Holiday Gifting: Laurel Hill has the solution

knit-birds-tree-425If you are a knitter or crocheter, or if you love someone who is, you will know that you can never have too much when it comes to the tools of the craft. At www.LaurelHillOnline.com, your one-stop fiber arts tools online shop, you will discover the perfect gift for someone near and dear to you, or treat yourself to a set of heirloom quality tools to be passed on and cherished. Laurel Hill has been known for more than a decade for the exotic woods of Ebony, Nam Oc, and Trai that comprise a variety set. All crochet sets include a beautiful multicolored fabric case to protect the following size hooks: D, E, F, G, 7, H, I, J, K, L, M.

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Crochet hooks handcrafted from beautiful ebony

Seeking the perfect stocking stuffer? Whether you select beautiful handcrafted knitting needles, a practical stitch counter, or cedar sachets to protect your beautiful creations, Laurel Hill has thousands of accessories to choose from. Even the yarn crafter who has “everything” will be surprised and delighted with something brand new that shows how much you care and appreciate her (or his) passion.

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An amazing selection, reasonable prices, and the ease of ordering online make Laurel Hill your go-to for holiday shopping. Simply visit www.LaurelHillOnline.com for a wonderful, user friendly, shopping experience.

And from all of us at Laurel Hill, we wish you Happy Holidays, a Happy, Healthy New Year, and a 2017 filled with Happy Yarn Crafting!

 

 

Inspired by New Ideas

When it comes to knitting and crochet, Paula Susan Lesko Meyers does not hesitate to seize a new idea and run with it. A self-described “Renaissance woman,” Paula mines the internet for the latest patterns and the highest quality fiber arts tools, unafraid to try anything at least once.  Her vast internet research is what led her to Laurel Hill where she was thrilled to discover her new “gorgeous set of wood crochet hooks” that she says are “so lovely and warm in my hand.”

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Paula added, “I love, love, love them – they are so comfortable to hold.  The artisans who create these handmade wood hooks are extremely skilled in their craft.”

Those accolades are not to be taken lightly, especially when they come from an experienced yarncrafter like Paula. Spending cozy childhood summers in the Pocono Mountains, Paula learned to knit and crochet from her aunt/godmother before she was 10 years old. She caught on immediately, asking for spare yarn, extra hooks and whatever pattern books she could get her hands on. Her first projects included pet toys for the family’s menagerie. Off and running, Paula began trying out new ideas and new patterns as fast as she could find them.

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A former administrative assistant who now has more time to explore her many interests, Paula’s repertoire of projects has grown substantially to include: pot scrubbers, dish cloths, material lined crochet purses, crochet evening clutches, rosary pouches, rag rugs, and so much more. She has even delved into “plarn,” bags and door mats crocheted from plastic bags for recycling.

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Plarn: Crafts crocheted from plastic bags for recycling!

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Paula has amassed so many patterns and projects that she keeps a cache of three-ring binders on hand for reference! And when she is not yarncrafting, one can often find Paula in her garden or creating colorful floral arrangements. As she says, “I embrace everything.”

Mindful of those less fortunate, Paula devotes a great deal of time crocheting projects for local church auctions, and she also creates “silent” rosaries for members of the military. We learned that soldiers out on missions have to be absolutely quiet to protect themselves – hence the need for crocheted rosaries that do not click together during prayers. Kudos to Paula for fulfilling that special need!

Anticipating an upcoming move from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, Paula has already started planning how she will move all her binders and yarncrafting accessories. As an inspiring and inspired Renaissance woman, she is determined to continue her passion uninterrupted! 

Let Us Know

We are always eager to hear your comments and feedback, and your input keeps our offerings fresh and relevant.  What inspires you to knit or crochet?  Please share your stories with us and learn more at http://www.laurelhillonline.com./

 

 

 

Girl Power Strengthens Knots of Love

At Laurel Hill, we are always inspired by stories of people doing good in their communities. We are moved even more when we learn about young people who reach out to help others, giving compassionately from the heart. A perfect example is Samantha Hirata, a college student from Fountain View, California.

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Sammy Hirata has been involved with Knots of Love since she was 15.

