Friday, July 23, 2010


"If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another." -- 14th Dalai Lama

MUCH peace arrived at church this week for the Crafty Angels -- and I thought of the quote up top as I surveyed it all spread out all over my dining room. I am hoping that the creators of that peace will find much peace themselves. Peace seems to be in short supply here in Chicago right now. We are having record heat, record unemployment, record homelessness, and record hunger. All of that conspires to destroy any peace people in need have inside of themselves, and as a result, we have had a record number of shootings and killings over the past few weeks in our city. In addition, people without peace inside of themselves have brazenly killed three policemen -- all three who were off duty at the time -- another record for Chicago. It is a heartbreaking time, and all I can pray for is peace. So you can see that the peace which arrived at church this past week is especially meaningful to me.

Want to see some of that peace? First up is Angel Cathy Falkenstein from Loomis, CA. She took to heart my request for more spa cloths:

Cathy always chooses the happiest colors! And look at the adorable baby hats she made with the leftovers for our babies at Swedish Covenant Hospital -- what a GREAT idea! Thank you, Cathy -- may you have much peace!

Next up is Angel Amy Gawura from Chicago. She also took my request for spa cloths for the women in Cornerstone Community Outreach's homeless shelters to heart:
Instead of making hers from Sugar 'n Cream or Peaches 'n Creme yarn, she chose a special kind of chenille. They are great - and I love the dusky colors. They remind me of the sky at sunset on a winter day -- very peaceful!
She also made these adorable teddy bears out of a furry yarn -- perfect for the children in Cornerstone's homeless shelters. They are nice and soft and squishy -- they will be greatly loved!
And she included these lovelies for our babies at Swedish Covenant Hospital -- that baby hat is amazing, which you can't see because of my lousy photography skills and because the "talent" refused to pose properly! The hat is all cables, perfectly made, on the top. Gorgeous! Thank you, Amy, for providing so much peace in one shopping bag -- may peace be yours.
We also got a box from Angel Hazel Lindsay in Australia -- that's our fearless spokesmodel Cowboy up top, giving the box, covered with colorful stamps, a good sniff before he let me open it. When he was finished with his inspection, we found much peace inside:
Just look at these wonderful matinee jackets (as they are called in Australia and Great Britain) for our babies at Swedish Covenant Hospital! I just LOVE the leaf pattern that Hazel knitted in as a border on the yellow jacket. So pretty!
As you can see, the heat was starting to get to Cowboy! He just sort of melted all over this lovely baby blanket Hazel crocheted. He deemed it ultimately snoozable!
Hazel also included some hats and a scarf for the teen moms we serve at Parenting Progress -- don't you think the teen girls will love these? I do!
I just fell in love with this hat and scarf set Hazel made -- it's a lovely shade of lilac yarn (it looks bluer in this photo) and the yarn has a bit of a sparkle in it. Nothing flashy, just a tiny hint of bling to make it interesting. It is also as light as a cloud. I'm sorry, Hazel! I think I'm going to have to set this aside for ME to buy at our Christmas fundraiser!
And last but not least, Hazel crocheted two gorgeous spa cloths. Thank you, Hazel, for sending so much peace packed in such a peaceful box! I hope you are feeling LOTS of peace right now!
Angel Talyn Klemmetson and her friends have gotten very busy spreading peace around. I was absolutely staggered when I unpacked these:
That is an ENTIRE dining room tablefull of spa cloths! I had to stand on a chair to take a proper picture, and there were so many that I couldn't fit Cowboy on the table at the same time. WOW! I think I'm going to have to revise my plan for spa cloths this year -- instead of 800, I'm going for 1,000!!! Each of these spa clothes are different, too. Just incredible!
Talyn and her friends have also started making scarves for those we serve. The ones with tags are all wool -- so I've set those aside for Afghans for Afghans. The others will go to the folks we serve at the North Park Friendship Center. Thank you, Talyn and friends -- may lots of peace be yours!
Now, don't you feel more peaceful just LOOKING at all this yarny goodness? Can you feel the love knitted and crocheted into each item? Truly, I think all that love raised the temperature of my dining room several degrees! I get excited thinking about all the peace these love gifts will spread later this year, and what a change they will make in how someone in need feels about him- or herself, and their world. May each one of you reading this blog feel God's grace and peace today.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Giving Out

