Thank you Yarn Shop Girls!

I spent February up in Rhode Island with the intention of doing what I could to keep pushing our mission forward, hoping to streamline our website and recruit some volunteers to knit and crochet for the Providence RMD House.  That particular House holds a special place in my heart as they were the first RMD House to embrace our project.  Its a large House with 28 bedrooms.  Living in New Jersey has made it difficult to find knit and crochet support so far from home.  If I could find the time to learn and utilize all that social media has to offer, maybe I could expand our community.  Problem is, social media (facebook, instagram, ravelry . . . even creating and posting through this blog!) – are not strengths of mine.

Now let me back pedal a little to last summer when my niece, Leigh, was visiting from Texas.  Leigh mentioned how she was a big podcast listener.  I had no idea that so many people were podcasting and posting on YouTube.  Here’s where I discovered the Yarn Shop Girls.  From the first episode, I was hooked.  I love listening to Marissa, Gayle and Ann fill us in on their latest projects, customer corner, shop additions and events.  I don’t have a local yarn shop here in NJ that is close enough to pop over, enjoy some knit time and get some fiber therapy.  Most of my knitting is done alone while watching tv – or listening to books on running non-profits!

Watching the Yarn Shop Girls keeps me updated on what’s going on in the knit/crochet world and has filled a void that leaves me feeling like I visited with fiber friends.  I spend a lot of time up in Rhode Island but don’t typically have any reason to go too far from the town where I stay.  During a podcast episode, Ann mentioned a February class on learning Ravelry.  Definitely something I could use a lesson in.  When I mapquested East Greenwich I couldn’t believe how close they were to where I stay! – so I reached out and signed up.  Another thing I love about watching The Yarn Shop Girls is the connection we viewers feel to the shop – some of us without ever stepping through the door.  And my first visit did not disappoint.

Ann warmly greeted me.  Gayle was at a table in the back of the shop laughing, chatting and helping the knitters and crocheters who filled all of the chairs.  They have a beautiful selection of yarn and a lovely space for spinning and weaving.  I paid for my class and bought some yarn to work on shrugs for the Providence RMD House, excited that my class was the perfect excuse to come back.

The yarn I bought for our shrugs is Major by Universal Yarn.  It is a bulky yarn but is lofty, machine washable, has amazing yardage and a great price. Holding 2 strands together on a US19 needle creates the perfect stitch making a warm but lightweight fabric.  Casting on only 76 stitches and working for about 28”, a shrug is completed very quickly.   I also bought a skein of Rozetti Alpaculence and carried it with 2 skeins of Major still on the US19 (29″ circular) needle.  The Alpaculence is a fine yarn with over 400 yards per skein.  Getting used to US19s might be a little awkward at first and you might find your stitches to be a bit loose.  Consider adding a strand of Alpaculence, it will add a bit of sparkle and subtle color changes to your shrug.


A week later, during the Ravelry class, my Ravelry name, StayStrongTotes, prompted me to explain why I needed the class – and the help!  I am very grateful and excited to announce that the Yarn Shop Girls, (Ann, Gayle and Marissa) have hopped on board and will do their best to help get some support making shrugs for RMD House Providence.  I haven’t had a chance to meet Marissa yet – but its just one more great reason for me to hurry back up to Rhode Island!

If you’d like to Send a Hug through a Shrug, stop in and visit Love 2 Knit and pick up 2 skeins of Major.  We would love everyone knitting and crocheting shrugs to consider lacing the sleeves closed instead of sewing them.  Crochet a chain, make an i-cord, use a strand of yarn or a pretty ribbon (maybe 40-50″) to create the sleeves giving the mom who receives your gift the option of wearing it or removing the laces and using it as a small throw.






Stay Strong Tote Shrug Pattern







I taught myself how to crochet recently in order to better understand crochet stitches and to allow me to create a simple pattern for all of the crocheters looking to send a hug through a shrug.  Again, this can be made using 2 skeins of Major and uses an R hook.  Works up incredibly fast!

Stay Strong Tote Crocheted Shrug Pattern



We are also hoping to get sock knitters or those who have made the fingering weight shawls that are so popular (Find you Fade makers we are talking to you) to use up some of their leftover yarn and help us make little Stay Strong Bear Buddies for the children entering RMD Houses.

Our pattern is super quick and easy.   Knitted in the round from the top down, dividing the stitches to create legs and knitting one i-cord to make the arms that you thread through the two arm hole openings that were made by knitting a few stockinette rows when creating the body.  Sew on a cute face, stuff and seam top of head closed.

Stay Strong Bear Buddy Pattern

If you don’t live near Love 2 Knit, contact one of the Yarn Shop Girls.  We are hoping to make up some kits to make it easier for you to “Send a Hug through a Shrug” to a very worried mom.




Thank you to all of the wonderful ladies at Love 2 Knit who so graciously and patiently shared their knitting/crocheting time to listen to me explain our mission and our needs.  And a huge thank you to Ann, Gayle and Marissa for helping to promote the Stay Strong Tote foundation.   With your help we just might make our goal of providing a Stay Strong Tote to every mom entering the Providence RMD House a reality.  These moms are on an incredibly difficult journey – please pitch in and help send them a little love and support..

If you haven’t met the Yarn Shop Girls, check out their podcast.  If you’re anywhere near East Greenwich, Rhode Island, stop in – you will be so glad you did.  I know I am.

Yarn Shop Girls Podcast

For additional advice on shrugs click here

If you have any questions, please email Mary


1 thought on “Thank you Yarn Shop Girls!”

  1. another NJ charity to knit for! I am a beginner knitter in Point Pleasant NJ.
    can you email me info so i can add you to my list of projects to try?
    Do you require special yarn or colors?
    I think i would like to try the bears with leftover yarns…do i just order a kit?
    Thank you

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