Since the age of 15, Sammy has been involved with Knots of Love, an amazing, award-winning 501c3 organization that donates knitted and crocheted caps to men and women, including veterans, undergoing chemotherapy, burn victims, brain surgery patients, head trauma patients, and individuals with Alopecia. They also donate tiny blankets to fragile new lives in incubators. For Laurel Hill, Knots of Love is our chosen non-profit, the cause we stand behind every day. And Sammy does too.

Kudos to Sammy for attaining the Gold Award, the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts of the USA, earned by Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. Only 5.4% of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award.

We could explain all that Sammy has done for Knots of Love, but we think she says it best in her own words:

“I became involved with Knots of Love when I was 15 and starting to work on my Gold Award Project for Girl Scouts. I wanted to find something that would be sustaining, and when my mom saw an article in the Register about Christine Fabiani and her organization, Knots of Love, we knew this would be a great fit.

 image2Christine herself patiently worked with me to teach me how to knit, and I began to create caps for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

 My involvement with Christine has been phenomenal!  She was so excited when I contacted her about working with KOL for my Gold Award. She has always been extremely supportive, and involved every step of the way. It is really such a great experience to work with someone who is so passionate about what she does – Christine volunteers countless hours of time, energy and love, with her only expectation being that she will be able to bring comfort and love to others as they struggle through their difficulties.

 KOL is important to both my mother and me since we have been able to see and experience firsthand the impact KOL has made.  Thanks to Christine, we were able to actually hand deliver caps to chemotherapy patients, and to see their expressions when we presented the caps and told them they could pick out any one they wanted at no charge. The experience was priceless.  They were quite surprised, and many were brought to tears over receiving the caps.  Although I have completed my Gold Award, my mom and I feel the need to continue to be involved with KOL and do as much as we can to help Christine help others.

 That’s why even though I am away at school for a good part of the year, I try and volunteer whenever I come home, and will continue to help well into the future.

 Currently, I attend San Francisco State University, majoring in Child and Adolescent Development. 

 When I begin my teaching career, I plan to introduce my students to KOL, and help the younger generation learn how to knit or crochet, since this seems to have gone by the wayside.  Many times I hear people say, ‘Oh I remember my grandmother used to knit or crochet,’ but the younger generation doesn’t often have these skills. Not only would it be great if they could learn, but it will be even better if they are able to touch lives in a positive way through Knots of Love.”

 Getting acquainted with Sammy has been a true highlight here at Laurel Hill. The future is bright when young adults are so generously giving back, creating a legacy of caring for generations to come.

Let Us Know

We are always eager to hear your comments and feedback, and your input keeps our offerings fresh and relevant.  Do you knit or crochet for good causes?  Please tell us about it. We would love to share your good deeds with our readers!

Interested in getting involved with Knots of Love?  Visit http://www.laurelhillonline.com/knots-of-love-kits/ for kits to get started, including a discount as our “thank you” for your generosity.

 

 

 

 

K1, P2, Give 200+

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Wrapping newborns in love

President of her own software company and lead software developer Carolyn Alexander may be ruled by her head during the day, but at night, her compassionate heart most definitely takes charge.  During the past year and a half alone, Carolyn at last count has knitted 230 cozy-soft, animal-embossed baby blankets to snuggle the tiniest premature NICU babies in 50 neonatal units throughout the U.S.  A familiar face at the offices of Knots of Love, Carolyn hand delivers stacks of these comforting missives at a time, watching as a team of dedicated volunteers tags and prepares each one for delivery to a waiting infant and his or her worried parents.

Knots of Love is our preferred non-profit

If you are not familiar with Knots of Love, it is an amazing, award-winning 501c3 organization that donates knitted and crocheted caps to men and women, including veterans, undergoing chemotherapy, burn victims, brain surgery patients, head trauma patients, and individuals with Alopecia. They also donate tiny blankets to fragile new lives in incubators. For Laurel Hill, Knots of Love is our chosen non-profit, the cause we stand behind every day.

Founded by Christine Fabiani, Knots of Love has attracted hundreds of philanthropic yarn crafters, and like Carolyn, they are impressed by Christine’s passion and dedication.

