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Make a Cute Felt Ornament for Your Tree

December 08, 2015, 10:00 am  Posted by guestblogger
 

by Ellen B. Wright

Why are felt ornaments so awesome? Here are five reasons!

  1. They’re quick! It’s easy to finish a few in an afternoon.
  2. They’re cheap! Buy craft-sized squares of felt in a variety of colors for under a dollar at your local craft store (or online).
  3. They’re cute! There are all sorts of adorable patterns out there, including Lark’s very own Fa la la la Felt and ‘Tis the Season to Be Felt-y. They’ll look great on your tree or make great gifts.
  4. They’re easy! Simpler designs are accessible for beginning sewers, but still turn out looking good.
  5. They’re customizable! Simpler designs aren’t the only designs; we ambitious crafters can tackle more intricate styles.

You’ll be able to handle the basics once you’ve finished reading this short post. If you know how to thread a needle and stitch a basic running stitch, you’re more than prepared to make some adorable felt ornaments. (Back stitch, mattress stitch, and satin stitch will give you more options, if you know them or want to learn them, and tutorials are included in the books listed above.)

 

Designs

Felt ornaments run the gamut from completely flat to three-dimensional — almost like a stuffed animal. The most common variety, though, are the ones with a two-dimensional design but just a bit of shape. The base for that look: a front and back and a tiny amount of stuffing.

This tutorial will show you how to make two ornaments on the simpler side. The first: two triangles in green and a rectangle in red or brown — a Christmas tree! Second: two circles of a bright, matching color plus a rectangle of white at the top, and you’ve got a flattened version of a round Christmas bauble, a classic tree ornament.

Felt ornament 1

This year, I made several more complex ornaments: the faces of a Santa, a snowman, and a penguin, all of which started out as plain circles with other shapes added in. You could also make a little scene out of smaller scraps for a felt pseudo-snowglobe. Once you get started, the possibilities are endless.

Felt ornament 2

 

Embellishment

More felt. More felt, in contrasting or complementary colors, is the easiest way to embellish your ornaments. I attached them using a running stitch; you could also use fabric glue.

Ribbons. Plain or patterned, metallic or matte — almost anything would work on the right design. As with the felt, sew or glue it on.

Buttons, etc. We’re going to snazz up our tree with some multicolored buttons. Other similar options: sequins or mini jingle bells!

  1. I used a little bit of embroidery on my circular ornaments to make the Santa’s, reindeer’s and snowman’s eyes. Elegant embroidery contrasts well with the homey feel of felt to make stunning ornaments.

Most of the time, it’s easiest to do the embellishment before you sew the body of the ornament together, though there are exceptions. For my Santa and snowman, for example, I added the hat in after the rest of the ornament is finished.

 

Putting It All Together

1) Cut out two tall isosceles (two sides are the same length and the third is different) triangles of green felt and a square of brown or red felt, for the tree; two circles of a bright color (I’ve used red) and a white square for the baubles.

Felt ornament 3

2) Sew or glue on your embellishments. My tree is decorated with buttons, and the bauble with stripes of felt in other bright colors.

3) Place any pieces that need to stick out — tree trunk, the top of the bauble, ears or antlers, etc. — between the two layers of felt that make up the body of your ornament. Pin them in place.


felt 4 and 5

4) Sew around the outside of the ornament with mattress stitch in a contrasting color (I used black), stitching in any pieces you’ve placed between the two layers as you go. (You could also sew it up with a running stitch or a backstitch if you prefer.) Pause when about an inch is left open.

Felt ornament 6

5) Stuff the ornament lightly through that one-inch hole, then finish sewing around. Give the ornament a good massage to get the stuffing spread evenly.

6) Once you’re happy with your ornament, thread a bit of cord through the top, and you’re ready to hang it on your tree!

felt covers

For more holiday-themed felt ornaments as well as lots of project ideas for stockings, garlands, and decorations, pick up a copy of Fa la la la Felt and ‘Tis the Season to be Felt-y at your local bookstore today!

About the Author:

Ellen B. Wright works as a book publicist in New York City. Her mother taught her to sew, her grandmother taught her to knit, and they both taught her to take Christmas decorating very seriously.

 

 
 
 
 
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One of the reasons I wrote Lace Yarn Studio was because a lot of knitters have the wrong idea about lace weight yarns. In the hope of convincing some skeptical knitters about the virtues of superfine yarn, here is my list of the top five myths about lace weight yarn.

