Hugs & Stitches

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Highlights from the first half of 2009

One of our favorite highlights of the first half of the year is our Hugs & Stitches birthday on the first Tuesday of February!! We always have such a great time celebrating. This year marked our fourth anniversary as you can tell by the four "yarn balls" on our cake! (photo below) A friend works in a local grocery store bakery and suprised us last year by making us a wonderful cake for our third year with three yarn ball cupcakes on top! It was absolutely adorable - so this year I went back for one with an added yarn ball. Last year was done in bright colors and this year they went with pastels. A little hard to see all the detail and hard work they put into it - but aside from the yarn balls there are crochet hooks and knitting needles too - and everything made of icing!!

Just following our birthday - also in February - we were asked by another friend who is involved with Special Olympics if we could make the Special Olympians some scarves for their upcoming Winter Games. Of course we were MORE THAN HAPPY to help out. We asked what colors they needed and the Carroll County division uses burgundy and white - so we got right to work! Below are a few of the scarves............

Here are three of the Special Olympic Athletes with one of their coaches. From left to right are athletes Chris, Nicole and Stephanie with Coach Doug. They really seemed to love their scarves. We let them choose the ones they liked best. We thought it was cute that both girls chose the same pattern!

Here is most of our Hugs & Stitches group with the Special Olympics crew! We have quite a few more members than this - but they all can't make it each and every week. So some of our loyal "stitchers" sadly aren't pictured! But we sure enjoyed that evening very much and were so happy to help out those terrific S.O. athletes.

Before I get to our counts - I want to thank each and every one of the Hugs & Stitches gals who come faithfully each and every week to crochet and knit their little hearts out. They are the most wonderful bunch of ladies anyone could ever know and I am so blessed to have them all in my life and many others are blessed by the beautiful scarves, hats and mittens that they lovingly make each week!

And now for the news that I know all our readers wait for - and that is our totals for the year so far! As you know - our big project that we focus on first is the Shepherd's Staff "Call for Coats" Project. Each year we try to out-do ourselves in how many scarves we can donate to them. This year however - we have more ladies who can make hats - so even if our scarf numbers haven't increased too much - we have a lot more hats than we ever have!! (as a matter of fact - we already have more hats at the half year than we had for the whole year in 2008!) That is really great news. Not only that - but a lot more of the scarves and hats are being made in matching sets - which is a big help to the volunteers at Shepherd's Staff.

So now - here are the numbers from January 1st through June 30th, 2009......

Afghans - 55

Scarves - 704

Hats - 329

Mittens - 30 pair

As you can see - we still don't have enough ladies able to make mittens. We only had one before - but just last month, a new lady joined us who also makes them - so our numbers should increase for mittens too. At least a little!!

Well - I guess that's it for now. I do apologize for taking so long to update our blog - but I think most of you know that I was quite ill for most of last year and even into the first part of this year. So while I wanted to get to it - it was all I could do to keep up with what absolutely needed done. I hope I haven't lost a lot of my followers - but based on my emails - I don't think I have! Thanks to everyone for all of their patience!! God Bless and come back and read our blog soon. Now that I am finally feeling better - I should be updating it a bit more regularly!

Monday, February 04, 2008

News, News & More News!!!!

This Tuesday, February 5, 2008, Hugs & Stitches will celebrate 3 years of crocheting, knitting and friendship! It's hard to believe that 3 years has gone by already! We've had so much fun during our time together and it's even better knowing that while we are having such fun, we are also doing something good for our community! So - HAPPY BIRTHDAY HUGS & STITCHES!

While our 3rd birthday is certainly something to celebrate, we also have lots of other exciting news! Over the past 3 years, Hugs & Stitches has grown tremendously. We started out as a small group of 6 or 8 ladies and we have grown to a group of nearly 25! While that is wonderful news for the group and the work we are doing, it brings about a big change for us.

As you know, we've enjoyed meeting in the lovely Tea Room or on the huge front porch of Summerville Senior Living. We absolutely loved the place and would happily stay forever - but the number of ladies trying to squeeze into the tiny Tea Room has forced us to find a new home. So starting Tuesday, February 5th, we will begin a new year at the Carroll Nonprofit Center in Westminster.

This is the Carroll Nonprofit Center. The red ribbon was for the
ribbon cutting ceremony at our grand opening in May 2006.

