Gingerbread House Stocking Knit Along – Picot edge

I have really been enjoying my Gingerbread House Stocking, and I have found the knitting quick and easy. Beginning with a simple color change, the pattern has been very easy to keep track of. From simple color changes to the easy purled row, I find the stitches seem to be flying off my needles. I was initially bothered by a tiny jog / misalignment where the colors/rows/stitches did not completely line up on my first few color change rows, but once I realized that this part of the stocking will be folded over and on the inside of the cuff, the perfectionist knitter in me was able to let go of the tiny inconsistency and I was excited to move on to the picot edge. This picot edging is one of my favorite techniques to add a simple but very decorative edging.

The technique begins with a knitted row of eyelets.

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Before folding for picot edge

Once you have finished the eyelet row and knit the required number of rows, the piece is folded at the eyelet row and seamed. The “seaming” is the only tricky part, but it is quickly mastered.

Begin by picking up a stitch in the directed row below. I prefer to pick up the stitch with the tip of my right needle, but you are welcome to use your left needle.

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Picking up the stitch several rows below

 

Once I have picked up the stitch with my right needle, I transfer it to my left needle (you can skip this process if you pick up the stitch with your left needle – making the technique a bit smoother). Then knit the picked up stitch together with the next live stitch on your needle.

 

 

 

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Transfer picked up stitch from right to left needle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Knit picked up and live stitch together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First side of picot edge complete

 

Continue to pick up a stitch in the indicated row below the live stitch and knit that picked up stitch together with the next live stitch on the needle. Once you have completed several stitches, you will see how the fabric neatly folds along the eyelet edge and naturally creates a darling picot edging.

 

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Finished picot edge

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Close up picot points

 

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Finished picot edge

 

This row did take me a bit longer to knit, but I love how it looks and I can’t wait to change to brown and begin the gingerbread house portion of the stocking.

 

 

 

What about you, did you find the picot edge difficult? If you are not knitting along with us, it’s not too late to join this fun knit along. Get your kit and knit along with us today!

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Easy Weekend Crochet Hats

Did your eyes light up when you saw the adorable Pixie Bonnet featured in Love of Crochet’s special Holiday Crochet 2014 Issue? This cute hat has a special magic that will make your little girl feel just like the fairies and pixies in her favorite movies.

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This sweet design was excerpted from Easy Weekend Crochet Hats by Jennifer J. Cirka, a phenomenal book full of designs for all ages that were inspired by the beauty of Colorado. If you’re craving quick and easy patterns that are also stylish and fun, you are in luck! Easy Weekend Crochet Hats is now available for purchase!

 

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In this book, you’ll find tons of inspiring patterns that would make fantastic holiday gifts. Then, when you’ve crocheted your fill of hats (if that’s even possible), check out the FREE Pixie Scarf pattern and make a charming accessory to complement the Pixie Bonnet.

 

Easy Weekend Crochet Hats Easy Weekend Crochet Hats

 

Do you have a few hat-lovers on your list this year? Grab your copy of Easy Weekend Crochet Hats and get a jumpstart on your holiday crafting!

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Charity Spotlight – Alice’s Embrace

Alice’s Embrace is a wonderful charity that makes a difference in the lives of those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease by donating lap blankets and prayer shawls. We would like to invite you to join the cause and knit or crochet one of these items to provide comfort to the memory impaired.

 

Alices embrace 300x245 Charity Spotlight   Alices EmbraceBefore you make your lap blanket or prayer shawl, be sure to check the guidelines for acceptable yarns and patterns. The good people at Alice’s Embrace take care to ensure that every donated item can be machine washed and dried because these items will get a lot of use and love every day. This means that these treasured lap blankets and shawls will last a long time and become familiar items to the recipients.

 

Knit or crocheted with chunky yarn, these projects will work up in no time and help to enrich the life of someone affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. We hope you will join us in supporting this cause by using your talents to create a handmade item that is destined to be cherished.

 

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Christmas Tree Trio Crochet Along – Coming soon!