Committed to giving back

“My mom taught me to knit when I was four years old,” explains Carolyn. “But it wasn’t until a year and a half ago that I started knitting again.  It was because I found Knots of Love on the internet and when I met Christine, her commitment and her ability to get out there were so inspiring. Did you know she calls each knitter or crocheter personally to express her thanks? She is amazing, and I was eager to get involved. I knew this was a way I could give back.”

And give back she has…hundred fold. Carolyn started by creating caps but when she realized the need for NICU blankets, she stepped it up to super hero level, completing a new blanket every two days. What’s more, Carolyn has designed her own patterns comprised of 40 different animals, sailboats or other fun images to comfort parents and babies.

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“Every time we tag and send off a baby blanket, I am thinking of the parents,” said Carolyn. “Their newborn is hooked up to technology and they are full of fear and anxiety. I am hoping that for just a moment, they can look at the blanket, take a deep breath, and realize how much love has come their way.”

Love has indeed come their way…via Knots of Love, and straight from Carolyn’s heart.

Let Us Know

We are always eager to hear your comments and feedback, and your input keeps our offerings fresh and relevant.  Do you knit or crochet for good causes?  Please tell us about it. We would love to share your good deeds with our readers!

 

 

 

 

High Hopes for High Tea

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Sue Stone volunteers for Knots of Love, Laurel Hill’s preferred non-profit organization.

Sue Stone has been amassing knitting needles, crochet hooks, and balls of yarn for weeks. You might wonder if she is adding to her stash, but in fact she is in charge of collecting prize giveaways for Knots of Love’s High Tea, one of the organization’s most highly anticipated events of the year.  Taking place on April 2 at 11:30 a.m. at Spring Field Tea Garden in Fullerton, CA, the raffle and silent auction are poised for great success under Sue’s care.

In case you are not familiar with Knots of Love, it is an amazing, award-winning 501c3 organization that donates knitted and crocheted caps to men and women, including veterans, undergoing chemotherapy, burn victims, brain surgery patients, head trauma patients, and individuals with Alopecia. They also donate tiny blankets to fragile new lives in incubators.

Sue started knitting caps for Knots of Love more than five years ago after reading an article in the local newspaper about the organization.  She had learned to knit from her mother and grandmother as a small child growing up in Australia, but had put her needles down for some time until she was inspired by the Knots of Love story.  Since then, Sue has made more caps than she can count and has become a dedicated volunteer, stepping up this year to help organize the High Tea.

Apparently an expert in time management, Sue is also a full time labor and delivery nurse, and she is on the board of the National League of Young Men, an organization she participates in with her two high school aged boys.

Sue explains that for her, knitting is a great stress reliever, even helping her keep calm when she went back to school from 2013-2015 for her nursing degree. Knitting helped her stay focused during what she calls “that crazy time.”

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While she was in nursing school, Sue Stone found that knitting was a great stress reliever.

For Sue, volunteering for Knots of Love is truly an act of love.

“I love doing it,” she says. “I have so many nurse co-workers with cancer, and my Dad was just diagnosed with lymphoma this week – it’s important for me to help those who are suffering and to show them some love.”

All of us at Laurel Hill are grateful for the good work Sue and her team are doing, and we wish all the best to Knots of Love for a fun and successful High Tea! We can’t wait to see the photos!

If you live near Fullerton, CA and you want to know more, visit KnotsofLove.org for more information on the event.

Let Us Know

We are always eager to hear your comments and feedback, and your input keeps our offerings fresh and relevant.  Do you knit or crochet for good causes?  Please tell us about it. We would love to share your good deeds with our readers!

 

 

 

 

ChiaoGoo arrives at Laurel Hill!

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Laurel Hill is known for listening to our customers and providing them with their favorite fiber arts tools and accessories.  That’s why we are thrilled to announce the arrival of ChiaoGoo to our vast selection of high quality knitting needles, crochet hooks, gift sets and accessories.  We now carry many of ChiaoGoo’s bamboo/wood and stainless steel Single Points, Double Points and Circulars, as well as several fabulous accessories.

