Gingerbread House Stocking Knit Along – The trouble with knit and purl and embroidery

I really thought the gingerbread portion of my Gingerbread House Stocking would be the easiest section. This section is simple knit and purl stitches, knit in the round with no color changes – easy-peasy, right? Wrong! I had to tink back the first time because I realized that I had knit one round on one side only, making the pattern off on that side on the next round. Then I put my stocking down, and when I picked it up to start working again I realized I wasn’t sure where I was in the pattern. After counting rounds and reviewing the pattern, I was sure that I knew what round to knit next. I started knitting again, only to determine after several rounds that the pattern was not correct and I was not on the right round. I had to essentially rip back to the beginning of the section and start again (for a second time)!

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Post-it notes are a great way to keep track of your place in a pattern

I finally put my thinking cap on and acknowledged that while this is an easy section, it is very repetitive and I need to pay attention and keep track of my rounds. I got a Post-it note and moved it along the written instructions, ensuring that I would complete both sides of the stocking before I moved to the next round. This simple use of a Post-it also guaranteed that I would know what round I was knitting if I put the stocking down again. Such an easy fix – I wish I would have thought of it before I ripped back (twice).

 

 

 

Once the gingerbread house is complete, the instructions state to outline the windows and doors. The embroidery is the part of the stocking that I have really been dreading. I have never been very good at needlework, and the original stocking is so darling, I really want mine to measure up. After having a bit of a panic about the embroidery, I realized that it is a simple chain stitch. While nearly impossible for me to create this stitch with a needle and yarn, it is easy enough for me to make with a slipped crocheted chain. Once I realized I could produce this embroidery with a crochet hook, I was off and running. I also realized that there is a very good reason the designer has you make it now. Once the foot is complete, it is going to be very difficult to add this embroidery to the leg section, and by adding it now I’ll have less finishing work later.

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With the working yarn on the inside of the stocking, insert the hook from RS to WS and pull up a loop. With 1 loop on the hook, insert the hook again to the WS of work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Catch the yarn and pull up a second loop.

 

 

 

 

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Pull this new loop through the first loop on the hook.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chain stitch complete

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With one loop on the hook, repeat the process, making a slip stitch chain to outline the windows and door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I still have to make the candy cane poles, but they are a simple I-cord and I expect they’ll take very little time, so I am hopeful that I will have the foot complete by the end of the weekend.

What about you? Have you been knitting along with me? Have you completed your gingerbread house section? Did you have any difficulties with the embroidery? What method did you use to create your chain stitches? Tell us how your stockings are coming along – we would love to hear about your projects and see your photos. If you haven’t been knitting along with us it’s not too late to join, and we still have a few kits left as well. Don’t miss out on this fun project – order your Gingerbread House Stocking Kit and knit along with us!

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Help break the world record for the largest Christmas stocking!

Our friends at Spinrite are planning something huge for the holiday season of 2015 – they are enlisting charitable knitters and crocheters to come together to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest Christmas stocking! They are already accepting donations of 3′ x 3′ blankets that will be sewn together to form the stocking, so you can imagine how big the finished piece will be by the end of 2015.

Children of Fallen Patriots Help break the world record for the largest Christmas stocking!The best part is that everyone is encouraged to use their fabulous new yarn, Caron United, and 15 cents of each skein sold goes directly to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. This wonderful organization provides college scholarships to the children of military heroes who lost their lives serving our country. Then, after the stocking is assembled and measured for the world record, it will be taken apart and each blanket will be cleaned and donated to a military charity.

Worlds largest stocking Help break the world record for the largest Christmas stocking!

 

We here at the Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet office are excited to contribute to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation by being a part of this amazing endeavor! If you’re participating too, be sure to share this cute button to raise awareness of the world record attempt and the amazing charity it supports.

 

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Spring 2015 Photo Shoot

Last Friday we wrapped up the photography for the Spring 2015 Issues of Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet. While our photo shoots entail a lot of running around and toting bins full of knit and crocheted projects from location to location, we always have a blast. However, this time Mother Nature blasted back… with insanely frigid temperatures!

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It was challenging to get a warm, springy look in our photographs when our poor models were shivering even when we were inside, but JC, Kathy, and Danielle somehow managed to make the photos look bright and cheery. It’s amazing how different things can look through the camera.

