Crochet pattern remix – My miniature Olive Twist Shawl

I fell in love with the Olive Twist Shawl when Kathy made it as our summer crochet along. I made a swatch of the first 7 rows (the trickiest rows!) for our free Olive Twist picture tutorial, and Kathy’s shawl was SO beautiful that I decided to keep going and turn my swatch into an actual accessory.

Olive Twist 200 Crochet pattern remix   My miniature Olive Twist Shawl

The trouble I ran into was that I only had one skein of the yarn I used for my swatch. I was sure to save enough yarn to work the edging, but when I was finished, my project measured only about 26″ wide at the top edge – not nearly wide enough to wrap around my neck or shoulders securely. I was disappointed and at a loss, so I fastened it off and let it sit on my end table for a long time.

 

Olive Twist fltat 300x168 Crochet pattern remix   My miniature Olive Twist Shawl

Toggle closure placement

 

That is, until I came across JUL’s Leather Toggle Closures! I’m not exaggerating when I say that one of these closures saved my project. It went from a lonely (but gorgeous) piece of fabric to a cool kerchief in a matter of minutes.

 

JUL back 300x168 Crochet pattern remix   My miniature Olive Twist Shawl

Back of toggle closure

The toggle closures screw on through the openwork or between the stitches in your fabric. They are simple to attach and remove, so you can change the placement as many times as you like. You can even move them from accessory to accessory to give other scarves, cowls, shawls, or bags a fun new closure and design element.

 

Olive twist remix 300x219 Crochet pattern remix   My miniature Olive Twist ShawlI used a wool and acrylic blend for my miniature Olive Twist Shawl, so it’s surprisingly warm considering how lacy and open the fabric is. It has been a little chilly here, so I’ve been wearing this fun little bandana a lot, and I like it just as much as I liked the original version. If you want to crochet the Olive Twist Shawl but don’t have enough yarn, this pint-sized adaptation might be just what you need!

 

Do you often adjust or remix crochet patterns to fit your needs? Tell us whether or not you’re a pattern tweaker here or on Facebook. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Quick Gift Guide – Arctic Sea Mitts

Someone very dear to me works in an office that must be extremely cold. In fact, she recently confessed that she cut the fingertips off of some cheap, store-bought gloves and wears them to keep warm while she is typing.

Arctic Sea Mitts 300x189 Quick Gift Guide   Arctic Sea MittsAs a crocheter, this was simply not acceptable to me. Why should my beloved sister sport crummy, chopped up gloves when I can make her a pair of gorgeous fingerless mitts in a flash? I immediately began my hunt for the perfect pattern, and stopped as soon as I saw the Arctic Sea Mitts from the Holiday 2012 Issue of Love of Crochet.

These mitts will be the perfect gift for her!

I found a fun, self-striping purple yarn that is a mixture of several of her favorite shades. The only trouble was that the yarn I chose for the project is worsted weight instead of DK like the pattern calls for. This problem was easy enough to solve, and I whipped up a pair of these fun mitts in no time. If you would like to use worsted weight yarn, here are the slight adjustments I made.

  • Ribbing – Chain 4 for the ribbing at the beginning of the pattern, and work the rest of the ribbed section as stated. After you fold the ribbed piece and seam it, work 22 (or any multiple of 2) sc evenly around.
  • Lace – Work the lace section as is.
  • Thumb opening – After you work the first row of the thumb opening, repeat it until the open section is about 3″ long before working the joining round. For the last row of the thumb opening section, work the same number of sc evenly around as you did after your ribbing.
  • Cuff – For your cuff, chain 11, skip one chain, and work across 10 sts to create the ribbing at the wrist.

I loved how easy this pattern was to customize, and I may make a few more pairs to give as gifts. Do you know someone who is always cold at the office? These stylish mitts will keep them toasty and bring a smile to their face when they think of the thought you put into this clever gift idea!

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Learn to sell your knit or crochet projects on Etsy – Webinar tomorrow!

As a compulsive crafter, I have more handmade knit and crochet projects than I know what to do with. I’ve given plenty as gifts, but it seems I make the projects faster than I can dole them out. Sometimes I’ll fall in love with a pattern, and before I know it, my busy hands have made several in different colors with no plans at all for the beautiful finished products.

Selling on Etsy 225x300 Learn to sell your knit or crochet projects on Etsy   Webinar tomorrow!

 

If this sounds familiar, join me in embarking on a new adventure – opening an Etsy shop! I’ve considered becoming an Etsy entrepreneur before, but opening my own shop seemed a bit daunting until I heard about Sarah Wilson’s live webinar, Selling Your Projects on Etsy. Sarah is somewhat of a celebrity in the knitting world, and she has been a member of Etsy since 2007. You may know her as The Sexy Knitter, and her Knitter’s Tool Tins have saved my stitches on many occasions.

