Lancaster Creative Reuse

A few weeks ago, my friend Jessica shot out of her office as she saw me pass by.  “Jenn, I have to tell you something, ” she said, and proceeded to tell me about Lancaster Creative Reuse.  The more she told me, the more I was interested.  I got back to my office and checked out Lancaster Creative Reuse’s website and I was even more interested.  A place where people donate their unwanted crafting goods?  A place where I can purchase craft supplies at a nominal cost?  I was more than interested now;  I was intrigued, and I had to learn more.  So, I contacted Andrea Stoner-Leaman at Lancaster Creative Reuse and ask her if I could do a blog article on them.  She enthusiastically gave me the affirmative, and I prepared for the interview.

Fast forward to last Saturday, where I found myself looking up at the former Stahr Amory, now the Stahr Center, in Lancaster, PA, the location of Lancaster Creative Reuse.  The Stahr Amory used to be used by the Army, but now it hosts a variety of different creative endeavors.  It’s an historic building and I’m glad it’s being used.

I went down into the basement, where I found a cheerful, two room shop filled to the brim with lots of cool things with many crafty applications.  I met Daria, the volunteer I was interviewing, and we sat down at one of the crafting tables in the back room.

Lancaster Creative Reuse just celebrated its second birthday this month.  Recently, they just expanded into a second adjoining room because they were growing. The center is a non-profit, as many creative reuse centers are.  Eight regular volunteers staff the center, besides groups coming in intermittently to volunteer.

The center has an interesting story.  The founders, Stoner-Leaman and Jeanni Zeller didn’t know each other, but each had an idea to start a creative reuse center.  Luckily, they have a mutual friend who put both women in touch with each other.  After a few brainstorming meeting and after space was found at the Stahr Amory, Lancaster Creative Reuse was born, along with the Ugly Duckling logo that shows that something unwanted can turn into something beautiful.

Perhaps I should have explained this first.  What exactly is creative reuse?  Creative reuse is a concept that extras and unwanted materials are used.  “It’s a way to keep things out of the dumpster,” explained Daria.  Creative reuse centers depend on the donations of items items.  Half come from individuals cleaning up crafting stashes or attics, and half come from businesses who are getting rid of old fabric and paper samples.   Types of donations that Lancaster Creative Reuse takes include marbles to yarn, to sewing patterns to card stock.  Recently, Lancaster Creative Reuse acquired thousands of note cards from Lancaster County artist, Myrtle Tremblay, who recently passed away.  Basically, it’s the crafting supplies that no one uses.

Lancaster Creative Reuse has a steady stream of customers coming to shop, too.  About 800 people came through their doors last month, and about 30-40 children came in to use the crafting tables.

Ah, the crafting tables.  Let’s talk about these wonderful things.  For two dollars, anyone can come into Lancaster Creative Reuse and use one of their two crafting tables for as long as they’d like.  There are many supplies there for people to use.  It’s a great rainy day activity to do with the kids.  Also, if the children want to do craft, and you don’t want the expensive supplies and mess, Lancaster Creative Reuse is your place to go.

 Lancaster Creative Reuse hosts events, as well.  Besides being open for Lancaster’s First Friday, you can also hold birthday parties and other events at the center.

The center excels at community outreach.  Lancaster Creative Reuse is doing a great service to Lancaster County by offering a place to reuse unwanted crafting good.  The center offers its services to teachers and students by going into schools.  They also have a similar program for retirement homes.  As for getting the word out, Lancaster Creative Reuse has free crafting tables at local festivals.

 “Crafting is expensive,” Daria stated, and nodded my head heartily in agreement.  You can get a lot at Lancaster Creative Reuse for just a couple of bucks, and find some pretty unique things there, too.   Big craft stores have their place, but I urge you to check out your local creative reuse center or to learn more.  You may want to go shopping and find something special.  You also may want to thin out your stash and donate some items.  Either way, your local creative reuse center will be happy to see you.  

For more information on creative reuse, here are some links for you to check out.



Etsy Craft Party 2012 and Art of Recycle

Yesterday was Etsy’s Craft Party 2012, and a time where people all over the world could go to places and celebrate the wonderful world of crafting together.  I was excited to find one such event was being held in Ephrata, which is one town over from me.  I signed up, and went.

