Category Archives: charity

CONTRIBUTE! Crochet Coral Reef

The Ontario Science Centre is looking for contributors to their Satellite Crochet Coral Reef Project! Read below for all the details, instructions, and informations (and I mean ALL … I went to town with the ‘copy-cut-paste’). We have a donation box at the store where you can drop off your crocheted corals. I think it goes without saying that this is a super fun collaborative project, as well as a great way to use up bits of leftover yarn. It’s a great opportunity to explore colours and textures, and just play around with being creative – kind of like sketching with yarn.

I think it may be especially good if you’re just learning to crochet or teaching someone (you can find Crochet Tutorials HERE), because the wonkier the results are the better. When it comes to perfection, I always say that there are no straight lines in nature (or life), even the horizon is really curved:

Nature, however, does not stick to mathematical perfection and just as there is nothing in nature that is perfectly spherical, so in nature there are no perfect hyperbolics. Living forms result from imperfection, deviation and aberrancy.

HOW TO CROCHET HYPERBOLIC CORALS By the Institute For Figuring

The Crochet Coral Reef is an exhibition rooted in environmentalism. It calls attention to the devastation of living reefs due to climate change while exploring the beauty, science and vital importance of reefs through a community crafting art project. Crocheting corals could be a craft that engages both kids and adults, possibly a teachable moment for us all.

Photo Credit: Coral Forest, by Christine and Margaret Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring. Image by Stephanie Veto for Lehigh University Art Galleries.

Crochet Coral Reef Project – Ontario Satellite Reef

Calling all creative, curious crafters …

The Ontario Science Centre is currently seeking contributions to a province-wide community art project, the Ontario Satellite Reef. Help them create a colourful coral reef—made entirely from crochet! The Ontario Satellite Reef is part of Margaret and Christine Wertheim’s Crochet Coral Reef endeavour, an international initiative inspired by art, science and environmental activism. Since the Wertheims started the project in 2005, nearly 20,000 people from around the world have participated in crocheting 40-plus Satellite Reefs.

Create colourful pieces of coral, then send your work to the Ontario Science Centre (we are a drop-off point)! Your crocheted coral will be displayed at the Science Centre as part of the Ontario Satellite Reef. Plus, upload a pic of your work to social media to contribute to the virtual satellite reef.

How can you participate?

Follow these steps to contribute to the Ontario Satellite Reef:

  1. Use this guide to learn how to crochet coral. You can find Crochet Tutorials HERE.
  2. Check out pics from the virtual satellite reef (below) and read about the Ontario Satellite Reef sections for inspiration.
  3. Create your coral!
  4. Share a pic of your work on Instagram with the tag @OntarioScienceCentre and the hashtag #OntarioSatelliteReef.
  5. Tell them about yourself and your coral creation! On a small piece of paper or index card, write the following information: Name, age, location and any details about your creation you would like to share. Attach it to your coral before you drop it off.
  6. Bring your coral to a designated drop-off spot, or contact the Ontario Science Centre to arrange a drop-off.

Once the science centre receives your coral, they will add your work to the Ontario Satellite Reef. They will also add your name to the list of contributors on display.

Photo: Instagram #OntatioSatelliteReef

Contribute to the virtual satellite reef

To contribute to the virtual satellite reef, upload a photo of your work to Instagram with the tag @OntarioScienceCentre and the hashtag #OntarioSatelliteReef. Your photo will automatically be added to our online gallery.

Want to keep your coral creation? No problem! All crafters are welcome to contribute to the virtual reef. For more details on this project, check out these pages:

Photo Credit: Jayne Jenkins Coral Reef Image Bank

About the Ontario Satellite Reef Sections

The Ontario Satellite Reef is composed of five sections, each with a different theme. Before you crochet your coral, check out the themes below for inspiration. If you don’t have a particular section in mind for your work, we’ll decide where it fits best in the Ontario Satellite Reef.

Tropical Coral Reefs

Tropical reefs exist in shallow, sunlit waters because the microscopic plants that live inside this coral rely on sunlight to produce food. These reefs form some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, providing food and shelter for an estimated 25% of all ocean species. Suggested crochet materials: Any smooth or textured yarns in vibrant colours.

