook, and in each ch to end. *Make sure you're working your slip stitch under the top loop and the back bump.  Fasten off, leaving 4-5" tail.  Use your starting and ending tails to tie antenna snugly between the stitches of your hat.  In my photo above, they were placed between rounds 3 and 4.  You can just trim the ends, or weave them in, if you prefer.

That's it!  Happy crocheting!



Sunday, October 12, 2014

New Design: Mystic Beanie



The Mystic Beanie is cozy, textured hat that's perfect for boys and girls of all ages. The hat is warm and stretchy, and works up quickly using a combination of simple stitches. This is a great project for crocheters of all skill levels.

SIZES: Child-Adult

MATERIALS: H hook, I hook, stitch marker, needle, scissors






★★ Get this pattern on Ravelry, Craftsy or Etsy now! ★★

Thank You & Happy Crocheting! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Crochet Tip: Better SC Ribbing



When working a single crochet ribbing for a garment, such as the edge of a hat or pair of mittens, try working the first and last stitch of each row through both loops. You will still get the ribbed texture, but the edge of the piece will look cleaner, and it will maintain its shape better. Also, when crocheting along the ends of the rows, you will notice fewer holes or gaps where the cuff meets the body of your project.  (Note:  When using this technique, the ch-1 at the beginning of the row would NOT count as a st.)

Here's a mitten made with a ribbed cuff worked in the Back Loops Only.
You can see how the edge of the cuff looks bumpy and unfinished.

Here's a hat I made using the technique I mentioned above.
The edge of it is a lot cleaner, and when I began adding the body of the hat to the ends of the rows, the little gaps you usually get were nearly invisible!

Try this tip when making your next ribbed project!
It will work well with HDC or DC ribbing, too!
Happy Crocheting! :)