 

In this helpful webinar, Sarah will cover tips on naming your Etsy shop, creating listings, managing customers, adding a banner, setting up coupon codes, and printing postage. All of this information would be a goldmine to new Etsy shop owners.

Join me tomorrow, December 17th, at 1pm EST and learn tips for success from an Etsy expert!

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Charity Spotlight – Knit (or crochet!) for Kids

During this magical time of year, many of us are searching for ways to give back by helping those in need. Knitters and crocheters can give a child the gift of warmth by donating a handmade sweater, hat, or blanket to Knits for Kids.

Knits for Kids 300x148 Charity Spotlight   Knit (or crochet!) for Kids

Your donations will help children around the world stay warm and healthy during the cold winter months. Because Knits for Kids serves children world-wide, they accept donations all year round. Acrylic yarn is strongly preferred because it holds up in the wash and does not shrink. Donated items will see a lot of love and use, and we want them to last as long as possible.

This holiday season, join us in fighting poverty with our knitting needles (and crochet hooks!) by donating a handmade blanket, hat, or sweater to this wonderful organization!

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Quick Gift Guide – Picot Edged Ornament

I’ve been on an ornament-making kick this holiday season, and the Picot Edged Ornament from the Holiday Knits Issue caught my eye. The interesting star shape and button drew me in, and I knew this quick project would make a fantastic gift. Also, the unique cast on and bind off were new to me, and trying different knitting techniques is my idea of fun!

Picot edge ornament 233x300 Quick Gift Guide   Picot Edged Ornament

 

This pattern is worked using a cable cast on with a twist. Instead of simply casting on the required number of stitches, you will bind off a few stitches 5 times to create the picot points. There will be a small gap between your stitches at each of the points, but the gaps will close up when you knit your next row. By the way, I love how this ornament is worked in easy rows instead of rounds!

 

 

There are only a few rows of knitting between the cast on and bind off. The special bind off is simple to work, but it may feel a bit tight towards the end because this is the step that magically turns the flat piece into a round shape.

I used a cute heart-shaped button in the middle of my ornament. At first, I was disappointed in my selection of green buttons, but now that I see the finished piece, I like the minty color quite a bit! I was fun dipping into my old button jar and remembering what I have collected over the years.

This Picot Edged Ornament would be a great excuse for digging into your own collection of buttons! Do you hoard buttons like I do? Tell us about your button stash here or on Facebook!

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Christmas Tree Trio Crochet Along – Ready to gift!

My Christmas Tree Trio is all finished and ready to gift! I had a blast making it, and I can’t wait to give this cute decoration to someone special in a couple weeks.

 

Finished trees 168x300 Christmas Tree Trio Crochet Along   Ready to gift!After making the beaded garlands, I put my crocheted trees onto the Floracraft foam cones. Then, I arranged my garlands in a spiral around the trees beginning at the top. The ridges left by crocheting into the back loops provide handy lines to help keep your spiral even. There are about two ridges between the garland spirals on each of my trees, but feel free to arrange yours however you like.

After placing my garland, I used the long tails to weave a running stitch through it and attach it to the tree. I made one stitch for about every inch of garland, so this part went fairly fast for me. Then, all I had to do was sew the bottom onto each tree.

 

I LOVE how these fun decorations turned out! As I mentioned, I’m giving this set as a gift, but I may have to make another for myself. I have a wonderful spot on my mantle for them, or I may put them on an end table to create another festive spot in my living room.

Have you finished your Christmas Tree Trio yet? If you haven’t started, you still have time to order your Christmas Tree Trio kit and make this set for someone special! These decorations are fantastic gifts that the recipients will enjoy year after year.

 

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GIVEAWAY! – Adorable mugs from KnitBaahPurl

We gushed about these cute mugs from KnitBaahPurl in the Winter 2014 Issue of Love of Knitting, and now KnitBaahPurl has an early holiday gift for some of our wonderful readers. They have given us two of these adorable mugs to share with you!

Lay flat to dry 200x300 GIVEAWAY!   Adorable mugs from KnitBaahPurl

Photo credit: Knitbaahpurl

 

You could enjoy your morning coffee or tea in one of these darling mugs to give you the jolt you need before embarking on a day of crafting!

To enter to win one of these mugs, all you need to do is:

 

 

Then, we’ll randomly choose one knitter and one crocheter as our winners on December 16th and send your mugs to you just in time for the holidays.

We’re looking forward to seeing your tweets – good luck!

 

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Math for Knitters – Webinar tomorrow, Dec. 10th!

