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A Playful Hoodies Halloween at Lark Crafts!

October 31, 2014, 20:17 pm  Posted by Deborah Stack
 

A raccoon, a rabbit, a fox, a wizard, and a gnome walk into a publishing company.

This might sound like the beginning of a joke, but to the staff at Lark Crafts, it serves as an accurate description of our front lobby this Halloween! Weeks of planning and crafting have lead to our group bringing one of our favorite books—Playful Hoodies—off of the page and into the real world, and we are so excited to show off our hard work.

 

Group hi res

 

Not only are playful hoodies adorable, they are quick and easy to make. Josh, our wizard (and a member of our marketing/publicity team), had never sewn a stitch before beginning his hoodie! He was able to whip his costume together in just a few days.

 

For the seasoned veterans among us, like John (the fox) and Connie (the raccoon) one evening was all that it took to pull together an adorable costume. My simple rabbit came together in less than an hour. All of us agree that the most time-consuming part of our projects was waiting for our materials to arrive in the mail!

 

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Playful Hoodies (and Sewn Together, an upcoming Lark title featuring our raccoon hoodie) have both proven to be fantastic resources for new crafters and veterans alike, for adults and children, and feature projects that can be pulled together in a weekend.

 

We would love to see your playful hoodies! Whether you craft a costume for a child, a friend, or for the whole family, make sure to share your photos on the Lark Crafts Facebook page!

 
 
 
 
287 Comments

Spring Preview Saturday: Designer Crochet

October 25, 2014, 14:00 pm  Posted by Connie Santisteban
 

The key to building a hand crocheted wardrobe is lots of planning and I’m here to give you as much advance notice as possible so you can clear your queue, wind your yarn, and prepare for some fantastic new patterns coming your way this spring! I’m delighted to announce Designer Crochet: 32 Patterns to Elevate Your Style (April 2015) by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby with gorgeous photography by Jason Mullett-Bowlsby. This dynamic duo is the pair behind Shibaguyz Designz.

 

Whether you’re a size XS or a 5X, these patterns are made for you. Crochet fans can expect an array of stunning designs from an elegant knee length duster to a curve hugging off-the-shoulder dress to a floor sweeping lace skirt. Wardrobe essential pieces like a basic open front cardigan and pullover to matching winter accessory trios make this the perfect single book to build your hand stitched closet from scratch.

 

Every pattern is chock full of notes and schematics to ensure a proper and flattering fit for sizes XS through 5X and the book includes detailed step-by-step photos to teach you important skills like how to set in a sleeve or sew in a zipper.

 

Marvel at some of our favorite designs below and be sure to pre-order your copy today!

Cloaked Hoodie

 

 

Drape Front Cardigan

 

 

Hooded Wrap Vest

 

 

Maxi Skirt

 

 

Off the Shoulder Dress

 
 
 
 
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Crochet Boutique HatsWhen speaking about my books—Crochet Boutique and Crochet Boutique: Hats – I often get asked about the process behind designing a pattern. My answer changes from time to time, but the truth is that it’s never always the same.

Sometimes it starts with a lush new yarn purchased on impulse, sometimes there’s an idea born from a new stitch or technique recently learned, or sometimes it’s just a hole in my wardrobe that I’m yearning to fill with something handmade.

Other times I just start stitching and see where it takes me. However, I hope this will provide a bit of insight for those wishing to begin the design process on their own.

 

LEARN THE LANGUAGE

If you’re going to write a pattern for others then you will also need to know how to read a pattern. If you’re only writing for yourself then your own shorthand or crochet lingo will be just fine. I often write the first draft in my own “language” and then translate it into common crochet terminology. If you intend for others to use your patterns then you should become familiar with common crochet terms, abbreviations, and techniques. When working from patterns, begin to pay attention to the typical layout and format of the patterns.