The Carroll Nonprofit Center is a wonderful facility with a tremendous purpose serving nonprofit organizations in Carroll County, MD. I also have the great privilege of working there! It is a large facility that was donated to Carroll County for the sole purpose of housing nonprofit agencies and helping other agencies, not housed there, by providing conference room space.
This is me at the Dedication Ceremony for the building back in May of 2006.

For Hugs & Stitches, being able to meet in this facility will mean better parking, better lighting and much more room for all of us to continue to crochet and knit all of those items which we donate to many organizations in Westminster and Carroll County. While we will greatly miss the lovely Tea Room and the wonderful ladies who worked at Summerville, we feel that this move to the Carroll Nonprofit Center will be a good one for us!

This is a friend (Darlene) who asked her church to do a yarn drive for the group. Not only did they agree - they did TWO yarn drives! This is Darlene delivering the first large donation of yarn to us during one of our regular meetings in the Tea Room at Summerville.

I would like to take time now to thank all of those who have donated yarn to Hugs & Stitches in the past year. Their generosity is so appreciated by all of us! While some delivered the yarn to us during our meeting (as seen in the above photo), many others simply left bags of yarn with the front desk at Summerville. Some of those people left their name and address so we could send them a "thank you" letter, while others chose not to leave their information. I don't know if any of them would read this - but if they do - THANK YOU!! It means so much to us that others are willing to help us in our mission! I would also like to give a very special thanks to the staff at Summerville who made our time there so much more enjoyable. They were always so pleasant and friendly to us and made us feel right at home. We'll miss you all very much!

Just a sampling of some of the lovely hand made items that our ladies produce each and every week!

Another batch of scarves from the group, most likely going to the Shepherd's Staff "Call for Coats" project they have every October.

As most of you know - Shepherd's Staff is our biggest project every year. For 2007 we exceeded our previous years in the number of items we donated to their Call for Coats project! (You can read about 2007 and previous years efforts in the earlier BLOG entries) But our entire totals for 2007 just amaze me!! The ladies in this group are so dedicated and work so hard to keep these items rolling in week after week. So - here are the complete totals of our work for 2007. (These numbers include the Shepherd's Staff project)

SCARVES - 1,075 HATS - 375 MITTENS - 175 AFGHANS - 150 Can you believe those numbers??!! This group of ladies is just awesome!! Well - I guess that's all the news for now! Thanks for taking the time to read about our little group. I hope you have enjoyed the latest update of Hugs & Stitches. Check back any time to see what we've been working on - we'd love to have you!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Autumn Update - Exciting News!

October is here and with it comes Hugs & Stitches annual donation to The Shepherd's Staff and their Call for Coats program! They asked if we could possibly make 800 scarves for them this year and not only did we manage that, but lots of hats and mittens to go with some of them too!

So - here are the final counts for our donations to Shepherd's Staff:

Scarves: 875
Hats: 230
Mittens: 120 pair

I think we made our goal - and then some!! Way to go ladies - you are all fantastic!! Aside from all of the scarves, hats and mittens, we also managed to make 105 afghans along the way! These ladies are crochet and knitting maniacs!! Each week they surpass their previous accomplishments and each new item is more beautiful than the last! You can see for yourself in the photos below just how pretty all of their work is!

This is one of our hard working ladies - Joan - who both knits and crochets!!
Such talent - and look how beautiful her work is!
Here she is - modeling a gorgeous hat and scarf she made in a
pattern she figured out herself from a larger afghan pattern!

One of my favorite color combinations in an afghan!
As beautiful as it looks here, it's even more so in person!

An afghan done in a variation of a ripple pattern, combined with
a granny design. The group has dubbed this pattern:
Granny's Drinkin' Ripple!
It doesn't take much to amuse us on Tuesday evening!

NOW - for even more of the exciting news! The Baltimore Sun, Carroll section did an article on our group in today's paper. You could see all of the ladies handiwork featured in the picture and I tried to make sure I got something from each lady in the group in the picture. One or two of them may have gotten cropped out - but I think for the most part I got one of each in there! Unfortunately - the paper could not get to our group meeting to take pictures of all of us but at least all of their hard work is pictured! I'm sorry you all can't read the article as the Sun links don't work after a certain amount of time. But trust me - it was a great article!
So - now that we are finished with the Shepherd's Staff project, we are already hard at work on our next goal. Each year, another local charity organization holds a Christmas Dinner for the homeless men and women of the area. Hugs & Stitches will once again supply them with 50 scarves and hats to give the men and women who come to the dinner.
I hope everyone has enjoyed the new pictures and the article on Hugs & Stitches. We are so happy to be able to continue our work and know that people are being blessed.
Have a wonderful day and come back to visit any time!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Finally - Some Pictures!!