Even though we’ve just barely gotten a taste of fall weather, I am planning my holiday crocheting so I can avoid feeling rushed as December gets closer. The Christmas Tree Trio, featured in the Holiday Crochet 2014 Issue, is one adorable project that makes my planning a lot simpler.

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I actually designed this fun set with someone special in mind, and I can’t wait to see her face when I give it to her. However, several other people on my list saw the original samples and said they would adore these three darling trees, and they have the perfect spots for them on their mantels or festively decorated side tables. Basically, I’m making a whole mess of these trees because I keep getting requests for them.

 

 

We invite you to join us in crocheting this fun set on Friday, November 7th! If you want to add some “wow” factor to your own holiday decorations this year, or if you know someone else who loves to deck the halls, get your Christmas Tree Trio Crochet Kit and make this quick and easy project with us.

The kits contain the pattern, yarn, beads, and Floracraft foam cones, and you would have a tough time finding all of these materials for a better price. Getting all of the materials together makes planning my holiday crafting a breeze and eliminates all of the legwork on my end. As we gear up for gift-giving season, anything that can make finding the perfect present simpler is right up my alley!

I hope to see you crocheting along with us! Be sure to visit us on Facebook or Instagram to share photos or updates of your progress. We’d also love to hear who you are making this super cute set for. Don’t worry – we can keep a secret!

 

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The Slow Stitching Movement – Web seminar with Mark Lipinski

Every so often, I get stuck in a crafting rut. I’ve spoken about this with many knitters and crocheters, so I know I’m not alone. For me, this usually happens after the rush of holiday crafting. I spend the end of the year feverishly whipping up project after project to give as gifts to my nearest and dearest, then, come January, I am spent. It’s an odd feeling because I simultaneously want to craft (I am obsessed with all things yarn-related), but I can’t muster the creativity, inspiration, or energy to get started.

 

Slow Stitching The Slow Stitching Movement   Web seminar with Mark LipinskiThis year is going to be different. I am beyond excited about Mark Lipinski’s latest webinar, The Slow Stitching Movement for Knitting, Crochet, and Needlework, and this inspiring and informative course has come at the perfect time. In this webinar, Mark will discuss the benefits of slowing down and savoring the process of making each project. Since I have already begun planning my holiday crafting, this idea definitely speaks to me.

 

He’ll also delve into the process of expanding your own creativity and imagination so you can recharge your passion for patterns whenever things start to feel stale. This webinar can transform the way you approach your own knitting and crocheting.

Sign up for The Slow Stitching Movement for Knitting, Crochet, and Needlework today, then join us on November 11th at 1pm Eastern time for the actual session. If you can’t make it then, don’t worry! Your registration includes access to an archived version of the program and the materials for an entire year.

Until then, we’d love to hear from you! When have you experienced a crafting rut?

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Gingerbread House Stocking – Knit Along

I have been very eager to cast on the Gingerbread House Stocking. After seeing the sample in the office I desperately wanted one of my own, and since my daughter does not have a hand-knit stocking, it seemed like a sign that I should knit one. I am tickled with the colors I have chosen. The cream and brown are the same as the original (proper gingerbread colors), but my red is much brighter – just like a gingerbread house (hello red dye #5).

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The picture is deceptive – the green is much brighter in person

 

 

My green, yellow, and orange are a little brighter than the original as well and definitely remind me of gumdrops (I really love the Dots kind).

 

 

 

 

Because Cascade 220 comes in hanks, I had to spend a little time winding before I could begin, and because I am always anxious to cast on that first stitch, I only wound my red, brown, and cream (the first three colors needed). I love how the yarn looks like little cakes once wound, and it seems even more appropriate that I am using yarn cakes to knit a gingerbread house. Helpful tip – I always pull from the outside of my cake. I hate when the ball collapses on itself and the yarn tangles. If you pull from the outside rather than the center, you can avoid that tangling.