 

 

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At times, the reflection of the light off the snow worked to our advantage, but other times it was a little intense. Here I am trying to filter it with a sheet.

 

 

 

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Even though the weather outside was frightful, we had a fabulous time checking out the Oakwood Homes’ Carriage House Models in Denver during the shoot. These homes are spectacular, and the layouts are functional and attractive. All of us kept saying we could see ourselves living there. The people at the Oakwood Homes are wonderful as well, so be sure to stop by if you’re in the area.

 

 

We can’t wait to share our Spring 2015 Issues with you! Until then, check out the Winter Issues of Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet to hold you over. We have plenty of gorgeous patterns to keep your hands busy and your wardrobe stylish.

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Crazy for Cowls

When it comes to knitting and crochet projects, do you play favorites? While I make my fair share of hats, toys, and even the occasional afghan or sweater, I’ve realized that I definitely have a favorite type of project. I am a cowl-aholic.

I like cowls because they are pretty quick to make and you can often wear them indoors and show them off all day long. They’re great for dressing up a plain shirt because they almost act like cozy yarn necklaces! These same wonderful qualities make them fantastic gifts as well, so keep them in mind as you’re planning your holiday crafting.

If you’re also crazy for cowls, check out a few fun projects in my crafting queue.

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Knitters, have you seen the Eternal Knot Cowl? The knot motifs are created with easy slipped stitches and symbolize friendship, so this pattern would be an amazing way to show a dear friend how much she means to you. I’m trying to decide which colors I want to use. What colors would you choose?

 

 

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I’m also a big fan of the Cinched Rib Cowl. This one will be easy knitting, but the cool smocked sections give it a little something special. If you’ve never wrapped stitches like this, our handy wrapped stitch tutorial will walk you through the process. The wraps highlight the different colors in the yarn, so a variegated yarn is perfect for this pattern.

 

 

Moonstone Cowl Crazy for Cowls

 

Crocheters, can we take a moment to drool over the Moonstone Cowl together? I love how the diamond stitch pattern is both lacy and substantial. You can get completely different looks depending on the yarn you select, so this design is really versatile. It has been especially cold here in Colorado, so I’m leaning towards a worsted weight yarn to make my cowl a little cozier while still keeping the delicate look.

 

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Since it has been so chilly, the cozy texture of the Nottingham Cowl has been calling my name. The popcorn stitches are worked in a chunky yarn to make it extra plush, and it’s big enough to wear as a hood as well. I can’t wait to wrap myself up in this design!

 

 

 

 

If you haven’t gone crazy for cowls yet, I am officially inviting you to take the plunge! Do you have another favorite type of project? Share your thoughts with us here or on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Special Savings – The more you shop, the more you save!

As we gear up for the holidays, I always have my eyes peeled for incredible deals, and our Crochet and Knit Shop has a fantastic offer for you right now. From today until November 20th, you can save money simply by doing something we all love – shopping! That is definitely a deal I can get behind.

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Browse through our amazing collection of knit and crochet patterns, supplies, kits, and more, then use the coupon codes above to get this limited-time offer. Here are a few items I have my eye on, and now is the perfect time to order them!

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Knitters, isn’t the lattice lace trim on the Twinkling Tinsel Top incredible? From the sparkly yarn to the flattering shape, this shell has “holiday party” written all over it. I love how it looks with a simple skirt, but you could also pair it with slacks for a more casual look.

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The Heathered Happiness Hat has been calling my name ever since Jen knit a few over the summer. Get the Heathered Happiness Hat kit to get the same beautiful finish as the sample photographed in the magazine! The fine wool yarn really makes this design and the hat is nice and warm for those chilly winter days. Each kit has enough yarn to make two hats, so you get a lot of bang for your buck.

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Crocheters, if you have a few kids on your shopping list this year, the Panda Party Set will definitely make their eyes light up! The cute beanbag cover really takes your breath away, and the little toy is  great for kids of all ages.

Olive Twist Special Savings   The more you shop, the more you save!

Kathy made the Olive Twist Shawl for our summer crochet along, and I’ve been crazy for it ever since. The linen yarn creates a nice crisp finish and allows you to wear this piece all year round, so be sure to order your Olive Twist Shawl kit to get the same result! The filigreed stitches set this shawl apart, and the 5 stunning color choices mean there is a kit you’re sure to love.

These are just a few of the products you can save on! Are you looking for organization, hooks, needles, or books? Head on over to the Crochet and Knit Shop and start saving today!

