Help! I’m crazy for crocheted cables!

Have you ever found a technique or stitch that absolutely steals your heart? Right now, I’m smitten with crocheted cables, and I can’t get enough of them! There are so many variations to try, so I keep making swatches to test them out.

Crochet cable 194x300 Help! Im crazy for crocheted cables!

 

I usually make my cables using post stitches because there are so many ways you can work them. Check out this swatch I whipped up using front post double and treble stitches. I can’t decide what to make with this stitch pattern, but I’m head over heels for it!

 

 

 

I also wanted to play around with other ways to crochet cables, so I swatched up this variation using an easy technique of crocheting into skipped stitches. I love the diagonal ridges it creates, and this stitch would make a warm and cozy blanket worked in a bulky yarn like this one.

Rattan wrap cable 300x168 Help! Im crazy for crocheted cables!

bubble gum twist1 Help! Im crazy for crocheted cables!

 

If you want to give crocheted cables a try (careful – they’re addictive!), take a look at these inspiring patterns. The Bubble Gum Twist hat from the Crochet More Issue is a fantastic way to test the waters because it can be stitched up in a day. These cables are created with front post double and half double stitches,  and they really make this hat stand out.

 

 

Simple cabled cardi Help! Im crazy for crocheted cables!

 

The Simple Cabled Cardi from the Winter 2013 Issue uses post stitches to create the ribbing and the stunning cabled design on the back. This would make a great everyday cardigan, and you can wear it all year round. I’m thinking basic black for mine, but what color would you choose?

 

 

Rattan wrap Help! Im crazy for crocheted cables!

 

Finally, the Rattan Wrap from the Fall 2014 Issue is the pattern that inspired my bulky swatch above. The cables on this design are created by crocheting into a skipped stitch to the right of the stitches just worked. On this wrap, the cabled pattern is worked in a lace weight yarn to create a more delicate look that still has plenty of texture. This design screams fall to me, and I’m dying to try this stitch pattern in a finer yarn.

 

 

Have you ever tried crocheted cables? Did you use post stitches, crocheting into a skipped stitch, or a different technique? If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, the Winter 2013 Issue has a super helpful Stitch Dictionary that will introduce you to three fun cabled stitch patterns. Give it a shot, then tell us about your experiences with crocheted cables here or on our Facebook page!

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Multiple yarns held together – tips and projects

Several of us here at the Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet office are now officially obsessed with working with multiple yarns held together. This technique is really fun because you knit or crochet with all of the strands as one, so you get the thickness and dimension of multiple yarns without having to worry about any colorwork. Three cheers for easy techniques that have a big payoff!

 

Laughing 300x168 Multiple yarns held together   tips and projects

Who knew frogging could be so hilarious!

If you follow Love of Knitting on Instagram, you may have seen this photo of our team joining forces to help Megan frog her project after she realized she needed some jumbo knitting needles to get the loose gauge she was after.

 

 

Jen knew the unraveling would go smoother if we had one person holding on to each strand of yarn, and working together made the whole process pretty entertaining. Of course, we ran into some snarls, but a couple of us get a sick thrill from untangling yarn. Danielle even joked about untangling the strands by doing a maypole dance around Megan’s project. It didn’t come down to that, but it’s a good idea to keep in your back pocket!

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Victory!

Once Megan got the mega-needles she needed, she whipped up her gorgeous project in no time. She even plans to make several more patterns knit with two or more yarns held together. I’d say she’s hooked!

 

Kathy multi yarn 300x168 Multiple yarns held together   tips and projectsKathy has crocheted a few designs with two strands of yarn held together, and she shows no sign of slowing down. Check out the awesome color combination she is working on right now. I love how the two yarns seem to blend together to create a heathery look.

 

JCL LOK 140521 5776 green 200px 164x300 Multiple yarns held together   tips and projects

 

Megan and Kathy have inspired me, and I’m jumping on the multi-yarn bandwagon! I am in awe of the Party Starter Skirt from the Holiday Knits Issue. Knit together, these two yarns create a sparkly yet sturdy fabric I can’t resist. I’ve also been on a chevron kick lately, so this skirt is right up my alley.

 

 

 

Triple delight shawl 200 Multiple yarns held together   tips and projects

If you’re in the mood for some instant gratification (and who isn’t?), The Triple Delight Shawl from our Best Summer Knits Issue is just what you need to start your own obsession with multi-yarn projects. Sometimes a simple, garter stitch project is the perfect way to unwind at the end of the day, and the three yarns combine to make this easy design look really impressive! Thicker yarns and big needles mean you can stitch this baby up faster than you think.

 

 

Victorian lace Multiple yarns held together   tips and projectsCrocheters, we have a super quick project to help you dip your toes into the multi-yarn waters. The Victorian Lace Card Holder from the Summer 2014 Issue is crocheted with two strands of cotton thread held double. The sample is made with the same color held together, but I want to use two different colors of thread together on the flower to give it a cool, colorful look.

 

With all of these choices, I’m having trouble deciding which multi-yarn project to stitch up first! Have you ever knit or crocheted with multiple yarns held together? We always love hearing about your experiences, so tell us your stitching stories here or on our Facebook page!

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Yarn Candy – A Halloween GIVEAWAY!

October is time for sweet treats and cool-weather crafting, so we’re combining the two into one fun idea that won’t give you a sugar hangover the next day – YARN CANDY!

Halloween yarn cand y2 216x300 Yarn Candy   A Halloween GIVEAWAY!

Our kind of treats!

How cute are these fiber-filled treats? If you have small cakes or skeins of yarn, wrap them up in a clear bread bag or some reusable cellophane to create colorful, zero-calorie yarn candies to show off your crafty spirit this Halloween.

 

Halloween yarn candy 284x300 Yarn Candy   A Halloween GIVEAWAY!

These yummy yarn candies make fabulous decorations, but you could also host a candy swap with your craft group to get rid of remnants you no longer need. One of your fellow crafters may be searching for a small amount of something that’s just taking up space in your stash. Just like swapping candy after trick-or-treating (I’ll trade you my licorice for your coconut ones!), one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

 

 

On Halloween, we are giving away an armful of scrumptious yarn candies! We’ll also throw in two gorgeous hanks of Green Mountain Spinnery’s Sylvan Spirit to help everyone get in the “spirit” for Halloween.

Spinnery Hanks 300x168 Yarn Candy   A Halloween GIVEAWAY!

This DK wool and tencel blend is so beautiful, it’s SCARY!

We’ll randomly choose our winner on the morning of Halloween, and we can’t wait to share these sweet treats with you! Until then, knitters can take a look at Love of Knitting’s Knit Accessories Issue to find some great ideas for using up small amounts of yarn. Crocheters, Love of Crochet’s Crochet More Issue is full of projects using 3 skeins or less, including several fantastic stash-busters. To enter our Halloween Giveaway, simply leave a comment below telling us which stash-buster from one of these issues is tempting you. We just might have some yarn candy that will hit the spot!

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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!

 

IMG 2930 200px Easy Weekend Crochet Hats

 

 

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.

Christmas Tree Trio 196x300 Christmas Tree Trio Crochet Along   Coming soon!

 

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.

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.

 

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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!

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

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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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