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  • Crocheting Hats—Update!

    Just thought I’d touch base with you on my charity hat crocheting progress. I finished the little green hat I was making from a pattern in Teach a Group of Kids to Crochet. Yes, it really was super easy! (Perfect for mindless crocheting wherever you get stuck with time on your hands.)

    Well, I was finished. Then, I felt compelled to crochet a flower to go on it…

    Now, I’m done! Think a little girl might get a kick out of it?

    I’ve also picked the yarn and pattern for my next crocheted hat. I pulled some unlabeled burgundyish medium weight yarn out of my stash and grabbed a copy of Lisa Gentry’s Celebrity Slouchy Beanies to Crochet.

    I’ve made it to Round 7 on Lisa’s Eco Green hat. (No, I don’t currently have any good green yarn in my stash. Must go shopping!) This design is a little more challenging, but, so far, all is going well. I think I like V-Sts!

  • Charity Book Winners

    Just a note to congratulate the winners from my charity knit, crochet, and quilt blog posts from 8/5-8/14. And the winners are:

    Drum roll please...
    n7lqk wins a copy of Cuddles to Crochet for Pets & a stack of Afghan books
    Holy Needles wins a stack of knit & crochet Prayer Shawl books
    Pat V. wins the stack of Debbie Macomber books
    Maggi wins the stack of Hat & Scarf crochet books
    Lisa wins the Fons & Porter Quilt books
    Sharon P. wins one of the Enchanted Makeovers Quilt books
    I’ve posted the name of the winner in the comment section of each blog post, so winners if you haven’t received an email from me, you should email me at to accept your prize. I’ll need your name and mailing address to mail your prizes.
  • Enchanted Makeovers

    Have you heard about the good work being done by Enchanted Makeovers? Founded by Terry Grahl, this non-profit company’s goal is to improve women and girls’ shelters by enriching them with not only a fresh look but with homemade items.

    One of our favorite quilt designers, the energy-packed Pat Sloan, has been working with Terry and Enchanted Makeovers to outfit a permanent sewing room at the Detroit Alternatives for Girls shelter. Alternatives for Girls has dedicated one room for a permanent sewing space where local quilters and sewers are going to be running an ongoing program to teach the girls to sew.

    Enchanted Makeovers’ mission for “The Sacred Sewing Room Program” is to create an Enchanted Space to Learn, Teach, Share, and Discover the Golden Thread that Connects Us All! So they’re not just putting together a typical sewing room full of fabric, thread, patterns, and machines. Enchanted Makeovers’ Sacred Sewing Room Program is much deeper than that; Enchanted Makeovers is working to combine the life skill of sewing with the power of the human connection. This sacred space will be a place where both every day sewers and awarding-winning instructors alike will volunteer their time to share their sewing skills and (more importantly) share of themselves. The women in the shelter and the instructors will tell their personal stories of trials, triumphs, and dreams for their lives.

    Pat has asked us to help out, too, with a donation of fabric, notions, and Leisure Arts sewing, quilting, and general craft books. Check out what we sent—

    The Big Green Book of Recycled Crafts

    Stripped Down Patchwork

    The Best of Sew Simple Magazine

    Pat Sloan’s Favorite Techniques

    I Can’t Believe I’m Quilting

    Beginner-Friendly Quilts

    Cool Stuff Friendship Bracelets

    Cool Stuff Teach Me to Quilt

    Best of Fons & Porter: Easy Quilts

    Fresh Impressions

    And more!

    And check out Jean (quilt editor) and Cheryl (quilt director)! They look pretty happy about packing up that box!

    Have you been doing any sewing- or quilting- related charity work that makes you happy? Are you sharing your creativity with a group of young people in a special way? Tell us about it in a comment below by Tuesday, August 16, and tell me which of the books above that you might like to have in your home library ’cause I might be willing to give a couple of them away!

  • Quilting for Charity!

    Wanna look at some pretty pictures with me? I carried two of our newest Fons & Porter quilt books home with me this weekend. I never have time at work to actually study these wonderfully thick, project-packed books. I don’t actually quilt (I collect quilts), but I do love to look at the pictures and dream, so here I am with my books at the dining table.

    The first thing I’m noticing about these books, besides the I-Want-Them quilts that I wish somebody would make for me, is that a lot of these projects are just perfect for quilting for charity—especially the ones in the Best of Fons & Porter Easy Quilts. It includes 31 projects to make in a weekend or less! Take a peek at a few of my favorites:

    Once Around the Block

    How much fun is this brightly colored contemporary quilt?


    This simple quilt is made from just 5 fabrics!


