Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2014 NICU Charity Challenge

12 Hats. 12 Days. Are you Ready?

Some babies need help when they are born. They may need extra care because they were born too early, and therefore still need time to be ready to enter the world. These tiniest of babies are often fighters, despite weighing no more than a couple of bananas! Even full-term babies may end up in the NICU, because they have troubles like breathing adequately, staying warm, or regulating their blood sugar.

Whatever the reason for the intervention, NICUs are a huge blessing to these little ones and their families. It’s also a very stressful time for everyone involved. Most mothers envision a day of snuggles and get-to-know-you time on their baby’s birthday, not seeing their baby attached to tubes, wires, monitors, and behind the glass of an isolette. It can be very lonely and very frightening.

Our annual challenge is to each make 12 hats for these sweet NICU patients.

My annual NICU charity challenge goes along with the 12 days of Christmas. Your official challenge is to make 12 preemie hats in 12 days that you will donate to your nearest NICU. The challenge starts today (November 20th) and officially runs through January 6th (the traditional end of the 12 days of Christmas). This gives all participants some extra time to finish up their 12 hats, since we all know the holidays can be crazy-busy. 

TO JOIN:  Enter your name and e-mail in the box on the right side of my blog.  You will receive 1 pattern per day via email.  That's it!

Last year, we had well over 26,000 hats donated to NICUs all over the world. I hope that this year we will be able to increase that effort!

Several incredible designers have each contributed patterns to this challenge that you'll get simply for joining the challenge. These hats are adorable!! You are welcome to use all of the patterns, only one of the patterns, or any combination of repeats (or your own patterns) to make your 12 hats. We ask that you share a photo of your finished hats with us before you drop them off to your local hospital/birthing center/NICU. You can post the photos to Sunset Crochet's Facebook page or you can email them to her.

It's always a good idea to call your local NICU before you actually start stitching. Some NICUs have strict requirements about what fibers they allow. Others are happy with just about anything! If you're unsure, crocheting with cotton is always a pretty safe bet! It's usually best not to use buttons, flowers, or applique for a NICU hat, as they don't like to have the potential choking hazard for a baby. The same is true with the braids on the bottom of ear-flaps. It's better just not to have the risk with these little ones.

Thank you for donating & happy crocheting! :) Danyel

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Worldwide Artist Blog Hop

I was nominated for the Worldwide Artist Blog hop by Maria from Pattern Paradise!  This Blog Hop has traveled all over the world, and all sorts of creative artisans have answered these 4 questions about themselves and their crafts...

Why do I do what I do?
I have always been "crafty".  I love to paint, sew, knit, and cross stitch... but once I learned to crochet, I fell in love.  When I took up crocheting in 2007, I immediately began making gifts for my friends, and made a stack of hats to donate to chemo centers.  Shortly after that I began designing my own patterns, and I haven't looked back since.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It's really amazing how so many people who do the same craft can create such different works of art!  I don't think my work is super unique, but I strive to create designs that are colorful, textured, interesting, and have a "this is easier than it looks" feel.  I also love to create quick and colorful designs that are perfect for gifting, or for making in bulk for craft fairs or consignment shops.

How does my creative process work?
My creative process varies widely.  Sometimes I'm inspired by something I see in a store, sometimes I'm inspired by a fun stitch, and sometimes I'm inspired by the color or texture of a cool yarn.  I then work up a swatch or sample to see how I like it, then I begin making the item in different sizes.  I always work up one of each size (if there are several sizes included) and I write the pattern as I go.  Then I have the pattern tested, proofed, and edited by a group of reliable pattern testers.  After all that, it's ready to go!

What am I working on now?
I have been knitting a Doctor Who scarf as a gift for a friend.  That, and my job with Happily Hooked Magazine, have kept me quite busy.  I also have a new cowl on my hook, but that won't be ready for a week or two.  I have big plans for some Christmas gifts... guess I should get busy on those, too!

I’d like to nominate Alessandra from Just Be Happy Crochet and Pam from Sincerely Pam!
Keep a eye on their blogs, they’ll be answering these questions within 2 weeks and announcing who they nominate next!