The Story of ChiaoGoo

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Yarn crafters love ChiaoGoo for their pointy tips and gentle touch.  Did you know this line has a rich, exotic history? The Zheng brothers were born and grew up in Linan, China, “The Bamboo Capital of China.” Grandfather Zheng was a bamboo craftsman who spent the majority of his life traveling from town to town with his bamboo tool kit making household goods such as chairs, tables, mattress sheets, rice barrels, baskets and steamers. Father Zheng followed in his father’s footsteps and was able to build a workshop in the early 1980s. Father Zheng’s workshop produced similar household goods, but the primary product was bamboo knitting needles.

Demand for the needles originated with Mama Zheng.  She is an excellent knitter and knit in order to keep her family warm during the long, cold winters. Mama Zheng would often knit extra items and sell them to neighbors and friends to make some extra money for her family of seven. She was the needle “tester” and frequently asked for special needles to meet her needs. Mama Zheng is the inspiration for the ChiaoGoo brand name which means “highly skillful and crafty lady.”

Coming to America

In the 1990’s, the youngest son, Leon, established Westing Bridge LLC in Troy, MI for the marketing and distribution of the bamboo needles outside of China. Leon came to the US in 1997. He attended West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV where he received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering with a specialty in Laser Technology. After graduation, Leon upgraded the family business replacing key machinery to improve product quality, productivity and working conditions. He purchased a special laser to imprint the ChiaoGoo name and size on each needle produced.

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Let Us Know

We are always eager to hear your comments and feedback, and your input keeps our offerings fresh and relevant.  Please let us know what you think about the addition of ChiaoGoo and if there’s anything else you would like to see at Laurel Hill, your one stop web shop. And please remember to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on our new Instagram account, LaurelHillKnitCrochet.

 

 

 

 

To Give is to Receive

Since I began writing content for Laurel Hill a few months ago, a whole new world has opened up to me.  Today, I celebrate all the “firsts” I have experienced in just a short time.

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Symfonie Rose Circular Needles

For the first time, I realized that selecting my knitting needles is just as important to each project as picking out the perfect yarn.  My favorite new Laurel Hill circular needle is pointy, smooth, warm to the touch and just delightful to use – it has made a huge difference in my knitting experience, and my knitting even looks better.  I can’t wait to hold them in my hands each evening after the work day is over. Although I have not yet learned to crochet, I have heard the very same comments about Laurel Hill’s vast array of hooks.

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I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Ruth Tillman

For the first time, everyone I speak with, everyone I interview, everyone I call for information is HAPPY.  I cannot express how fabulous it is to speak with individuals who do not whine, do not complain and do not say negative things about other people – from the Laurel Hill team to the extraordinary knitters and crocheters I have come to know, these are people who are grateful, sweet and just plain nice.  How refreshing is that?

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Christine Fabiani, founder of Knots of Love

For the first time, I knitted for a non-profit organization that called me to say “thank you.” After creating my first NICU baby blanket to donate to Knots of Love, Laurel Hill’s preferred non-profit organization, the president herself, Christine Fabiani, called to welcome me to the “Knots of Love” family.  What’s more, she shared that the blankie I made was donated to a preemie baby in Washington D.C., making me feel even more connected to the cause.

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An example of a knitted blankie for a NICU baby

As if that weren’t enough, today I received a package in the mail with a thank you note, more patterns and a special Knots of Love tape measure that I will treasure.

Yes, it has been an exciting few months, a time of many firsts and an opportunity to learn and grow, meeting a host of wonderful people along the way.  I am really looking forward to what 2016 will bring!

Happy Yarn Crafting!

 

 

 

 

 

A Cup of Tea & Warm Company

Profile of Laurel Hill friend & yarn crafter Danette Bartelmay

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Our conversation took place over the phone with a distance of 1,265 miles between us, but talking with Danette Bartelmay was like sitting together on a cozy couch with a hot cup of tea. Her warmth and vitality carried over the miles as Danette shared her story, a richly woven tapestry of love, family and yarn crafting.

Danette’s passion for the fiber arts began at the age of 16 when the woman who eventually became her beloved mother-in-law taught her how to cross stitch. This gradually led to crewel and embroidery, a carefully stitched journey that ultimately resulted in learning crochet from her co-worker at a beauty salon. Then, about 30 years ago, she added knitting to her vast repertoire.