Ephrata’s event was at Art of Recycle, a creative reuse shop.  Creative reuse is a neat concept.  Take a large space and fill it with all kinds of crafting supplies people don’t want anymore.  What do you get?  A non-profit that has a crafter’s dream of inexpensive supplies, awesome events, and an excellent resource for the community.  Needless to say, I left not only with my craft that we made, but also a bag full of yarn.

We made kaleidoscopes.  How cool is that?  Chelas and Nobody, the fine proprietors of Art of Recycle, put together a great workshop for all ages.  There were teens, kids, and adults all working on their projects.  You can see my posh, velvety creation here. 

I would say that Craft Party 2012 was a worldwide success and I was glad to be a part of it.  And I got my first taste of creative reuse.  I’m addicted, but more on that later.

Snow Shoe Hat: Free Knitting Pattern

As promised, here is a free knitting pattern for based on the little hat I knit while up in Snow Shoe, PA over this past weekend.

One little piece of trivia: This is Ludicraft’s first birthday!  And I think there is no better way of thanking my readers than to share a new pattern with you.  Let’s get rolling.

Snow Shoe Hat Pattern

Snow Shoe is a small town in North/Central Pennsylvania. I go there with my family to relax, unwind, and unplug. I finished this hat pattern while spending a weekend up in Snow Shoe, and I want to share it with you. I love this hat. It kept the sun off my head and my hair out of my face all weekend during hikes and excursion. The yarnovers provide a little ventilation and coolness. I want to share this pattern with you. Please enjoy!

Size: S/M, for women
Needle: US 7
Yarn: Worsted Weight
Gauge: 5-5 ½ stitches to the inch. 20 stitches x 24 rows=4 inches
Finished Dimensions: Height: roughly 7 inches Circumference: 20 inches
Hat is worked flat.
Cast on 84 stitches.
Work in K1, P1 ribbing for about 1 ½ inches.
Switch to main pattern as follows:
Row 1: *Sl 1 purlwise, k2, psso, k3* rep to end of row
Row 2: *P4, yo, p1* rep to end of row
Row 3: *K3, sl 1 purlwise, k2, psso* rep to end of row
Row 4: *P1, yo, p4* rep to end of row
TIPS: To make sure you are on track, here are a few tricks that I found helped me out with this part:
  • The second stitch of the k3 in Rows 1 and 3 is always a yarnover from the previous purl row.
  • The yo increase on the purl rows always occurs between the two stitches you passed the slipped stitch over.
  • In Row 1, hold the yarn in front of your work while you slip the stitch. The rest of the time, hold your yarn to the back of your work as you slip the stitch purlwise.
  • The psso is for BOTH of the k2 stitches.
Repeat these four rows until body measures about 3 ½ inches. End by knitting a WS row (either a Row 2 or Row 4).
Decreases for Crown
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Repeat these two row once more.
15 rows for decrease.
On all even rows: Purl
1. *K7, k2tog* to last three stitches, k3
2. Purl
3. *K6, k2tog* to last three stitches, k3
5. *K5, k2tog* to last three stitches, k3
7. *K4, k2tog* to last three stitches, k3
9. *K3, k2tog* to last three stitches, k3
11. *K2, k2tog* to last three stitches, k3
13. *K1, k2tog*
15. *k2tog* all stitches.
You should still have a few live stitches on your needle. Cut a long tail and weave yarn through remaining stitches and pull to tighten. Use mattress stitch to seam both sides together. Weave in ends, though this might be easier to do before you seam. 

Check it out on Ravelry! 

Now, go out into the woods and have some fun!

EDIT 03/12/2013:  I messed up the decrease section and have fixed it.  The above pattern should be correct now. Thanks to those on Ravelry who caught this!

Snow Shoe, PA

I had an awesome weekend.  Sam and I took a trek up to Snow Shoe, Pennsylvania, where my father-in-law is a member of a hunting lodge.  He and my mother-in-law had been there all week, and invited us up for the weekend.  I’m so glad we went.

Friday we left for our destination in rain.  It was yucky, and a three hour drive.  Still, we got there, tired, but happy to have arrived.

 Saturday couldn’t have been more gorgeous.  It was a beautiful, misty morning.  I took out my cameras and captured the fog.  I love mist in the trees.

 We had a huge breakfast, courtesy of my MIL, and set out on a hike to the scenic Black Moshannon Creek.  The hike was lovely, and the creek itself was gorgeous. 

