CREATING AN ITEM
Alice's Embrace is a non-profit organization that relies on generous men and women who would like to share their knitting and crocheting skills by making prayer shawls and lap blankets for people suffering with Alzheimer's disease. We have created the patterns for these items. We tested these patterns and tweaked them to be sure they were easy to follow. There are multiple levels of difficulty from beginner to intermediate. We have also experienced with many, many yarns. Some of the suggested yarns are available at your local boutique shop and others are available at the larger craft retail stores.
Please create your items in a smoke free environment. We also ask that you create it in a pet free environment... we realize a lot of people have dogs and cats, but please try to keep the animals away while knitting or crocheting these gifts. We have had some items come in with a lot of pet hair woven throughout the piece, making the item looked used. Unfortunately, we cannot give this type of item away at our deliveries, so it will go to Goodwill or another similar organization.
CHOOSE A PATTERN
Go to Patterns in the menu. We have created these* easy to follow patterns. They can be made into either a lap blanket or prayer shawl. The unique feature of all of the knit patterns is that the shell of each pattern is the same... it's just the inside design that changes on each. The items should take roughly the same yardage because we've created the prayer shawls to be approximately 20" x 60" and the lap blankets to be about 30" x 40". They range from beginner to intermediate. Each one has a special name that is somehow connected to Alice. We've put a little blurb on each so you can find out the reason they are named what they are named. Just click on a picture in the Patterns category and the reason for its name will come up. From that page you can click on the PDF to retrieve and print the actual pattern.
*Every so often, we have have some inquiries as to whether we would like items that have been made with other patterns or different shapes... we ask that you keep with the Alice's Embrace patterns. This consistency is important because when we take the items to a facility, we will be donating all of them at one time. In other words, each recipient will receive an item on that day at that time so we want them to look consistent with each other. Our patterns are all similar in that there are just the two sizes and that the borders (on the knit items) are all the same - it's just the innards that change. We don't want to cause any sad or confused feelings if one person's item is quite different from his or her neighbor's item. Also, when we give the resident a particular pattern, sometimes that pattern might be very special to that person. We often tell the recipients the name of the pattern and the story behind its name and they love that - just another thing to chat with them about. Thank you for understanding this request.
CHOOSE A YARN
Go to Yarn Suggestions page to view some of the examples of appropriate yarns. These are some suggestions, but your local yarn shop staff will be able to direct you to a great washable yarn. Please just let them know that the yarn needs to withstand multiple washings and dryings. When you choose the yarn, please stick to yarns with a smooth texture and not one with nubby or hairy characteristics. People who suffer from Alzheimer's Disease often fiddle with their fingers and pick at things. This means that they may actually pull at the nubs or hairs in the yarn and it could be a problem, not only for the handmade item, but for the recipient. The knit patterns can be made with a chunky weight yarn held single stranded or a worsted weight yarn held double stranded. The crochet patterns are made using a single strand of worsted weight yarn. Please see the Yarn Suggestions page for more tips on the yarns to choose.
All colors are welcome. At our deliveries, the recipients choose their own gifts. They all have their favorite colors, so the colors you like are probably colors they will like, as well. Because they're allowed to choose their own gift, we can run low on specific colors. We will list these colors on our Home page. We'll include the colors and whether we need lap blankets or prayer shawls or both. Please consider taking a quick look at the Home page to check out what is currently needed.
CREATE YOUR ITEM
The best part of this step is that you get to make something special for someone who may not be able to personally thank you, but he or she will be so thankful on cold and uncomfortable days. During the creation of your project, you will come to the point where you need to add another ball of yarn... it is best not to just tie them together with a knot and cut it close to the knot because this method could come undone either by the recipient picking at it or it just might work its way loose. Since these items will be laundered in commercial machines, we want them to survive many, many washings. Here is one helpful video to see how to do this when you're knitting... and another video if you're crocheting. So knit, knit, knit or crochet, crochet, crochet until you are finished with the prayer shawl or lap blanket and then it's time to weave in all those loose ends. Please be sure to weave in all of the ends securely... here is a helpful video of how to weave in ends in knitting, and here is a video for when you're crocheting. We've found from experience at deliveries that loose ends are just as much of a distraction to our recipients as the yarn we ask you to avoid on our Yarn Suggestions page. They spot the little end and want to pull and tug, so it's best to carefully and securely weave in all those pesky ends. Taking these extra measures while help ensure that your creation is soundly put together and will be a treasured memento for generations to come.
WASH YOUR ITEM
The yarn suggestions can all be machine washed and dried. Please be certain to wash each item individually. Washing multiple items together can cause the color/fuzz to transfer to other items making it quite difficult to remove. Washing your creations together could save time, but then we will likely need to spend quite a bit of time de-pilling the gift. An item that arrives with pilling on it, almost looks used, so we want to be sure they're in their best condition when our recipients choose their special gift. Please wash your item on gentle cycle and then tumble it dry on low. This step is important because we want to be sure all of the items are delivered to their new owner, clean and ready to be used. Also, if you plan to use dryer sheets (Downy or Cling Free types) when you're drying the item, please just use about a third of a sheet... we don't want to trigger an allergic reaction if one of the items has too strong of a fragrance.
GETTING YOUR ITEM TO ALICE'S EMBRACE
Your item can be either mailed directly to Alice's Embrace to the address below the label, or dropped off at a designated location. We are working with many locations (mostly our partnering yarn shops) in Northern and Central California and Northern Nevada, and they have agreed to be "Drop Off" sites for these handmade items. Please check the Partnering Yarn Shop page to see if there is a location near you. If you take your contributions to one of these locations, please be sure to fill out the small information tag that they have on hand. Click here, for the PDF of that form for you to print at home... that way you can have it filled out ahead of time and already attached to your item. Please be aware that we may use an image of your finished item in patterns or online. If you prefer we not do this, please let us know when you donate the item. Once we receive the item, we will sew on an Alice's Embrace label. This label will have a spot to write the recipient's name so that the caregivers will know which item belongs to which person. See label below.