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!

 

 

New!Fresh & Aromatic Cedar Sachets

Since the dawn of time, cedar has been known for its beauty, a rich aroma and its qualities as an insect repellent. At Laurel Hill, we have years of experience using cedar sachets to protect and to freshen our fibers and handcrafted garments. And now, for the first time, we are offering these lovely sachets to our customers with two color options: purple haze or tie-dyed.

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Laurel Hill has introduced the Purple Haze Sachet
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And the tie-dyed version!

Each handmade sachet is filled with a custom blend of Eastern Aromatic Red Cedar Shavings and Lavender Oils that absorb moisture and unpleasant odors. An aromatic oil in the cedar wood emits a pleasant aroma and it is also a natural moth repellent, keeping away the harmful larvae.

A member of the juniper family, aromatic eastern cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is native to the forests of the South Central United States. Many species of cedar exist, but only aromatic cedar possesses the qualities so valued by people throughout the world and throughout history.

We look forward to your comments on the sachets, and please let us know if there is anything Laurel Hill can do to enhance your yarncrafting experience!

To learn more or to purchase your own sachets, visit us here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking Outside the Stitch: Profile of Laurel Hill friend & yarn crafter Carole Fanning

In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. With that premise in mind, Carole Fanning is most definitely a master in yarn crafting. Nearly half a century ago, when Carole was expecting her first child, her husband suggested she take up knitting. “Isn’t that what pregnant women are supposed to do?” he queried. And the rest is history.

Carole immersed herself in books and magazines, promptly teaching herself how to knit. Soon after, she went rogue and instead of following patterns to a tee, she deftly figured out how to do things her way, improving on every project she took on. Some years later she taught herself crochet and has participated in and led a myriad of knit and crochet groups along the way.

Carole created the pattern knitted this beautiful baby blanket.
Carole created the pattern and knitted this beautiful baby blanket.

Fast forward to today, Carole lives in the Georgia mountains where she teaches knitting and crochet, bakes world-class wedding cakes, makes filet crochet lace-enhanced porcelain figurines and much more.

“I love to make things,” she explains.

Always a leader, Carole shares a story of a favorite yarn shop that had to shut down, leaving her yarn crafter group “homeless.” Instead of giving up, Carole went to the coffee shop down the street and asked if they could open on Mondays, a day when they were usually closed, if she promised to bring a bevy of crafty women who craved coffee and treats during their sessions. The group was back in business in no time.

Carole’s knit and crochet projects are beautifully crafted, heirloom quality and truly treasured by the recipients of her gifts. One sweet example is a collection of layette sets she made for triplet girls, color appropriate for their names: Violet, Rose and Ivy. So treasured were these outfits by the family that although the girls have long grown out of them, they now adorn three prominently displayed Cabbage Patch dolls.

Originally knitted for triplets Ivy, Rose and Violet, Carole's beautiful creations now adorn the girls' collectible dolls.
Originally knitted for triplets Ivy, Rose and Violet, Carole’s beautiful creations now adorn the girls’ collectible dolls.

A lover of natural fibers, Carole explains that she is a “wood fanatic” who is loyal to Laurel Hill because their fiber arts tools are “SO smooth, SO beautiful and they move very easily without worrying that the stitches will move off the needles or hooks.”

Carole adores her complete collection of Laurel Hill wooden hooks in their “gorgeous” case. She exclaims that after discovering Laurel Hill at an Atlanta yarn show more than five years ago, Carole says she will never go back to metal.

What’s next for Carole? She has numerous projects in the works and dozens of students who depend on her generous advice. Carole embraces her role as a mentor and is the epitome of #StitchItForward to continue her yarn crafting legacy.

Carole’s words of advice ring true whether one is discussing knitting, crochet or life:

“Don’t be afraid to try.”

“You can do it.”

“You don’t have to follow the pattern – use your judgment and make it work for you.”

For more on the exotic wood knitting needles and crochet hooks Carole uses, visit LaurelHillOnline.com

Fun & Functional Tools for Easier Yarn Crafting

Every pastime has a host of accessories to enhance it, and yarn crafting is no exception.  Everyone knows you need yarn, and you need needles and/or crochet hooks – but did you know that there are literally thousands of fun, pretty, clever and cute accessories that can make your experience even better?  It’s true – and I am going to share just a few favorites from Laurel Hill.

Clover Chibi with Darning Needles – for fixing, seaming or weaving in – not only are these the perfect solution, but the cute little case and lid make this a nice accompaniment to your collection of crafty goodies.

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Knitter’s Pride or Lacis Ball Winders – tired of knotted up clumps of yarn that are impossible to detangle?  A ball winder is the answer – a simple, fabulous device that does the job better than this:

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Take a look:

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Now your yarn can stay smooth, beautiful and neatly wrapped into easy-to-use cones.kp_ball_winder

Clover Katcha Katcha Counters – whether in the mini or regular version, this tool is essential to any yarn crafting that involves a pattern that requires counting.  No more worries about keeping count in your head and losing that train of thought as soon as someone starts a conversation. No more wondering where you left off.  Wouldn’t this make your life so much easier?

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You have to admit that accessorizing makes yarn crafting even more fun, and there’s a myriad of options to explore at Laurel Hill.  With everything online, you can take your time to browse and shop without any pressure.

Personally, I love the darning needle sets and the colorful, clever locking stitch markers from Clover – these accessories add a contemporary flair to an ancient art.

Please tell us more about your favorite yarn crafting tools and accessories.  We would love to hear from you!

All the best from the Laurel Hill family!