DIYsewing 101

knitting and crochet tutorials with brett bara

by Kate Pruitt

I’m excited about the Land’s End FeelGood Campaign for several reasons. First, I love the idea of hard-working volunteer knitters turning 5,000 pounds of yarn into blankets for those in need. Second, I’m dying to learn how to crochet and I think a video tutorial might be my golden ticket. And last, I love looking at my computer screen and seeing the friendly face of Brett Bara — our resident sewing queen and author of the D*S column Sewing 101 — smiling back at me.

Brett has made three great videos for the campaign, including a couple tutorials on knitting and crochet. They are filmed at the amazing Purl Soho in NYC. I’ve included one below to whet your appetite; you can view all of them here. You can also catch Brett on the CBS Early Show today between 7am and 9am. I can’t wait to score some crochet hooks and get to it! — Kate

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  • I’m looking forward to the tutorial, but I can’t but wonder if feel-good campaigns aren’t exactly that — projects that make the contributors feel good. Somehow I think that poor people would be better off with cash contributions to honest charitable and government aid organizations.

    • reader

      i understand your point about feel-good campaigns, to a degree. but i think there’s a disconnect between that idea and thinking that something like this would be less helpful. are homeless or in-need people in need of monetary donations? absolutely. but would they also be in need of something like blankets if they’re on the street? definitely. i think both are helpful. and by giving someone a blanket you’re not automatically NOT giving them money. i find it odd when people look at a charitable act and think it somehow means people aren’t also doing other things to help people in need. i’ve learned first hand through projects at d*s that people are far, far more likely to donate their time or something like this, that lets them feel more involved, than a cash donation. so if they’re able to get people to stop and think about doing something for other people, and then actually do it, i think it’s definitely good for people in need.

      the bottom line is i think people in need are in need of many things: money, support, basic supplies, clothing, blankets, etc. and i don’t think giving one over the other is anything less than helpful.


  • oh YAY!! a couple of days ago I typed “crochet” in the search box and nothing spectacular came up. This definitely makes my day, and the fact that it promotes a good cause makes the post even more wonderful.

    My 2 cents on the donation issue… we can all donate our time, talent and/or treasure to others. Doing one most certainly does not negate the other and as Grace said, something like the project described above makes people feel more connected and prompts them to want to help in other ways.


  • Thanks so much for this post. As a crocheter, I love to hear about how fingers and yarn are coming together do good in the world!

    I understand Reader’s doubts about the impact of a campaign like this, but I am a firm believer that one can use his/her craft to improve the quality of life for others. Whether one donates actual goods (handmade blankets, scarves, etc.) or a portion of proceeds from sales, at least one step (no matter how small) is being made to better the world. A portion of the sales from my own etsy shop is donated to a clinic & community center for toxic waste victims in the Philippines. Whereas the warm accessories I make wouldn’t be very useful in their tropical environment, the little money I’m able to donate supports much-needed services for a community I care about.

    In short, there are so many ways to make positive change – cash donations are important, but I’m also a fan of more creative contributions. Thanks, again!

  • I’m also excited about the FeelGood Campaign. I’ve been crocheting for years and people love to ask what I am making. Working in public (or even just in front of friends) is a great opportunity to spread the word about a cause without being intrusive. Not all of the people who ask about my work are crafters themselves and after talking about the program they may want to help.

    I agree with Marien. Donating time and money are not mutually exlusive. Quite the opposite. It takes countless hours to make a blanket, time that I will spend thinking about the recipient. That’s a lot of opportunity to be inspired to do more!

  • I thought this was a great idea. However, when I called one of the organizations about participating, they could not provide any info. Later I received an e-mail that informed me that the guilds have been given first dibs on this project and to contact Lands End. I am not a member of any of the crochet or knitting guilds but I can knit and crochet.

    Brett, this sounded like a wonderful opportunity. Sadly, I have decided not to participate. I hope others have better luck.

    • monique

      i’m going to ask brett about this- it doesn’t make sense to me that they’d invite people to participate and then limit it to guilt members. i’m going to check and update on this…something sounds off about that.


      • hi monique!

        whew, as i suspected, i think someone gave you the wrong info about this, or perhaps explained it incorrectly. this is from brett:

        “The program is open to everyone. They’ve tried to make it as “local” as possible by working with local guilds, so that when people want to get involved they can physically pick up the free yarn someplace local to them. You can contact one of the three organizations on landsend.com/feelgood, who should be able to help you find the closest free yarn pick up spot. However, you don’t have to be a member of a guild to pick it up.”

        Also, Brett explained that everyone is welcome to use their own yarn to make squares to submit. This guild issue is purely about providing FREE yarn to people who don’t have or want to use their own.

        Grace :)

  • Awesome on 3 fronts~

    A) I’ve wanted to learn to crochet for eons, so I think is my Golden Ticket also!

    B) Crocheting blankets for needy folks? Wonderful~

    C) Brett has really cute hair. Hehe.

    Thanks again for a great post!


  • She goes WAY to fast for trying to teach someone something. Luckily you can pause and rewind the video if needed, but I sure wish someone would make a really great slow paced tutorial.

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