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cast on 1 300x225 Gingerbread House Stocking   Knit AlongThe cast on and first color change were    easy, and my only snag was with the needles. I can never seem to find the needles I am looking for. It probably has something to do with the fact that I usually have several projects going at once. Instead of spending time hunting down my size 6, 16″ circular needles, I decided to use a magic loop method with a longer circular needle.

 

 

I think this would be a good time to confess that I didn’t make a gauge swatch. I know that I should – I know that I am a naughty knitter for not checking my gauge. I am justifying skipping my swatch with the knowledge that my stocking doesn’t need to fit anyone, and quite honestly, I was too excited to cast on to take time to check gauge. I hope Santa will overlook my naughtiness and still put treats in my stocking.

 

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I have knit the first 5 color changes, and my stocking is moving along at a pretty good clip. Helpful tip with the color changes – Do not pull the yarn too tight when knitting the first stitch in the new color. If you pull the yarn too tight each round, you will shorten the first stitch in each round and eventually have a lopsided stocking.

 

What about you? Did you cast on your Gingerbread House Stocking? Did you order a kit, and are you knitting along with us? Please tell us how your stocking is coming (and if you made a gauge swatch). We can’t wait to hear from you and see your pictures.

 

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Sonoma Shawl – A blocking confession

I just finished my Sonoma Shawl, and I can’t believe how fast it worked up after I mastered my puff stitches! Even though they were tricky at first, I kept plugging along because I loved the look of them so much. As I neared the middle point of my shawl (or what I estimated was the middle point), I realized that the puffs had been flying off my hook almost as quickly as the chains and double crochets!

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As my shawl grew, I took some time to admire the amazing softness of the superwash merino wool. I couldn’t wait to wear it, so I dedicated a couple of late nights to this project so I could enjoy it sooner.

 

The edging is quick and easy, but it really makes this shawl! Created with even more puff stitches, it highlights the texture and beauty of the entire design. When I finished up the border, it was time for me to block my shawl… This is where my confession comes in.

I know that blocking is absolutely necessary for some projects (and this is one of them), so you can open up lace patterns and really put the finishing touch on the design. However, I  refuse to buy blocking mats. Maybe I would buy them if I really needed them for a certain project, but they are rather pricey and I’ve found a makeshift solution that works great for me! Are you ready for it?

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Don’t mind the toys under the table

I lay a folded fleece blanket over my dining room table, then cover it with a fitted crib sheet. It may not be the prettiest or most professional setup, but it works! I’ve blocked sweaters, scarves, and shawls on it, and it has never given me trouble.

Sonoma block close up 300x168 Sonoma Shawl   A blocking confessionI used the quilted design to line up my shawl as I stretched and pinned it out to the measurements in the pattern (I do own my fair share of blocking pins – we can’t have rust!). There was a lot of wiggle room as I pinned my shawl. If you want your shawl to be deeper rather than wider, simply stretch and pin it to the measurements you desire.

After pinning, I sprayed it down with water and let it dry overnight before removing the pins. I noticed an immediate difference in the fabric after blocking it! The stitch pattern opened up brilliantly, and it drapes in such a beautiful way.

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A close up of the stitch pattern

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Since mornings are now a bit chilly here in Colorado, I’m wearing my shawl wrapped around my neck like a cowl. If it warms up this afternoon, which is very possible, I can drape it over my shoulders with the point in the back. Triangular shawls are so versatile!

Have you finished your Sonoma Shawl yet? If you weren’t able to crochet along with us, you can still grab a copy of Love of Crochet‘s Fall 2014 Issue and get started! We love seeing what you’re up to, so visit us on Facebook or Instagram and show us your shawls!

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Ruched Hat and Boot Wraps – That’s a wrap!

Over the weekend I wrapped up my Ruched Hat and Boot Wraps, and I cannot be more thrilled about how this project turned out!

I used an elastic bind off to finish up my boot wraps, and the stretchy edge makes them extra comfy. It also allows them to roll and scrunch up to show off the cool ruching.

As I worked this special bind off, I did my reverse yarn over by wrapping the yarn from the back of the work to the front. When it was time to pass this reverse yarn over over my next stitch, I found it easier to insert my needle from the right side of the strand to the left.