    You could make this quilt in an evening with any assortment of fat quarters!
    The vintagy-look of the numbers and words fabric is just my style!


    Dots, flowers, and stripes combine to create this fun quilt!

    Divine Vines

    Leaves and vines are stitched on an easily-pieced background to make this quilt something special!

    Autumn Posy Patch

    Strip piecing and fusible appliqué make this cute quilt as easy as pie!

    Sassy Stripes

    Easy strip piecing makes stitching this quilt a breeze!


    I’m a pushover for crazy quilts! Love the bold prints!

    The Best of Fons & Porter Favorite Quilts is a Collector’s Edition featuring 25 personal quilts designed Marianne Fons and Liz Porter themselves. It includes all skill levels from easy to challenging, but I thought you might like to get a look at some of the easy designs that would work well for charity giving:

    One Block Star

    You can cut and sew this “big block” quilt in an afternoon!


    Plaid strip sets are stitched in a Rail Fence pattern to create this easy quilt.

    Blue Streak

    This traditional Streak o’ Lightning quilt looks great and is easy to make!

    Sunset Sail

    Beautiful batiks make this Split Nine Patch quilt variation with a Barn Raising setting.

    If these two books inspire you to commit some quilted charity work, comment below before Monday, August 15, for a chance to win both of them. Brag a little about your history of quilting for charity or your future plans to donate! We’d be even more impressed if you also posted a photo or photos of your quilted donations on the Leisure Arts Facebook Page to inspire us all!

  • Hats & Scarves for Charity

    Crocheters, hope you aren’t feeling jealous over yesterday’s big Knit Along with Debbie Macomber giveaway ’cause there’s no need…Today I’m offering up some great crochet hat and scarf pattern books to some lucky winner!

    Hats and scarves are my favorite projects to make and donate. They’re usually quick and easy to crochet, and you can stitch up a bunch and really feel like you’ve accomplished something for those in need. To inspire you to indulge in your own hat and scarf crocheting frenzy, I thought I’d show off some of my favorite Leisure Arts patterns:

    From Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby’s new Heady Affairs—7 Impetuous Hats to Crochet, I’m lovin’ this Chinese Acrobat Hat—

    The long tassel is just too much fun! Who says hats for charity have to be boring? The other 6 projects are pretty cool, too! I may have to experiment with them next.

    I’ve crocheted so many hats for kids from No Adults Allowed by Kay Meadors that it’s hard to pick a favorite pattern. I like all 13 designs!

    The Little Guy Preemie Cap

    Birthday Cake Cap

    Elf Cap

    For example, The Little Guy Preemie Cap is so very sweet…but who could resist crocheting the hat that goes with that face under the Birthday Cake Cap? Of course, I‘m also drawn to the Elf Cap (guess I’m a little obsessed with long tassels…).

    The Eco Green hat from Celebrity Slouchy Beanies by Lisa Gentry caught my fancy with its great V-st pattern. (The fact that it’s green didn’t sway my opinion…I’m so enamored with green yarn that any project stitched with it becomes a favorite for me.) This little book is just the right size to carry around with you so you can crochet wherever you are, and it has hats for women, men, and even the kids!

    I really like the texture created by the Back Post, Front Post, and Linked Double Crochet stitches on this Basketweave Stocking Cap from In All Caps (another great little take-along book) by Drew Emborsky. It reminds me of…

    …the Basket Weave Hat & Scarf Set that I was working on earlier this year from Noggins & Necks by Bonnie Barker.

    Remember my green Basket Weave Scarf that I made from Bonnie’s pattern from a previous post? (I did finish it, but I didn’t actually get to keep it for myself. One of my kids made off with it!) All 10 of the designs in this book are great because these scarf and hat sets can be crocheted in a weekend or less!

    If you’re looking for a book that’s just full of reasonably easy scarf patterns, check out Ruthie’s Easy Crocheted Scarves by Ruthie Marks. With 11 designs to pick from, you’ll never get bored!

    This Long Stripes scarf is probably my go-to in Ruthie’s book because with simple hdc stitches and one skein of multicolor yarn, I can create a bright fashion accessory that the teenagers at my house are willing to wear. The loopy fringe on the ends is just the crowning touch.

    Once in a while, I want a little more challenge in my crochet patterns. Even if I’m crocheting for charity, I want to learn something new. On those occasions, I turn to Learn a Stitch Create a Scarf by Mary Nolfi. It includes 22 pattern stitches and 9 fringe and tassel treatments that turn into scarves as you teach yourself how to do them. (Just think of all the original afghans you could make after learning these stitches!)