 

introphoto

 

1. “Lace weight yarns take too long to knit.”

As a knitter, you’re no doubt familiar with the concept of stitch gauge – the number of individual stitches that fit into a unit of measurement. Worsted-weight yarn tends to be knit at a gauge of around five stitches per inch. So to get an inch’s worth of fabric, you must work five stitches. As yarn gets smaller in diameter, it takes more stitches to fit into an inch’s worth of fabric. Sport weight yarn, for example, a category of yarn finer than worsted weight, usually knits at around six stitches per inch, and sock yarn at seven stitches per inch. Since lace weight is even finer than sock yarn, then it stands to reason that it would take even longer to create an inch of fabric, right?

 

Not necessarily. When we use lace weight yarn to create airy, filmy fabric, we knit at a looser gauge than you otherwise might expect. For example, the Graciela Pullover uses lace weight yarn at a gauge of 3 ½  stitches per inch. The Turquoise Trail Shawluses lace weight yarn at a gauge of 4 ½ stitches per inch. So projects using lace weight yarn, when knit at relaxed gauges, won’t take appreciably longer than many projects knit in thick yarns.

 

photoATurquoise Trail Shawl, by Erika Flory

 

2. “I don’t like knitting on toothpick-sized needles.”

While it’s generally true that big yarn is knit on big needles, and small yarn is knit on small needles, when you are working with lace weight yarn, you often use needles bigger than you’d expect. Projects in Lace Yarn Studio are knit with many sizes of needle including US 5, 6, 7, 9, even US size 13, the latter of which were used to knit the Malbec Infinity Scarf.

 

photoBMalbec Infinity Scarf, by Carol J. Sulcoski

 

3. “Thicker yarns can do anything a lace weight yarn can do.”

Definitely not. Because thicker yarns make thicker fabric, there are certain effects that just don’t work with bulky and superbulky yarns. Look, for example, at the beautiful pleats in the A Little Luxe Gauntlets.

 

photoCA Little Luxe Gauntlets, by Andi Smith

 

You’d have a very hard time making pleats in chunky or superchunky yarns because the individual strands of yarn would be too thick to manipulate in that way, and even if you were able to make a pleat, it wouldn’t have the elegance and fluid lines of the gorgeous lace weight yarn that designer Andi Smith used.

 

Check out the filmy texture of Barb Brown’s Wind on the Waves scarf. Again, it’s very difficult to achieve this kind of airy, almost translucent effect with a thick yarn. But the lovely hand-painted lace weight yarn gives such a delicate and ethereal feel – something a jumbo-sized yarn just cannot do.

 

PhotoDWind on the Waves Scarf, by Barbara J. Brown

 

4. “I’m not a good enough knitter to use lace weight yarns.”

Pshaw. The patterns in Lace Yarn Studio span all difficulty levels. The Eden Scarf, for example, uses stockinette stitch and seed stitch – two stitches that are very easy to work and well within the province of a beginner.

 

photoEEden Scarf, by Carol J. Sulcoski

 

Robyn Schrager’s Square in the Round poncho is entirely stockinette and is knit in the round, so you don’t even have to sew a single seam! The Multiply Baby Blanket is another project knit all in the round, using simple knit and purl stitches, along with a basic increase stitch – and because three strands of lace weight are held together, the knitting flies by as you change colors.

 

photoFSquare in the Round Poncho by Robyn M. Schrager

 

5. “I don’t like knitting lace shawls.”

Every knitter is different, and if you aren’t a fan of lace knitting or lace shawls in particular, then you will still find many fun and stylish projects to pique your curiosity. Brooke Nico’s Cobalt Nights jacket uses a metallic yarn in a star-stitch, for an un-lacy layer you’ll wear all the time. Elizabeth Morrison’s Blue River Cowl uses a slip stitch pattern to make a cozy and lovely cowl with a terrific button closure. Michele Hunter’s top uses a plying method to create a striking top. There’s a little something for everyone in Lace Yarn Studio, even if you hate lace and don’t wear shawls.

 

photoGBlue River Cowl, by Elizabeth Morrison

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. She lives in Villanova, PA.

 
 
 
 
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Designer CrochetIt’s no secret that I love crochet cables. I’ve peppered cables throughout my patterns for years, taking joy in their twisting and vine-like winding. They can add visual intrigue to the most simple stitches and heck, they are fun to work with! Some of my favorite cables are in my new book, Designer Crochet: 32 Patterns to Elevate Your Style, coming out in April from Lark Crafts. Just take a peek at the cover and right there you’ll see a gigantic crochet cable on the cowl of a tunic dress, one of the many sophisticated and figure-flattering garments included in the book.