 

MAKE A SKETCH

It often seems I get ideas at the most inopportune moments – during rush hour traffic, or when brushing my teeth while I’m already 10 minutes late to work. However, when a really great idea strikes I try to take the time and make a quick doodle so I can come back to it later. It could be later that day or five years from then. Sketching your designs can also help you figure out the mechanics and technical details of how your pattern needs to work. There have been plenty of times in the design process where I’ve had to stop the frustrating circle of frogging and restitching and just draw on paper how I want the piece to work. Most of the time it helps!

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CHOOSING THE RIGHT MATERIALS

Think about the type of material that will work best for your project. Sometimes it helps to think in terms of fabric shopping. You wouldn’t choose a delicate lightweight fabric for an upholstery project, nor would you choose a heavy jacquard if you were creating a loose and flowing sundress. Your yarn and hook choice can follow the same line of thought. Want something thick and sturdy? Choose a chunky or super bulky yarn and go down a size or two from the recommended hook. You can also experiment here. An extra large hook and a fine yarn can be the perfect combination to give you a beautiful open lace by using even the most basic stitches. When you think of yarn weight, content, texture, and color combined with all of the hook options available, the possibilities seem endless.

materials

THE IMPORTANCE OF GAUGE

I admit it. When I first started writing patterns I was a “no gauge” offender. Since most of my patterns were written for my own use in those early days, thinking about gauge wasn’t at the top of my list. I was pretty familiar with my tension and the projects I made repeatedly never seemed to vary too much in that regard. However, we all stitch a little differently, and that’s why gauge is important to include when writing patterns intended for others. Though this may vary by the type of project, most measure gauge by creating a 4-inch square. Once you have your square, you can then measure the number of stitches and rows required to meet the desired gauge.

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PUT IT ALL ON PAPER

Once you get started, don’t forget to write down every little detail along the way. Think you’ll remember how many chains you worked in that fourth round once you’ve finished? You may, but if it turns out you don’t then it can be a nuisance to count back and figure it out. Though it’s hard to resist the urge to keep working till the end once you find your groove, it’s best to go ahead and write down each step as you go. Made a mistake and had to frog a few rows to make a change? Don’t forget to note what you did and any improvements. This can get tedious, especially when working on something more intricate, but good detailed notes are what make a pattern.

many notebooks

TEST, TEST, AND TEST AGAIN

You’ve written your pattern and you love the finished project. Great! Now make it again. Take notes, correct a few typos, make a few tweaks here and there to make it even better. Now make it again. And again. You get the idea. The more you make your design and read over your pattern the better it will be. Once you’ve been over it plenty of times, give it to a crafty friend and see how their project turns out. Ask them for suggestions or to let you know if any step was unclear along the way. Don’t be scared of  critique – it’s the only way to improve! There are also some wonderful groups online on sites such as Ravelry who will test out your patterns for you and offer suggestions for improvement.

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Happy stitching and designing!

–from Rachael Oglesby

 

 
 
 
 
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The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes

October 24, 2014, 12:00 pm  Posted by Lark
 

9781454707776_ccvrAs many ceramists know, many potters glaze their pieces at mid-range temperatures, making it a popular go-to range for firing. To celebrate this trend, Lark Crafts is very excited to introduce The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes this November.

 

With over 25 years of experience as a potter, teacher, and former studio manager for the prestigious Penland School of Crafts, author John Britt gives readers his expert advice, hints, and secrets to mixing and creating glazes, eliminating the guesswork from the popular process. Along with hundreds of recipes, John explores mixing, application, specific firing and cooling cycles, and all the factors that make mid-range glazes work.

 

In addition, John explains how to boost colors with intense stains, washes, and underglazes; achieve stunning results that equal high-fire glazing; and expand the frontiers of mid-range with tips for wood, salt, and soda firing. Be sure to pre-order your copy today and complete your glaze knowledge!
Take a look below at some of the gorgeous glazes found in the book:

 

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46 Comments

Spring Preview Saturday: Graphic Clay

October 18, 2014, 10:00 am  Posted by Lark
 

I am really excited to introduce one of our Spring 2015 titles, Graphic Clay (March 2015) by author Jason Burnett. As many know, once a clay piece is finished, an artist must then decide how the vessel will be decorated. Should it be stamped or silk screened, or is sgraffito or decals better?

