Mikey and Diva Dan of The Crochet Crowd have been involved in charity work since 2010 when the feeling of giving ones’ self through stitchwork was an undeniable feeling of accomplishment and giving back to community. Not only do they talk about charity, they put thoughts into action to create movements.
Project Linus has gifted over 6.3 Million Afghans since 1995. They serve the need for providing “blankets to hospitals, shelters, social service agencies and anywhere a child might be in need of a big hug.”
Since the conception of the Crochet Cruises with The Crochet Crowd, charity give back on a cruise ship is a vital part of the programming that Mikey and Diva Dan provide on the ships. They recognized that those on a cruise ship are fortunate enough to travel that some time on a cruise ship should be devoted to giving back in some way. To date, the crochet cruisers have made over 320 afghans for Project Linus since 2014. While the number may be insignificant comparing to the 6.3 million afghans. It’s still a great number as each blanket counts to helping those in need. Helping over 320 families is an accomplishment.
Crocheters are asked to bring pre-made granny squares to the cruise ship with them. However, for 2017, the direction slightly changed with an idea from Diva Dan to use Edie Eckman’s Book called Around the Corner as a text book for teaching concepts and ideas.
Each crochet cruiser was asked to bring 9 completed squares from our City Solarium Throw that appears on our website. Crocheters were instructed to use either Caron Simply Soft or Bernat Super Value and bring the squares without attaching them first.
That’s all the crocheters were told until they got to the ship. They had no idea that they would each be gifted Edie’s Pattern Book as a ‘textbook’ to help them go further.
Each crocheter was asked to put their squares on one of three tables in the classroom. Each table represented a size or gauge. Not everyone crochets equally. This allowed crocheters to switch around with crocheters who match their tension.
Mikey went through instructions and ideas of taking the squares to a whole other level. Crocheters had choices, either complete the afghan as stated on the pattern OR make the squares bigger using Edie’s Book to show them how to grow the squares.
Most crocheters were so inspired, they wanted to grow the squares much bigger than the original. Here is an example of Mikey’s square. He added 7 more rounds that didn’t exist on the original pattern. Giving the squares a picture frame look.
Crocheters, after being inspired, had to pick out 9 granny squares from the tables. Then, with the help of our company, we donated 210 Bernat Super Value balls in assorted colours. Crocheters then made their way to pick out three balls each of the Bernat Super Value. Knowing that some may use more yarn than others, there was a key component here, which I will explain later.
Growing and Working on Projects
Crocheters were extremely motivated but they learned lessons, which this particular type of project offers. The following goals were laid out, even if the crocheters didn’t realize it.
- Understanding Gauge and Tension between Crocheters.
- Learning How to Read Patterns, through Edie’s Book.
- Learning How to Read Diagrams, through Edie’s Book.
- Learning how to understand multiples in a pattern, through Edie’s Book.
- Learn ways to join squares using Jeanne and Mikey’s combined article on techniques for joining.
- Ways to mix up colours and creativity.
- To support each other and encourage to finish.
Some of the crocheters made more than 1 afghan or assisted others in helping them to finish their own. As far as we know, there was no squares left behind and, in fact, more squares were made to finish complete afghans too!
There were many squares left over and Jaime and Diane, along with others, decided to make Project Linus top priority on the ship instead of doing some of the other lessons as they could do those projects at home. They were charity minded and fully focused on the goal.
Jaime and Diane came up with a system. Jaimie would make each square much bigger and Diane would crochet the motifs together. Between the two of them, they made one each and then assisted each other for an additional 5 afghans. It was beautiful. Jaime is saying they want to break their record for next cruise! Knowing these two stayed up keeping the coffee pot busy, they really demonstrated community spirit.
Of course, the other 70 crocheters also did their very best too! Many crocheters, this project was a tad out of their comfort zone. To some, they had never done granny squares before. Some had never joined any granny squares either! So it not only was this project a community oriented project, but it was also a learning session infused with fun.
Mikey and Diva Dan have a no pressure attitude on board the cruise ship. Crocheters are inspired to do as they want while in the classroom. Some prefer to get further in projects though something else is being taught. This allows crocheters who need extra help to lean over to a neighbour.
The non-pressure allows crocheters to excel and realize it’s not a race to finish. It’s about learning, connection, community and accomplishment.
Crocheters also used daily public stitch socials to continue to work on their projects.
For yarn left over, an additional 8 afghans were made using basic patterns to ensure the yarn was put to good use. In fact, Mikey made a second one using a social granny square. Others followed suit.
Not all afghans were ready for this final shoot and some didn’t make it on time as it was taken early in the morning. They were vibrant and beautiful. Passengers on board were asking if they were for sale. They were proud to say they are benefiting Project Linus and explained our mission.
In fact, many non-crocheters watched as afghans took their shape throughout the 2 week cruise. Many were floored when the final presentation was done. It’s something they were all proud of.
After the presentation, for the first time, all crocheters laid out their afghans on the large dining room on the ship with their name tag they had worn for the entire cruise. The project was a piece of themselves. Something to be proud of. It would have reminded you have a science fair as a kid, instead, it was all the afghans on exhibit for everyone to see.
Finally, the cruise was over and it was time to pack up the afghans. Four large cases of afghans were packed up with the help of Barbara and Donna, both Blanketeers for Project Linus in Arizona. The girls made arrangements with a local chapter of Project Linus San Francisco to come to the cruise terminal and pick up the cases of afghans to be processed through Project Linus.
Princess Cruises helped out by moving the boxes to the Cargo Hold on the ship to have it offloaded with the passengers luggage for Project Linus. That was much appreciated.
The Crochet Crowd will continue to support Project Linus in the next cruises ahead. So far, they have an additional 4 Crochet Cruises that have space available. Diva Dan is already working on the concepts and patterns for crocheters to complete before going on the cruise.
They don’t like to force a record of afghans. Creativity sometimes takes time. It’s better for people to enjoy a crochet cruise then to rush it and feel pressured.
Congratulations to everyone involved for being a fine example of “Stitching it Forward”. It was our pleasure to help out with this endeavour.