Category Archives: Friends of HeartStrings Gallery

Baby Hats for Pediatric Hospital

Sharing this from Courtney Arsenault …

I work at a small children’s hospital in DC called HSC Pediatric Center in NE Washington DC. We have three units one of which is an infant floor with many babies coming to us from the NICU. Our biggest need is for hats, we use hats for when children go to clinic apts, discharge to home, as gifts for families having a hard time, and when a child passes away.

We serve roughly 15 to 20 infants at a time, the majority of our patients come from children’s national, they come requiring respiratory support, for feeding intolerance, and for a number of other medical reasons. As a child life specialist my number one role is to provide comfort to these infants especially when their families are unable to be there and to normalize the environment in anyway I can. Last year we received a donation of infants hats and I can’t tell you how many smiles they brought. These hats meant so much to our parents and they were received at such different points in their children’s lives and even given to our children who passed away in our care. It is not often that there is something I can give to our families that is so personal and I would love to be able to keep offering hats, unfortunately we are running low on our supplies.

Thank you so much!
Courtney Arsenault
Child life specialist
HSC Pediatric Center

I’ve added the HSC Pediatric Center to our listing at KnitHeartStrings for “Where Can I Donate Handmade Baby Items”.

Over the past 3 years we have had a Bits of Lace baby charity project featured each year at KnitHeartStrings Learn-and-Knit-Along site. Projects have been

Quick Lace-Edged Baby Socks

Quick Lace-Edged Baby Socks

Seemingly Seamless 2-Needle Preemie Hat

Preemie Hat

Elegantly Simple Baby Blanket

Baby Blanket

To stay in the tradition of a bits of lace project  for charity baby knitting each year, there will be a new baby hat pattern available for one of the monthly KnitHeartStrings KAL’s during the Spring 2015. Stay tuned and be sure you are signed up as KnitHeartStrings member!

Meantime, please keep HSC Pediatric Center in mind if you are looking for a place to which to donate baby hats. You can contact Courtney Arsenault, Child life specialist
HSC Pediatric Center at

Happy Lundi Gras! and Joanne’s Mardi Gras Beaded Ball

When Joanne Conklin visited me in Colorado last summer, she gifted me with a Mardi Gras Ball that she knit! This very special treat takes a prominent place in my “all things Mardi Gras” collection. It is such a nice reminder of our time together.

Mardi Gras Ball knitted by Joanne Conklin

Joanne – I’m thinking of you today (Lundi Gras) as we head into the finale of Mardi Gras (tomorrow). Wish you were here with us in New Orleans to join the festive craziness. Still love the Beaded Ball you made me. Thank you!


p.s. You can read about the making of the Mardi Gras Ball at Joanne’s blog here.

p.p.s. The pattern is HeartStrings #H18 Beaded Stress Ball.

Using Patterns as a Creative Jumping Off Point

Using patterns as a jumping off point for your own creations

For ideas of how to use patterns as a jumping off point for your own creative expression, look at what Bridget made with two of the BOBBOL 2013 patterns we’ve used for the monthly knit-and-learn-alongs over at the member site.

Bridget: “I loved the kitty pattern for last month, so I knitted it and made it into a pillow. Also wanted to show you what I did with the pinwheel pattern– made a tam and I also made a bunch of pinwheels and sewed them together to make a small nap time baby blanket … I am having fun with the downloads I get from you. Thank you.”

Kitty Pillow

Kitty Pillow knitted by Bridget

Pinwheel Tam

Pinwheel Tam knitted by Bridget

Pinwheels Nap Time Baby Blanket

Pinwheels baby blanket knitted by Bridget

Pinwheels Nap Time Baby Blanket  (seamed side)

Pinwheels baby blanket knitted by Bridget

Me (Jackie E-S): Oh my gosh! How talented and creative you are! I think they are great and deserve applause. 🙂 Thank you for letting me feature you and share your project photos in the “Friends of HeartStrings Gallery” here at the blog.

