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 Your registration includes access to an archived version of the program and the materials for an entire year.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).

gumdrop yarn 300x273 Gingerbread House Stocking   Knit Along

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.

cast on 300x213 Gingerbread House Stocking   Knit Along

 

 

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.

 

cuff 1 300x203 Gingerbread House Stocking   Knit Along

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!

Sonoma getting there 300x168 Sonoma Shawl   A blocking confession

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?

Sonoma block see table 300x168 Sonoma Shawl   A blocking confession

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.

Sonoma st patt 300x168 Sonoma Shawl   A blocking confession

A close up of the stitch pattern

Sonoma done 218x300 Sonoma Shawl   A blocking confession

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.

IMG 4950 200x300 Ruched Hat and Boot Wraps   Thats a wrap!

 

 

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.

 

 

IMG 4954 200x300 Ruched Hat and Boot Wraps   Thats a wrap!

 

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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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Like the many thousands of people who have been affected by breast cancer in one way or another, I too, have been affected. My best friend’s mother, Doris, whom I have known for almost 30 years, has been fighting her breast cancer for almost half as long as I’ve known her.

My mom passed away from lung cancer in 2006. After that, I unofficially adopted Doris as my second mom. She has seen me through my gawky teenage years, as well as marriage and kids, and was my source for information, but mostly comfort, when discussing chemotherapy and radiation for my mom.

I have a countless number of t-shirts earned from the many breast cancer events I have attended, even when Doris herself couldn’t make it because her body was just too weak and ravaged by her treatments.

Since Doris had gone through another round of treatments this year, it occurred to me with the cooler weather and the fact that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, that Doris needed a big, fluffy pink scarf with the bright pink ribbon that symbolizes breast cancer awareness attached somewhere on it. I could envision the scarf so clearly and started working on finding the perfect stitch pattern for it right away.

 Breast Cancer Awareness MonthI am all about a quick and easy stitch pattern, but I love the look of lacy patterns too. I discovered a great combination of shells and chains which worked perfectly with the chunky yarn I found, but would probably work great with a lighter weight yarn too. I added some fun fringe and a dark pink crocheted breast cancer ribbon, and voila! The Doris Scarf was born!

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, make this free pattern to show your support for those affected by this terrible disease. Crochet this soft scarf as a thoughtful gift for a survivor in your life, or make it for yourself to raise awareness and encourage others to do the same.

The Doris Scarf

Skill level: Easy

Yarn weight: 6

Yarn used: Cozy Wool by Loops & Thread

Materials

  • 2 skeins Cozy Wool by Loops & Thread, 50% wool, 50% acrylic (90 yds/127g) in color Petal Pink
  • Small amount worsted weight scrap yarn in darker pink
  • U.S. size M-13 (9mm) crochet hook
  • U.S. size G-6 (4.25mm) crochet hook or size required for ribbon
  • Yarn needle

 

Special abbreviation

Shell: [(1 dc, ch 1) twice, 1 dc] in same st.

 

Stitch pattern

Shells and Chains

See also chart.

Row 1: Ch 1, sc 1 in first dc, skip ch-1 and dc 1, shell in sc, skip 1 dc and ch-1, sc 1 in dc (center st of shell), skip ch-1 and 1 dc, shell in sc, skip ch-1, sc in 3rd ch of t-ch, turn.

Row 2: Ch 4 (counts as dc 1 and ch-1), 1 dc in same st, skip 1 dc and ch-1, sc in dc (center st of shell), skip ch-1 and 1 dc, shell in sc, skip 1 dc and ch-1, sc in dc (center st of shell), skip ch-1 and 1 dc, [1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc] in last st, turn.

Rep rows 1 and 2 for patt.

ShellsandChains1 Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 

 

 

 

 

Scarf

Chain 14.

Row 1: Sc 1 in 2nd ch from hook, skip 2 ch, shell in next ch, skip 2 ch, sc 1 in next ch, skip 2 ch, shell in next ch, skip 2 ch, sc in last ch, turn.

Row 2: Work row 2 of Shells and Chains patt.

Row 3: Work row 1 of Shells and Chains patt.

Rows 4–73: Rep rows 2 and 1 of Shells and Chains patt.

Fasten off.

 

Finishing

Fringe

Cut 28 strands of yarn 14” for fringe. *Using crochet hook, fold yarn in half and pull through corner at end of scarf to make a loop, pull ends through and tighten. Rep from * evenly spacing 14 pieces of fringe along end. Trim as needed. Repeat fringe along opposite end.

 

Ribbon

Ch 32.

Row 1:  Sc 1 in 2nd  ch from hook, sc 1 in next 13 ch, 2 sc in next ch, 3 sc in next ch, 2 sc in next ch, sc 1 in rem 14 ch, turn. (31 sc)

Turn to work along opposite side of foundation chain.

Row 2: Sc 31.

Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing. Sew ribbon to bottom right corner of scarf and weave in ends.

 

 

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Risk Free Trial – 5 days of FREE Craft Daily video access!

Craft Daily now has over 500 crafting videos available, ranging from knitting, to crochet, to spinning, weaving, sewing, and more! They are celebrating this exciting milestone by giving YOU 5 days of FREE access to their entire video collection!

Sign up for the free trial of Craft Daily any time between now and October 13th, and you can instantly view videos that will inspire you and help you expand your knitting or crochet skills from the comfort of your own home. Enter code CDFT500 after adding the free trial to your cart at checkout, and you’ll be able to explore Craft Daily risk free for 5 full days beginning right when you sign up!

lace leaf edge Risk Free Trial   5 days of FREE Craft Daily video access!