"The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in." -- Morrie Schwartz

The Crafty Angels got together for fiber, fun, and food on Saturday, July 17 -- and they did a LOT of giving out! I could not believe all the yarny goodness and love that came in my front door and got piled up on my dining room table -- it was truly amazing. The Angels' handiwork just keeps getting better and better. I took so many pictures that I ended up having to only show a selection to you, otherwise it would take you too long to open this blog post and you'd be spending all day looking at the yarny goodness. So what you see here are my favorites - editor's preogrative!

Want to see who was there?
Angels Debbie Kreusch, Angie Lyke, Sandy Rice, and Joann Larson
Angels Joann Larson, Lorie Nienke, Doris Ahlstedt, and Peggy Kingsley
Angel Carol Flowers

Spa cloths rule -- especially when it's too hot to knit or crochet anything else! Just look at these lovelies:
These came all the way from Angel Alexis Leuth in Winter Springs, FL. She said she found it easier to crochet these round beauties instead of square ones. Aren't they great?
Angel Carol Flowers has discovered the joy of crocheting spa cloths on her lunch hour, and our women in homeless shelters will benefit!
Angel Joann Larson experimented with knitting in patterns on her spa cloths - she did a GREAT job!
Lori Nienke's friend from work, Heather Groh, made these - they are also just great! Remember -- we're shooting for 800+ this year, so keep on making them!
Angel Angie Lyke used spa cloths as an opportunity to experiment with knitting -- these are her first knitting efforts. I think she did excellently!

As we talked, we realized that we were focusing on "small" projects, due to the heat. Those projects came in all sorts of flavors:
Carol Flowers made hats and scarves -- another great summer choice!
Joann Larson worked on socks for Afghans for Afghans -- another great summer knitting choice: small and portable. And more hats and scarves for the folks at Cornerstone Community Outreach and A Just Harvest.
Another of Lori Nienke's friends made chemo hats for Swedish Covenant Hospital -- a great summer crocheting and knitting choice.
Debbie Kreusch made more AWESOME toys -- my favorite is the aqua monkey in the back on the left. Debbie make him look like a sock monkey -- and he is made out of LEFTOVER SOCK YARN!! Is that appropriate or what?!?!?! These will be just great for the children served by Parenting Progress.
Doris Ahlstedt stayed inside with the airconditioning on to make these beautiful baby blankets and hats for Swedish Covenant Hospital.

Some "big" things were made, too -- just look!
Debbie Kreusch made some wonderful afghans for our seniors at Friendly Towers -- but she wanted you to note that in the summer, she only makes afghans that can be made in strips, which are then crocheted together. This way, she only gets hot when she is finally finishing off the afghan. I think that is a wonderful piece of advice!
We all just LOVED this afghan that Debbie made -- and she wanted you to know she started it BEFORE it got so hot! The bears are made separately and then appliqued onto the afghan. We decided that this baby blanket should be set aside to be raffled off at our fundraiser at Christmas time -- it would be a wonderful gift for a grandparent to give to a grandchild for Christmas!

Angel Angie Lyke has been trying all sorts of new crochet stitches and projects - she was an inspiration to us all! Check out this prayer shawl she made from scrap yarn - wonderful!
And isn't this baby set for one of our newborns at Swedish Covenant Hospital just precious? This was one of her first baby sweaters, and we think it turned out excellently!

WOW!!! Can you feel the heat from all this crocheted and knitted love?? I surely could as I carefully packed away all these love gifts after the Angels left. All of you Angels are very, very good at giving love out -- and I hope you can feel all the love coming back your way. You've certainly got mine, and lots more from the people we serve, the folks who run the organizations we serve, and each other. So when you have trouble sleeping some night, just remember that there are more people than you can count, or even know about, who are very thankful for YOU and love YOU! Let that feeling just wash over you and bask in it a bit -- YOU are worth it!