Hugs & Stitches donates items to the Westminster Rescue Mission Men's Program (among other places) and this is a photo of me with the director there (Andy). They asked if they could take a picture for their newsletter and I agreed and asked if I could also use the photo on our BLOG. As you can see - they agreed! They were happy to receive the afghans, scarves, hats and mittens and said they would even use them as an incentive program for the men there. I'm just happy that they were able to use them!

The afghans above were made by three different members of our group and were taken to different locations. We always enjoy receiving a letter from the recipient of the items we donate - especially when they come from a child who seems so thrilled to have it! That's why we keep doing what we do - for the kids! (we donate to many adults - but focus on the kids)
This afghan was made for a very special lady who lost her home and everything in it during a flood! How horrible to lose everything you own! It seems such a small thing to offer an afghan to someone in that position - but at the same time - it is a gift of warmth and comes from the heart. I hope it keeps her warm for many years to come.

Now for news on our counts for the year. Since half the year is now gone - I figured it was time to get those counts done. Not only for those of you who read our BLOG - but so we know how much we still have to do before the cold weather moves back in! So here are the totals so far this year:

Afghans: 80
Scarves: 430
Hats: 146
Mittens: 83

Not too bad!! But we still have a long way to go to our goal of 800 scarves. At least we are more than half way there - but not by much! But we have now started to concentrate on only scarves, hats and mittens - so we should have no problem meeting our goal. We will go back to making more afghans once we have met our goal.

Well - even though the weather has been brutally hot - we are still on the beautiful front porch of Summerville. Somehow - no matter how hot it gets - there is always the most wonderful breeze blowing across that porch! I think GOD just wants to keep us cool and comfortable so we can keep on making those scarves!! And that's just what we are going to do - keep on crocheting and knitting away!!

I hope you enjoy our little blog - and I'm glad I was finally able to get some pictures here for you. Keeps it interesting! We wish everyone a Happy Fourth of July! Come back and see us soon - we always enjoy new company!

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'd Better Get Moving Here!!

Well - here it is - the middle of April and I am just now finally getting to a new post for our Blog! I can't believe I didn't even get our BIRTHDAY BLOG done when our little group turned 2 years old on the first Tuesday of February. (Since we only meet on Tuesdays - we just say the first Tuesday instead of a date). I hope my regular readers can all forgive me for not getting that done in time! BUT - let me say that our little group certainly celebrated - with cake and all the trimmings! AND A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY HUGS & STITCHES!!

I can't believe Hugs & Stitches has been going for over 2 years now! I don't think - back when I started this group - that I ever imagined us getting this far! But I am so glad we have! I have met the most amazing and dedicated women and they faithfully come each and every week and bring bag after bag of the most beautiful hand crocheted and knitted scarves, hats, and afghans - and are perfectly willing to donate them all to charity! And there's one lady who makes pair after pair of the most adorable mittens for the little ones!! She is just a treasure! What a wonderful group of ladies I have - every single one of them!

I'm sure everyone has wondered what we have been up to for the last few months. Well - crocheting and knitting of course!! But - we also have a wonderful time, laughing, carrying on, and telling jokes and stories and sharing our lives in between stitches! I have also discovered a new pattern that I am happily working on now. I have always wanted to make a ripple afghan - but have never been happy about how long they take to make. I have always LOVED my granny square pattern - but have wanted to try something new. Well - I have found a pattern that combines BOTH!! It is a ripple afghan - but done in the same manner as a granny square - so I am just thrilled. I have about 20 rows done and it works up just so quickly I should have this finished in no time! I'm hoping once I get it done, to take a picture and get that put on the blog - so stay tuned!!

I'm sure you are all wondering how much we've gotten done so far this year!! Well - let me fill you in on the totals of all our hard work!