Cold-Water Coral

Canada has coral, too! Cold-water coral and sponges occur in coastal and offshore waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans. These slow-growing corals consume plankton to survive and live in very cold water without sunlight. Suggested crochet materials: Smooth white yarn; textured orange, bright pink or purple yarn.

Photo Credit: The Ocean Agency;

Bleached Coral

Under stressful conditions—such as temperature increases, overexposure to sunlight and pollution—coral expels the symbiotic algae living within its tissues, causing it to turn completely white. Although coral can survive bleaching events, continued stress causes coral death. Suggested crochet materials: White or beige yarn in any shade or texture.

The Impacts of Consumerism

Millions of tons of plastic waste, which contains harmful microorganisms, enter our oceans each year. This plastic waste also blocks sunlight from reaching the coral, which can cause coral death. Suggested crochet materials: Cut-up plastic bags (to create plastic yarn); old T-shirts; other recycled materials.

Solutions to the Coral Crisis

Around the world, scientists and activists are working to restore and protect coral reefs. Use your imagination to create coral that lends us hope for the future. Plastic-eating coral, lab-grown coral, 3D-printed coral and more—we want to see your creative ideas for addressing threats to reef survival. Suggested crochet materials: It’s up to you!

Photo Credit: Pod World – Plastic Fantastic, by Christine and Margaret Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring. Image by Francesco Galli for 2019 Venice Biennale.

Environmentalism meets crafting with Crochet Coral Reef

Crochet has an amazing ability to model the mathematically distinct geometry found in coral reefs (see below for a video on geometry in nature), all while bringing together crafting communities and science education. That’s what inspired science writer Margaret Wertheim and artist Christine Wertheim, twin sisters from Australia, to create the Crochet Coral Reef project.

Residing at the intersection of mathematics, marine biology, handicraft and community art practice, the Crochet Coral Reef responds to the environmental crisis of global warming and the escalating problem of oceanic plastic trash through a process of collective creativity. The endeavour highlights not only the damage humans do to Earth’s ecology, but also our power for positive action.

The Wertheims’ collection of Crochet Coral Reef sculptures has been exhibited worldwide, including at the 2019 Venice Biennale, The Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), Hayward Gallery (London), Science Gallery (Dublin) and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (Washington, D.C.). It will be at the Science Centre until the end of October 2021.

The project also encompasses a community-engagement program in which nearly 20,000 people around the world have participated in making 40+ locally-based Satellite Reefs. The Ontario Satellite Reef is the latest addition to this ever-evolving collection.

Photo Credit: Pod World – Hyperbolic, by Christine and Margaret Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring. Image by Francesco Galli for 2019 Venice Biennale.

The Story Behind the Crochet Coral Reef project

Global warming is destroying the ecology of living reefs. That’s what drove science writer Margaret Wertheim and artist Christine Wertheim, twin sisters from Australia, to create the Crochet Coral Reef project in 2005. They realized crochet has an amazing ability to mimic the mathematically unique forms of reefs while bringing crafting and science education together.

The Crochet Coral Reef calls attention to the devastation of living reefs due to climate change while exploring the beauty, science and vital importance of reefs through a community crafting art project. The Wertheims’ Crochet Coral Reef travelling exhibition has been presented around the world, inspiring community activism, environmental awareness, and math and science learning.

Margaret and Christine also founded and co-direct the Institute for Figuring, a non-profit organization that hosts the continuing evolution of the Crochet Coral Reef project.

Through a participatory program the sisters designed, more than 20,000 people have crocheted more than 40 community-based Satellite Reefs—from Chicago, New York, London and Melbourne, to other sites across England, Ireland, Latvia, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. The Ontario Science Centre is currently building Ontario Satellite Reef—the latest addition to the ongoing global network of Satellite Reefs.

Photo: https://www.margaretwertheim.com/crochet-coral-reef

The Artists Behind Crochet Coral Reef

The Crochet Coral Reef project was created by sisters Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim, who are also co-directors of the project’s host organization, the Institute For Figuring, in Los Angeles. The Wertheims have created Crochet Coral Reef exhibitions for more than 20 museums and galleries internationally, and together they are the authors and editors of the Crochet Coral Reef book.

