Monday, September 26, 2011

The Weekly Stitch

Hey there ladies! Happy Monday to all of you! It's officially fall now - time to start planning out all of those fall and holiday projects. And, it's time to ramp up our inventory of hats and scarves for the cancer centers - cooler temps means cold bald heads and chilly necks and shoulders.

Meetings this week:
Have you checked out our blog yet? If not, make sure you do so soon - Jennifer Stover has been working hard to put lots of information out there. You can access it by going to You can also follow new posts to the blog by clicking on the "Follow by email" button, typing in your email then hitting submit. I believe will get a confirmation email in your inbox which you will need to confirm before you start receiving emails about blog posts. This is going to be a great new tool for us to communicate with each other about projects, events, sales, and anything else going on in the yarn world! Check it out soon!

Current Projects:
  • Chemo caps and scarves for both adults and children - donated to Texas Oncology McKinney, McKinney Regional Cancer Center, UT Southwestern in Dallas and MCCH oncology unit.
  • Blankets for MCCH - either a child-sized blanket or 12 x 12 squares to combine into a blanket for them.
  • Finch knitting/crochet club - I have had 2 or 3 of you volunteer to help with teaching and Becca Masters has volunteered to be the coordinator! (Yea - thank you Becca!!) Look for details soon about when we will start the club. Also, we could use several more teachers. If you are thinking about teaching, go to MISD to fill out a volunteer application.
  • Mission trip to Nepal: In October, Susan Horn will be traveling to Nepal on a mission trip with Dare to Care. She could help accumulating the following items for her trip:
    • Packets of Chile con Carne
    • Italian Salad Dressing mixes
    • 1 jar of Cream of Tartar
    • Birthday candles
    • Individual packs of candy for the Orphans and host families

Love you all! Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Weekly Stitch

Hope everyone is having a great week and enjoying the rain and cooler weather! Also, it's football season - which means a great time to sit and knit/crochet for hours at a time!

Meetings this week:

Current Projects:

  • Chemo caps and scarves for both adults and children - donated to Texas Oncology McKinney, McKinney Regional Cancer Center, UT Southwestern in Dallas and MCCH oncology unit.
  • Blankets for MCCH - either a child-sized blanket or 12 x 12 squares to combine into a blanket for them.
  • Finch knitting/crochet club - I have had 2 or 3 of you volunteer to help with teaching and Becca Masters has volunteered to be the coordinator! (Yea - thank you Becca!!) Look for details soon about when we will start the club. Also, we could use several more teachers. If you are thinking about teaching, go to the McKinney ISD website to fill out a volunteer application.

You ladies are the greatest - thank you for your dedication to our group.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Martha Stewart Crafts Knit & Weave Loom Kit, By Lion Brand

For all you loomers out there, this is the latest and greatest tool that will make your looming more versitle, fun and drive you absolutely wild with the endless possibilities!

Lion Brand is partnering with Martha Stewart Crafts and created the Knit & Weave Loom Kit.  It is an erector set of connecting looming bars and joints where you will be able to make small rosette flowers all the way to ponchos and everything inbetween.  You will be able to work flat projects such as scarves and toys, or items in the round such has hats of varying sizes.  In addition to the loom knitting, you can also use this as a weaving tool; very similar to the pot-holder looms by making placemats or joining pieces together to make large afghans in record time.

Lion Brand created a couple of You-Tube introductory videos about this kit to explain how this works and the possibilites with this tool:

Introduction to Kit
Project Inspiration

At this time it does not seem to be sold in stores but it can be purchased online from $35-$45.  Although the price may seem a bit high, when you think of the variety of sizes one can get from the assortment (including pegs!) it would cost just as much if not more to buy pieces individually as well as make storage for the larger looms.  With these attachments, they can be disconnected and stored in a compact manner when not in use.

Note: This is not a paid advertisement, just a great new tool that was found and wanted to share with other interested parties.

2012 Winter Fiber Fun Retreat

Just when you’re about to say to yourself “I wish I had more time to work on some of my projects and learn a new technique” the clouds part and rays of light beam down from the sky.  Behold, the 4th Annual Winter Fiber Fun Retreat!

Mary Berry, the owner and proprietor of Fancy Fibers Farm located in Farmersville, created this retreat to get us like-minded yarn-a-holics together for a long weekend of stitching, spinning, weaving, felting and whatever else our fun-loving, creative minds can think of when it comes to yarn and notions! 

