Autumn and Indigo

The Stuart Throw Blanket & Cancer

patternsclaire borchardt

This one is near and dear to my heart. If you follow me on instagram you may have heard about the recent passing of my Dad. Initially I had planned on working up a new springy fun colored shawl, but my heart just wasn't in it. I needed something warm and comforting - like a blanket. That's when the Stuart Throw Blanket was born. Named after my Dad, Donald Stuart, who passed after a courageous battle against cancer. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the cause.

The Stuart Throw Blanket works up fairly quickly and is perfect for beginners. It's made with an easy to follow 2 stitch, 1 row pattern repeat; perfect for lounging on the couch and watching tv. It's airy, but heavy enough to give you that extra layer of comfort when you may need it most.

Pattern may be purchased here, Ravelry, or on Etsy

I wasn't sure if I should post this, but I feel as if I should - for my Dad, and for anyone who just knows in their gut that something is wrong, but they can't ever seem to get the right answer from a doctor. Long story short, Dad was a healthy man. About 2 years ago he started having issues. (Please forgive the rest of this post, but it's SO real.. we're humans, and it's life). He went to see a Dr about pains, which he was told were hemorrhoids. He was given medications to help - and they didn't. He went and got a 2nd opinion, same thing. Medications.. no change. Over a 2 year span, he saw 5 FIVE! different doctors - and was given the same diagnosis. No one ever recommended a colonoscopy or blood work - they just gave him the medicinal bandaid and sent him on his way. Finally, the last doctor he saw recommended blood work, and the results were off the charts. It was recommended that he get a colonoscopy right away, so he did, and right then, they knew the previous diagnosis was wrong. Stage 4 metastatic rectal cancer that had spread to his liver, kidneys, and other parts of his body. 2 years he'd been fighting this. The sad part, the Dr who did the colonoscopy said right away, he never even saw a sign of hemorrhoids - it was a tumor.

Dad was diagnosed in September of last year, and immediately started chemo treatments. Things were looking up, and then all of sudden, the Tuesday before last, he took a turn for the worst. He passed that Saturday. Since his cancer diagnosis, he has been in the absolute best care, and I can't thank everyone who helped him along this journey enough.

Needless to say, if you feel something is wrong and you feel like you aren't getting the right answer, get a 2nd opinion. Advocate for yourself (or your children) and ask for in depth blood work or anything that will put your mind at ease. I'm not bashing doctors by any means, but YOU are the only one that knows when something isn't right. If Dad had been properly diagnosed 2 years ago when it all started, I guarantee he would have had a better chance at fighting this. 

Fisherman Rib Knit Hat

patternsclaire borchardt

Brioche knitting. Sounds scary, right? Well, it's really not. While the stitches are a bit more complex, there's an easy way to get the swing of things, and it doesn't require much. There's no need to dive in knee-deep thinking you have to change out colors or figure out the knitty (get it?) gritty of how you can get two contrasting colors with your stitches - you can simply start with a single color and start with the basics. There's only 2 simple stitches you'll need to know to make your first brioche knit item (I have simple patterns for both a hat and a scarf), which are k1b (knit one below) and p1b (purl one below). It's REALLY not hard or scary, so go ahead and grab a pattern and make something new (and simply exquisite) for yourself or a friend! 

Personal Use Only - WHY!?

patternsclaire borchardt

I've been asked pretty frequently, "Why are your patterns for personal use only? A lot of designers sell theirs for commercial use at the same price."

**Please don't think that what I'm about to say is derogative or that I don't support other makers. I LOVE my maker community - the people behind the brands and everything they have to offer. I am completely supportive in helping other brands build themselves, since we all start somewhere! 

The answer is pretty simple, and while it may sound harsh, it remains the same. I've worked my tail off over the last 5 years getting my shop to where it is now. 5 years of love, tears, trial and error, and figuring out what works business wise and what doesn't. I've poured countless hours and endless days crocheting or knitting, and running my business. Do I think you should be able to just make the items I've worked so hard on and sell them? No. Here's why.

While I love the idea that someone can buy a pattern and make something for themselves (or a loved one), I personally don't like the idea that I've worked so hard for something, only to give it away. I mean, $5.50 for a pattern, that contains all the information you need for you to make it endless times, is CHEAP - if you consider the amount of hours actually put behind the item. I have to turn an idea into something tangible, make it 284785932 times to make sure it's right, then translate all of that onto paper. THEN, I have to type it up, edit, have pattern testers test it, edit it again, and then put it up for sale. We're talking a lot more hours put into actually writing a pattern, versus actually making the item itself, (once you have the making part down pat.) 

I think patterns are a great way to get your creative juices flowing. I've turned to numerous patterns when my creative side just didn't want to cooperate. New stitches, combinations, and new designs - sort of like a new outlook on what you can actually do with yarn - especially when you've worked the same ol' items a gazillion times over the holiday season. That's what my patterns are designed for - inspiration, leisure making, or gifts.

I had someone recently contact me, stating they were looking for something everyone liked. While I can see why that would seem like the optimal plan, and a way to make quick money, it totally takes away from the authenticity of a maker and the item that's being replicated 1000x over. It's kind of like the cheap way out. Literally. Example: While I'm not trying to knock anyone, it became quite apparent over the last few months that a hat someone designed, was beginning to be made by what seemed like, everyone. Why would a buyer shop with YOU, if they could find the same item everywhere else? If someone's looking for a strong brand, unique items, and something different.. they more than likely won't, especially if they can find a knock off for dirt cheap because the seller didn't have to put the time and effort behind the piece (usually what can increase the price.)

I believe a maker should make things that are true to their brand, and true to them. Items completely unique that make their brand their own. Don't try to knock off or sell what may seem popular in another shop - it takes away from the "original?" brand and their business. Why do I say this? Because my tireless work feeds my kids and keeps a roof over our heads. (I'll post later on my personal story, but it's just me, and my shop is genuinely all my kids and I have financially.) Find something that works for you, not everyone else. OR find a pattern that inspires you, then make something of your very own from what you may have learned from it. If a pattern is listed as "personal use only" don't abuse it. The makers behind the patterns and the items have their own reasons for listing it as marked. 

YES, I know the knitting and crochet community is HUGE, and a lot of patterns/items can be easily repeated and resold (without intention).. it's nearly impossible for something to not be, especially for beginners working with the basics they know. That's totally okay! What I'm saying is, don't buy a pattern that's listed as personal use only and claim it as your own. It's just wrong. Please respect the maker behind it, and be inspired instead!

For those of you selling items made from patterns that offer reselling - please. Please. PLEASE don't forget to give proper pattern credit in the item listing. This is vital, and it shows you care .. which goes a heck of a lot further than some people think. Things may change further down the road, but for now, especially while I still sell my physical items (again, it's how I feed my children!), I prefer to leave my patterns marked as "personal use only" and keep my items unique to my brand. They are what make me, me.


claire borchardt

Welcome to the new site!

Here you'll find all the deets about my knitting and crochet world. I'll be posting about yarns, hooks/needles, stitches, business talk, and more! I hope you'll join me on my adventure here! Talk to you soon!