About Margaret Wertheim

Margaret Wertheim is an internationally recognized writer, artist and curator. Focusing on the interconnected relationships between science, art, culture, crafting and community STEM engagement, her honours include the Scientia Medal for Science Communication (Australia), and the American Association of Physics Teachers prestigious Klopsteg Award for “conveying the excitement of physics.” 

Ms. Wertheim is the author of six books, including a trilogy about the cultural history of physics, and has written for publications ranging from The New York Times to New Scientist. Before moving to the USA in 1991, she conceived, wrote and co-directed Catalyst, a six-part television science series aimed at teenage girls. 

margaretwertheim.com


About Christine Wertheim

Christine Wertheim is a poet, performer, artist, critic, curator and collaborator. She has a PhD in literature and semiotics and is a faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts in the Department of Critical Studies, where she teaches courses on art+feminism, pataphysics, nonsense and rubbish. 

Christine has authored and edited eight books, including three poetic suites and three literary anthologies. She is a former director of the CalArts MFA Writing Program and has written for many magazines, including X-TRA and Jacket. 

christine-wertheim.com

Photo Credit: Coral Forest, by Christine and Margaret Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring. Image by Stephanie Veto for Lehigh University Art Galleries.

UPDATE & A HACK COVID Memorial Blanket

COVID Memorial Blanket

It seems like you guys have been very busy bees, knitting up squares for the COVID Memorial Blanket … I made one too, and I plan on getting my niece, brother and sister-in-law to make one each. It’s a very easy pattern, suitable for beginners – you only need to know how to knit and purl.

If you aren’t already familiar with it, the COVID Memorial Blanket is a country wide project to honour and remember Canadians lost to COVID. Knitters from all over the country are knitting squares (with Berroco Vintage), which will be joined together to make a MASSIVE blanket … you can read more about it HERE.

This week CBC news did a story on it, it was also on TV. Since then we’ve sold out of colour 5125 Aquae (the colour designated to represent healthcare workers), the distributor is also out of stock, and we don’t expect to have it again until mid-September. That said, there are lots and lots of other colours available in Berroco Vintage, and the only limitation is what makes you happy! There aren’t really any front-runners for popularity, but I can tell you that when given the opportunity, people are going for COLOUR!

Yarn Availability & COVID

As an aside, I’ve been told by a few sales reps that availability is going to be a little spotty this fall on any products coming out of Peru – they’ve been hit pretty hard by COVID and the mills are only working at 30% capacity. Going forward, if you were thinking of making a large project and you want specific colours in Berroco Vintage, Berroco Vintage DK or Berroco Vintage Chunky, you should order your yarn now because I may not be able to get the inventory later. I think this especially applies to the neutral colours like white, off-white, ecru, all of the heathered greys, black, oatmeal, etc.

MINI-HACK! The Baggy Bind-Off Stitch

Yesterday Erica and I were looking at swatches and the subject of that last bind-off stitch came up. Somehow it’s always stretched out … and while I never really cared about it, it got me thinking that someone, somewhere on the interweb, must have found a solution. It turns out lots of someones have resolved the issue, the video below is the first one that popped up in my Google search, and I liked it a lot.

UPDATE Mask Mates For Healthcare Workers

Update on Mask Mates For Healthcare Workers

We didn’t receive a lot of donations of Mask Mates, but we sent them off and the response was overwhelmingly positive:

So it seems we have found a way to make a positive impact on the lives of people who in turn directly help other people … I like to think of it as a part of the butterfly effect (something as small as the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can eventually grow into something substantial). My friend also says that the doctors have received a new model of PPE masks that are oversized and don’t really fit over your ears properly, so the mask mates will be even more helpful.

If you are interested in making a contribution, please drop off or send your ‘Mask Mates’ (they also go by the alias of ‘Ear Savers’) and I’ll pass them on to my friend who will take them to the hospital and distribute them.