The exciting part about this retreat is that you can do whatever you want!  You can pick and choose what classes to attend.  If you only want to come to stitch, you can do that as well.  You can work your projects outside or indoors and away from the busyness of your house.  Heck, you might be able to finally finish that blanket that has lain dormant for so long!  In addition to the myriad of classes to choose from you can build a great network of local friends with common interests!

Here are some basic details and more detailed information can be found on Fancy Fiber’s website.  I’m posting this information early so you can get to registering for the classes you wish to attend.  Space fills up fast!

When:    February 16th-19th, 2012
Where:   Tally Retreat Center @ Camp Copass in Denton, TX
What:     23 Instruction-based courses to choose from (prices vary from free to $60 per
              course but mostly lie in the $15-$25 range)
Lodging: $80/night per room (max occupancy per room is 4)
Meals:     Buffet-style in the dining hall. Breakfast $7, Lunch $8, Dinner $8
Retreat Fee: $30

And if all of the above wasn’t enough to get you motivated to register, I created a Top 10 list.  If you agree to at least one of these, then you need to go! 

Top 10 reasons why you should go on a stitching retreat:

10. The cushion on the couch needs to be rotated because of the divot from sitting and
  9. When the household pets use your project as their personal blanket and shed more fur
      than what you use yarn-wise
  8. You only know 21 ways to cast on and you know that someone else knows a 22nd option
      but they’re holding out on you
  7. You can make a t-shirt that says: I stitched for 96 hours and all I got was this lousy
      t-shirt (and a couple of finished projects)
  6. Ravely has become your official home page
  5. The husband and kids are waiting for you to finish “one more row”
  4. You wear a button that says “I Knit So I Don’t Kill People” on a daily basis
  3. The only exercises you’re required to do are finger exercises
  2. *P1, K1, YO, SSK; repeat from* becomes your bedtime lullaby
  1. This will be the only place where you can bring your stitching to the dinner table and
      no one will object

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wednesday Only Sale @ Michaels - Impeccable Yarn for $1.99!

This is a great sale not to be missed!

Michaels is having a one day only sale on their Loops & Threads Impeccable yarn for $1.99!  If you have not worked with this yarn before, it is a self-striping worsted-weight yarn with a texture I would compare to Vanna's Choice or Red Heart Soft.

It is for Wednesday only so be sure to check it out and get them before they're gone.

Also, for those who have not signed up for Michaels Rewards, be sure to ask for a free application at the store and then register your card number on their website.  They provide additional coupons and store events that are not readily available to the public.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Craft Fair Success!


Saturday was a great day to be outside stitching with friends and talking about one of our favorite hobbies!  There were a dozen or so gals from the group who stopped by to set up, sell, strike and visit throughout the day.

Tables and walls were filled with everything knit and crochet-related.  Hats, scarves, purses, dishcloths and toys were proudly on display.  Knitter Critter (Hillary’s custom-stitched children’s accessories) and Charmed Charms (Gina’s sister, Christine who made our great jewelry) partnered with Yarns of Hope and donated a portion of their proceeds to benefit the group and our mission.  In total, Yarns of Hope raised over $170!  In addition to the money raised to purchase supplies, we encountered several people who were interested in learning how to knit and crochet or wanted to find a group to be able to donate their time and resources.  The day was truly a blessing for YOH and we were glad to be a part of Princeton’s celebration.

The Weekly Stitch

Important note for Tuesday morning attendees: We will NOT be meeting at First Baptist tomorrow! The church is hosting a Volunteer Expo for MISD that will take up all of the resources at the church. We will be meeting at Gina’s house instead which provides lots of comfy seating outside and indoors as well as fun play spaces for the kiddos. We will be back at the church next week.
  • Tuesday @ 10: Gina’s house.  Please contact Gina Hammack for directions and information.
  • Wednesday @ 6:15: Connection @ First Baptist McKinney (open area between the sports center & sanctuary)
Here’s what we’re working on this week!
  • Chemo hats and scarves for adults and children
  • Blankets – either a child-sized blanket or 12”x12” squares that will be combined with other squares
  • Finch Knitting/Crochet club – Becca Masters has graciously accepted to be the coordinator to lead this group.  There have been two or three who have said that they will help teach the 5th graders, however we still need more volunteers.  We meet during the kid's lunch break for about 30 minutes once a week.  Last year we had over 15 students express an interest and would like to break the kids into small groups in order to make the teaching easier for them.  There has also been talk about giving a name to the group.  Helping Hands is the front-runner at this time. More details will be coming soon as to when we will begin teaching.
Be sure to let people know about YOH, our blog and also sign up to know when the site has been updates!