It seems like sometimes even the most skilled knitters, knitters who have the know-how to make beautiful lace, cables, garments, and more, often get stumped when it comes to altering a pattern because of the math. If you can relate (I know I can!), tomorrow’s exciting new webinar, Math for Knitters, is here to help!

My measurements are often between sizes, and that has stopped me from knitting many a beautiful sweater. I’ve spoken to a lot of knitters about this, and I know I’m not alone. However, if I’m going to invest the time and yarn money into making a garment, I want it to fit like a dream!

Math for knitters 225x300 Math for Knitters   Webinar tomorrow, Dec. 10th!

 

This must-take webinar will show everyone how to get the fit we’ve been imagining! Math and knitting expert, Kate Atherley, will start with a deep exploration of gauge and why it matters. Then, she’ll offer helpful hints on what to do if you can’t match the gauge listed in a pattern. Finally, the part I’m most excited about, she’ll focus on adjusting garments and making the calculations necessary to knit a sweater with the perfect fit.

 

If math intimidates you, have no fear! This class was MADE to help anyone tackle those elusive knitting calculations. Sign up for Math for Knitters now, and tune in with me tomorrow, December 10th, at 1pm EST to overcome your calculation intimidation!

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Gingerbread Stocking Knit Along – Too many projects

I love starting new projects. I get so excited when I find a new pattern I want to knit, I can’t wait to find the perfect yarn and cast on. I usually get so excited to start a new project that I abandon my current project and cast on the new project. I have never counted the number of WIPs (works-in-progress) that I have, but I am certain if I did I would be embarrassed by the number.

Normally when I find a new project I want to cast on, I rush right off and begin. However, because the Gingerbread House Stocking is a knit along project, I feel accountable to finish. Thanks to all of you knitting along with me,  instead of starting 3 (yes, three) new projects over the Thanksgiving weekend, I worked on my Gingerbread House Stocking. I am delighted to tell you that I have finished outlining all of the windows and the door, I have finished knitting the foot, and I have even woven in all of the loose ends inside the leg of the stocking. I have been dragging my feet a bit about embroidering the swirls of frosting, but using a crochet slip stitch, they were quick and easy enough to make.

Between knitting time this week and next weekend I am hopeful that I will have this fun stocking finished soon, and I am thrilled that I will hang it on my mantle this year instead of stuffing this project (with many others that came before it) into my WIP pile.

 

I will admit to admiring the yarn for my next three planned projects, and I might have wound one ball, but since I have yet to cast on, I think that I am showing great restraint.

What about you? How are your stockings coming? Did you cast on something new over the Thanksgiving holiday? If you have finished your stocking, please send us your photos to us at mail@loveofknitting.com. We would love to share them on our Facebook page! If you haven’t started yet, you can still order your Gingerbread House Stocking kit and make this fun decoration for yourself or someone special!

Until next time – happy knitting!

ready for santa 300x275 Gingerbread Stocking Knit Along   Too many projects

I already have my next stocking planned!

 

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Gift Guide – Adorable bird ornaments

I’ve been smitten with the Four Calling Birds ever since the first time I laid eyes on them. The details really make these designs, and their cute plastic safety eyes and branches really put the perfect finishing touches on them. As soon as I saw them, I determined that my friends and family MUST get these cute ornaments for Christmas. I happened to have some Cascade Ultra Pima in the rich Wine color used on the cardinals, so this is the birdie I decided to crochet for everyone. Plus, I think the red really pops when they are hung in the tree!

Bird parts 300x168 Gift Guide   Adorable bird ornamentsI made six birds total. At first, I planned on making all the parts before sewing any of the birds together, but my project bag soon became a mess of tangled up bird parts because of the long tails I left for sewing. After making three or four sets of parts, I decided it was time to sew them together before making any more.

 

Birds 300x168 Gift Guide   Adorable bird ornamentsI used some orange scrap yarn to make the beaks and feet, and my daughter and I went on a hunt for nicely sized sticks for these birdies to perch on. I didn’t have any ribbon that I liked, so I used a simple strand of yarn to hang them.

I am thrilled with how these cute cardinals turned out! The felt on their little faces and the points on their heads make them look adorably realistic, and I know they are going to be a big hit.

Here is a close up of one cardinal, as well as a side and back view. The tail is attached at the back of each bird’s neck, and the wings are attached directly next to the tail.

If you’re searching for a quick gift that will be enjoyed every holiday season, the Four Calling Birds definitely fit the bill. I might have to go yarn shopping and get the colors to make the other three darling patterns. We also have a set of Four Calling Birds for knitters, and I am tempted to give them a shot too!

Which one of the Four Calling Birds is your favorite? Tell us what you think here on our blog, or visit us on Facebook to share your thoughts! We can’t wait to hear from you!

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