Monday, July 28, 2008

Patterns for Paws

I am very happy to announce that Lily's Friends and Purebred Cat Breed Rescue are joining forces to raise funds to help their programs help animals in need.

Patterns for Paws will be a collection of knit and crochet patterns. Each pattern will be made available for purchase online and receipt via PDF download. The profits will be split evenly between the two organizations.

If you're a designer and would like to donate a pattern, please send an e-mail to You don't have to be a professional designer to participate.

Keep your eyes open to this blog for information about buying the patterns and helping the animals.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

We're Here to Help

As most of you probably know, parts of Iowa have been hit hard by floods. Some might even say devastated. As a native Iowan, it pains me to see the images coming out of that area.

Among those losing their homes--or who are in danger of losing them--are many pets. Once again we hear stories of people refusing to leave their homes because they are not sure whether pets will be allowed in shelters. Fortunately, some shelters heard the clarion call from the horrific situation surrounding hurricanes Katrina and Rita a few short years ago. But this means that shelters, many already filled to capacity, are finding their resources stretched to extremes.

Lily's Friends, a program of The Lily M. Foundation, Inc., will help. We will be making financial contributions to shelters in the area. In addition, I'm asking for an escalation in making and sending us Lily Pads, the much loved pet blankets we send to shelters and animal hospitals. If you can, please consider donating financially or by sending us Lily Pads. If you'd like to donate funds, you can now do so through PayPal. Just click the Donate button on the right. If you'd like to send Lily Pads, please send an e-mail to for the address.

Thank you,

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tommy's Story

This is Tommy. He lives with me and the furry members of my household. Tommy's parents died in 2007, and their children thought it best that Tommy was put to sleep. After all, he was around 15 years old, diabetic, and had never lived with other animals. Their father had hung on for as long as he could, telling those around him that he had to take care of Tommy. Sadly, his time on earth came to an end and Tommy's fate had been decided--euthanasia.

A cousin and I tried to find a home for Tommy, but for some reason, a geriatric cat with diabetes is not high on most people's adoption list. So he came to live with me. He adapted to the other cats amazingly quickly (though of course there is still the occasional hissing). Tommy's diabetes is being treated, but it's yet to get under control. Yes, he moves more slowly than his new and younger brothers and sisters, but then so do I. Tommy is a very loving cat who loves to sleep on my bed. Often when I look at him I can't help but remember how close he came to not being here.

So what is the purpose of this story? Modern medicine has meant longer lives for humans and for animals. It's not that unusual to hear of a cat living for more than twenty years. It's important for all of us to make arrangements for the care of our pets should we die or become incapacitated. Of course there's no guarantee that our wishes will be followed, but at least someone will know what we wanted.

Write down what should happen to the pets should we no longer be able to care for them. And make sure the person designated as a guardian is willing to accept the responsibility. Make sure that friends and family are aware that you have designated a Pet Care Proxy and where the instructions are placed.

When we take on the responsibility of becoming a pet parent, it's a lifelong commitment. It's important that their futures are secured. Just remember what almost happened to Tommy.

Friday, November 9, 2007


The Lily M. Foundation--including Lily's Friends--is finally legally official. We received our incorporation notice on October 22, 2007. The work we hope to accomplish through the foundation can now proceed in earnest.

Please note that while the foundation is a nonprofit corporation, we are not yet tax-exempt. That is the next step, and I have been warned that it can be a long--very long--process.

I'd like to thank Laura Wilson-Martos for designing the blog button/logos for Lily's Friends and Lily Pads. They have received a lot of positive comments.

I belong to an online group called Knittinghope. Each month a charitable cause is selected, and we knit things the group needs. Lily Pads, a project of Lily's Friends, is December's charity. We will receive Lily Pads and squares to make Lily Pads from the generous knitters who participate in the group.