Jason tackles each of the many types of various image transfer techniques for clay and guides ceramists on how to develop their own aesthetics through interviews and galleries from some of today’s well-known ceramists. After an introduction covering the basic tools and materials, dedicated chapters detail the different clay surface processes within slip, drawing, bisque, decal, printing applications, stencils, and screen-printing applications. In addition to introducing readers to the many graphic processes, Jason offers ideas and exercises to encourage development and creative vision for all types of graphic clay decorations.

Take a peek at some of our favorite designs from the book below, and be sure to pre-order your copy today!

 

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Throwback Thursday: Sweet Confections

October 16, 2014, 15:22 pm  Posted by joshredlich
 

Sweet ConfectionsI have a weakness, and it’s candy. I’m constantly sneaking chocolates and caramels, or deciding last minute in the checkout line that I deserve a treat. But even when I’m craving candy and I have nothing on hand, I’ve never once thought that I could possibly make my own from scratch. Even looking at the handmade creations in candy shop windows, I’ve always imagined that they would require a fancy commercial kitchen and state-of-the-art appliances to make. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.

 

Sweet Confections by Nina Wanat is a gorgeously photographed book with over 40 easy-to-make candy recipes that range from crunchy toffees and lollipops to chewy jellies and taffies, offering plenty of options to satisfy every craving.

 

With her simple, detailed instructions (which require ingredients and equipment that you are sure to have on hand), you will soon be making a wide array of delicious and beautiful sweets that will have your friends either completely shocked or accusing you of lying and purchasing them at a gourmet candy shop. But with recipes that include everything from pumpkin caramels and saltwater taffy to Turkish delight and vanilla cheesecake fudge, Sweet Confections will soon become the only friend you really need.

 

ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF SWEET CONFECTIONS

Just leave a comment on this blog post by 9 pm EST on Wednesday, October 22. Winners will be selected by Thursday, October 23. Click here for the official rules. Show us your #TBT love, and we’ll return the favor!

 
 
 
 
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Spring Preview Saturday: Lace Yarn Studio

October 11, 2014, 10:00 am  Posted by Deborah Stack
 

coverFor those knitters who adore laceweight yarn, beautiful shawl patterns abound. Yet where do you turn when you’ve had your fill of shawls, and want to explore more uses for your ultra-fine yarn?

 

In Carol Sulcoski’s Lace Yarn Studio (April 2015), 26 stunning projects utilize laceweight yarn in unique and exciting applications. Patterns range from a beaded skirt to a scarf and vest set, providing an exciting new way to experience your favorite fine yarns.

 

Carol J. Sulcoski is a knitwear designer, writer, hand dyer, and teacher. Her books include Sock Yarn Studio (Lark), Knit So Fine (Interweave), and Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns (Interweave), and Carol’s work has also appeared in such magazines as Vogue KnittingKnitSimpleInterweave KnitsKnitScene, and  Noro Magazine. Carol’s hand-dyed yarn can be purchased at blackbunnyfibers.com

 

Take a peek at some of our favorite patterns from the upcoming title below, and be sure to pre-order your copy today!

 

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Dress up this Halloween with Playful Hoodies!

October 09, 2014, 17:45 pm  Posted by Deborah Stack
 

Playful HoodiesAs my morning commute becomes colder each day, I find that the comfort of a well-loved sweatshirt can transform a miserable morning into a tolerable one. Although I don’t have many hoodies in my closet, the few that I do own are well-worn and ragged, featuring college names and vacation destinations from years ago.

