Cuddle Bear & Book Drive

Meet Cuddle Bear! In honor of what would have been my daughter, Emma’s 5th birthday on December 19th, I’m going to be doing 5 fundraisers in the next 5 months to help other families who need help healing. 

My first Fundraiser is happening TOMORROW! For 24 hours, I’ll be raising money to donate Cuddle Bears and Book sets to The Patrick Palin Foundation. Their Mission is to support families with a baby in the NICU and those who experience the loss of a baby at Massachusetts area hospitals. These Cuddle Bears and books will be going to families who will be coming home from the hospital with empty arms. Having a keepsake to hold onto while grieving helps with the healing process. Sometimes there’s nothing left to take home after losing a child and this can help honor their baby's memory.  

For a $26 donation, you will be able to provide a bereaved family with Cuddle Bear and his book. Donate what you can, more or less. Anything helps! 

You can donate by going to my YouCaring page here:
https://www.youcaring.com/thepatrickpalinfoundation-912724

If you want your own Cuddle Bear and/or book, you can order your own here: https://goo.gl/D4QNsH (choose the event "Sarah's Cuddle Bear Book Drive" when checking out)

You can also learn more about The Patrick Palin Foundation and their work here: www.thepatrickpalinfoundation.org 

New Year's Intentions vs. Resolutions

Happy 2017!
Let's talk Intensions vs. Resolutions...

Resolutions are what most people choose to make mere minutes after the ball drops on NYE. Making resolutions are typically setting a series of goals that you want to do or achieve by the end of the year. Setting a goal at the beginning of the new year with 365 days to achieve it seems like a great idea until the second week of the new year when a lot of people are already seeing their resolution resolve crumble. What happens? Why do resolutions we set, go by the wayside come February? 

Resolutions are very specific and come with a pseudo timeline that we set up to achieve said goal. Let's take the all too popular "lose weight" resolution. To achieve this goal, a person will need to commit to a series of life changes that will affect almost every aspect of their day. When to exercise? What to do while exercising? How to exercise? What to eat? How much to eat? When to eat? Join a gym? Is a gym membership affordable? Can I give up X, Y, & Z foods realistically? What happens when the craving is too strong? It can be overwhelming and after a few days of committing to this drastic lifestyle change, the resolution is dropped and the feeling of failure has replaced the "New Year, Healthier Me" mantra created just days before. 

This is where Intention comes into play. Instead of a resolution like "losing weight," have an intention of "making healthier choices when possible." An intention is a waking thought while a resolution is a pressured task. By setting an intention of making healthier choices when possible, you are allowing yourself room to change or to think about deviating from your daily norm in a realistic way. There is no pressure to keep to a resolution and the end result can still include weight loss, or more importantly, becoming healthier. 

I haven't set New Year's Resolutions since my twins were born because I didn't think I could keep any. Two years later and I realize while I might not have made any resolutions, I certainly have set intensions without even realizing it. I intend to be as good a Mom as I can be. That means different things depending on the day. Somedays, it means that I take my kids on an outing and teach them life lessons while also having fun. Other days, it could be that I leave the kids at home with their Grandparents while I walk around Target for 3 hours with my Starbucks cup in hand so I can recharge and be Mom again for the rest of the day. 

Intentions, in my humble opinion, are far greater and are able to create more opportunities than resolutions can. 

 
newyearstash.jpg
 

Alright! Here we are, the first week of 2017. My intention is to try to create more things that make me happy while helping others at the same time. Clearly, this can be applied to The Littlest Blanket. I love to knit and I'm going to try to make more blankets this year to donate than I did last year. My stash of baby yarn can be seen in the image above. Notice how I didn't say "knit more blankets" as I would have for a resolution. Day-to-day life doesn't always lend time for making a specific number of certain items, especially when twin two-year-old's are added to the mix.

I like to create, not just knit blankets, but art of all kinds. Creating makes me happy and that is part of my intention, to find things that can make me happier throughout my daily life. The other part of the intention is helping others. There are many ways to help and many types of help to be given. I don't want to limit all of my spare time to only doing one specific kind of work, but anytime I see something that inspires me, I want the freedom to go in that direction. If I dedicate myself to just one kind of service, that may become a chore and no longer enjoyable. 

I hope anyone that is reading this blog post also has an intention of creating more! If you would like to create more or maybe even try a new skill, take a look at our ProjectsLessons pages.

Thank you for a good beginning in 2016 and I cannot wait to see what 2017 brings for our community of crafters.

Emma's Blankets 2016: Donation Day

Yesterday, 4 years after I lost my daughter at 17 weeks gestation, I was able to drop off a donation to Brigham and Women's Hospital's NICU. There were blankets for pregnancy loss, micro preemies and preemies. 

donation2016

I will continue to collect handmade blankets throughout the year and will donate as often as I can, but I hope to make our December 19th donation an annual event. To see how you can donate, check out Ways to Donate and our Guidelines page. I can't wait to see what 2017 brings with The Littlest Blanket. 

Happy Holidays & a very Happy New Year!

Emma's Blankets

Join me in donating handmade blankets in honor of my daughter.

