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Living the Good Life and Free Down Syndrome Awareness Ribbon

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. And with that I bring you a guest blogger, Mardra Sikora, a local blogger, writer, and advocate. I jumped at the idea of having Mardra guest blog as those with special needs are near and dear to my heart. At the end of the post, I also offer a pattern for a Down Syndrome Awareness Ribbon (or any ribbon for that matter!) Make sure you read all the way to the end to see what the Good Life means to me. Enjoy!

Living the Good Life

NEBRASKA...the good life
Photo by Thomas Beck

On a recent road-trip to central Nebraska, my son Marcus leaned back and sighed, “This is the good life.” That particular weekend there was much ado about Nebraska’s slogan: “The Good Life.” So I smiled in agreement while my mind wandered over the parallel metaphor to our world.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, it gets old defending the place you call home. Do you get tired of explaining what exactly is good about “the good life” to those who say they could never…? To those who are filled with ill-conceived notions and stereotypes about our day-to-day? What beauties there are to see and experience?

Like many kids, I knew I’d leave Nebraska when I grew up. But the days went by and, though there were other opportunities along the way, I chose to stay. And sometimes there were circumstances that chose me instead. Which brings me to the parallel metaphor. Life with my son, Marcus.

It’s not a new idea, the metaphor of the physical place we find ourselves and our larger fate. So here we go…

On March 21st we will celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. We celebrate because Down syndrome is part of who Marcus is. Like many families who find themselves in an unexpected place – it is not about making the best of it; it’s about celebrating the best of it.

What I’d like to share this World Down Syndrome Day, with those of you who don’t live in the place we do: It’s not what you think.

Yes, sometimes storms come in and make life difficult. Like Marcus’ heart surgery when he was still a baby. That was hard. And there are many beautiful places on this earth, including the amazing sunsets that linger on the horizon here. Yes, the same sun rises and sets in our world as yours and my love for my son is no more and no less than the love any mother can have for their child. I see his beauty, his talents, his ambitions, and these parts of him are not diminished by Down syndrome. My biggest disappointments come not from Marcus’ abilities but rather the limitations of other people to recognize his abilities.

To me, the good life means preparation: when it’s cold, you put a coat on. The good life means consideration: please and thank you and working hard is something to be proud of. The good life means both seeing beauty in the peaceful moments as well as celebrating with the roar of a crowd.

For us it is also about a lifetime full of laughter. Marcus’ guiding principal is to make sure the people around him are happy. It’s nice to live with someone who has other’s happiness as a top priority.

 Yes, Marcus lives with us, so do 6 million other adult children in this country. Like many of them, this is a choice we have made together. There are options, we chose this one.

It’s not always an easy life. (Boring!) It’s not the perfect life. (Who has that?)

It is, in fact, quite a good life.

 

Bio: By day Mardra Sikora balances a patchwork of community, advocacy, work and family. Also by day

she writes. You can find her antics at www.grownupsanddowns.com, on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/Mardraspage, and her favorite hangout, Twitter: @MardraSikora

OK RS 3

Free Down Syndrome Awareness Ribbon

Down Syndrome Ribbon coliescrochet.com

 

Skill Level:

  • Easy

Materials:

  • Any size hook, I usually use whatever size I am using for the project I am appliquéing onto. I would recommend size F – J for worsted weight or Aran yarn.
  • Yellow, blue and white worsted weight yarn. Less than 2g (3 yds) each.
  • Pin to hold ribbon in place while you stitch around it
  • Yarn or Tapestry needle to weave in ends and to sew on to project if you are using the ribbon as an applique
  • Brooch pin or barrette if desired

Other Resources:

  • For awareness ribbon colors, click here 

 Gauge:

  • Not important

Abbreviations and Stitches Used: (In US terminology)

  • Ch – chain stitch
  • Dc – double crochet
  • Sl st – Slip Stitch
  • St – stitch

Pattern Notes:

  • Pattern is written in US terms
  • Read pattern in its entirety first

Ribbon

Left-handed directions: Ch 15 with blue, switch to yellow and ch 17.

Dc in 3rd ch from hook and in next 11 st, 2 dc in next 3 st, switch back to blue and 2 dc in next 3 st, dc in each of last 12 st. Finish off. (If you are familiar with foundation dc, you can do this for the first row instead of chaining and working dc)

Change to accent color and sl st all the way around. Finish off.

Right handed directions: Ch 15 with yellow, switch to blue and ch 17.

Dc in 3rd ch from hook and in next 11 st, 2 dc in next 3 st, switch back to yellow and 2 dc in next 3 st, dc in each of last 12 st. Finish off. (If you are familiar with foundation dc, you can do this for the first row instead of chaining and working dc)

Change to accent color and sl st all the way around. Finish off.

Finishing

Use a bit of the main color to tack the ribbon together in the middle by coming up through the bottom over an existing stitch (to hide the tacking) and going back down through the top. Tie in a knot in the back and weave in all ends.