 

“But wait,” you say. “I’ve never learned how to crochet cables. Can you teach me?” Yes, yes I can, because I’m a Craftsy Instructor! WOOHOO!!

 

I have been a long-time fan of Craftsy and have taken classes from such greats as Shirley Paden, Gwen Bortner, Carol Feller, and Faina Goberstein. And now I am proud to be counted amongst those world-class Craftsy instructors. Dang… still blows me away to say that!

 

So, without further delay, here is the official announcement that my very first Craftsy Crochet Class is LIVE!  You can have unlimited access to me teaching my Quick & Easy Crochet Cables class on Craftsy for only $14.99! WOOHOO!! No kidding! This is an exciting new compact class format Craftsy is introducing with more convenient class sections designed to fit into a busy maker’s schedule. Y’all are gonna LOVE it!

 

Crochet Cables

 

So what is Quick & Easy Crochet Cables all about?

 

Quick & Easy Crochet Cables focuses on crochet cables taught through applying a technique to an accompanying class project. In this class I take you step-by-step through the process of how to make basic crossed crochet post stitches all the way through those glorious sweeping, turning, dramatic cables we all love. Along the way, I share all of my tips and tricks to make crochet cables fun and easy!

 

The exciting part is I teach you all of this using a FAB class project! You get to apply what you are learning right away without wondering how you are going to use these stitches in real life. You will learn by doing, and I’ll be there with you every step of the way!

 

The class project includes a written pattern, a chart, and finishing instructions. And you know what? Because this is a Craftsy class, I’ll be right there with you to walk you through how to make the cable stitches AND how to easily read a cable chart AND how to finish the project. You have me personally taking you through step-by-step from the very first stitch through weaving in that last end (there’s a special trick about that I share too).

 

By the time we are finished, you’ll have a FAB finished project. Here’s a sneak peek at that project pattern. In class we turn it into a FAB envelope clutch! Oh… and don’t worry if a clutch isn’t your thing… I’ll be sharing in the class forums how I used this pattern to make a special project just for myself!

 

Oh yeah… some of you have probably noticed one of the small photos is of our WILDLY popular Woven Cables crochet pattern stitch. Yes, there’s even a segment of this class where we walk you through the Woven Cables pattern stitch step-by-step! When you are finished, you’ll be shocked by how nimble your crochet hook is around cables!

 

The BEST part of these Craftsy classes is you can watch them whenever, and wherever you like, and you can watch them as often as you like too, since your purchase never expires! Have a few minutes to watch a segment? Need to go back and see one of our tips & tricks again? Want to watch that technique one more time to get it juuuuust right? You can do ALL that with a Craftsy class!

 

PLUS you have exclusive access to me personally in our virtual Craftsy classroom. If you have questions or want to show off your FAB stitches, you will always know where to find me. I’ll be right there to help out and celebrate with you!

 

So click on my special link below to be whisked away to Quick & Easy Crochet Cables on Craftsy and get started! You could be learning all my tips and tricks and showing off your own crochet cables skills today!!

 

CLICK HERE: www.craftsy.com/ext/ShannonMullett-Bowlsby_4975_F

 

Once you have completed the project in my Craftsy class, you will be totally ready for any of the crochet cables found in Designer Crochet. And now, a little more on that:

 

Designer Crochet is your source for sophisticated and figure-flattering garments with great drape and shape. Using lightweight yarns and a beautiful variety of stitch patterns and motifs, you’ll create jackets and cardigans, a layering tank and a floor-sweeping skirt, a convertible vest/wrap and matching winter accessory set, and more, with every design built to flatter most body types. Beginner crocheters can learn the basics using easy-to-follow tutorials while advanced crocheters will enjoy mastering special techniques. This is a complete wardrobe in a single book for sizes small through 5X.

 

Designer Crochet will be available in bookstores this April. But don’t wait until then! The book is now available for pre-order, and if you send an email to Designer.Crochet@Yahoo.com with proof of purchase before April 1st, you will be entered into a lottery for 2 chances to win an entire project’s worth of yarn! That’s right, folks. I will be sending 2 people enough yarn to create either the Beginner Cardi or the Lace Tank projects (both pictures below). Big thanks to our yarn sponsors for providing the Cascade 220 Superwash Sport (Beginner Cardi) and Crystal Palace Panda Silk (Lace Tank)! I’ll also throw in a signed book plate for you to add into your copy of Designer Crochet when it arrives. So don’t wait until April to order your very own copy (which you can do by clicking here). And while you’re waiting for the book to arrive, I hope to see you in class!