Last day for blanket donation will be December 15! I will be giving these blankets to Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston on December 19th, the 4th anniversary of losing Emma. 

If you would like to send a blanket, please fill out the form on our event page and I will email you shipping information. I promise not to use your information for anything other than providing you with the mailing address. The blankets are being mailed to a private residence that will not be posted publicly online. If you feel uncomfortable filling out the form linked above, please visit us on Facebook and send me a private message, I can give the mailing address to you there as well. 

I can't wait to see your blankets! 

Announcing Our Summer Project 2016

We're still keeping this beginner friendly! I want as many people to start a project as possible. I also want you to know that even though this is the Summer project if you don't finish it until the Fall, that's still great! We'll still have one more blanket than we would have if you hadn't stuck to it and kept on knitting!

If you're a moderate or expert knitter and want to skip to the pattern, scroll to the bottom of this post. If you crochet, I picked a pattern for you to follow along with a project that's similar. You can view the pattern here

Let's get into it! This blanket starts with just 5 stitches cast on and you add a stitch each row until you get to the middle, then you decrease on the way down! Not sure what I mean? That's ok. You will!

Start by casting on 5 stitches (CO 5 sts). If you are learning how to knit and aren't sure how to cast on, take a look at this video. You can find this and other videos under Lessons

Then you follow the pattern for the next 4 rows:
Row 1: Knit all sts
Row 2: K3, YO, K2
Row 3: K3, YO, K3
Row 4: K3, YO, K to end of row

Let's go over the abbreviations for this pattern!
Sts = Stitches
K = Knit
YO = Yarn Over
k2tog = Knit 2 stitches together
BO = Bind Off
So, if we read the second row's abbreviations, it translates to knit 3 stitches, yarn over, knit 2 stitches.

Simple right? Want a refresher on how to YO? Check out this video

blanket_diagram

Now, what? Well, you repeat that last row over and over again until your blanket is the width and height you want. This blanket is knit diagonally so you will be looking at the width of the blanket from the top to bottom corner. Not sure what I mean?

Take a look at the image to the right. If you start at the bottom with 5 stitches and increase by one stitch each row, when you get to the middle width you like, you can begin decreasing towards the top of the blanket.

Get it? That's ok if you still don't. As you're knitting you'll start to see the increases and will know about how wide you'll want everything to be. Now let's move onto the decrease part of the pattern.

K2, k2tog, yo, k2tog, k to end of row.
So, you knit 2 stitches, knit 2 stitches together, yarn over, knit 2 more stitches together, then knit to the end of the row. Then you repeat each row over and over until you get to 5 stitches. At that point, you will bind off and weave in your ends!

Need to know how to k2tog? Check out that video here
Want to know how to bind off (BO)? You can watch that tutorial here.

Pattern:

CO 5 sts
Row 1: k5
Row 2: k3, yo, k2
Row 3: k3, yo, k3
Row 4: k3, yo, k to end of row
Repeat Row 4 until the blanket is the width you like
First Decrease Row: k2, k2tog, yo, k2tog, k to end of row
Repeat until there are 5 sts left
BO

The image above is the blanket I've just started. I'm knitting on size 6 circular needles with a medium weight yarn. The thicker your yarn, the quicker this will knit up, just make sure to look at the yarn information and use the needles recommended for the weight. If you're a beginner, I would recommend using a bulky yarn, weight 6 and up. 

More information from Craftsy on how to read yarn labels. 

More information from Craftsy on how to read yarn labels. 

Good luck knitting! Send me photos of your works in progress on Instagram using the #LittlestBlanketSummer2016. You can also send me a photo on our facebook page here

Our First Group Project! Blankets, of course!

Hello everyone!

I'm so excited to officially kick off our first group project!

We're making blankets of course. Since we're called "The Littlest Blanket" what better way to start off than with a blanket? Obviously, blanket donations are always welcome no matter the time of year, and I wanted our June project to get us started on the right track. 

This is a nice starting project because you get to choose what you're working on! I want you to make a blanket. That's it, no rules, however the blankets should still adhere to the guidelines for donation. You can knit or crochet for a preemie, micro-preemie or prior to 24 weeks gestation (usually too premature for survival), your choice. Need inspiration on what to knit? Head on over to our Pinterest board and see what patterns have been saved for blankets. 

 
castingon_firstblanket
 

I chose a versatile blanket pattern from our Pregnancy Loss Blanket Patterns Pinterest board which could be either a preemie blanket or a bereavement blanket depending on how you size it. It's an easy to moderate level knitting pattern which involves knits and purls over multiple rows and repetitions of those rows. This may be a little bit of a challenge for new knitters, but nice and simple for moderate to expert level knitters. 

Sizing information for babies by gestational week can be found here if you were interested in knitting a specific size or looking to resize another pattern that's too big. 

Join us on Meetup to see where I'll be holding this month's group! If you're in the MetroWest area of Massachusetts, I'd love for you to join us!

I want to see photos of your WIPs (works in progress) and final blankets! Post them to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #TheLittlestBlanketProject. You can also email them by clicking on the envelope icon at the bottom of the page. 

Get stitching!