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Both the boot wraps and the hat would make phenomenal gifts, and I’m planning on making a few more sets for some lucky friends and family.

 

 

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If you weren’t able to knit along with us and you’re searching for the perfect gift for a picky person on your list, this set definitely fits the bill! Get your Ruched Hat and Boot Wraps Knitting Kit, and knit this trendy set for someone you love. The yarn truly does make the project, and KeNZie by HiKoo is the ideal mixture of softness and sturdiness. I love the slightly fuzzy halo created by the angora. Each kit contains 3 skeins as well as the pattern, so get one while you can!

 

Have you finished your Ruched Hat and Boot Wraps yet? We’d love to see pictures of your progress or finished set, so visit us on Facebook or Instagram and show us how it’s going!

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Knitting and crochet supplies that support breast cancer research

Denise Interchangeable Knitting & Crochet has partnered with della Q to bring you  convenient knitting and crochet sets in fabulous and functional cases. They offer a variety of stylish color options, but the three sets we are most excited about are the pink ones below. Purchase one of these high-quality sets, and $5 of the purchase price will be donated to breast cancer research!

int knitting needles 300x214 Knitting and crochet supplies that support breast cancer research

These awesome interchangeable knitting needles come in sizes ranging from 5 to 19, with 6 different cord lengths. You can even connect the cords to create longer ones for those extra-large projects. The roll-up silk case is perfect for crafting at home or on-the-go.

 

int crochet hooks 300x300 Knitting and crochet supplies that support breast cancer research

 

Tunisian crocheters will love these interchangeable crochet hooks, but you’ll have to guard them from “standard” crocheters as well. Any crafter can appreciate these handy, all-inclusive supplies. I find that the deep groove in each hook makes many stitches easier, and these hooks definitely helped me with the puff stitches in my Sonoma Shawl.

 

 

int double end Knitting and crochet supplies that support breast cancer research

Speaking of Tunisian crochet, have you tried working this versatile technique in the round? To give it a go, you’ll need a set of double-ended crochet hooks, and this handy kit is just what the doctor ordered!

 

All 3 of these sets make changing needles or hooks a breeze, and you do not need any pins or grippy pads to swap them out. Simply twist the pieces onto the cords, and they snap securely into place without any tools.

Get one of these pretty and practical sets for yourself or someone you love, and you’ll feel good about your purchase in more ways than one. Not only will you be investing in a meaningful craft, but you’ll also make a valuable contribution to important research that will hopefully eradicate breast cancer in the not-so-distant future.

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Arch of Hope – An inspiring yarn sculpture raises breast cancer awareness

We are in awe of the many different ways people use art, creativity, and yarn to inspire others. Caribou Coffee has partnered with street yarn artist Eric Reiger (known as HOTTEA) to design an impressive yarn sculpture, the Arch of Hope, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The arch, designed to inspire and uplift those impacted by breast cancer, is housed in Cancer Survivor’s Park in downtown Minneapolis throughout the month of October.

Arch 2 300x300 Arch of Hope   An inspiring yarn sculpture raises breast cancer awareness

Representing the highs and lows of the cancer journey, the highest point of the arch symbolizes the true spirit of hope. The varying strands of pink yarn represent uplifting wishes intended to encourage those in the midst of their cancer journey. Caribou Coffee’s Arch of Hope honors the memory of their original roastmaster, Amy Erickson, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 1995.

Arch of Hope 300x200 Arch of Hope   An inspiring yarn sculpture raises breast cancer awareness

 

For the remainder of this month, HOTTEA, CancerCare and Caribou Coffee are encouraging fans to share their own images of the Arch of Hope, along with uplifting stories, pictures and videos, using #CaribouUplifts on social media.

 

Your stories have the power to give others hope or provide a meaningful way to honor those affected by breast cancer. We’ll be tweeting our own uplifting messages, and we look forward to seeing inspiring stories, photos, or videos from you too.

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