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!

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

Welcome, Tammy of Posh Patterns!

At Laurel Hill, we love meeting new people who share our passions.  We are especially fortunate to have a new friend, Tammy of Posh Patterns, an extremely talented yarn crafter who recently tried our Ebony Crochet Hook for the first time.  She shared her thoughts with us (below) and generously provided us with a FREE pattern to try this elegant cowl ourselves. If you mention or share this pattern, please credit Posh Patterns! Thank you, Tammy, and welcome to the Laurel Hill community!

Elegant V-Stitch Cowl

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I’ve recently had the opportunity to work with a Laurel Hill Ebony Crochet Hook. And I have to say…this hook was extraordinary!! I will admit that I am a little fussy about my crochet hooks, too. Since I spend a lot of my “work time” stitching, my hook just has to feel nice to hold, and be comfortable to work with. This hook was just that! The wood was incredibly smooth and luxurious feeling, and the shape of the part that rests in your hand was very comfortable. On top of that, the tip of the hook has a shape that is perfect for grabbing the yarn – not too deep, not to shallow. All around, an absolutely beautiful crochet hook!

So what did I make with my fabulous new Laurel Hill Ebony Crochet Hook? I used one skein of a pretty alpaca yarn and made an elegant cowl that is going to be fantastic for spring. It uses a V-Stitch pattern, which gives it an open feel, and it’s just the right size for that little bit of extra warmth that you might need on a spring day, or evening.

Enjoy!!

Tammy, Posh Patterns

Elegant V-Stitch Cowl

Supplies:

Chunky Weight Yarn (yarn pictured is Plymouth Yarns Baby Alpaca Grande; color 0145)

Size M Laurel Hill Ebony Crochet Hook

Tapestry Needle

Abbreviations:

St: stitch

Sl: slip

Dc: double crochet

Ch: chain

Size:

30” around, 7” tall

Directions:

Chain 50. Being careful not to twist the stitches, join to the first chain to form a circle.

Round 1: Ch 1. 2dc in same ch, skip 1 ch, *2dc in next ch, skip 1 chain; repeat from * around. Join to first dc.

Round 2: Slip stitch in the space between the first 2 dc sts. Ch 1. 2dc in same space, *2dc in the space between the next 2dc group; repeat from * around. Join.

Round 3-9: Repeat round 2.

NOTE: This is where you can adjust the height of your cowl. If you’d like it to be taller, work more rounds. The cowl shown has 9 rounds, and used exactly 1 skein of Baby Alpaca Grande.

Fasten off.

If you create this beautiful cowl, please share your photos with us on this blog or on our Laurel Hill Facebook page!

 

Giving back from the heart

Cindy Stickney is the first to donate to Knots of Love via Laurel Hill’s new program

It was Cindy’s sister Becky who first told her about Knots of Love (www.KnotsofLove.org), an amazing nonprofit 501c3 that 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. And Cindy, a breast cancer survivor herself, wasted no time in becoming involved.

A self-taught crocheter, Cindy has already created 12 hats for Knots of Love.  She explains that she can relate to the difficult journey others are experiencing, and it is her way of giving back.

Coincidentally, Cindy began crocheting for Knots of Love  around the same time that Laurel Hill , the source for beautiful handcrafted crochet hooks, knitting needles and fiber arts tools, announced that the company would donate a portion of all sales to the organization.  Laurel Hill’s goal is to equip the yarncrafting community with the tools to knit or crochet with a giving heart.

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Cindy created these beautiful hats and sent them to Knots of Love for donation to cancer patients.

Right after the big announcement published in Knots of Love’s monthly newsletter, Cindy discovered Laurel Hill  and placed her first order knowing that she had found another way to donate to Knots of Love, and hopefully some helpful, comfortable tools for her craft.  Here’s what she had to say:

“I just wanted to let you know that I received the Laurel Hill crochet hooks, and I love them!  The day they arrived, I decided I needed to sit down that evening and give them a try.  They are so lightweight in your hand and glide through the yarn very nicely.  They’re very comfortable in my hand, so I can understand why they would be great for those with arthritis.  I only wish that I’d purchased more!”

We are honored and delighted to welcome Cindy to the Laurel Hill family and to thank her for her giving heart and generous spirit.

Happy Yarn Crafting!

 

 

 

 

 

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