Since January of this year - we have made the following: 56 Afghans: 174 Scarves: 45 Hats: 62 pair Mittens. I think we are doing pretty well for it only being April. The afghans have all been delivered to their destinations and the scarves, hats and mittens are being stored until fall when they will go the "Shepherds Staff Call for Coats" project! Our goal for them is to have a total of 800 scarves and however many of the other items we can get to them - and I think we are well on our way to having that number!

I would also like to take this time to thank the wonderful people at Summerville, who let us meet in their lovely facility every week! We are so grateful to be able to meet in such a warm and comfortable setting and are eagerly awaiting the end of the cold weather so we can go back out to the wide front porch with the fabulous view of Westminster and crochet (or knit) to our heart's content! Thanks for stopping by again - we're always happy to see you! Come on by and visit us - and if we're not on the front porch - just come on in to the Tea Room!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!!

First I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! May you all receive many blessings in the coming New Year. Thank you to all who keep coming back to check on the progress of our little group, we appreciate it! I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post, but aside from the usual holiday busy-ness, I have had so many other things added to that, that I have been unable to get to this. I am hoping the new year brings some quiet time so that I can keep up with my BLOG on a more regular basis!

I have enjoyed this year with the Hugs & Stitches group tremendously and while almost all of our original members are still coming faithfully each week, we have also been blessed with several new members to add to the amount of hand crocheted or knitted items that we can donate to those in need! We have also been very fortunate in receiving quite a few donations of really good yarn this year as well, especially in the last few months! That is always a most welcome thing - a donation of good, usable acrylic yarn!

Now - let me add our last and final totals of the year. I know my last post said that the final totals were in - and in a way they were. We have a specific project that we work on each year, which is the "Call for Coats" project of a local charity organization (Shepherd's Staff). They donate a coat, hat, scarf and mittens to anyone in need in our county (Carroll County, MD), and Hugs & Stitches has tried to donate as many of the scarves, hats and mittens that a small group can make. Most people are usually amazed when they hear how many of these items we make and how small our group actually is! There are only about a dozen of us, and most Tuesdays, there are usually between 5 and 8 of us.

So now, for the final totals for the year 2006!! Afghans: 175 Scarves: 725 Hats: 265 Mittens: 145 pair! After the Call for Coats ended in October, the remainder of scarves, hats and mittens were divided between two shelters in town and another local annual charity drive called "Neighbors in Need". As usual, the afghans were given to the Women and Children's Shelter or Project Linus.

I want to take this time to thank each and every one of the wonderful ladies that comes to group each week and when they can't they still keep working hard on their projects in between! They are the best group of women around and I am so blessed to get to share time with them each week and work on things to help those in need. One of these days I will get some pictures posted on this BLOG, I have taken some, now I am just waiting to get them onto my computer! Even though a dear friend helped me to get this BLOG going, I am not the most computer saavy person around, so I will be needing some further assistance from my dear Marilyn once I get my disc of pictures back from the photo lab. So I guess I should really be thanking Marilyn too - for without her - this BLOG would not even exist!! THANK YOU MARILYN!!

Well - HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone reading this - I hope you have enjoyed our group and what we do - and we hope you will continue to come back to see what we're up to once in a while.

Thanks for stopping by - see you in the Tea Room!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Final Counts Are In!!!!

Here it is - October already!! The leaves are starting to turn and the weather has become crisp and beautiful - I just love this time of year!! Nothing cozier than a chilly evening spent crocheting something warm for someone in need! At least we all have a nice warm home to crochet in - others may not be so fortunate - which is the whole purpose of this wonderful group of ladies! So it makes me totally happy to sit in my nice cozy home - or at our lovely meeting place at Summerville - and make something for someone who may not have anything else with which to keep warm!

Today - I delivered all of those lovely hand made items that we have worked so hard on for the past several months! And now - it is time now to give our final counts for all those scarves, hats and mittens, since Shepherd's Staff is having the CALL FOR COATS distribution after next week.

The totals are - SCARVES: 625 HATS: 225 MITTENS: 75 (AFGHANS: 150)

Many, many thanks to ALL of the ladies who come to our group faithfully each week and work so hard making all these lovely scarves, hats and mittens!!!! (The afghans are given to the local Women's Shelter or Project Linus.)

I hope you all enjoy reading about our Hugs & Stitches group and I hope you stop back soon - we love having you! Take care and GOD Bless!