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An Ode to Cephalopod Yarns

July 18, 2014, 16:36 pm  Posted by Connie Santisteban
 

On Tuesday, July 15th, Sarah Eyre, co-owner of Cephalopod Yarns, announced the immediate closing of her beloved hand-dyed yarn business. For fiber lovers everywhere this news—and the unfortunate reasoning behind it—sent a ripple of mourning throughout the community. We mourn the only way a fiber lover knows how—we find the last existing skeins and stash up immediately.

Cephalopod Yarns’ final trunk show is taking place right now at KNIT Long Island in Roslyn, NY, so obviously a pilgrimage was born!

A bounty of delicious fiber came home with us, but don’t worry—we left plenty for the rest of you:


 

Sarah herself will be at KNIT Long Island on Monday, July 21st, for a fitting denouement to a brand that will be sorely missed. For location and store hours, visit KNIT Long Island’s website.

Huge thanks to Audrey Bernhard and Cheryl Lavenhar, co-owners of KNIT Long Island, for welcoming us to their store and letting us roam free. It was our first trip, but it will definitely not be our last!

(Pro Tip: Audrey hinted that Sarah may be bringing some additional remaining stock on Monday. This is not to be missed.)

 

Written by Connie Santisteban and Deborah Stack.

 
 
 
 
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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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Cute Crochet World giveaway!

July 03, 2014, 09:00 am  Posted by joshglickman
 

Free book and project giveaway! To celebrate the recent release of Suzann Thompson’s new book, we are giving away three free copies of Cute Crochet World: A Little Dictionary of Crochet Critters, Folks, Food & More, along with one of three delightful motifs from the book: a Martian, a vintage television, or a gingerbread couple.

With Cute Crochet World, learn to crochet more than 50 different motifs, like scrumptious cupcakes and colorful crayons. With designs that fall into 6 different categories, including seasons, home, food, and critters, Thompson’s delightful and colorful collection has something for everyone. These adorable and quirky projects are great for embellishing fashion and home accessories or making jewelry and ornaments. You can even use them to customize stationary. The perfect size for crafting on the go, Thompson’s creations are fun and simple to make, with detailed instructions and a number of photographs.

Suzann Thompson has crocheted and knitted since childhood. In junior high, she earned a fortune (of several hundred dollars) by crocheting and selling granny-square handbags. However, she later chose writing and designing over mass production. The author of Crochet Bouquet and Crochet Garden (both Lark), Suzann also teaches and writes about crochet, knitting, and polymer clay. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Dublin, TX.

 

ENTER TO WIN:

A copy of Cute Crochet World

&

Either a Martian, vintage television, or gingerbread couple

 

Just leave a comment from Thursday, July 3 to Friday, July 11 and 3 lucky craft winners will be chosen to win our Lark gift giveaway!

 
 
 
 
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World Wide Knit in Public Day

June 19, 2014, 14:00 pm  Posted by Connie Santisteban
 

World Wide Knit in Public Day, or WWKiP Day, takes place from June 14th through June 22nd this year and knitters around the world continue to keep this 9-year-old tradition strong.

Members of the Ravelry group, “Madelinetosh Shop Stalkers,” gather to knit in downtown Portland, ME.

WWKiP is the largest knitter run event in the world and is meant to demonstrate that knitting can be a community activity. It’s an event that brings crafters together to celebrate all of the fiber arts.

Need some ideas of what to knit or crochet in public this year? Portable projects are a popular option and we have some free projects to help you celebrate.

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Wondering what to do with your single skeins of super bulky yarn? Try “Skinny Scalloped Scarf” from Crochet Love by Jenny Doh:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Need a quick on-the-go project? Check out “Sunburst Beret” from Crochet Boutique by Rachael Oglesby:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saving that hand-dyed skein of fingering weight yarn for a special project? Look no further than “Cintaya Long Cowl” from Sock Yarn Studio by Carol Sulcoski:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How are you planning to celebrate? Tell us what you knit or crochet in public in the comments and share the WWKiP Day love!

 
 
 
 
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Free projects from Stitch Along

June 05, 2014, 20:25 pm  Posted by joshglickman
 

Stitch Along by Jenny Doh is HERE! This fresh, fun foray into the world of embroidery showcases ten prominent designers, all acclaimed for their embroidery and stitching artistry. Each one shares instructions for three projects, along with ten beautiful and whimsical embroidery motifs for readers to use in their own work. The appealing themes include Kitschy Kitchen, Nautical, Camping, Robots, Sweet Hearts, and more.