Here are the project requirements:

  • They have to be made with a yarn that is seriously machine wash and dryable at high heat, like Lily Sugar & Cream craft cotton
  • The fabric should not stretch, and we decided that a dense crochet stitch is ideal – a 4mm//G or 4.5mm/US7 crochet hook is good and a pattern like the free Mask Mates Ear Saver.
  • The buttons should be 0.75″ to 1″ (20mm to 25mm) wide
  • Drop them off or mail them to us at Knit-O-Matic
Photo by Willow Designs

I also stumbled across this pattern for extremely adorable ear savers, which you can purchase individually or as a collection/ebook. They brightened my day, and I thought they might do the same for healthcare workers and their patients. Joni Memmott/BriAbby and Glenna Gordon both also have some really adorable Mask Mate patterns.

xox Haley

COVID Mask Mates For Healthcare Workers

Mask Mates For Healthcare Workers

I received an animated call from a friend the other day, something to the effect of “Haley!!! The big *hand made craft thing* going around the hospital are these things that hold masks …. ” I don’t remember much of what followed, I kind of got stuck on the idea that there was a crafting trend going around a hospital, like a middle school jelly bracelet tend or cabbage patch kids. The crafty trendy mask things are worn at the back of the head, the mask hooks around the buttons, it’s kind of like a mask extender. Anyway, these little doohickies are very popular with the medical set right now, and I thought “Hey, do they need them? Would they appreciate it if people who are stuck at home made them some?” My friend checked in with the hospital department boss person and they replied “Ummm … YES PLEASE!!!!”

So, if you are interested in making a contribution, I’d love to receive your hand-made ‘Mask Mates’ (they also go by the alias of ‘Ear Savers’) and I’ll pass them on to my friend who will take them to the hospital and distribute them.

Here are the project requirements:

  • They have to be made with a yarn that is seriously machine wash and dryable at high heat, like Lily Sugar & Cream craft cotton
  • The fabric should not stretch, and we decided that a dense crochet stitch is ideal – a 4mm//G or 4.5mm/US7 crochet hook is good and a pattern like the free Mask Mates Ear Saver.
  • The buttons should be 0.75″ to 1″ (20mm to 25mm) wide
  • Drop them off or mail them to us at Knit-O-Matic
Photo by Willow Designs

I also stumbled across this pattern for extremely adorable ear savers, which you can purchase individually or as a collection/ebook. They brightened my day, and I thought they might do the same for healthcare workers and their patients. Joni Memmott/BriAbby and Glenna Gordon both also have some really adorable Mask Mate patterns.

xox Haley

UPDATE Covid Heart

Michelle sent me an update on the COVID Hearts! The administrator of Villa Forum sent her some pictures and I thought you might like to see them. Everyone involved thanks you for your contributions. Michelle feels very humbled … sometimes I forget how remarkably easy it is to make a difference in the world.

PROJECT Baker’s Twine (& COVID Hearts update)

Baker’s Twine

My first COVID project was this cloth-type-thing, Baker’s Twine. I don’t know why, but I thought that using a marled yarn would come out looking like holding two strands together, but it turns out it it doesn’t. Doesn’t matter, I made a pot holder or trivet or towel or something and it’s good and I’m happy!

The pattern, Baker’s Twine, had an interesting technique for making and inserting the loop, so that was entertaining. It’s knit on small needles, and I found I needed slippier needles and changed to a metal pair. The yarn was thicker than that used in the pattern and my project came out wider (one entire skein made the piece 12.5“/32cm long x 10.5”/26cm wide, and that was a 3.75mm/US5 needle). If you want a smaller potholder size you can omit one pattern repeat (12 sts). The pattern was not free, and I felt like it was a bit overpriced, but I tried something new and learned something new.

The yarn is new one around here, Borgo De’Pazzi Amore Cotton. It’s a blend of recycled cotton and poly fibres (apparently the synthetic content is in there to shore up the recycled cotton and make it yarnable, but it doesn’t feel or look like Tupperware) and you can feel the texture of the two strands spun together. It’s machine wash and dryable, so I figured it would make a good kitchen textile. Interestingly, while it doesn’t look thick, the ball-band suggests a 6.5mm/US10.5 to 8mm/US11 needle or hook. It’s also made in Italy, so first world/no slavery. One skein made a substantially sized piece of fabric. If you want to make a Potholder that looks like the one in the pattern’s photos (below) I’d use Cascade Ultra Pima (one skein of each colour).