    The first design I tackled from Mary’s book was this Single Cable Scarf. I’ve always liked the look of knitted cables, but since I don’t knit, I was pretty excited about the idea of being able to crochet cables. Turned out to be pretty easy!

    Are you inspired yet? If so, comment below before Monday, August 15, for a chance to win all 7 books. Brag a little about your history of crocheting for charity or your future plans to donate! We’d be even more impressed if you also posted a photo or photos of your crocheted donations on the Leisure Arts Facebook Page to inspire us all!

  • About That Stack of Debbie Macomber Books…

    If you’re a charity-minded knitter or a big fan of best-selling author/prolific knitter—Debbie Macomber, our series of Knit Along with Debbie Macomber pattern books definitely needs to be on the shelves of your home library.

    Take a look at the books in my stack:

    The Shop on Blossom Street

    A Good Yarn

    Back on Blossom Street

    Summer on Blossom Street

    Twenty Wishes

    Hannah’s List

    A Turn in the Road (The newest addition to the series!)

    The Cedar Cove Collection

    Debbie’s Favorites

    Friendship Shawls

    A Charity Guide for Knitters (In addition to wonderful ideal for charity-giving projects, this book includes 14 featured charities that would be thrilled to receive your handmades from the heart.)

    • There are currently 11 books in the series (with more to come in the future).

    • In these 11 books, you’ll find a grand total of 140 projects just perfect to knit up for those in need!

    Here’s a little peek at just a few of them:





    Pet Comforts


    And more—including slippers, bath sets, home decor, baby stuff, along with pullovers for men, women, and children!

    Plus, spread though out the books, you’ll find patterns for 17 knit, 7" x 9", blocks designed specifically with the Warm Up America charity in mind. What’s Warm Up America? Visit the Craft Yarn Council website to learn what you can do with simple, knitted blocks.

    Oh, and by the way, did you know that Debbie Macomber donates all the proceeds from the sales of her Knit Along With Debbie Macomber series to her favorite charities? Doesn’t her generosity make you want to do a little donating yourself?

    Let Leisure Arts help! How’d you like to win the entire series of 11 Knit Along with Debbie Macomber pattern books? Just brag a little about yourself in the comment section below before Monday, August 15. Tell us about your history of knitting for charity or your future plans to donate! We’d be even more impressed if you also posted a photo or photos of your knitted donations on our Leisure Arts Facebook Page to inspire us all!

  • Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Knit Along for Charity

    Attention Knitters & Debbie Macomber fans!

    How’d you like to win our entire series of Knit Along with Debbie Macomber pattern books?

    Check back on Thursday to find out how!

  • Afghans for Charity

    Are you an afghan fan?

    Seriously, when the world stinks for one reason or another, what’s better than curling up in your very own handmade afghan?

    Perhaps knitting or crocheting that afghan with your very hands for someone in need?

    Are you ready to get out those hooks, needles, and yarn and make something for someone who needs a little comfort? Let me inspire you with some quick-to-make afghan designs from the industry legends—Rita Weiss and the late Jean Leinhauser, the Creative Partners:

    Crocheters looking for quick and easy afghans to stitch for charity will love the projects in 48-Hour Afghans & More 48-Hour Afghans which were designed with just that in mind. Each book contains 12 patterns that work up in no time—many made with big hooks and bulky yarn or with two strands of yarn held together!

    Wanna do something special for the babies who need a little extra love? The 16 designs in 24-Hour Baby Afghans offer up some darling blankies that you can crochet in around 24-hours! The designs are rated for the most part on an easy skill level with a few intermediates for you folks with mad crochet skills.

    How about some Quick Knit Afghans? All in easy to intermediate skill levels, these eight afghans using big needles, multi-stranded yarn, and easy stitches equal a fun, but not time-consuming adventure for knitters.

    Do you like the simplicity of knitting or crocheting with those 16-ounce skeins of yarn that are now on the market? Sometimes, for me, it’s great to just be able to grab one big skein and go, and most of the designs in Crochet Baby Afghans by the Pound and Knit Baby Afghans by the Pound can be completed with a single pound of yarn, unless there are color changes. The books feature ten projects each, and the projects range in skill level from beginner to intermediate.

    Hope you enjoyed this little stroll through some of Rita and Jean’s afghan books, and I hope that now you’ve got a little incentive to create a few afghans on the fly to share with those in need. If you need a little more enticement, leave a comment at the end of this post by Monday, Aug. 15, ’cause you might have a chance to win one or a combination of some of these great books. Be sure to let me know which creative passion you prefer—knit or crochet.

    We’d also love it if you’d post a photo of your charitable creativity on our Facebook Page so everybody can see and be inspired!