The featured designers include: Carina Envoldsen-Harris (author of Stitched Blooms), Mollie Johanson (who runs the Etsy store, Wild Olive), Charlotte Lyons (Tilly Fabric Design), and more.

Jenny Doh is a crafter extraordinaire! You can find her at cresendoh.com, a widely popular online crafting community. For her leadership in publishing and the art and crafting community, Jenny was recognized by Folio as one of the magazine industry’s top 40 leaders, influencers, and innovators.

 

Check out these sample projects from the book:

Kitschy Kitchen Towel:

Start with a plain, ordinary, white kitchen towel. Then embroider a place setting motif and add a length of bright red rickrack to make it kitschy-extraordinary!

Mini Camping Pillow:This cozy pillow can serve as both tent decor and a comfy nighttime head support—a must for your next crafty camping excursion.

 
 
 
 
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This is the third and final installment of  Stitched Blooms author Carina Envoldsen-Harris’s Color Workshop. You can read the first two posts here and here.

This week, you can enter for a chance to win one of TWO projects from Stitched Blooms — the English Cottage Tablecloth or a copy of the bookSee the end of this post for details on how to enter. UPDATE: YOUR CHANCE TO WIN HAS BEEN EXTENDED THROUGH THIS FRIDAY, MARCH 7. SEE THE END OF THIS POST FOR MORE DETAILS! 

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winners, Mita and Stacy!

 

 

Selecting Colors for Your Projects

 

 

Choosing colors for your own projects is “easy” — you can just pick the colors you love and all is well, right?  Well, to a degree. If you love a certain combination, green and pink, for example (guilty!), by all means go for it. But I’m a big fan of trying new things in the colors you use. Pushing yourself out of that comfort zone which it is so easy to get a little stuck in.

I am always suggesting that people should try using the colors they least like a bit more. Because this will train you to make it work even if you don’t like it all that much. And I think that pushing your choices is also a great way to learn more about color and about what works for you, and why.

Purple or lilac are probably my least favorite color, but I will often try and add a bit of it when deciding on colors for a new pattern. Experience has taught me that sometimes colors I don’t like make the rest of the color scheme really ‘pop’ in ways it wouldn’t have if I hadn’t used it.

 

Selecting colors for gifts 

 When you are making a gift for someone else, getting the colors right can be a challenge. Especially if what you’re making is a surprise and you can’t ask them exactly what they like!

 

 

Maybe you’re making a skirt or a blouse for your friend but the colors she actually wears aren’t necessarily her favorite colors. For example, you would think that I wear a lot of bright colors, and I do occasionally wear a top in a bold color, but I actually mostly wear more plain dark or light colors.  So if you’re making clothing for someone, pay attention to what they actually wear or take a sneaky peek in their wardrobe (that’s mine up there) if you can.

When making a larger project for someone else, a quilt for example, getting the colors right is really important. You don’t want it to overpower a whole room. Even if you use all the colors you know your friend loves, it might not fit in the room/house. She may love bold colors — lime green, zingy orange etc — but does she actually use those colors in her home?

 

Again, I’ll use myself as an example. I use a lot of strong colors in the things I make, but the colors in our home are actually quite subdued. Our bedroom for example, has very neutral, calming colors going on there. Although I would love a quilt in my favorite colors, I think I would soon put it somewhere I didn’t have to look at it all the time. Color overload is not a good thing if you’re not into that.

So when selecting colors, think about the colors in the room where it is most likely to be used. If your friend already has an overall color scheme there, select the overall colors to go with it. But of course there’s nothing stopping you from using a cheeky pop of pink in a few places!

If you’re making a smaller thing, like a bag or maybe a piece of jewelry, it is a lot easier to make a statement with color. But again, pay attention to what someone uses/wears, not just what they like.

 

Working with colors selected by others

Since color is such a subjective thing, sometimes people will ask you to make something for them in a specific color or color combination. This can be a fun aspect of a project, but it can also be really challenging. If the chosen colors are far removed from your own taste it can be difficult to work with them, because if you usually avoid them, you may not be familiar with how to get them to play well with other colors. (That’s another reason to experiment with color in the things you make for yourself!)

Hopefully the person who has chosen the colors trusts you enough that you have some freedom to add a little bit of your own taste to the project. One way to make a color combination easier to work with is to add just a tiny amount of an accent color that you do like/love. Here’s an example:

Purple-ish colors combined with yellow is probably my least favorite combination. There is just something about this complementary pair that feels really unpleasant. I’m not sure why — I like other complementary pairs. To make it more comfortable for me to work with, I would probably add some pink or orange. Even if it’s just a little bit, either of these colors will help soften the harshness of the yellow + purple combination.