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Seamless Lace Stockings – Knit along with designer and author, Faina Goberstein!

Romantic, vintage-inspired lace always makes my heart go pitter-patter, and when that lovely lace is in the form of a fashionable knee-high stocking, I can’t wait to cast on. Being a beginning sock knitter, I’m super excited about Faina Goberstein’s new knit-along course, How to Knit Seamless Lace Stockings. These stockings are engaging enough for a seasoned sock knitter, but Faina’s clear explanations and expertise make the pattern accessible for newbies like me as well.

Seamless Lace Stockings 300x144 Seamless Lace Stockings   Knit along with designer and author, Faina Goberstein!

The course syllabus gives you a step-by-step outline for the class and teaches you the anatomy and sizing of hand-knit socks. The best part is you’ll also get instructions on how to alter the pattern to get the perfect fit and suit your personal style! The instructions are convenient PDF downloads that you can save and refer back to as many times as you like. If you have trouble viewing the PDFs in Internet Explorer, we found that we had no problems at all using Firefox.

These gorgeous socks feature a unique dewdrop cast on, and part one the course includes a helpful video to show you exactly how to work it. It’s actually a clever variation of the long-tail cast on, and you can watch the video as many times as you need to master this cool technique.

You’ll also get awesome videos explaining how to section off your stitches to work with double pointed needles and join in the round without twisting your stitches. One of my favorite takeaways was Faina’s technique for creating a tighter join when working in the round. When I join to begin knitting in the round, my first stitch is always a bit looser than the rest, so I can’t wait to use Faina’s method on all kinds of projects! As a special bonus, Faina also walks you through the process of knitting in the round using two circular needles. I’ve had trouble with this method in the past, but I feel confident after watching her detailed video instructions.

After you’ve worked the decorative cast on, a simple ribbing on the cuff is knit using elastic thread so these stockings feel comfortable and stretchy while staying in place on your leg. Part two of the knit-along course covers the lace portion of the stocking and features a helpful video on creating the cables. Three beautiful geometric lace patterns are joined to create the stunning design on the main part of the leg, and decreases in the leg section are done “invisibly” between the stitch patterns, creating a stylish and sophisticated look I adore.

Part three has fascinating information on shaping the heel, which often seems to be the hardest part of sock knitting. Faina also gives you wonderful instructions to knit a practice sock, including the heel turn, so even beginning sock knitters like me will have the confidence to tackle the amazing lace stocking pattern.

If you love the support and comradery that comes from knitting with an online group, join us in this fun knit-along and make these amazing heirloom lace stockings with me! The course runs from November 18th to December 15th, and you can access it at any time using your computer, tablet, or smartphone. You can either work at your own pace or follow the posted lessons, so this course is ideal for anyone’s schedule.

Sign up now, get your materials, and get ready to cast on with me and Faina next week. I hope to see you knitting along!

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Charity Spotlight – Warmth for Warriors

In honor of Veteran’s Day, we would like to introduce you to a wonderful charity that donates handmade knit and crocheted hats to comfort both active duty and retired soldiers. Warmth for Warriors is a great organization that is dedicated to thanking soldiers for their service by giving them a small but incredibly meaningful token of appreciation.

This note from a soldier who received a handmade hat says it all:

Warmth for Warriors Charity Spotlight   Warmth for Warriors“I just wanted to say thank you! What a great surprise to have received the hats the other day. I came back from a mission dirty, hungry, and tired; you brought a great smile to all of our faces. I think most of my soldiers slept with your hats on the same day/night. God bless you all, and thank you for what you do.” SFC K. F.

 

If your craft group would like to knit or crochet a few hats to thank these brave heroes for everything they do, please use wool or another natural fiber in a dark color to ensure your donations will stand up to the wear and tear our soldiers experience.

Our soldiers do so much for our country, and it is an honor to have the opportunity to give them a thoughtful gift that will be greatly appreciated.

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Christmas Tree Trio Crochet Along – Magic loop mania!

I made some good progress on my Christmas Tree Trio set over the weekend, and I have one tree down, two more to go! Like I mentioned last week, I started with the bottom section of the large tree so I could check my gauge. My gauge changes depending on my mood, so I wanted to be sure.