  • Prayer & Friendship Shawls

    Have you heard about the prayer/friendship shawl movement? Knitters and crocheters around the world are creating shawls for those in need or simply as gifts of caring. Imagine it…There’s certainly comfort to be found in a handmade shawl. Not only are shawls lovely fashion accessories, but being all wrapped up can provide a sense of security in any situation. (I may need a shawl of my own...feeling a little insecure today...after all, it is Monday.)

    If you’d like to share a little comfort and security by way of your knit and crochet skills, I’ve got some inspirational shawl pattern books that I think you’ll like:

    Crochet Prayer Shawls & Knit Prayer Shawls
    These two little hardcover books are the perfect size to stick down in your project bag and go anywhere you go. Each includes 15 wraps to share from some of our favorite designers.

    Are you a fan of best-selling author Debbie Macomber? If so, you’ll love the 10 shawls patterns in Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: Friendship Shawls. The designs are perfect for special occasions or for “just because” presents, and they make ideal donations for shelters, nursing homes, and hospitals.

    Take a look at The Prayer Shawl Ministry and The Prayer Shawl Ministry Volume 2 from Lion Brand Yarns. Both contain shawl patterns for knit and crochet, so you’re getting the best of both worlds—plus some inspiring stories from knitters and crocheters just like you.

    The two newest shawl books from Leisure Arts are both by Jeannine LaRoche—Wraps for Every Wear (to knit) and Wonderful Wearable Wraps (to crochet). With either of these books, you could refresh your own wardrobe or warm the heart of someone who needs a little pick-me-up! (If you want a peek at the projects, refer back to my previous blog posts—Wraps for Every Wear and Wonderful Wearable Wraps.

    Oh, and by the way…if you leave a comment at the end of this post by Monday, August 15, you might have a chance to win one or a combination of some of these great books. Be sure to let me know which creative passion you prefer—knit or crochet.

    We’d also love it if you’d post a photo of your charitable creativity on our Facebook Page so everybody can see and be inspired!

  • For Our Furry Friends…

    Good Sunday morning all!

    Look at that cat. He’s sitting in the middle of the quilt I bought the other day at an estate sale (for almost nothing, but I didn’t tell him how cheap it was) just daring me to say something to him, and I can’t find it in my heart to make him move. The only way he’d be happier is if the quilt were in the sun and his eyes were closed! Cat bliss…

    I’m sitting here drinking my coffee and fretting about our four-legged friends that aren’t as happily situated as my own feline—all those cats and dogs in animal shelters that don’t have anything comfy to cuddle on. Evidently having a blankie in a shelter animal’s cage helps the cat or dog to relax and be more comfortable. It just stands to reason that relaxed and comfortable equals more adoptable.

    We can’t bring all those homeless animals home with us, but since we’re creative folks, I bet we can do a little to help save some of those lives. All we need to do is donate some 12" to 20" squares of comfort (preferably made with washable materials) to our local animal shelters. What do you think?

    Knitters & Crocheters
    1. How many of you have a WIP afghan in the closet that you know, for whatever reason, you’re never going to actually finish? Tie off the loose ends and donate it.
    2. Got some afghans that are looking a little dated? The kitties and puppies won’t even notice.
    3. Got bags of yarn scraps and partials? Use them up for the fur babies!

    4. Knit or crochet something new! Crocheters, if you’re looking for some really cute patterns for crocheted pet blankies, check out Cuddles to Crochet for Pets. (If you’d like a chance to win a copy of this book, just leave a comment at the end of this post by Monday, August 15. I might feel compelled to give one away!)

    1. You make little lap quilts for humans in need, right? Why not make some for your local animal shelter?
    2. Got scrap fabrics that you don’t have a plan for? Stitch them all together. Clashing colors won’t bother Fido or Fluffy!
    3. Do you have quilts around the house that aren’t finished (and aren’t likely to ever be), ones that are worn or torn, or just ones you’re tired of? Donate them!

    Everybody Else…
    You don’t have to knit, crochet, or quilt to make a difference:

    1. Check out the afghans I bought at the auction the other day. I paid $2.00 for a whole box of them. They’re on their way to the animal shelter.
    2. I’m always running across quilts at auctions, yard, and estate sales. They’re often much too ratty to actually use in your home, but they’d work great in a shelter cage.
    3. Are your bath towels getting a little tattered? Get new ones and donate the old. They’ll be much appreciated!
    4. Sort through your own closets for reject blankets. The critters will love you for it!

    We’d love it if you’d post a photo of your charitable creativity on our Facebook Page so everybody can see and be inspired!

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