Wednesday, February 17, 2010

my first knitting swap

Before the holidays, when I decided I wanted to start making my holiday gifts, I asked artists and crafters I know if they wanted to swap--meaning she would make something for me and I would make something for them, then we would swap. I got a lot of indifference and non-committal shrugs, which sort of bummed me out, especially since I love making special things for the people in my life.

Once the holidays passed, though, I had a thought: I bet there are other people like me out there--crafters who love making, sharing, and giving their handcrafts, crafters who thrive in creating and swapping for good fortune!

So, what is the first thing I inevitably do when I do not know the answer to a problem? I got on the internet. I visited countless online communities, some old favorites, like Craftster and MDC, and some new delights, like Swap-Bot, and I found hundreds of people who are looking for other crafters to swap with!

After browsing swaps here and there, I settled on a couple of smaller swaps to get me started, two specific swaps in the Friends That Swap group on Ravelry. The first one I joined is a Round Robin style washcloth swap (you receive the package, you have three days to take what you will from it and add what you want to it, and send it on to the next person on the list). The second swap I joined is a year-long swap in which twelve people participate. Each person (lady, in the case of this swap) is assigned one month, which is the month she receives twelve packages in the mail; during the eleven other months, she creates one package a month to send to the other swap members. Everyone also fills out a questionnaire describing their favorite colors, scents, etc., in order for other swap members to form an appropriate package for each recipient.

I am not Lady of the Month until September, but I have my package ready to go out to February's Lady of the Month. She likes bright, vibrant colors over dark colors and asked for stitch markers and knitting notions. So, in her package, I included two knit washcloths, five handmade beaded stitch markers, two skeins of Lily Sugar’n Cream cotton yarn, and a couple of sample Stash tea bags--Earl Grey, of course.

The first washcloth is a Log Cabin Cloth, adapted from Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne's Mason-Dixon Knitting. I used Lily Sugar'n Cream leftovers in white, blue and a variegated blue. It was a great stash-buster and Log Cabin always looks great! Here is a picture:

I also used Lily Sugar'n Cream for the second cloth, only the colors of the yarn sort of twist to make a fun pattern. I did a basic double moss stitch throughout, and I am so happy with this cloth! The colors are absolutely vibrant! See for yourself:

Since the Lady of the Month wanted stitch markers, this swap gave me a reason to experiment with creating beaded stitch markers. I made about a dozen markers, but decided to include a matching set of five in this swap. I am very pleased with how they turned out, and I plan on making more to list in my Etsy store. Check them out:

I snapped the following picture of everything before I sealed the package:


This package was a lot of fun to prepare, and I really hope the Lady of the Month enjoys everything. I look forward to seeing photos of the other packages she receives. For my next project, I will be starting on the cloths for the Round Robin swap. I am third on that list, so I have some time yet. Sign-ups are still open for all you knitters and crocheters out there!

And this counts as project 47/52 for my 52 project challenge.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

help establish a gentle birth clinic in Hati

I came across this article, Giving Life in a Land Overflowing with Pain by Damien Cave, which was published in the January 29th issue of The New York Times. It really highlights a lot of the problems Haitian mothers are facing after the disastrous earthquake.

This morning, I received the following message from Katherine Bramhall, who is in the process of establishing a maternal/child gentle birth clinic with colleague Rachael Lim in Jacmel, Haiti, which is just north of Port-au-Prince. They are in dire need of cash donations before the middle of March to purchase supplies for the clinic, which can be sent to Allies For Trauma Relief, 25 Colby Street, Barre, VT 05641. Donations are are tax deductible.

Beloved Friends,

I arrived home last Thursday afternoon after nearly a month at Bumi Sehat's Bali clinic. In the time I was away, Robin and I made the decision Bumi Sehat would go to Haiti to set up a permanent clinic in Jacmel, north of Port-au-Prince, in response to the massive earthquake which devastated the country.

This decision to establish a permanent maternal/child gentle birth clinic was encouraged along by our partners Direct Relief International, our donors and a small amazing team of midwives and medics, determined to go make a difference.

In the 2 weeks since Robin and Kelly left on Team One, the earth has moved again...not in violence and destruction, but gently and steadily...ever so slowly... towards peace and tiny grain of sand at a time. Our permanent clinic is quickly becoming a reality.

It has seemed impossible at times, confusing, chaotic, always the conditions on the ground in Haiti are bound to be right now. Patient care is the best that can be affected for right now and so much less than what any health care provider would ever want to consider ok enough.

Sometime in the next 3 weeks I will be leaving for Haiti to join Team Two in Jacmel, north of Port-au-Prince, site of Bumi Sehat's new permanent Haiti clinic.

Between now and the end of February I need to raise $5000 to aid the immediate relief effort in our Bumi Sehat Haiti clinic.

Much is needed and in a short time.

This Sunday I am hosting a gathering at The Loft at Gentle Landing Midwifery at 2:30 (only small, nursing babies children). Please see the attached poster about the event. I hope you will join me and bring all of your friends.

I invite you from the bottom of my heart to pass this email along to all you know. Then please consider coming on Sunday for moral support, updates, stories of hope...and ways you may be able to help the maternal/child effort toward safe and gentle birth in Haiti. Haiti represents a disaster of Tsunami proportions in our Western Hemisphere. The pain is so close to us. The love and hope of healing for Haiti is ours to remember.

I am attaching the freshest field report sent yesterday from Robin about the first few days on the ground. In 2 days we will have delivery of our 44 foot solid dome structure, the new home of our permanent clinic.

Yesterday we were granted a license to operate from the Haitian government. A license to care for pregnant and birthing women whose entire lives have been shattered.

18 months ago, the A Million Mothers campaign email made it across the world two times, raising $20,000 for Bumi Sehat and gentle, affordable Birth Care for women in Bali and Aceh, Indonesia. One mother at a time. One dollar at a time.

A Million Mothers created a miracle 18 months ago one dollar at a time. Please help a million mothers in Haiti believe in a future for their children. Please pass this email along to all you know. Please post it on social networking sites, yahoo groups...all the places we all go for support and community...

Let's shoot for the stars...A Million Mothers helping mothers and children in Haiti $10 at a time.

My blessings and deep love,
With gratitude and hope,



If you cannot come on Sunday, or for those receiving this who live too far away, please consider donating to my non-profit organization: Allies For Trauma Relief toward the Haiti effort.

We are not on the web, but are a 501 (c) 3 and contributions can be sent to:

25 Colby Street
Barre, VT 05641

Donations will be used to buy supplies for the new clinic and I will be posting updates and photos regularly between now and the middle of March.

If this email was forwarded to you, please email me to have your name put on the email list if you are interested in the updates.

Tax deductible receipts will be issued for all donations over $100.

Please note: All donations made to Haiti between January 12 and March 1 can be claimed for a 2009 deduction, according to a new IRS ruling.


Katherine Bramhall