Materials

Update on COVID Hearts

Michelle picked up and distributed the fist batch of COVID hearts and it was an IMMENSE SUCCESS! She dropped them off at Villa Forum, a long term care home in Mississauga. The staff were profoundly touched and the nurses gave her an ovation of hand hearts. Your efforts were extremely well received!

Michelle is working on a second batch to take to another long term care home, and you can drop your contributions off at the store or mail them to us. You can read more about the COVID hearts HERE.

MAKE Hearts for Patients with Covid

My client Michelle brought this initiative to my attention and we decided this is a great bandwagon we’d like to join …. people are knitting and crocheting little hearts for people hospitalized with COVID and their families. One of the most heartbreaking realities of the COVID pandemic is that hospitalized patients have to be isolated from their families and are dying alone. The premise of the heart production is you make little hearts in matching sets of two; one is given to the patient and the other goes to their family. The idea is to try and create a connection in a patient’s dying moments, and hopefully some much needed comfort for both parties.

If you would like to contribute your knitting and/or crochet skills and labour, I will provide a drop-off location at the store for your hearts and Michelle will come pick them up and distribute them to local hospitals.

Materials

Patterns

Use any pattern for little hearts that you like, here are a few options:

Requirements

  • Hearts must be little, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
  • Hearts must be in matching sets (red with red, pink with pink, etc).
  • Each pair of hears should come in their own little ziplock baggie (for sterilizing purposes and etc).
  • I doubt there are colour requirements, but I think people would probably think red or pink would be nice.

Drop-Off

Drop off your little hearts at Knit-O-Matic (1382 Bathurst St, Toronto). You can knock on the door Monday to Saturday 12 to 5 pm (I’ll put on my face-mask and you can pitch them at me) … or just leave them in our mailbox and I’ll figure it out.

COMPLETED The Ride for Heart

The Ride For Heart

I just wanted to thank all of the people who donated to my fundraising bike ride for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. You are both very kind and generous, and your support means the world to me!

FYI, we were supposed to do the 25km ride, but we just kept going and scored ourselves an extra 25km … I’m a little tender in the posterior, but I totally earned my donations this year! If you wanted to donate but didn’t get around to it it isn’t too late – my brother is only $12 ahead of me, I think that needs to be rectified …

Support me button 500

PROJECT Great Hera + The Ride for Heart

3d96c-ride2bfor2bheart2b20152bblog2b2

Me & my father at the half-way point on a particularly wet & cold Ride for Heart.

Ride for Heart

Some of you already know that every year I do a charity bike ride with my father. This year I managed to drag my BROTHER along, so all three of us are riding 25km up, and then back down the Don Valley Parkway (a local highway).

Anyway, the purpose of the even, besides getting out of the house and getting some exercise, is to rise funds for the Canadian Heart and Stroke association, who does A LOT of important work helping EVERYONE improve their cardiac health (after all, scientific research has no borders). According to an article in the news yesterday women are TWICE as likely to die from a heart attack than men. This is NOT GOOD, because I know from computery data stuff that 95% of the people reading this are WOMEN! Sure, I’ve got a vested interested in keeping you alive, many of you reading this are my clients, but I also feel strongly that the world needs women, as many as it can get. And as women, we deserve to be strong, healthy, and happy.

So not only am I going to ask you to donate to my ride for heart, but I’m going to ask you to write to your own Heart Health organization and ask them to fund research into women’s cardiac health (if you are Canadian it is the Heart and Stroke Foundation, if you are in the United States I believe it is the American Heart Association). 

Thank You SO MUCH!  ~ Haley

P.S. They symptoms of heart attack in women are often different than those seen in men. Women can have chest symptoms (the ‘Hollywood’ clutching of the chest & sweating), or any of the following:

  • profound nausea and vomiting with palpitations
  • lightheadedness
  • extreme fatigue
  • discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulder, arms or back

Support me button 500

 

 

WW HAT COMBO

Great Hera!