Down Syndrome Ribbon coliescrochet.com

Uses

  • Sew as an appliqué onto a hat, scarf, handbag or tote bag.
  • Sew or glue onto a brooch pin
  • Sew or glue onto a barrette

Click Print below or click here for a pdf version

For me, the Good Life is easy to define. I feel blessed to have a beautiful family, wonderful friends, and a creative passion. First and foremost, I am a wife and stay-at-home mother to two with another on the way. My husband and I raise our children in a faith-filled home. We both have had our struggles in life, as children and adults, together and apart. I believe that makes us that much more appreciative of the good things in life. We don’t have tons of friends, but the ones we have are true and we consider each of them family. Lastly, I have my creative outlet and passion. If you had asked me 3 years ago if I would be selling my own crochet items and blogging about it, I would have said you were crazy! I am excited to see where the next year takes me as my oldest child will be starting kindergarten, we will be welcoming our 3rd baby, and who knows where crochet will take me. Like many Nebraskans, I thought I would leave eventually, but Midwestern values like kindness, caring for your neighbor and hard work are difficult to say good-bye to.

You may not be from Nebraska, but how would you define the Good Life?

Nicole-Colie's Crochet

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Copyright 2014 Colie’s Crochet. All rights reserved. You may use this pattern for personal use, gifts or charity items. Sales of finished items are permitted but designer requests that you link back to pattern and credit Colie’s Crochet with the original design. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form including but not limited to electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise without prior written consent from the designer.

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Leprechaun Lad/Lass Beanie

Leprechaun Lad/Lass Beanie-coliescrochet.comLast year, I designed the Leprechaun Beanie for my son after I made him a bobble beard hat. I loved the beard so much; I wanted to design a different beanie to go with it for St. Patrick’s Day. Now that my daughter is no longer a baby, I saw the need to add a little something for her as well.

 

Don't Crochet? You can purchase the finished item here - www.coliescrochet.etsy.com

For this tutorial, I will be working the Preschool size. All other sizes can be purchased in my pattern stores:

Etsy Pattern Store

Craftsy Pattern Store

Ravelry Pattern Store

 

 

 

Sizes available in download:

  • Newborn fits 14” head circumference
  • Infant (3 months) fits 16” head circumference
  • Baby (6 months) fits 18” head circumference
  • Toddler (1–2 years) fits 19” head circumference
  • Preschooler (3-5 years) fits 20” head circumference
  • Child (6-10 years) fits 21” head circumference
  • Teen/Small Adult fits 22” head circumference
  • Medium Adult fits 23” head circumference
  • Large Adult fits 24” head circumference

 

Materials:

  • I-5.5mm Hook, I use a Clover hook which I have found creates a slightly smaller gauge. I also tend to be a really tight crocheter. For these two reasons, I highly recommend working up a gauge swatch ahead of time. (See below in Pattern Notes for directions on working up a gauge swatch). You may need go up or down one or two hook sizes
  • Worsted Weight Yarn, I used I Love This Yarn in Jellybean (up to 100g), Limelight (2g), Black (10g), and Yellow (1g). Aran yarn would be an acceptable substitute if you don’t have access to worsted weight yarn.
  • Worsted Weight Yarn, Baby Bee Hushabye in Apricot Jam (up to 50g) You can use any yarn, I used a cotton/acrylic blend to give the “hair” a different texture from the hat
  • Tapestry needle to sew on appliqués and to weave in ends

 

Skill Level:

  • Intermediate

 

Gauge:

  • 16 hdc and 12 rows = 4” square; use a different size hook or yarn to obtain proper gauge. (See below in Pattern Notes for directions on working up a gauge swatch)

Abbreviations and Stitches Used: (in US terminology)

  • Approx – approximately
  • Bpdc – back post double crochet
  • Ch – chain stitch
  • Dc – double crochet
  • Fpdc – front post double crochet
  • Hdc – half double crochet
  • Rnd(s) – round(s)
  • Sl st – Slip Stitch
  • St – stitch

 

Pattern Notes:

  • Pattern is written in US terms
  • Read pattern in its entirety first
  • Always work a gauge swatch first. Each crocheter crochets with a different tension. I tend to crochet really tight. To complete a gauge swatch, I crochet a 5”x5” square in the stitch or pattern specified. This is so that at least the first and last row and the sides will not be included in my 4”x4” square. I then measure how many stitches and rows are in my square. If it is too small (you have more stitches or rows than specified), then you move up a hook size or two. If it is too big (you have less stitches or rows than specified), then you move down a hook size or two. The goal is to reach a gauge that is as close as possible to the pattern writer’s. It may seem like a waste of time, but I always find that it is worth it in the end; especially with fitted, wearable items. If you are not within ¼” when I give the diameter measurement for the crown of the hat in each pattern size, you should check your gauge and work a gauge swatch if you haven’t already.
  • When working in rounds, I always start with a magic circle; there are many great tutorials on the internet
  • When working in rounds, the ch1 or ch2 NEVER count as the first stitch

 

Preschooler (3-5 years)

Rnd 1: With Jellybean, magic circle, ch1, work 8 hdc in circle, join with sl st to top of 1st hdc. Pull tail tight. (8 total stitches)