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The first step in each section of the trees is an adjustable ring or magic loop. I have a love/hate relationship with the magic loop technique because I love the neat look it creates but find the process kind of finicky. Thankfully, it goes by quickly and eventually becomes second nature. If you’re new to this technique, have no fear! Our free adjustable ring tutorial will walk you through each step.

 

 

First, you’ll make a large loop by wrapping your yarn around your fingers. Make sure your working yarn is in the back and your yarn tail is about 4″ long. Take your hook, draw the working yarn through the large loop, then chain 1.

Now you can work the indicated number of stitches into the large loop. Pull your yarn tail to tighten up your loop. At this point, I think it helps not to tighten the loop all the way until you’ve worked the first stitch of your next round. Then, you can pull the tail to tighten it the rest of the way and continue with your next round!

I love how this technique eliminates the hole at the beginning of the project. If you don’t want to use an adjustable ring, you can also chain 2, work the indicated number of stitches into your first chain, and continue the pattern from here. You may have a slight hole in the center, but in many cases it won’t be noticeable.

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Large tree 168x300 Christmas Tree Trio Crochet Along   Magic loop mania!

My adjustable ring went smoothly and quickly, and then I whipped up the bottom of my large tree. My gauge was spot on, so I kept using my H hook and crocheted the cone section. I slipped it onto my foam cone to test it out, and it fits perfectly!

This week, I’m going to make the small and medium-sized trees before starting any of the garlands. If you haven’t ordered your Christmas Tree Trio kit yet, you still have time! With the kit, you’ll be sure to get the right sized cones, and you won’t have to worry about finding all of your materials. I’m all about easy, trouble-free crafting!

 

What about you? Have you finished your large tree yet? We love hearing from you, so be sure to let us know how your Christmas Tree Trio is progressing!

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Gingerbread House Stocking Knit Along

 

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Gingerbread house panel

Sadly, work and family obligations have recently been cutting into my knitting time and I have not had as much time to work on my stocking as I would have liked. Luckily, I have changed colors, and I am now working on the gingerbread section. I have found this section of knitting particularly easy, as it is comprised of simple knit and purl stitches. My only snag came when I failed to repeat the pattern on both sides of the stocking. I had to tink (knit spelled backwards) back to the beginning of the round to reknit (using the correct row instructions), but that was a quick and easy adjustment. Even with this small error, the knitting has been soothing and rhythmic and I am enjoying this section a lot.

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Close up of gingerbread house panel – nearly finished

The next step will be to turn the heel, and I am looking forward to that section quite a bit. I have to confess that because I always knit my socks on a magic loop, I have found it makes the heel turn, flap, and gusset very easy to keep track of. If you have not knit your socks on a magic loop before, follow along as we make this turn using only one needle.

 

 

 

 

 

What about you? Did you finish your gingerbread house section, and have you moved on to the heel? If you haven’t been knitting along with us, it’s not too late to join. You can get a copy of the pattern here, or for quick and easy shopping order a kit and have everything sent directly to you.

We love hearing from you and seeing pictures of your finished projects, so please tell us how you are doing here on the blog or visit our Facebook page and let us know how your stockings are progressing. Remember, if you get stuck we are here to help! Drop us a lineand let us know where you are stuck, and we will get your needles clicking in no time.

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Christmas Tree Trio Crochet Along – Let’s get started!

I’m excited to start my second Christmas Tree Trio set! I made the sample for someone special, but when the rest of my family got word of it, I was flooded with requests for these cute decorations.

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I’m going to start with the bottom section of the largest tree because it’s used to measure the gauge. Gauge is important for this project because the trees need to fit nicely over the foam cones. You don’t want the foam to peek through your stitches too much.

Each part of the trees begins with an adjustable ring. This technique can seem tricky at first, but it gets easier every time you do it. If you’re new to the adjustable ring (AKA magic loop), check out our free tutorial. You’ll work this technique six times (two for each tree), so this project will give you plenty of practice and you’ll be an expert before you know it!

What are you waiting for? Grab your hook, and let’s make these adorable trees together. If you don’t have time to track down all of the materials (and who does this time of year?), get your Christmas Tree Trio kit today! The pattern, both yarns, beads, and foam cones are included, so you’ll have everything you need to make this set. The yarn for the trees is Cascade 220, and it’s a high-quality wool that will last for countless holiday seasons.

Have you ever started a project with an adjustable ring? How did you find it? Share your experiences with us here or on Facebook. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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