Since I’ve been talking about women’s health, who better to invoke than the head amazon herself, Wonder Woman. I’ve actually seen this hat in the wild, on some dude in the subway, and it was AWESOME. Sure, you can still wear your Pussy Hat to protests, but sometimes you want something a bit dressier for your day-to-day lady needs. The pattern isn’t free, but it’s only $3, which I don’t begrudge to have someone else do the work of charting the symbol.

To make things easier, I’ve pulled all the suitable colours off the shelf and come up with colour combinations that work well together (you can never really tell online which shades are actually going to look good). I personally like a darker, more sombre colour combo with a dark red, gold and blue, but I know that everyone has different Wonder Woman Toque needs, so I chose colours that were both thematically on cue and look great together. By the way, if this project appeals to you, you might want to bookmark or Pinterest this post for future reference – you’ll want to revisit the colour numbers!

Since this is such a cool project, and it is in honour of a charitable fundraising endeavour, we’re offering a one time discount of 10% Off Online orders of the yarns we think will work best (discount is applicable to all colours, you can have your order shipped or choose to order online and pick-up your order in store): Use code WONDERHAT at checkout.

Needles & Notions

Yarn Options

I recommend the following yarns and colour combinations to make this project WONDERful!

1. Cascade 220 Superwash

Cascade 220 Superwash is a soft, machine washable, 100% Peruvian wool, it comes in a bunch of colours, and the price is very reasonable. You’ll need 1 skein in each colour plus optional 1 ball for pom-pom in colour 817 Aran:

2. Berrocco Vintage

Berrocco Vintage is a super soft, machine washable blend of wool and synthetic, and the price is right at $9.97/skein. You’ll need 1 skein in each colour, plus optional 1 skein for pom-pom in colour 5101 Mochi:

  • Clear Colours Combo: 5150 Berries, 5121 Sunny, 5143 Dark Denim
  • Medium Combo: 5181 Black Cherry Heather, 5127 Butternut, 5143 Dark Denim
  • Dark Combo: 5181 Black Cherry Heather, 5192 Chana Dal Heather, 51182 Indigo Heather

3. Malabrigo Rios

Malabrigo Rios is a hand dyed, SUPER soft, machine washable merino wool, and while the price point is higher at $23.97/skein, comparable hand dyed merino yarns tend to run north of $30/skein. You’ll need 1 skein in each colour, plus optional 1 skein of off-white for pom-pom in Manos Alegria Grande in AG2800:

  • Brighter Combo: 611 Ravelry Red, 96 Sunset, 415 Matisse Blue
  • Medium Combo: 611 Ravelry Red, 96 Sunset, 150 Azul Profundo
  • Dark Combo: 33 Cereza, 96 Sunset, 150 Azul Profundo (the dye lot of 33 is darker than the picture)

WW HAT COMBO

YARN SWAP April 15th

 

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NEXT SWAP: SUNDAY APRIL 15, 1-3 pm

$15 – Proceeds go to the Red Door Women’s Shelter

It’s that time of year again … time to tidy up your yarn stash and purge the stuff you’re never going to use. That’s right, you can bring us your shame and leave your guilt in our yarn swap bins with the assurance that the yarn that didn’t work out for you will have a second (or third, or fourth) life in a new home.
What do you do at a swap? Bring in the yarn and needles you don’t want and take home whatever you like from our swap bins. The leftovers are donated to charities, and don’t be embarrassed by the quality of the yarn you bring, whatever is left over is donated to charities like Street KnitWest Toronto Support Services, and Gilda’s Club, most of whom prefer acrylic!
If you want to donate but can’t make the date please feel free to drop it by when we are open, sealed up in a plastic bag. The only yarn we can’t accept is anything that is strongly scented (cigarette smoke or perfume). We are also a drop-off point for Street Knit and Knitted Knockers of Canada.
  • $15 to participate in the swap (proceeds go to the Red Door Women’s Shelter)
  • Drop-in, no need to sign up
  • Everyone is welcome, all skill levels
  • Location: 1382 Bathurst St, Toronto ON
  • In-Store only, NOT ONLINE