Rnd 2: Ch1, work 2hdc in each st around, join with sl st to top of 1st hdc. (16)

Rnd 3:  Ch1, *work 2hdc in 1st st, work 1hdc in next st;* repeat from * to * until last st; join with sl st to top of 1st hdc. (24)

Rnd 4: Ch1, *work 2hdc in 1st st, work 1hdc in next 2 st;* repeat from * to * until last st; join with sl st to top of 1st hdc. (32)

Rnd 5: Ch1, *work 2hdc in 1st st, work 1hdc in next 3 st:* repeat from * to * until last st; join with sl st to top of 1st hdc. (40)

Rnd 6: Ch1, *work 2hdc in 1st st, work 1hdc in next 4 st:* repeat from * to * until last st; join with sl st to top of 1st hdc. (48)

Rnd 7: Ch1, *work 2hdc in 1st st, work 1hdc in next 5 st:* repeat from * to * until last st; join with sl st to top of 1st hdc. (56)

Rnd 8: Ch1, *work 2hdc in 1st st, work 1hdc in next 6 st:* repeat from * to * until last st; join with sl st to top of 1st hdc. (64)

*Pause here and make sure the crown measures approximately 5.25 – 5.5“ in diameter.

 Rnd 9: Ch1, *work 2hdc in 1st st, work 1hdc in next 15 st:* repeat from * to * until last st; join with sl st to top of 1st hdc. (68)

Rnd 10: Ch1, work 1hdc in each st across until last st; join with sl st to top of 1st hdc. (68)

Rnds 11-16: Ch1, work 1hdc in each st across until last st; join with sl st to top of 1st hdc; switch to Black.

Rnds 17-18: Ch1, work 1hdc in each st across until last st; join with sl st to top of 1st hdc; switch to Jellybean.

Rnd 19: Ch2, work 1dc in each st across until last st; join with sl st to top of 1st dc.

Rnds 20-21: ch1, *work 1fpdc in first stitch, work 1bpdc in next st,* repeat from * to * until end; join with sl st to top of 1st st.

Piece should measure approx 6.5” from crown to bottom of hat when folded in half. Finish off.

Leprechaun Lad/Lass Beanie-coliescrochet.com

For Buckle:Leprechaun Lad/Lass Beanie-coliescrochet.com

Row 1: With yellow, ch 9 and dc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, turn, ch 2

Row 2: Dc in 1st 3 stitches, leave remaining 4 dc unworked; turn, ch 6

Row 3: Dc in 2nd ch from hook, and in next 3 ch, dc in each of the last 3 dc, finish off leaving a long tail to sew onto hat.

For Braids:

Cut as many 36″ lengths as final stitch count and add 2 (for preschool size it would be 70)

Start by finding where you want the center part in both the front and back. Fold each strand over in half and attach each strand to each dc around with a sl stitch. Make sure that 2 strands are in the ‘parts’ of the hat in both the back and front.

Leprechaun Lad/Lass Beanie-coliescrochet.com

Split hair in half and braid down the sides over where ears would be. Tie in knots at the end and trim ends.

Leprechaun Lad/Lass Beanie-coliescrochet.com

Leprechaun Lad/Lass Beanie-coliescrochet.com

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing

Leprechaun Lad/Lass Beanie-coliescrochet.com

 

Pin buckle where desired and sew on. Weave in any ends.

 

 

 

For Shamrock: 

I found this cute shamrock tutorial here

I did start with a magic circle rather than the ch 5 and also changed the stem a bit to sl st back to center rather than the sc. Just make and leave a long tail to sew onto the hat where desired.

Leprechaun Lad/Lass Beanie-coliescrochet.com

 Leprechaun Lad/Lass Beanie-coliescrochet.com

 

 

 

 

 

For beard:

Leprechaun Lad/Lass Beanie-coliescrochet.com

 

 

I love this beard pattern, and use it for every kind of beard I make. You can find the tutorial here

Stop at row before the moustache is made.

I have used 3 different ways to attach the beards:

    • For an attached beard: Simply place the beard as desired and sew into the hat
    • For a removable beard: Sew buttons onto the front side of beard. Create loops on the inside of the hat for the buttons to attach to. Sl st into the inside of the hat, chain just enough to fit snugly around button and sl st back around same stitch. Finish off and weave in ends.
    • For another removable version, create loops that slip around the ears (this is my favorite way to make the beards): sl st into bottom corner of the beard and ch up to how many rows you made in the beard. For example, in the Small size, you stop after Row 7, so you ch 7. Then sl st to the top. Finish off and weave in ends.Leprechaun Lad/Lass Beanie-coliescrochet.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this pattern and it can be purchased in all sizes in any of my pattern stores:

Etsy Pattern Store

Craftsy Pattern Store

Ravelry Pattern Store

 

 

 

Copyright 2014 Colie’s Crochet. All rights reserved. You may use this pattern for personal use, gifts or charity items. Sales of finished items are permitted but designer requests that you link back to pattern and credit Colie’s Crochet with the original design. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form including but not limited to electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise without prior written consent from the designer.

Nicole-Colie's Crochet-coliescrochet.com

 

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