Thank you all for your dedication to the group.  You truly are a blessing!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Book Added To The YOH Library - Cabin Fever: Need A Hat? No-Sew Knitting

Yarns of Hope has received a wonderful donation - all the way from Canada!  The moderator with Chemo Cap Pattern Library on Ravelry offered a few copies of  the knit book Cabin Fever: Need A Hat? as a giveaway and chose our group to be one of the recipients!

Geared for knitters ranging from beginner to intermediate, this book's strong feature are the thoroughly detailed Size/Gauge & Yardage charts that create endless possibilites for all the hats featured in this book and essentially for any hat conversion outside of the book as well.  If you want to make an adult hat with chunky yarn, the chart will provide the suggested needle size as well as the estimated stitches to use.  If you want to make the same hat for a newborn using sock weight yarn, the chart has that information also.  Include this with the basic pattern and presto!  You have the same hat in two different sizes with different weighted yarns without having to break out the calculator!

Check out all the hat designs through the above link and then check out the book through YOH.  I personally am anxious to try designs # 3, 5, 7, 8, 11 & 12.  Heck, I think I'm going to make them all!

Another trip to MCCH and a Special Request

All of you ladies have been so busy that our stash was overflowing with blankets and quilts, so I scheduled a visit to children's oncology unit at Medical Center Children's Hospital today. The Child Life Director was thrilled will all of the blankets, quilts, scarves, hats and toys that I delivered to her. She wants all of you to know that she, her staff, and all of the patients love our generosity and all of the things that we make for them. While we were visiting, she mentioned a need for "rice frogs". Now, I had no idea what a rice frog was but she explained it and sent me these links:  Rice Frog (1) and Rice Frog (2). Basically, they are fabric frogs made out of scraps then stuffed with long grain rice. The frogs can be placed in a microwave to warm then placed on the patient's aches and pains. She said that the kids all just love these frogs and they really help as well.

So, if anyone would like to help out by making some of these frogs, please just bring to one of our meetings or let me know.

God bless,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Yarns of Hope is Out and About – Princeton Historic Downtown Grand Opening on 9/10/11

Princeton is celebrating the restoration of their historic downtown area and they have asked Yarns of Hope to be one of the vendors.  The event is taking place this Saturday on the 10th from 11-6 and will be located in downtown Princeton at Memorial Park located at 322 Main Street (North on 4th from HW 380.)

If you would like to help with setup, strike or working in the booth, please contact Gina.

Also, if you would like to purchase items from Yarns of Hope, proceeds will benefit the group by allowing the purchase of supplies and materials to knit and crochet for charity.

In addition to finding fantastic knit, crochet and loomed treasures made by all the wonderful ladies from Yarns of Hope, there will be additional artisans in attendance showcasing their wares such as artists, jewelers, antiques, boutiques, home d├ęcor, a wine tasting or two, food, raffles and an antique car show.  Also in attendance will be live music from Lauren Kent featuring Sister Grove Reunion and 97.5 KLAK.