The next issue of Lily's Friends will be out November 12. If you'd like a copy, send an e-mail to

Monday, September 24, 2007

Help Keep an Animal Comfortable

Lily’s FriendsTM, a program of The Lily M. Foundation, is collecting Lily Pads—blankets for animals. They will be distributed to shelters and veterinary clinics.
It’s easy to participate. There are just a few things to keep in mind.

Since animals come in all sizes and shapes, Lily Pads can come in almost any size you’d like to make. Suggested sizes are:

Small: 14 X 14
Medium: 16 X 16
Large: 24 X 24

If you find that a full-size Lily Pad is a bit more than you’re comfortable making, please consider knitting a block or two, which we will join to make a pad. Blocks should be either 7-inch or 8-inch squares.

The most important factor in choosing yarn for a Lily Pad is washability. Lily Pads must be able to withstand lots of machine washings. Wool is not a good choice. Acrylics hold up very well. Keep in mind that it isn’t necessary to go out and buy the most expensive yarn there is for a Lily Pad. Trust me—it won’t impress the recipient. The yarn should, however, be soft and comfortable.

Feel free to use any pattern you’d like. A Lily Pad can be as complicated or as simple as you’d like. Here are some basic patterns.

Knitted Version
Here is a basic pattern that even the novice knitter can easily follow (this pattern will also work for individual 7- or 8-inch blocks):

Using yarn and needle size of your choice

Cast on 1 stitch.
Row 1: Knit front and back of the cast on stitch (you now have 2 stitches on your needle).
Row 2: Knit in the front and back of the first stitch; knit to end (there are 3 stitches on your needle).

Continue in this pattern (knitting in the front and back of the first stitch and then knit to end) until you reach one of the sides reaches the desired length (for example, 14 inches). Then begin decreasing rows.

Decrease row 1: Knit to last two stitches; knit 2 together.
Continue in this pattern until you have 5 stitches remaining. Bind off.

Please make sure to knot all ends and weave in all tails.

Use 2 strands of yarn—same or different colors—held together throughout.
Make a multicolor Lily Pad from yarn left over from other projects.
Use one color for the increasing section, and another for the decreasing one.
Knit smaller blocks and join them (a great takealong project). Note: If you use different colors for the increasing and decreasing sections, this can give your Lily Pad a look similar to the quilt pattern Flying Geese.

Crochet Lily Pad
Use yarn of your choice (nonwool and washable!) and the size hook recommended for your yarn type.
Gauge is not important.

Make a foundation chain of 81 stitches.
Row 1: Make a single crochet in the second chain stitch. Single crochet to end (you’ll have 80 single crochets). Turn.
Row 2: Chain 1. Make a single crochet in each stitch. Turn.
Continue in this pattern until the Lily Pad is the desired size. Fasten off.
Knot all ends before weaving them in.

A Granny for a Furry Fanny
Use the yarn of your choice (no wool and washable please!). This is a great opportunity to use up those single and partial skeins left over from other projects. Of course you can also make it in one color.
Needle: Use the needle size as recommended on the yarn label. Gauge is not important.

Chain 8 and join with a slip stitch to form a loop.
Round 1: Chain 3, 2 double crochet, chain three, *3 double crochet, 3 chain. repeat from * 2 times, which should bring you to the first stitch of the 3-chain stitch pattern.
Round 2: **Chain 3, 2 double crochet, chain 3, 3 double crochet, chain 3 (this gets you around the corner). Make 3 double crochet in each space created by the 3 chain row, chain 1, 3 double crochet; repeat to end of round.
Round 3 and all subsequent rounds: Repeat from ** until the Lily Pad is the size you want. Fasten off.
Knot all ends before weaving in.

Other Lily Pads
You’re not limited to knitting or crocheting a Lily Pad contribution. Lily Pads can be quilted or sewn as well. If you’re making a quilted version, please do not use the tie method to secure the layers. Rag quilts should also be avoided.

Remember, whatever yarn and whatever pattern you use, have fun and know that there will be an animal very grateful that you took the time to make a Lily Pad.

If you have any questions, or to find out where to submit your Lily Pads, please contact Ida Walker,