Monday, August 24, 2009

Pay It Forward: The Projects

Well, I finally got my Pay it Forward/First Five projects finished. Here's what I made, who I made it for, and why. I found this project to be really satisfying and may just repeat it periodically.
Sara's Project

Sara strikes me as the sort of woman who is very simply elegant. She is also a woman who suffers frequent migraines and other severe headaches.

I remembered seeing a pattern for an eye mask in Handknit Holidays and I thought it just might fit the bill. I knit it using a 100% silk yarn that was an absolute pleasure to work with. I filled it with flax and lavender. Flax retains temperatures well, so it can be cooled off in the refrigerator or warmed up in the microwave, depending on what temperature would feel more soothing.

The combination of the weight, the darkness a mask provides, and the optional temperature control have eased many a headache for me and I hoped they'd do the same for Sara.


Laura's Project

Laura is an avid reader. As many avid readers also like to dabble in writing (ask me how I know...) I thought Laura might be able to get some use out of this notebook cover. The pattern is based on one presented in 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders but I altered it a little. The yarn is a really scrumptious handspun that I bought at a festival a couple years ago. I just really love the idea of taking a simple notebook and making it look a little more sophisticated and special.

It could also be used to cover and protect a paperback book (or just hide the cover of a trashy novel!) when she's reading it, if she prefers.

Write on!
Andrea's Project

Andrea is a stay-at-home mom who is utterly devoted to her kids and her husband. This is a wonderful trait and she should be applauded for it! Unfortunately, sometimes when folks are too devoted to others they forget about themselves. Andrea has admitted that she never takes any time for herself - it is just not a priority. She has ALSO told me that she has a super-bitchin' soak tub that she has NEVER used.

So I decided to make soap holders for Andrea. His and hers, so she didn't have to feel guilty about an indulgence just for her. Shared bath time can be fun AND indulgent! (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)

I used a pattern from the book 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders and some high quality cotton yarn. As I was making the set I thought, "I wonder if I couldn't make some soap to go with these? Handmade soap could be quite indulgent while not promoting guilt - ya gotta bathe! Why not bathe with something luxurious that was made just for you?" Andrea's soap is a lovely softening goat's milk base with lavender and vanilla to enhance the relaxation properties and oatmeal for exfoliation.


Crystal's Project

Crystal loves entertaining. She loves to cook for friends and she loves to get her party on! I thought, since she gets pleasure out of preparing food and drink for her loved ones, maybe I could give her a little pleasure during the planning stages. I thought a reusable grocery bag might be just the ticket.

I have several patterns for reusable shopping bags, but my favorite is this one.

I like the drawstring feature, but if Crystal doesn't she can easily remove it. It allows the bag to be more compact, so she can throw it in her purse.

This way, I figure one friend - me! - will be with her while she shops - thus extending the joy of entertaining.

Party on!

Linda's Project

Linda was tough for me because she is a very crafty chick herself. There is nothing I can do that she cannot do, too. That made things a little tougher on my end. The project I chose is no exception.

Linda loves jewelry and she loves the ocean. I made this jewelry box using seashells and sand from the beach. I like the open weave of the top for storing earrings. I hope she can get some use out of this and that it will remind her of the beach when she's not near it. I've made one for myself, too, and that's what it does for me!


Cass's Project

Cass was not one of my 'first five', but she was the one who sent the project out in the first place, and I wanted to send her a little something in the same spirit to thank her.

Cass is a righteously cool little chickadee. I think of her always as an earth mother. Cass knows herself and wants her children to be free to know - and, more importantly - be - themselves as well.

Like many good earth mothers, Cass is into yoga. I'd made a bag for my own yoga mat years ago using a pattern from Inspired Cable Knits by Fiona Ellis. I love the cables that loosely represent the tree pose. They are so fun to work. I knew Cass would feel the joy I experienced making it when she used it.

I had intended to make it using organic soy yarn, but when I went to pick that out I found this gorgeous green recycled cotton. Recycling is good karma, no doubt. And everyone knows that redheads like Cass look good in green.


Matt's Project

Matt was also not one of the first five, but he used my posting to initiate a fair trade. Matt is an amazing artist as well as a kick-ass bass player and he promised me an original work of art in exchange for a black toque he could wear on stage.

Um? No brainer.

Matt lives in a state where it's warm a lot more often than it's cold, so I didn't want to use wool for his toque. I used, instead, a high quality cotton DK. This is one of my favorite yarns and I have made untold numbers of baby sweaters using it because it is so darn soft.

I used a pattern from the righteous Debbie Stoller's Son of Stitch 'N Bitch.

And then I made one for myself.

Rock on!

Sue's Project

Technically, Sue was not in the first five either. She posted a comment then deleted it, silly woman with an itchy finger on the delete button!!! But the comment went to my e-mail anyway, so I figured she was SORT OF in the first five...

Also, Sue is easy to gift!

Sue has confessed on separate occasions to a bag/purse obsession, an addiction to coffee, and a love of the color blue fueled by a love of the Nittany Lions. What better gift than a 'coffee clutch'? (I know! Groan! I crack myself up!)

The perfect size for your keys, your wallet, your phone, and a couple Starbucks gift cards!

The purse was crocheted from another Debbie Stoller book, Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker using a durable nylon yarn. The embellishment is all me. I've made quite a few of these bags, and my signature "thang" is that I line them with old T-shirts. It's environmentally conscious and it gives a little funky cred to a simple clutch, I think. I know Sue is a very charitable gal, so, since I didn't have a Penn State T-shirt in my stash, I lined hers with an old 'Race for the Cure' T.

Shop on!

Hey! Paying it forward was way fun! Try it!