Bridget: “I just love knitting and love to think of different ways to use a pretty pattern … I am glad I found your site, it has helped me to be more creative when knitting. I have learned many different stitches. Even I have been knitting for years, I still feel like an amateur. It has been just in the last couple of years I have been pushing myself to learn new knitting techniques, and the patterns you post help.
So thank you and I am glad you like what I knitted.”

I invite you, my readers, to be featured with your HeartStrings-inspired creations here at “Friends of HeartStrings Gallery”. Feel free to email me to make arrangements at

Now a word about bunnies

Republished from Issue #112 of HeartStrings Knitterly News. Read on about this local children’s literacy program.

I am pleased to have Tracey Graham as the guest writer for this month’s feature article. She shares about her local “Read to Your Bunny” literacy program. I think you will like it, and might even be inspired to do something similar in your area. So without further ado, let’s hear from her.

My friends and I have knitted up dozens of your gorgeous little bunnies for our local Read To Your Bunny literacy program. The program provides a book by Rosemary Wells, entitled Read To Your Bunny, {} information about the importance of reading to children while they are very young, a library card application, a coupon for our local independent bookstore, and a handcrafted, lovable squeezable bunny for each new baby born in our local hospital.

In the almost three years since two wonderful teachers (Janice Romeiser and Eleanor Browning) started this program in our little city of Emporia, KS (population ~28K), more than 1300 little babies and theitr parents have gone home with the RTYB package.

Most of the bunnies are made of washable cotton fabrics, lovingly cut out and stitched by the local quilt guild, stuffed and clipped by a bunch of volunteers who meet for monthly “Bunny Bees”, then get their eyes added in permamnent, nontoxic fabric paint on by co-Bunny-Queen Eleanor. That’s _most_ of them. But in the mix have been approximately 50 or so bunnies made by me and my knitter friends using your wonderful pattern. Every swatch I make becomes a bunny eventually, and most have gone on to a good home.

Earlier this month, on Worldwide Knit in Public Day, we had a knit-in at our farmers market and held a drawing for a GIANT bunny that I made from a ~20″ square. The drawing proceeds ($27.50) went to the RTYB program to help pay for the books, stuffing and copying materials. I have all made up a series of five bunnies in different stages of completion – just the square, head added, front feet stitched, back feet stitched, and ears added to show people the magic that happens when we follow your ingenious pattern each step of the way.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is THANK YOU for posting your ever so clever pattern online where I could find it three years ago when I wanted a quick and easy knitted bunny to add to the variety available for the RTYB program! This pattern has been so much fun for all of us!

While I do sell some of my knitting (scarves, hats, mittens, sweaters, etc.) at craft shows and art fairs, and I do keep some bunnies on my table for display (my business name is BoyzenBunny Fiber Arts – named for a stuffed rabbit I received as a gift more than 20 years ago – I’ve been a rabbit collector for years and years), I do not sell any of the bunnies knitted from your pattern. I have won a little bit of prize money at our local county fair with a particularly spectacular knitted bunny, but in keeping with the generosity of your free pattern, I do not sell bunnies. All the ones I’ve ever made have been either donated to a cause, or given away as gifts.

Thanks again for the great pattern. It’s so much fun to see what one can do with different yarns of different textures and gauges!

Tracey Graham

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Alice Scherp and her Flared Lace Smoke Ring extraordinaire

I am blessed with the many friends I have met along the way on my fiber arts journey. Today I want to showcase Hon (Alice) Scherp, a native of Alaska and all-around expert spinner and lace knitter. I first “met” Alice on the “Successful Lace Knitting” book collaboration to celebrate the work of Dorothy Reade.

We’ve kept in touch since then, especially as Alice fell in love with making my Flared Lace Smoke Ring pattern in her hand-spun qiviut yarn, lending her own creative touches which I can’t wait to show you.

Alice Scherp qiviut smoke ring

Continue reading Alice Scherp and her Flared Lace Smoke Ring extraordinaire