 

Stitch on!

Shannon

 

card
Beginner Cardi

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Sport

 

Crochet This Final (42 of 149) T2CT Tank 2 (2)

Lace Tank

Yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Silk

 

 

Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby is the co-founder of Shibaguyz Designz, a versatile design company that uses unique flair to combine fashion design, knitting, crochet, photography, and graphic design into a cohesive whole. He takes his instruction all over the country, selling out classes along the way and building a following of happy students. You can find Shannon’s designs in countless magazines such as Crochet! and Knitting Today, or in one of his many books, including, Designer Crochet: 32 Patterns to Elevate Your Style, now available for pre-order through Barnes and Noble.

 
 
 
 
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Hi guys! I’m Bridget from the blog, Bake at 350, and my latest book is called Decorating Cookies Party.

In the book, you’ll find several cut-out cookie recipes and a foolproof recipe for royal icing, perfect for decorating. We walk through cookie decorating techniques and step-by-step photo tutorials for over 50 cookies in ten themes.

Valentines_cookies1

 

Here’s where even more fun comes in…use the cookies in the book as a jumping off point for your own ideas.

 

Valentines_cook3

 

In the book, there is a set of cookies for a Book Club Party. One of the cookies is a wine bottle because, um, you can’t have book club without wine. It’s a scientific fact.

 

Valentines_cook4

 

So, I used that idea to decorate some wine bottle cookies for Valentine’s Day. Same tutorial, same recipes, same techniques…switch out the colors and a few details, and you have cookies for another occasion altogether.

 

These cookies are super simple to decorate. Don’t worry about piping the wine labels with icing…all of the writing is done with a food coloring pen. Add your own wine varietal and vintage year. (I used this year and our wedding year.)

 

Valentines_cook+pen

 

[Note: always be sure the icing is completely dry before using a food coloring pen, allowing at least 6-8 hours of drying time.]

 

I’d love to see where the cookies in Decorating Cookies Party take your imagination. No doubt, the results will be delicious!

 

—–

Bridget Edwards is a highly visible baking expert who blogs at bake350.blogspot.com—named one of the top five baking blogs by Better Homes and Gardens in 2014—and tweets at @bakeat350tweets. She was one of 15 food bloggers selected to participate in a bake-off fundraiser with TLC’s Cake Boss and Kelly Ripa, has participated in themed blog challenges, and develops recipes for brands such as Imperial Sugar and Land O’ Lakes. Bridget’s recipes have appeared on DailyBuzz Food and her cookies have been featured on marthastewart.com, the hugely popular Pioneer Woman blog, the Today show blog, bonappetitit.com, Cake Spy, and and in Woman’s World magazine. Bridget lives near Houston, TX with her husband, son, and two kitties.

 
 
 
 
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Stitch Love Valentine Blog Hop

February 11, 2015, 10:34 am  Posted by guestblogger
 

Hello, Lark Crafts Friends!

 

With Valentine’s Day in just a few days, what could be more perfect than to make something sweet for someone you care about? Or perhaps something special for yourself? No matter who you are stitching for, my book Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small is the perfect way to get started.

 

Along the idea of stitching love, we’re having a little Valentine blog hop! Be sure to visit all of the stops along the way this week. You’ll see fun and simple things to make AND you’ll pick up some free patterns featuring a few of my critter friends celebrating Valentine’s Day!

 

WombatBrooch (3)

 

Have you heard of a hairy-nosed wombat? Well, this is heart-nosed wombat! He’s just a baby, and I promise that he’ll love you forever.

 

I stitched up this little guy on linen (I printed the pattern at 75% for the brooch), then I used the instructions for the Undersea Buddies Brooch Trio from Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small. This is one of those projects that is quick to put together, and you can use any motif with it!

 

Wouldn’t you love to have a little wombat on your winter coat? The embroidery motif is free for you! Just download the PDF and get ready to stitch!

 

StitchLove_ValentineWombatPattern

StitchLove_ValentineWombatPattern

 

We’ve also got a little something extra. One lucky winner will receive this hand-stitched Heart-Nosed Wombat brooch, plus the set of Undersea Buddies brooches, AND a copy of Stitch Love, compliments of Lark Crafts.