 

 

Knitters, did you fall in love with the Lace Leaf Edge Shawl from Love of Knitting’s special Knit Accessories 2014 Issue? Check out the helpful video and learn how to add the stunning lace border to the edge of this shawl.

 

 

painters palette 194x300 Risk Free Trial   5 days of FREE Craft Daily video access!

 

Are you eager to learn entrelac so you can make the Painter’s Palette Wrap from the Fall 2014 Issue of Love of Knitting? Learn this impressive skill directly from designer, Brigitte Reydams!

 

 

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Follow along with designer Jen Lucas and make the gorgeous Carved Jade Mitts to keep you cozy this season. You’ll be head over heels for this divine cabled pattern!

 

 

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Crocheters, if you made the beautiful Sonoma Shawl as our fall crochet along, now you can learn to crochet the puff stitches in the same geometric pattern, but in a stylish rectangular shape. Follow along with Lisa Gentry and make the Arabesque Stunner from the Fall 2013 Issue of Love of Crochet.

 

 

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Intrigued by crocheted cables? The Bubble Gum Twist hat from Love of Crochet’s special Crochet More 2014 Issue is just the project for you! The handy video makes learning this versatile skill a snap, and designer Jill Wright will help you every step of the way.

 

 

 

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Make the luxurious Convertible Cashmere sweater from the Holiday 2013 Issue of Love of Crochet, and it is destined to become an instant favorite. The lacy bodice perfectly complements the ribbed sleeves, and the cowl is removable so you can leave it off if the weather isn’t too chilly.

 

These are just a handful of the helpful videos you can view for FREE. This is a risk free trial, and there is absolutely no cost if you cancel before your 5 day free trial ends. If you decide you love Craft Daily’s vast collection of crafting videos, you’ll automatically enroll in the monthly subscription, which is an incredible deal at only $19.99 per month for unlimited video access!

Visit Craft Daily today and take a look at all of the fun patterns and techniques available at your fingertips. Which video are you going to watch first?

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Ruched Hat and Boot Wraps – Facing my fear

This past weekend was a big one for me. I overcame a crafting fear that has plagued me ever since last year. That’s right – I cast on and joined to work in the round with double pointed needles for the first time!

I know this does not sound like cause for celebration, but I was much more concerned about casting on with double points to make the boot wraps than I was about learning how to ruche. I’ve been comfortable using DPNs for the crown shaping on hats (including the ruched one in this set) for a long time, but casting on with them was another story. I think my fear came into play because the first time I tried casting on with them, I was using a pattern that had only 6 stitches cast on to 3 DPNs, and it was really tricky to keep my needles from falling all over the place.

If you are new to casting on with DPNs, these boot wraps will be perfect for you too! The large number of cast on stitches holds the needles in place nicely, so they don’t try to get away from you. To begin, I used a ribbed cable cast on, which is worked the same as a regular cable cast on, except you will cast on every other stitch purlwise to mimic the k1, p1 rib on the boot cuff. When you cast on purlwise, you still need to insert your needle underneath both loops of the first stitch on your left needle to make it a cable cast on.

After casting on all of the stitches onto one double pointed needle, I transferred 1/3 of them over to a second needle and another 1/3 of them over to a third needle so they were evenly distributed. Then, I arranged the needles into a triangular shape, with my working yarn coming from the right side, and knit my first stitch to join in the round. After joining, it was smooth sailing!

My ribbing worked up quickly, then I worked the ruching just as I did on the hat. I wasn’t sure how long I wanted my boot wraps to be, so I tested them out by placing them in my favorite pair of fall boots. I decided to repeat rounds 1-11 twice to reach the length that would work best for me, but I can see how different lengths would work better with different boot styles, so feel free to customize your boot wraps. That’s one of the best parts of making your own accessories!

Ruched Hat and Boot Wraps1 200x300 Ruched Hat and Boot Wraps   Facing my fear

 

I’m almost ready to work the elastic bind off, and I imagine my second boot wrap will fly off my needles. How is your Ruched Hat and Boot Wraps set coming along? These fun accessories work up in a flash, so you still have time to join the knit along if you haven’t started yet! Get your Ruched Hat and Boot Wraps kit or a copy of the Fall 2014 Issue of Love of Knitting, and make this cool set with us!

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Sonoma Shawl Crochet Along – Third time’s a charm

After much deliberation, I decided to try the beautiful Sonoma Shawl with a smaller hook to try to get the correct gauge. My gauge was a bit looser than the pattern calls for, and I figured it would only grow when I blocked it. Since I kind of liked the fabric I created with my H hook, I used a new ball of yarn instead of unraveling it. I worked through row 10 with a G hook and compared my two “swatches” side by side. While the fabric I crocheted with an H was nice, the one made with a G is perfect! It matched the gauge of the original sample, and it looked a bit crisper and cleaner than the looser swatch.

Sonoma G hook 300x168 Sonoma Shawl Crochet Along   Third times a charm

My trusty G hook

 

As I started this gorgeous pattern for the third time, I realized how much I love patterns that can work as their own gauge swatch. Just work to around row 10 so you can measure your gauge, and if you like it you can just keep on stitching!

 

Sonoma G hook close up 300x168 Sonoma Shawl Crochet Along   Third times a charm

This stitch pattern is amazing!

 

By the way, I am head over heels for this stitch pattern! The puffs create a cool geometric design, and they give the fabric such a fun vibe. Now that I have my gauge down and I’m in the groove, I think this project will be smooth sailing from here on in.

 

How is your Sonoma Shawl coming along? Did you try out a couple hook sizes to get your gauge right, or did you love it the first time? Share pictures and stories with us here, on Facebook, or on Instagram! We love hearing how your projects are going, and we’re always here to help if you run into trouble.

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