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

All Great Links Start With Ravelry

Not enough wonderful words can be said about this amazing site.  What started as an individual need to organize knitting and crochet patterns has become the mecca of pattern database management for us crazy die-hard stitchers.  If there is a knit or crochet pattern out there in the world, there is a 97.3% chance that you will find it on this site (the older the pattern, the sketchier it becomes.)  Not only is this a site to find a pattern (either for free or for purchase), this site is a personal database for documenting individual projects, library, yarn stash and hook and needle organizer.  There are also communities within the site in which groups can be found tailored to activities, interests or even businesses.  One of the many useful resources that this site has created is its ability to utilize individual projects as its database.  Tips, suggestions, alterations, comments, and real-life models are viewable to the free registered members which are boons to help guide through the myriad of patterns and make the final decision if that pattern is worth the time, energy and effort.
Don’t get us wrong, although many knitters and crocheters prefer Ravelry as their 1st method in pattern searching (and if you haven’t found it yet, please do and you’ll be hooked – pardon the pun), there are additional great resource sites out there.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Pattern Resources
  • Lion Brand – thousands of free patterns for knitters and crocheters plus great tutorials about their products and basic knitting and crochet techniques
  • Red Heart / Coats & Clark – lots of patterns from the Red Heart family
  • Bev’s Country Cottage – charity crafting website that has patterns plus a great size chart for hats, baby measurements, foot and blanket sizes
  • Head Huggers – A great charity site reference for chemo hats.  For those who knit, crochet and/or sew.
  • Chemo Cap Pattern Library – Because Ravelry can be overwhelming with the endless possibilities out there, this group was created to help find patterns appropriate for chemo hats.  The threads are divided between yarn weight, age and gender.  Great resource!
  • Crochet Pattern Central – Lots of crochet patterns and tutorials will be found here!
  • - Has several individual easy to understand tutorials, patterns and tools for both Knit and Crochet
  • Interweave – a vast resource on all types of arts and crafts; includes signup options for daily free patterns via e-mail. Crochet Me and Knitting Daily are their sites focused on the yarn craft.
  • Knitting
    • Knitting Help - Hands down, the best video tutorial site for learning from how to cast on to understanding intarsia.  If you want to learn to knit and watch someone do it, this is the place to visit during those wee hours in the morning with your yarn and needles in hand.
    • Lion Brand Knitting Tutorials – Provides video and instructional tutorials for Knitting and
  • Crochet
  • Fiber Circle – Located in downtown Farmersville, you will not find a sweeter lady who gives of her time, talents and resources!  Diane has generously supported Yarns of Hope and we want to give back to her by continuing to shop at her store!  She has a fantastic selection of yarns and has get-togethers during the weekend.  Bring a potluck item and nestle in on one of the couches!  200 McKinney Street, Farmersville, TX 75442-2120 (972) 782-6630.  Note: Be sure to call first before going as her hours are varied, but she lives upstairs and if she’s not open and is home, she will open the store just for you.  Now that’s personalized shopping!
  • Woolie Ewe – Another local store based in Plano, this is a great shop to find higher end and luxurious fibers.  They also have great classes and teachers throughout the year.  Be sure to sign up as their friend on Ravelry and you’ll get a discount on yarn!
  • WEBS – An online yarn and notions store – they have great sales worth checking out
  • Knit Picks – Don’t let the name fool you; they have notions for crocheters too!  This is by far a great online store for all types of yarn, notions and materials any yarn crafter would need.  From stitch markers to swifters, there are great deals to be had and new exciting materials that you didn’t know you would need but will want to add to your collection.

Info, Info and More Info

All too many times there is such great information out in the WWW that we can’t get it to our stitcher’s fast enough.  By having more of a live-outlet such as this, pertinent information can be shared with each other and the odd picture and story or two can appear to praise all of the hard-working efforts.

If you have a story to share, a picture to snap, a deal to snag or even a tip to help us grow in our knowledge base, we want to know!  Just send a note to one of the contributors and they can facilitate in the posting.

Welcome to Yarns of Hope: The Blog

In 2008, Gina Hammack had the opportunity to take up knitting as her new craft due to the request of her doctor to stay immobile for several weeks. It was around this time that a few of her friends were diagnosed with cancer and other personal issues. After a prayerful knock about the head, Gina realized her desire to share her love of knitting and ministry with cancer patients and friends by making hats, scarves and blankets.

Thus, Yarns of Hope was born!

What started out with a few "encouraged" friends to meet at a local coffee shop and have the donations to go to a local oncology center has now grown into two weekly meeting locations with 80+ members and well over 2000 donations to several local oncology units, hospitals, children's hospitals and overseas orphanages on mission trips. In addition to the numerous donations, Yarns of Hope is also teaching 5th graders at Finch Elementary school how to knit and crochet. By teaching the kids how to craft, they are in turn making swatches to create a group blanket for donation. This is certainly a missions-within-missions opportunity that will affect many lives to come. Yarns of Hope actively participates as a team with Relay For Life which is partnered with the American Cancer Society.

Yarns of Hope has been blessed with so many yarn crafters of all skill levels who are wanting to share their talents in that same love of charity and paying it forward. There are knitters, crocheters, loom knitters, finger knitters, sewers... The wonderful aspect about the group is that it is a very open and nurturing environment that is open to all skill levels; if you want to learn, there is someone eager to teach.

Come join Yarns of Hope in person at First Baptist Church in McKinney. You do not need to be a member of the church to attend; only to have a love of stitching for others.

  • Tuesdays: 10-12 in the Hospitality Room
  • Wednesdays: 6:15-7:30 in the Fireside Room
Donations of either personal time, monetary or via supplies are greatly appreciated and 100% of all proceeds benefit cancer patients, individuals suffering loss or in need of encouragement.

If you have questions about the group or would like to request a handmade item, please feel free to contact:

Gina Hammack
(972) 658-0576

Thank you for visiting and we hope to see you in person very soon!