A certified crochet teacher by the Yarn Craft Council, Craft Yarn Council Danette has become so skilled that she not only teaches crochet out of her home, she can repair damaged projects, and even create patterns from existing pieces. In between, she devotes family time to her husband, two daughters, four grandchildren, and close-knit extended family.

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Danette loves spending time with her family: pictured here with her husband and their granddaughter Gabby.
Amazingly, she still has time to stock her Etsy shop, Front Porch Knits, and publish a blog entitled “Rose Petal Tea” .  In addition, Danette knits for charity and participates annually in the local craft fair in Morton.

All of her accomplishments have not come without their challenges.  Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis since she was nine years old, Danette also fights the pain of lupus on a daily basis.  While a compromised immune system keeps this former bank teller at home much of the time, Danette’s doctor strongly encourages her to keep up with yarn crafting.  For Danette, crochet and knitting are everything – she has created a world where friends and students gather round, enjoying each other’s company, learning and crafting together. It is warm.  It is cozy. It is a community.

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A beautiful creation by Danette

Of course we asked Danette about her fiber arts tools, and her response was very gratifying.  She explained that she had been on a lifelong hunt for good quality crochet hooks – she never could find just the right ones.  Then a few weeks before Christmas, she googled “rosewood or ebony crochet hooks” and discovered Laurel Hill. For Danette, there is no going back.  She is “hooked” on Laurel Hill for so many reasons.

“I LOVE the length and weight of the hooks,” Danette enthuses.  “Not too long, not too heavy and they glide just beautifully. And how amazing to learn that they are arthritis-friendly!”

Danette says she is very picky about the way hooks catch, and Laurel Hill’s easily let go.

“The hooks are made exactly right and I love the points, no other hooks have points like these,” adds Danette. “Plus, they are wood and so warm in your hands.”

Danette exclaims that she will not use any other crochet hooks but Laurel Hill’s.  We’re delighted that she is so happy, and even more delighted to have a new and wonderful friend.  Another cup of tea?

For more on the warm, comfortable and beautiful crochet hooks Danette uses, visit LaurelHillOnline.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Yarn Crafter’s View of Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies

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Have you ever thought about how you respond to others’ expectations of you, or your expectations of yourself?  I have become very interested in this question since reading Gretchen Rubin’s books and listening to the weekly podcast she produces with her sister Elizabeth Craft.

One of the topics they ponder is how to discover the secret of making or breaking a habit.  According to Gretchen, to change our habits we first have to figure out ourselves.

She explains it as follows:

When we try to form a new habit, we’re setting an expectation for ourselves. Therefore, to change our habits, it’s crucial to understand how we respond to expectations.

We all face outer expectations (meet deadlines, observe traffic regulations) and inner expectations (stop napping, give up sugar).

To help us figure out how we respond to expectations, Gretchen has devised the “Four Tendencies” framework:  Here’s a brief summary:

  1. Obligers. These are people who are fantastic at meeting outer expectations — for friends, loved ones, co-workers and so forth — but not as good as meeting inner expectations, or those they make of themselves. Knowing that other people are depending on them is what impels them to get things done. Most people are Obligers.
  2. Questioners. These people resist outer expectations until they are sure those expectations are valuable, worthy or fair. They tend to take a long time to make decisions because they’re busy crunching numbers or doing other research. However, questioners do well with inner expectations.
  3. Upholders. Upholders tend to meet both outer and inner expectations. Deadlines? Appointments? No problem. If you’re checking things off a to-do list every day, chances are you’re an Upholder.
  4. Rebels. They have a tendency to resist both outer and inner expectations. No one else can tell them what to do. Rebels are the smallest group in the framework.
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Knitters & Crocheters can demonstrate Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies

As an Upholder, I have figured out a lot about myself, my family, friends and co-workers.  And as a public relations professional who writes and blogs for Laurel Hill, a company dedicated to providing sustainable, hand crafted fiber arts tools, I couldn’t help attributing the Four Tendencies to different types of yarn crafters.  Here’s my take on the Four Tendencies for Knitters and Crocheters:

 Upholders

You, fellow upholder, follow every knit or crochet pattern to the letter, purchasing all recommended yarns and tools on the materials list.  You set a timeframe for completing each project, and you are adamant about working on only one project at a time no matter how much you yearn to start a new one in between.