My love of cuddly outerwear isn’t new—my parents fondly reminisce about my early childhood, when a full-length, rabbit-eared, cotton-tailed onesie was my outfit of choice, regardless of the weather. For almost a year, even on hot summer days, I insisted on pulling up my bunny-eared hood and waddling around in fluffy-tailed fleece.

When Playful Hoodies was released, I couldn’t help but think back on all of the hoodies which have provided warmth and comfort over the years. In fact, our entire craft team was enamored by the adorable hoodies throughout this book! Somehow, we all found our spirit animals or alter-egos had made their way onto the book’s pages.

As we crowded around, ooh-ing and aah-ing over the incredible projects before us, an inspired proposal was made. Brita, a fellow Assistant Editor, let us know that she had already purchased the supplies to make a project out of the book for Halloween. The entire Lark Crafts team instantly and unanimously decided to adopt Brita’s inspired idea, each choosing a hoodie project to craft for Halloween!

Gnome

Brita had first pick, and decided to be a gnome. Even before we had made the final decision to take on hoodie projects as a team, Brita’s beard fur was in the mail!

fox

John chose to be a fox, while Connie chose a raccoon hoodie (her project is featured in another Lark title, Sewn Together, but it is designed by the same author, Mary Rasch).

Raccoon

Josh, our friend in the publicity department, decided to join us as a wizard. And I, of course, will be a white rabbit—an homage to the oft-worn footie pajamas of my youth.

wizard

We will make sure to post updates of our progress as we craft our celebratory hoodies. Our sweatshirts just arrived in the mail, and the fun is about to begin!

rabbit

 

Be sure to order your copy of Playful Hoodies today and join in on the fun!

 

 
 
 
 
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9781454708506_cvr.inddNow that fall has arrived, it’s finally time for apple picking. I visited an orchard in upstate New York last weekend and picked a bushel of Jonagold, Idared, Empire, and Mutsu apples. With a whole bag of delicious apples at hand, I’ve been on the lookout for some tasty recipes that call for them.

 

Our new title CHIPS: Reinventing a Favorite Food by Chris Bryant (which hits stores today!) offers recipes for three varieties of apple chips: Spiced Apple Chips, Apple and Sage Chips, and a recipe for Baked Ras el Hanout Apple Chips with Yogurt Sauce from guest contributor Ashley English. All three varieties would make a great snack at a fall party.

 

Pick up a copy of CHIPS starting today and try out these apple chips after your own trip to the vineyard! Check out delicious photos of these recipes below:

Spiced Apple Chips

Spiced Apple Chips

Apple and Sage Chips

Apple and Sage Chips

Baked Ras al Hanout Apple Chips with Yogurt Sauce

Baked Ras el Hanout Apple Chips with Yogurt Sauce

 
 
 
 
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Spring Preview Saturday: Stitch Love

October 04, 2014, 10:00 am  Posted by Brita Vallens
 

Welcome to Spring Preview Saturday! Each Saturday this fall, our Lark editors will be sharing previews of our upcoming titles for Spring 2015. Check back each week to get the latest scoop on what’s coming soon with these sneak peeks from Lark Crafts.

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Stitch love coverLove stitching? Love animals? Well then you’ll definitely want to check out Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small by Mollie Johanson coming this January!

 

The book includes 25 irresistibly adorable projects (the Frozen Yeti Ice Pack is my favorite), plus over 100 beginner-friendly embroidery motifs. The patterns feature a variety of irresistibly cute critters—pets, farm animals, dinosaurs, even mythical favorites like Pegasus. 

 

Check out a few of the wonderful projects below and stay tuned for more on Stitch Love as the holiday season approaches. In the meantime, learn more about Mollie on her blog: wildolive.blogspot.com.

 

Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big and Small by Mollie Johanson will be available on January 27, 2015 and is available for pre-order now.

 

Dachsund

 

 

SL_Doodle Doo Apron

 

 

SL_Guinea Pig

 

 

SL_Yeti