One Dog Woof Talks Charity Patterns
ChiWei Ranck of One Dog Woof is one of the most brilliant minds in the blogging world. You loved her Humpback Whale, which nearly broke the internet. Now ChiWei is here to talk about her two charity patterns for Yarn Heroes – the Millbrook Slouch Hat and the Millbrook Chunky Mittens. These are great projects to make for charity, and they obviously make the basis of one cool Yarn Hero costume as well!
LB: Can you tell us a little bit about your approach to giving back with charity patterns and crafting?
1DW: I think when we create something crocheted or knitted, we give it a little bit of ourselves and our love. There’s thought and care and memories that go into each stitch. And the world can use every bit of love and thought and caring that we have to offer, in all sorts of places. I’m not a world domination kind of person; I don’t strive to each great things on great stages. But I know I can make my own small differences in someone’s life, from bringing a smile to my children’s faces, or keeping a stranger’s child warm in the winter. Sharing our knit and crochet creations is telling someone that we are willing to give up time and effort for you. Time is a precious thing to give in these hectic days, and love is always needed.
LB: Let’s talk about these amazing Millbrook Patterns… What was the thinking there? These charity patterns, not to mention your costume, are quite heroic.
1DW: I wanted my project to be super easy for someone to create, and also super useful! When someone is cold, survival is more important than style, so I wanted to create a simple, basic and warm winter hat. Of course, simplicity is a great style too!
LB: Is this your first experience with service / charity crafting?
1DW: Yes, it is! Most/All of my crafting has been for my blog, and most projects end up in my kids’ playroom.
LB: Have you been involved in charitable work that doesn’t involve knitting?
1DW: I was involved with a local farm and CSA (community supported agriculture) when I lived in New York. I helped organize fundraisers and auctions to raise money to support the farm and help raise awareness about our food systems and sustainable agriculture.
LB: What issues facing the world keep you up at night? (note: no politics! Hehe)
1DW: I wonder what kind of world my children will grow up in, and what kind of world their children will grow up in. I think about the trials and triumphs they’ll go through and wonder how to give them the best head start that I can. Will they ever taste a true sun-ripened tomato? Will they know what a tiger looks like?
LB: How did you first learn to craft with yarn? Did you have a mentor? Did you teach yourself?
1DW: My grandmother tried to teach me to knit years ago, but I never really picked it up. Then, I sort of taught myself to crochet on a whim while dating my now-husband. But none of it stuck until I was motivated to crochet presents for a friend’s first baby, and then crochet a granny square quilt for my first baby!
LB: What was your first yarn project? The first project you were really proud of?
1DW: My first yarn project must have been a simple scarf or hot pad. I don’t remember anymore because they were more samples to learn the stitches than an actual project. The first project I’m really proud of was a baby blanket I made for my friend’s baby shower – it was a pink and white and green simple granny square blanket and I was in a rush to finish, so I worked for hours each day to get it done in time!
LB: When did you decide to start a yarn craft blog?
1DW: My blog was originally about crafts in general, with lots of other stories and recipes mixed in, but I’ve only very recently devoted my time to focusing on crochet projects. So needless to say, I have a lot of craft supplies at home that I’m not using!
LB: What do you consider your greatest strength as a yarn blogger to be?
1DW: I think my greatest strength is my ability to come up with unique twists to classic ideas. I like using simple stitches and ideas, but using them in different ways to create something new.
LB: When did you first realize “hmm, I’m really pretty good at this?”
1DW: Hmm, I’m not sure! I think it’s probably pretty recent that I realized I can take a craft that’s been around for so long and still add my own signature to it and that it won’t look horrible. Having my friends and family give me feedback has been great also.
LB: What areas of yarn craft do you still need to work on? Any particularly hilarious stories of a yarn project failure? 😉
1DW: I’m currently teaching myself how to knit, and I want to learn how to design mandalas and large granny squares. There’s a lot of math involved in designing patterns, and sometimes, I just want to walk away and create something just for fun instead of thinking about the pattern itself.
When I was working on making my Starlight Shrug, I seriously frogged it at least 4 times, either completely partially or completely. My first version made me look like an abominable snowman and my husband gave me a strange look that said “Yes, I still love you, but please don’t go out the door wearing that!”
LB: What area of blogging do you want to work on?
1DW: Well, I still work full time at an office/desk job, so there’s all sorts of things I want to work on, but don’t necessarily have the time to. I want to send email newsletters to my readers, work on my SEO, retake photos of old projects, clean up sloppy coding, reorganize my tags and categories so patterns are more easily searchable, and look at more marketing in other channels.
LB: Tell us a more long-term dream charity project that you could do in the future if we extended Yarn Heroes?
1DW: I’m really inspired by Carry the Future, an organization that goes on the ground in Europe to provide refugee parents with baby carriers to help them carry their children on their long journeys. These families have left everything behind, and I’d love to be able to send them homemade (home-loved) knit and crochet items such as blankets, hats, scarves, and toys to give them a little bit of the comfort and warmth of home.
LB: Give us a sneak preview of what’s next for your blog!
1DW: Well, as I mentioned, I’m learning to knit, and I’m really interested in clothing design, so there’ll be more of that on the blog. And beyond that, I don’t know! I’m sort of making it up as I go!