 

To enter, leave a comment (maybe you’d like to share what animal you’d like to stitch the most!), and we’ll select a random winner. Giveaway ends Sunday, February 15 at 9pm EST .

 

And don’t miss all the other patterns on the Stitch Love Valentine Blog Hop!

 

Monday: Shiny Happy World & Wild Olive

 

Tuesday: Little Dear Tracks

 

Wednesday: Lark Crafts

 

Thursday: Hugs Are Fun

 

Friday: Feeling Stitchy

 

Saturday: Pretty By Hand & Wild Olive

 

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Mollie Johanson is the creator of the popular blog Wild Olive (wildolive.blogspot.com) and Etsy store (where she’s sold over 3000 embroidery motif downloads). Her designs have appeared in Heart-Felt Holidays and Felt-o-ween (both Lark), in magazines (including several features in Mollie Makes), and in craft books from other publishers. Mollie lives in St. Charles, IL.

 
 
 
 
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On a very cold January 29 with weather threatening, beaders still made their way to Burke Gems & Beads in Burke, VA for a “Girl’s Night Out.” On this night everyone grabbed their copy of Seed Bead Chic to make a Girls Night Out Necklace from the book. The group was working together to help each other complete the piece.

 

The owner, Olya Yampoisky, invited me to stop in to sign some books, meet the group, and see their progress. When I walked in the door, I was greeted with applause, which made me feel so good. One of the participants told me she likes the book so much that she is attempting all 25 projects!

 

The beaders were having an absolute blast! I came in towards the beginning of their session, but I was seeing good progress with the right angle weave portion of the project.

 

AmyKatz event photo

 

And what a great idea this was for all. Store patrons had the opportunity to participate in a free event, socialize and shop for beads. The store sold some product and everyone had the chance to appreciate the book’s project together. This not only sounds like a good cold winter night event, but an anytime occasion.

 

Burke Gems & Beads is planning to host another Seed Bead Chic event in the near future. What is so touching to me is that one of my local stores put in this great effort to honor my work. I am proud to be a staff teacher, customer, and friend of this wonderful shop. Thank you.

 

——

Amy Katz has been beading for 20 years and teaches beading workshops and classes across the country. Her designs revolve around the “high-end” jewelry store look using quality seed beads, crystals, pearls, and more. She is the coauthor of Beading Across America (Kalmbach), and her website is BeadJourney.com. She lives in Fairfax Station, VA.

 
 
 
 
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We’ve got a wonderful surprise for all of the Stitch Love fans out there! Author Mollie Johanson has provided us with instructions for an adorable embroidered felt lettuce leaf to go along with the Gleeful Guinea Pig Plush project included in the book. Check out the instructions and how-to photos below to make your own, and please post pictures of your Gleeful Guinea Pig munching on her leaf in the comments section. 

If you don’t already have your copy of Stitch Love, order your copy here.  

 

GuineaPigLettuceLeaf1

 

The Gleeful Guinea Pig Plush in Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small ended up being one of my favorite projects in the whole book. My sister has claimed this gal for her own, but I thought she looked hungry. Guinea Pigs love lettuce, so I stitched up a felt lettuce leaf for her. And guess what? The Gleeful Guinea Pig loves it!

 

To make your own, you will need:

Green felt

Green embroidery floss

Scissors

Tracing paper

Pencil

Needle

+

 Download the pattern here:

Gleeful Guinea Pig Lettuce Leaf

  GuineaPigLettuceLeaf2

 

For each lettuce leaf, cut two leaf shapes from green felt.

 

GuineaPigLettuceLeaf3

 

Using the tracing paper method given in Stitch Love, embroider the veins onto one of the leaves with back-stitch and three strands of green embroidery floss.

 

GuineaPigLettuceLeaf4

 

Carefully tear away the tracing paper.

 

GuineaPigLettuceLeaf5

 

Hold the two leaf shapes together and stitch around the edge with running stitch and three strands of green embroidery floss. Hide the knot between the layers.

 

GuineaPigLettuceLeaf6   GuineaPigLettuceLeaf7

 

Now you can serve a snack to your favorite stuffed guinea pig!

Stitch love, friends!

 

———-

 

Mollie Johanson is the creator of the popular blog Wild Olive (wildolive.blogspot.com) and Etsy store (where she’s sold over 3000 embroidery motif downloads). Her designs have appeared in Heart-Felt Holidays and Felt-o-ween (both Lark), in magazines (including several features in Mollie Makes), and in craft books from other publishers. Mollie lives in St. Charles, IL.