On our return trip up through the field on the property where the hunting lodge is, I saw this beautiful scene.  I didn’t do much to retouch this photo.  The sky was that blue and the clouds that white.  It was a near perfect day.

 Another sight in the field were the insects.  There were tons of grasshopper, and they would scatter by the hundreds as you would walk through the trail.  There were lots of flowers and butterflies, such as the lovely one sitting atop a Queen Anne’s Lace.

Evening brought a gorgeous sunset and Sam and I took a hike up to the top of the field to catch a glimpse of the sunset after another excellent meal by my MIL (We ate very well that weekend.).  Here, Sam caught a me in the golden light of the evening sun.  Oh, and a pattern is forth coming for the hat that finished up there.  I was going to donate it to the local cancer center, but liked it too much.  I slapped it on my head and wore it all weekend.  I figured, hey, I could use a new hat every now and then.  This one has become a favorite.

Ah, the sunset!  It was another breathtaking scene. Central/Northern PA is an amazing place to be.

Later that evening, my FIL built us a campfire and we sat outside for a few hours, watching the stars pop out one by one.  There are so many stars in the sky that we can’t see when in normal civilization.  We could see the Milky Way.  I need to set up my camera there for a long exposure of the night sky next time we go.

Despite being exhausted from the day before, I couldn’t sleep well, and was outside to see the sunrise with my FIL.  He likes to sit on the porch and look for critters.  One day he saw a mother black bear with three cubs.  Another day, he saw a momma turkey with eight poults.  We saw a bunny, and heard animals in the woods, but just saw that bunny that had been hanging around the cabin all day.  I did manage to capture a bit of the sunrise.

After breakfast, the four of us went to get the newspaper.  The mailbox was about a mile and half away, so it was a lovely hike full of green forest and tons of small animals.  Here’s a view looking up the road back to the cabin.

Lots of small critters!  Sam pointed out this bright orange newt sitting on a leaf.  The day before, he took the same hike with his dad, and saw a lot of these little guys.  I guess they like the moisture from the day before.

After a hearty lunch of leftovers, we had to pack up and leave this wooded paradise.  It was fantastic to unplug for the weekend.  No TV and I only checked my e-mail twice on my phone.  I got a bit of knitting done there, and in the car rides there and back.  We all had a wonderful time and plan on making this an annual trip.  Expect that pattern after I have the test hat knit from the directions I jotted down.

Want to see more of my pictures from the trip?.  Head on over to Jenn Dixon Photography and take a look.  I hope you do, because I got some of the best photos that I have gotten in a long time.  I also took the film SLR camera that my FIL gave me that was once his.  I just dropped the roll off to be developed and should have it Thursday, so expect more photos here, too!

Ballerina Mime

She stands still and stoically, a ballerina clad in all white.  Put some money in her bucket, and she will gracefully move. 
Ballerina Mime is a fixture in Central Park in NYC.  Was there earlier this summer and saw her perform.  I recently learned her name is Therisa Barber and she’s a dancer from England.  As I read more about her story, I realized she is a great do-it-yourselfer and deserves to be acknowledged for her work. 
I took this photo of Barber performing.  There was a great crowd of people around her, enjoying her fluid movements and grace.  Children eagerly put money in her bucket just to see her move. 
There are some truly unique buskers out there, and Therisa Barber is one of them.  Please read more about her story at the link below and check out her web site.  She is a person to be admired.

Fall Fair Season

Where I live in PA, street fairs and farm shows are HUGE in the fall.  Streets are filled with rides, food, and throngs of people.  Parks are converted into tent cities full of animals, goods, and curiosities.  It’s a fun time. 
One aspect of the farm show/fair idea is the competitions.  People can enter anything from canned goods and pies, to photography and crafts, into their proper categories, of course.  I used to enter a lot of photography, but since I went pro, I can’t.  BUT, I can enter in some knitting. 
I’m working on a shawl based off of the 55 Shells pattern by Frankie Brown on Ravelry.  I’m using 100 percent alpaca DK weight yarn and it feels beautiful.  I think I have 21 shells knit by now.
I know I’m going to get blown out of the water, but I just basically want to show off some work and see how I stack up against the heavy guns who enter. Farm shows are a big deal around here.   
Shown here are examples of some of the shells I have knit.  They are so soft to touch.  Alpaca is definitely one of my favorite fibers to work with.
Fair season is right around the corner.  Wish me luck!