Monday, March 22, 2010

The Homespun Yarn Party in Savage Mill--A New Local Fiber Tradition

Yesterday I attended the Homespun Yarn Party, which took place at the historic Savage Mill in Savage, Maryland. It was about a 40 minute drive for me from D.C., but it was well worth the schlep.

This mini-fiber festival took place in a Civil War era textile mill, which has been converted to a marketplace with a bunch of adorable little shops.

The yarn party was held in the great room, which was packed to the gills with yarn, fiber and happy shoppers. It was about 72 degrees outside, and the room seemed to be about 80.

I stood in line for about 15 minutes before I was able to get into the space. I ran into several of my knit blogging buddies including CiCi from, and lots of other Ravelery peeps as well.

I didn't really buy anything as I saving my cash for my annual pilgrimage to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival that takes place on the first weekend in May (my birthday is May 3, so I like to pretend it's all for my Bday ;-) ) at the Howard County Fairgrounds.

My friend Claire was there with Knitters and Crocheters Care, a non-profit group that acts as a clearinghouse for collecting charity knitting and crochet items and distributing them to local charities, and they also collect donated yarn and disperse it to knitters and crocheters in the area who create the items that get donated.

But if you live in the area and you love yarn, knitting, spinning, or weaving there was lots of fun to be had by all. I ran into an acquaintance that I've not seen for years. She and a friend will be hosting the fabulous Shirley Paden for a special class in June. I will post more details on this as they become available. I just love Shirly Paden's designs because I love cables. I became a fan way back in the 90's when she designed one of the squares for the Great American Afghan that Interweave published a few squares at a time in their magazine.

So, now I'm adding the Homespun Yarn Party to my list of local fibery traditions. It's a wonderful warm-up for the MDS&W, and a great opportunity to meet up with folks that I usually only interact with online.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March is National Craft Month: What Are You Making or Doing to Celebrate?

OK, so I'm aware that this is a knitting blog, but since I'm the boss if it, I get to decide what gets covered. I'm a hard-core crafter, and March is National Craft Month, so I'll be highlighting some of the crafts that I find enjoyable in addition to knitting.

Here's a fun video with some crafty ideas to inspire you:

I love doing crafts because it's something that my mom used to do with my siblings and me when we were growing up. My mom is also a knitter, but she also did crochet, macrame, she made hand-crafted books, did Calligraphy and drawing. We learned how to hand-carved rubber stamps, we did sewing, dollmaking, quilting and collage.

Being crafty and creative is a wonderful way to express yourself, it's just a ton of fun and a good way for parents and kids to spend, wait for it. . . quality time with their children. My kids love to use their crafty skills to make gifts for family members, and oy you should see my refrigerator and my office. That's our de facto 'gallery' where my girls hang their art pieces.

So, stick around and you'll get exposed to a few cool crafty ideas and projects.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Little Dresses for Africa

I was on Twitter on Sunday afternoon and I saw a tweet about a swap involving 'Little Dresses for Africa.' Intrigued by the title, I clicked through and followed the link to find a wonderful website with pictures of beautiful African children wearing these adorable dresses. Each one is hand made with love and attention, and those little girls look so happy to be wearing new dresses that were made just for them.

So, I joined the swap and immediately went on an excursion to see if I had anything suitable in my fabric stash to whip up some little dresses. I did not really have enough pretty fabric, so I took a quick trip to Hancock fabrics, which is down the road from me in the Penn/Branch Shopping Center. They were having a sale, so I was able to get enough adorable cotton print fabrics to make 12 dresses for $34. Well, almost because that price does not include the thread and the elastic, but when I total it up, I think the cost for each dress will be about $3.50 each. Not bad.

My girls were thrilled and they wanted to help. We measured and cut the dresses on Sunday, and then yesterday, since Jordan had the day off from school, she and I made three dresses so that I could work the kinks out of the process. The next nine will be made in assembly-line fashion. It will be a fun, creative project.

As I was working on the first three samples, I thought how nice it would be to also send them to Haiti. I learned on Saturday from an interview I heard on XMradio between Deepak Chopra and Wyclef Jean, that 61% of the population of Haiti is under the age of 21. That's a lot of children, and the girls will need dresses. Leila quickly noticed that we should also be making boy clothes as well, on our next trip we'll get suitable fabric for britches for boys.

We had been feeling like we wanted to have more of an impact on helping the people of Haiti and showing them our love other than just sending money. Now, we have a way to send our love in a tangible way to the little children in Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and soon Haiti, that we love them, we want to see them smile and we want them to have hope and a future.

Here's a picture of Jordan modeling one of the dresses that for a much smaller girl:

So, if you're a member of swap-bot, join the 'Little Dresses for Africa' swap with me. If you are not a member, visit the Little Dresses for Africa website and contribute a few dresses or send in your donation to support this amazing organization.