 
 
 
 
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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!

notebook

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.

ruler

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.

reoglesby32 (3)

Happy stitching and designing!

–from Rachael Oglesby

 

 
 
 
 
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It already feels like we’re approaching peak summer heat, but don’t worry! You don’t have to put your knitting away until Labor Day. There are plenty of yarns and projects that you can keep knitting all through the summer months, even if you don’t have air conditioning.

I’m the author of the Lark Crafts book, Sock Yarn Studio. Inside my book are over 25 different knitting patterns specially designed for sock yarn.

What’s the big deal about sock yarn? Well, it’s one of the lightest weights of knitting yarn they make. Because it’s lightweight, it’s especially suited for knitting in warmer weather. Instead of having thick yarn that sits in your lap in a big heavy pile and makes you perspire, sock yarn is thin and lightweight, and you can make an entire project with just one skein. You can also find lots of sock yarns that contain plant fibers, like cotton, silk, tencel and bamboo – fibers which are naturally cool.

* * * * *

The first section of patterns in Sock Yarn Studio features projects that take only one skein of sock yarn, and many of them are small projects that knit up relatively fast. For example, the Lisatra Cowl is a pattern knit up in a blend of silk and wool, with a fun lacy pattern.

 

 

Another great pattern with lacy stitch work is the Vert Cap, designed by Hunter Hammersen. (I’m especially partial to this one because my daughter is the girl modeling the cap in the book!)

 

 

If you’ve ever wanted to try entrelac, the Thornapple Wristers are another fun project with a single strip of entrelac on each wrister – just enough to get the hang of it but not so much that it’s overwhelming. Elizabeth Morrison designed these wristers and they look fabulous when you knit them in a yarn with slowly morphing colors, like the Crystal Palace Sausalito used in the sample.

 

 

I’ll even fess up and tell you that I knit a couple of the projects in the book during the summer, in smaller bites. The Lizalu blanket is made from oddballs of leftover sock yarn. Even though it ends up as a big blanket, it’s knit in strips. I took the strips for the blanket with me all over the summer that I worked on the book.

 

 

I knit strips in the car, during a Phillies game, at cookouts, even on the beach. The strips are easy to work even if you’re not paying really close attention (or sipping a wine spritzer by the pool!) and you can knit a bunch of strips, use up leftover balls of yarn, and then join them when the weather gets a little cooler.

So dig out your copy of Sock Yarn Studio (or order it if you haven’t yet!) and find a great project in lightweight yarns to keep your needles clicking all through the summer. Cheers!

 * * * * *

Carol Sulcoski is a former attorney turned knitwear designer, writer, hand dyer and teacher. She is the author of several knitwear pattern books including Sock Yarn Studio and Lace Yarn Studio, coming in Spring 2015 from Lark Crafts. For more information—or to buy some of her scrumptious yarn—visit www.blackbunnyfibers.com.

 
 
 
 
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My name is Carol Sulcoski and I’m the author of Sock Yarn Studio. I’ll be posting from time to time this month on the Lark Crafts blog.

Tuesday was a very special day for me: it marked the publication date of my new book, Sock Yarn Studio. And that “official” publication date is the perfect time to kick off the “Official Sock Yarn Studio Blog Tour!” We’ve got some fun and interesting stops lined up for you, with giveaways, interviews, book reviews, and insight from some of the contributing designers about the design process. Starting tomorrow, and running through the beginning of November, here’s where you’ll find all the Sock-Yarny goodness:

October 5: Kristin Ohmdahl

October  10: Wendy Johnson

October 14: Joe Wilcox

October 15: Cristi Brockway

October 16: Marlaina Bird

October 18: Tanis Gray

October 22: Hunter Hammersen

October 24: Barb Brown

October 26: Erika Flory

November 1: Elizabeth Morrison

November 4: Jody (Pirrello) Richards

November 7: Ruth Garcia-Alcantud

November 9: Shannon Okey

But that’s not all. Today, we’re also giving away a free project download! As you probably know, not every project can make it into a project-packed book–but some of what ends up on the cutting room floor is too good not to share. So, to get your fall knitting started, you can download the instructions for making the Cintaya Long Cowl you see above: Cintaya Long Cowl PDF. There’s also instructions for a provisional cast-on included!

Ok, that’s all for now. Happy knitting and see you on tour!