I love Halloween. A holiday all about chocolate and costumes? Yes, please! (I am equally passionate about theme parties, for similar reasons.) Whenever possible, I like to make my own costumes, and I actually think that’s part of the fun. I recently spent a little time browsing Ravelry for handmade Halloween costume items to share with all of you, and there are some really fun pattern ideas out there!
The Lassie Wig Hat by Charlotte W. is a great foundation for any costume that calls for a wig. You can do braids, or pigtails, or even wind the braids on either side, space-princess-style. Thread sturdy wire through the braids and you’ve got Pippi Longstocking! Throw a horned helmet on top and you can be a Viking!
The Dolly pattern by Mary Scott Huff is perfect for a number of classic costumes. Goldilocks, a rag doll, Shirley Temple, Little Bo Peep… This knitted wig also features a hat base, to help your curls stay in place, and it would be easy to make longer curls if you need them. With any hat-based wig, you can pretty much create any hairstyle — simply weave or tie the yarn into the hat base.
Masks and disguises: As a crafty person, you can custom-make a mask to fit your face, which means no more ill-fitting costumes that slip down over your eyes!
The Disguise Mask by Ana Rosa is a delightful yarn-y take on a classic. I especially love the option for the fuzzy eyebrows. This disguise can stand alone as a costume, or be part of a Mr. Potato Head!
Mask Gone Batty by Cristina Mershon is a slightly more elegant mask option. Crocheting this in aran weight yarn will make for a quick, last minute option. Add a black lace shawl — bonus points if you made it yourself!
There’s still plenty of time to grab some yarn and add a handmade touch to your costume! Ravelry has pages and pages of Halloween goodies, and we have skeins and skeins of yarn! Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll just be over here making a wearable cloud out of FiberFil and hot glue. Get crafty!
The countdown to this year’s 24-Hour Community Blanket Knitting Marathon has begun! The yarn (donated by Berroco) is being wound, the roster is all filled up, and the non-profits are busy decorating beautiful boxes in which you can place your non-perishable-food-item votes! This event is one of my favorite Over The Rainbow Yarn community outreach projects, because it feeds the hungry, benefits a local charity, and is just plain fun. The blanket is always beautiful, too. (Have I mentioned lately how much I love knitting with Vintage?) This year, all of the spots filled up really quickly. If you missed out on a chance to sign up, bring a non-perishable food item over to the event to vote, and while you’re there, offer to give someone a little break. When you’re knitting for two hours straight, it’s healthy to stand up and stretch every so often, and the opportunity for a coffee or bathroom break is much appreciated.
We have seven non-profits on board this year, and I don’t know how I’m going to choose who to vote for — I may have to bring enough food items to vote for each one! Let me tell you a little bit about each of the groups:
Area Interfaith Outreach: AIO runs our local food pantry and offers emergency assistance. They try to make sure that no one goes cold or hungry, which is a tough job in our community where more than a quarter of the schoolchildren don’t know where their next meal will come from. AIO sends backpacks of food home with kids on the weekends, distributes the lovely mittens that you all knit for our annual mitten tree, and makes sure that when things get tough, families have enough food on the table. http://www.aiofoodpantry.org/index.html
Midcoast Habitat for Humanity: This local chapter of Habitat for Humanity International works to build homes for low-income families in Knox County. Their vision is “A world where everyone has a decent place to live”, and they get the community involved in making it happen. Finding decent, affordable housing in the midcoast can be a big challenge, and Habitat for Humanity is stepping in to help provide a safe roof over the heads of families in need. http://www.midcoasthabitat.org/
OUT Maine: OUT Maine/Out As I Want to Be works to support LGBTQ teens and youth in the community. They offer a safe space and educational services, and are “passionately committed to creating a welcoming and affirming Midcoast Maine”. One of their main goals is reducing harassment and bullying in schools, which can make a huge difference in a teen’s life. http://outmaine.org/
Pope Memorial Humane Society: Pope Memorial is a fantastic humane society that goes the extra mile for the animals that come through their doors. They’re a no-kill shelter, and they often are able to reconnect lost animals with their humans. The folks who work there really care, and are great at promoting responsible pet ownership. They give homeless animals a chance at a forever home. https://www.humanesocietyofknoxcounty.org/
Rockland District Nursing Association: RDNA provides “in-home nursing and community health services” to people in our community who might not otherwise have access to medical care. They offer financial assistance to those who can’t afford the services they need, and work to assist the elderly to live at home for as long as possible. http://rocklanddistrictnursing.com/
Trekkers: Trekkers is a mentoring program with an emphasis on outdoor adventure. They connect students with caring adults and take them on trips to expand their horizons. Trekkers emphasizes the importance of a providing a steady presence in their students’ lives, working with them from 7th grade through graduation. Local teens are given wonderful opportunities to learn about cultural diversity and community service. http://trekkers.org/
Please come out with a non-perishable food item (or several!) this Friday or Saturday to vote for one of these incredible non-profits! Help make this year’s Blanket Marathon a success!
It’s that time of year again — the air is crisp, the leaves are turning, and I’m wearing at least four layers of clothing to work every morning. It’s almost fleece-lined-leggings-o’clock. Every year around this time, I find myself in a New York state of mind… New York State Sheep & Wool Festival, that is! I’ve never been to Rhinebeck, but I dream of one day witnessing this sheep-tacular spectacle myself.
This festival is a big deal for us fiber folks. Just look at the schedule: over a week to go, and most of the classes are sold out! And what wonderful classes they are: dyeing, spinning, weaving, felting, knitting, crocheting… the list goes on. The schedule is studded with big names, the rockstars of the fiber world, including Bristol Ivy, Norah Gaughan, and Mary Jane Mucklestone (from Maine!).
Have you heard of the phenomenon of the “Rhinebeck sweater”? Knitters heading to Rhinebeck will often knit a glorious sweater to show off at the festival. Can you imagine a better audience than thousands of knitters, who understand exactly how much work went into your pullover? Ysolda Teague even compiled a book of sweater patterns by famous designers called “The Rhinebeck Sweater”. We have a copy at the shop, and looking through it always makes me really want to actually be there.
(Vegans, avert your eyes for this next part.) I’m not going to lie, a big part of why I go to fairs is the food. Rhinebeck apparently has lamb. LAMB. And not just one kiosk with lamb kabobs and a line a mile long, but a whole workshop on how to spit roast lamb. There’s also apple crisp, and falafel, and cheese!
(Ok, this part is vegan friendly again.) Rhinebeck also features tons of adorable fiber animals to admire. I didn’t pet enough critters at the Common Ground Fair this year — I really want to snuggle some baby goats, and feel the lanolin on my hands after petting a sheep. It’s a good thing Brooks’ car is just big enough for the two of us, or else I’d be stuck trying to talk my landlord into bending the no-pets policy for a small flock of sheep. They could mow the front yard!