Knit Picks and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

You’ve seen it all over your Facebook freinds, Twttier feeds and the news. Celebrities, sports figures and everyday people are taking part. It’s the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – where you are are challenged to make a donation to ALSA.org and post a video dumping a bucket of ice water over your head. It seemed so silly at first, but has gained in momentum and the last total I saw was 90+ million dollars raised to fight ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig disease).

This week, Knit Picks and the rest of the Crafts Americana team at Vancouver WA office were happy to take part, as ALS has affected members of our families. We made a donation for everyone who took part (22 staff members), along with personal donations.


A time for giving

Every year we get questions about what we do with the knitted items after we photograph them for the catalog & website.  Well, once a year we go through them and donate most them to charity – we prefer to donate to local charities, to give back to the communities where we all live & work and where there is so much need.  I put together the items this year and it seemed like a perfect time – while the Portland/Vancouver area weather tends to be mild, it has been very cold the last few nights and there is a great need for warm items.

My first stop was the Portland Rescue Mission.


For the birds

We love our fine feathered friends here in the Pacific Northwest – thanks to the TV show Porlandia, our unofficial motto is “Put a Bird On It”. So I was delighted to knit and crochet a flock of birds for a great cause.

Our Full Circle yarn line is one of my favorites we’ve come out with – it’s such a soft yarn, a blend of Merino and Highland wools that would have otherwise gone to waste. It works equally well for crochet as well as knit projects. I’ve made dozens of projects in each and just enjoy each stitch – the only sad thing is that it’s only here for such a short time!

And from now until May 1st, we are having a wonderful promotion – for you it’s saving 15% on the entire Full Circle yarn line – worsted, bulky and roving. For our birdie friends, we are donating $1 of every skein sold to our friends at International Bird Rescue! (Make sure you check out all the great works they have done!)


A Quick, Green & Leafy Shout Out

Okay, perhaps the term “shout out” has significantly diminished since Carson Daly’s tenure at TRL? Regardless, the Full Circle sale ended on Monday and I wanted to heartily thank everyone for its success!


As you’ll recall, for the entire month of April we offered our Full Circle line at a 10% discount, with an additional 10% going to charity in celebration of Earth Day. With your generous help, Knit Picks will be donating over $1,600 directly to the Arbor Day Foundation. Each and every dollar goes a long way toward planting trees, purifying water and generally beautifying and enhancing the planet. It was a true honor to partner with such a great organization and our Full Circle yarn was the perfect, soft, 100% recycled wool accomplice. Thank you all, you’re lovely!


A sale, and a full-sized Full Circle blanket

Earth Day isn’t until April 22nd, but we wanted to do something for the whole month of April to celebrate it.  Full Circle, our Special Reserve recycled wool yarn, is on sale for 10% off from 4/1 until 4/30.  After the sale is finished, Knit Picks will donate an additional 10% of sales to the Arbor Day Foundation.  A win for you, and a win for the environment!

Full Circle is one of my favorite yarns to work with – it’s a lofty single ply, the colors are richly heathered, and the finished fabric is soft yet sturdy with a pleasant wooliness to it.  After seeing the color samples arrive at the office, I decided that I wanted to crochet a blanket using Full Circle Worsted in Cardinal, Mocha, and Latte. 


Charity knitting for babies

A couple of years ago my granddaughter, at the age of 2 weeks, was admitted to the NICU unit at our local hospital, where she spent the next two weeks. She’s now a happy, healthy 2 1/2 year old, but it was really scary back then.  My daughter spent almost all her time by her side. One day, my daughter was given a knitted hat & bootie set for Kalyn. It was a heartwarming experience for her and a comfort during a difficult time.  That’s when I realized a need and that I would like to pay it forward for someone else.

I’ve been using left over cotton & acrylic yarns to create the baby items. I don’t remember which yarn was used with this set, but it is so darling.

green booties



Earlier in the year, I wrote a post outlining my crazy goals for 2011. Well, 2011 is over – how did I do?

First of all – the total! I wanted to hit 100 knitted projects, plus
11 sewn projects to make a total of 111 in 2011. Did I make it?

Boy howdy, I sure did! 100 knitted projects, from cast on to bind
off, finished in 2011. To me, that’s really the biggest achievement,
considering how much else I’ve been working on. But, what were they?
Well, here you go!

(see them all after the jump!)


It’s a great time to give back.

Because I was raised with two skis practically attached to my feet,
winter is my absolute favorite time of year.  Any opportunity that I
have to play in the snow, I take it!  One unfortunate side-effect of me
being around snow is that the cheesy grin you see below is pretty well
perma-glued on my face the whole time.  There are worse things, I

Sadly for me, Portland’s winters are generally pretty chilly and
wet, but not the kind of wet that I like; the kind that comes down in
raindrops. We don’t get a ton of snow (except for that one year when we
did) but the air at night is absolutely bone chilling.  While not ideal
for a skier, the lack of snow is actually a really great thing. 
Portland, Oregon is home to approximately 20,000 homeless men, women and
children; approximately 13,000 of which do not have any place to go for
shelter at night. Obviously, homelessness is not just a concern in
Oregon.  A study done in 2009 reported that one in every 66 people
living in major US cities used a residential homeless program in the
subject year.

Before she retired two years ago…


The spirit of giving

If you’re reading this, you can safely count yourself among the
comfortably fortunate. Access to the internet, heat, warm clothing and a
family with whom to gather this holiday season are things we might all
easily take for granted. But not everyone is so lucky.

Although need has no season, the season of sharing and giving seems
to highlight the contrast between those who have and those who have not.
It’s this season that reinvigorates my commitment to charitable causes.
When I found out about the Mittens for Akkol drive by The Motherless Child Foundation,
I knew that I’d found a cause that would truly make a difference. This
group of volunteers is spearheaded by parents who adopted children from
the orphanage in Akkol, Kazakhstan, but couldn’t bear to leave the other
children behind.

It all started with a Ravelry post in the Charity Knitting
board requesting socks. Since I’d knit a bunch of kids’ socks earlier
this year, I figured a few more wouldn’t be a problem. But as I read on
about the charity, and especially about the recipients of these socks,
it struck me just how much a simple thing like warm socks can make a
huge difference in the life of someone halfway around the world. So I
started knitting.


TNNA: Interview with Doris Chan

One of the best parts of TNNA was being around so many crafty people
and sharing in this amazing community of smart, talented knitters and
crochets. While we were there, we were able enough to meet so many of
the designers involved with the Independant Design Program. And lucky
for us, we got the opportunity to meet Doris Chan, author of Crochet Lace Innovations! Not only is Doris a talented crochet designer, but she is also one of the contributors to the pattern, Pam’s Comfort Cables, which is available through the IDP program.