Obliger

Sweet, kind obliger – you also adhere firmly to directions but you never create a project for yourself. You are a serial gift giver – creating baby blankets and booties even for your most casual acquaintances.  If you ever do make something for yourself it will only be because your knitting or crochet group holds you accountable until you do.

Questioner

Why should I follow the pattern?  Why would I use a #10 needle when a #13 needle will get the job done faster? How come I can’t make my own pattern? Wait a moment while I calculate the new measurements that will improve this. Our intrepid questioner will always think of a new and better way.

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Don’t be surprised if there’s a project in progress and six more stashed in the closet in various stages of completion.  Oh, wait – crochet hooks, who needs crochet hooks?  I am going to use my fingers, or a giant novelty tool I just invented.  And this project – I am going to do it from the bottom up rather than the top down – why?  Because I feel like it!

Where do you fit in? Gretchen has created a short quiz so you can determine your tendency:

Link to Quiz: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1950137/Four-Tendencies-January-2015

We would love to know how the quiz works out for you and how you demonstrate your tendency.  It’s just for fun, but you might learn more about yourself and others close to you. Please share!

Happy Yarn Crafting from Laurel Hill!

 

 

 

 

 

Embracing the holiday spirit

Over the years, our team at Laurel Hill has cultivated a culture of philanthropy, donating to many charities and participating in non-profit events. But one organization in particular has touched our hearts and motivated our spirits: Laurel Hill’s charity of choice Knots of Love. With the holidays approaching, we are inspired to do even more to help Knots of Love help others. We want to encourage our Laurel Hill community to knit or crochet with a giving heart. As Knots of Love founder Christine Fabiani says, “Cancer does not take a holiday.”

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What is Knots of Love? Under Christine’s leadership, the organization donates caps to men and women, including veterans, undergoing chemotherapy, burn victims, brain surgery patients, head trauma patients, and individuals with Alopecia. They also donate tiny blankets to fragile new lives in incubators.

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Taught to crochet by her grandmother when she was six, Christine began making scarves and afghans to give to friends and family. It was her son Geoffrey who encouraged Christine to make caps. A friend who was a cancer survivor told Christine that she wished she had had a cozy cap to don after a day’s wearing of her wig, and the inspiration for heartwarming, head-warming Chemo Caps was planted.

Christine felt so good making caps for cancer patients, she thought other yarn crafters might like to make them too. Knots of Love was born in 2007 “out of a desire to brighten the lives of people in need, in a loving and caring way.”

Since then Christine and her team have sent more than 300,000 caps to cancer centers, oncologist’s offices, and infusion centers across the nation. Christine and the organization have garnered many humanitarian awards as a result of their efforts.

How can you help this holiday season? We’re so glad you asked!

*Buy a Knots of Love kit (http://www.laurelhillonline.com/knots-of-love-kits/) and create a warm expression of comfort for someone who needs it;

*Donate funds directly to Knots of Love, 98 percent goes directly to the charity, with only two percent for administration fees;     https://knotsoflove.givingfuel.com/donations     

*Purchase a beautiful Knots of Love jewelry piece from Sears  http://www.knotsoflove.org/shop      and six percent is donated to Knots of Love.

Due to the sensitivities of those helped by Knots of Love, please use only yarns recommended on the Knots of Love website. We are honored that Laurel Hill is Knots of Love’s preferred supplier of crochet and knitting tools because of our comfortable, handmade products at reasonable prices.

Christine says, “Made from exotic woods, Laurel Hill crochet hooks are so wonderful -once you use one you won’t want to use anything else. The wood helps keep warmth in my hands hopefully warding off arthritis in years to come. Laurel Hill takes great pride in providing sustainable products to their customers.”

Watch for more news about Christine and the wonderful volunteers at Knots of Love. We are proud to be connected with this compassionate organization and look forward to getting more involved in 2016!

Happy Yarn Crafting!