The Ravelry Kindness Project

Gentle reader,

Do you ever feel like just doing something nice just because you can? I often feel that way and I was never sure what to do. I think for me it’s partially because I don’t drink or go out so it’s not like I can buy a round of drinks for my friends and things like that. But, sometimes I just want to make a nice little gesture to my friends and other people who I think are lovely just to say “Hey, you! I think you’re totes neat!”. And, here’s a tip for all my knitting and crocheting peeps out there: Ravelry makes it super easy to do just that!

I’m a lucky guy, peeps. I really am. In this yarny-bloggy-knitty community I’ve made some awesome friends and I’ve met some totes nice peeps both online and in real life, and a lot of them are on Ravelry. Sometimes, I like to look at my friends’ queues and see what patterns have caught their eyes and what they want to make. Some of them even make use of the “wish list” function so I can see what they’re really keen to do next.

Well, every now and then, for no reason other than I want to, I gift a pattern to a random person or two in my friends list. I just want to show them how swell I think they are and do something lovely just to add a bit of warmness to someone’s day. You know that fuzzy, giddy feeling you get when someone does something nice for you totally out of the blue? Do you love that feeling? What about the equally fuzzy, giddy feeling you get when you’re the one who makes someone feel all fuzzy and giddy! It’s the best!

So, I was trying to think of a thing that we can all do together, like a KAL or something. But, there are plenty of KALs out there, and I think I’d like to participate in a KAL or a swap before I get grand ideas about hosting one of my own. So, instead, why don’t you join me in spreading some kindness around the interwebs? Yeah? What do you think? I wanna call it The Ravelry Kindness Project, and I want us all to send out some love! I know everyone’s budgets are different, but you can gift as many or as a few as you like, as often or as occasionally as you like. And, you never know what might come back to you! I’m sure some of you are totes familiar with buying patterns on Ravelry and gifting, but in case you’re not, here’s how:

Go to your “Notebook” on Ravelry, and go to your friends list. Have a bo-peep through your list and find the peeps who you think especially deserve a virtual hug. Click on the friend you want to gift a pattern to.

On their profile page, to the right you will find their queue and their favorites. I usually start with their queue, but some of my friends tend to only queue free patterns so in that case I go to their favorites. You can look under their favorite patterns or their favorite designers.

Some people make it really easy because they make use of the “wish list” function, where they put patterns that they’d like to buy but haven’t gotten around to it.

Once you’ve found a pattern that you want to gift to them, click on the “send as gift” link. If you’re feeling super generous and you notice that the pattern is available as part of an ebook, you can click through to that and gift that instead. Now, the example here is towards the expensive end of patterns, but some are as cheap as a dollar or two!

Once you’ve clicked the “send as gift” linkie, it’ll take you to a screen where you can write a message if you want to, but also make sure to look closely, because this screen will also tell you if they actually already own the pattern, so you might need to choose again. From here, it’s all self explanatory; pay for it with Paypal etc and then it’ll give you a receipt. Hurray! You just brightened someone’s day!

Now, it’s not the sort of project where you really have to check in or compare notes like a KAL or a swap. But, I hope some of you join me in being a sneaky pattern-giver! It’s totes fun! I promise! ^_^

Do you have any ideas about how to make The Ravelry Kindness Project even more fun and awesome? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!

Of Bears And Presents

Gentle reader,

Here’s is the next float in my FO Parade! Only one today, because I have something else awesome to show you too.

Blue Bear says "Wassup!?"

He’s more or less what I call my “formula bear”. When I start crocheting something, I have no idea what it’s going to be. Often I’ll have the body and head before I even have a clue what kind of critter it will be. Sometimes it even comes down to the ears. But, if nothing strikes my fancy along the way, they become a bear like this. I love these bears though, even though I can do them on autopilot now. I especially love this little gentleman because of his wonky eye and lopsided nuzzle. And his little tongue!

For this fella (and the Nugget the Owl, actually), I used a yarn from Spotlight called “Cardinal” which is an acrylic, alpaca and merino blend. I actually really liked it! It can be easy to be a yarn snob, but sometimes a decent, cheaper acrylic or acrylic blend is just the trick for these little critters. And hey, sometimes we crafters are on a budget, right? ^_~

The other thing I wanted to show you is a gift from my lovely friend Kate, who has a food blog called The World Is A Chocolate Cupcake which you should check out. Anyway, she has been taking sewing classes at Thread Den and she got a sewing machine for Christmas, and she made me this project bag!

le Bag du Project (that's French for project bag, y'know)

Firstly, who does’t like presents? Secondly, who doesn’t love handmade presents? And furthermore, a thoughtful gift is the most awesome, and clearly Kate knows me pretty well. I LOVE project bags. I mean, I have tons of them and it’s never enough! I usually buy drawstring bags from Japanese dollar stores (if you’re looking for a good, cheap project bag and you’re in Melbourne, check out Daiso right this minute!) but I’m always looking for new ones. And I love green (in case you haven’t noticed) so when she presented me with this little treasure I melted! I love, love, love it!

She’d also stuffed it full of all kinds of interesting yarn remnants which I’ll put to good use soon, I’m sure. It’s the ideal size for an amigurumi-to-be and some yarn. I can even fit my little notions pouch in there as well. Perfection!

Thank you, Kate! ❤

What’s the best handmade gift you’ve ever gotten? Or that you’ve given? Ooh, do tell!

– R

Cheers, Big Ears

Gentle reader,

It has been very remiss of me for not posting sooner. I have taken on a casual office job on top of my yarn store job, and between those two and teaching, I’ll not have a single day off for two weeks! Eeep! I have many things on the go which I can’t wait to show you, but they had to go on the back burner while I finished off my Pa’s birthday present.

Some background… my immediate family has many in-jokes and sayings that make rather little sense to anyone else, and many of those are what you might say are call-and-response style things in so far as certain expressions require a certain reply. One of these is a farewell that Pa and I often use, usually at the close of a phone conversation. One of us will say “Cheers, Big Ears!” to which the somewhat… colorful… response is “F*$k you, Noddy!”. Apologies for the cussing! I have no idea where the expression came from – I suspect it’s an old pub toast perhaps – but it tickles us. We will often try to incite the other to say the Noddy half of the exchange in the most inappropriate of places (Pa has the trophy so far – he managed to get me to say it quite loudly in the university library during study week).

Noddy & Big Ears (Mr Pod in the background)

And so, in the spirit of Subversive Cross Stitch, I decided that this would be an excellent birthday present for my kooky father (and I will not lie, the ‘sequel’ for his Christmas gift is something I’m looking forward to!)

Poor Noddy...

Next up is Mothers’ Day, but I don’t think I will be making anything for that (I have a gift picked out already), so I will have plenty to show you soon. Until then, hug your folks if they’re there to be hugged!