So if you can, work with the colors you have been given, but try and add some of *you* into the mix.

I hope you’ve found my Color Workshop to be fun and informative! Please do stop by my blog, Carina’s Craftblog, where you can find lovely embroidery patterns, learn about projects I’ve got in the works, and catch up on all sorts of embroidery-and craft-related things. Don’t forget that you can buy Stitched Blooms at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or wherever craft books are sold!

 

This week, you can enter for a chance to win one of TWO Stitched Blooms prizes — the English Cottage Tablecloth (46 inches [116.8 cm] square), or a copy of Stitched Blooms! Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 27. You can leave any comment you’d like, but it would be really fun to hear about any color combinations you’ve tried in your embroidery that turned out to be disastrous! Two winners will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced on Friday, February 28. Click here for the official rules. Special note: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, but residents outside the U.S. can enter for a chance to win a copy of Stitched Blooms on Carina’s blog! Click here to go to Carina’s Craftblog

***WE’RE EXTENDING YOUR CHANCE TO WIN UNTIL THIS FRIDAY, MARCH 7! PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BY 9 P.M. ON FRIDAY, MARCH 7. TWO WINNERS WILL BE SELECTED AT RANDOM AND ANNOUNCED MONDAY, MARCH 10.***   This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winners, Mita and Stacy! 

 

English Cottage Tablecloth, 46 inches (116.8 cm ) square

 

 

 
 
 
 
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Stitched Blooms Color Workshop, Part 2 + Giveaway

February 14, 2014, 19:42 pm  Posted by Lark
 

Carina Envoldsen-Harris, author of Stitched Blooms, is leading a special Color Workshop in three parts here on the Lark blog. From reviewing basic color theory to showing us how to select colors for our projects, Carina will share her expertise of all things color. You can find Carina’s first Color Workshop post here.

This week, you can enter for a chance to win one of TWO projects from Stitched Blooms — the PJ Pocket Pillow or the Every Day Carry Case! See the end of this post for details on how to enter. UPDATE: Congratulations to our two winners: Kay and Cindy! 

 

Hello and welcome to the second part of the color workshop! Today we’re looking at different color schemes that you can create from the color wheel.

 

The basic idea is that according to their relationship on the color wheel, colors impact each other. We’ll look at two of them: complementary and harmonizing. But there are several others that are included in the color section in Stitched Blooms.

Harmonizing colors are right next to each other on the color wheel — for example, red, red-violet and violet. The colors have more or less one color in common (in the example above, the common color is red). A color palette like this is tranquil.

Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, like blue and orange. Complementary colors have nothing in common. Blue is a primary color and orange is made up of red and yellow, the two other primary colors. You could also think of these as contrasting colors, because they are exactly that — in contrast to each other. If you want your color scheme to “pop,” go for a complementary one.

Until now, we’ve focused on the (basic) colors on the color wheel, and maybe you’re wondering about where pink (personal note: I looove pink!) or pastels or darker colors fit into this.

 

 

Pastels and shades, the colors on the color wheel mixed with either white or black, can be used in exactly the same way as the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. The same rules apply to the different color schemes. Pair a pale orange with a pale blue and it will have more ‘zing’ than pale orange with a pale red (a.k.a. pink).

You can, of course, combine color across the different schemes. In this last example, I have used three harmonizing greens with a pink color, so this scheme is basically a complementary pair where one of the colors is a pale version.

I call the schemes ‘rules’ but they’re more like guidelines. They are a place to start if you’re unsure how to select colors for a project. With practice, you will get more confident, and that is when it’s time to throw caution to the wind and just have fun with color!

To train your color eye, have a look around your home: Do you spot any of these schemes in things you own or in the decor? Think about the clothes you wear – do you go for quieter, harmonizing colors, or do you pick contrasting colors? An orange t-shirt with blue jeans, for example? What about the colors you choose for projects? Maybe you’re always subconsciously picking harmonious colors or…maybe not?

To see examples of Motif 99 from Stitched Blooms in different color combinations, click here. You can download this free motif from last week’s post here

Tune in next week for the third and final installment of Carina’s Color Workshop and for a chance to win more free stuff! And don’t forget to enter for a chance to win one of two projects from Stitched Blooms: the PJ Pocket Pillow or the Every Day Carry Case! Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 20. You can leave any comment you’d like, but we’d be interested in knowing what you’ve got planned for future embroidery projects! Two winners will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced on Friday, February 21. Click here for the official rules.     This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winners! 

You can see more of Carina’s totally awesome (and colorful!) motifs and projects at Carina’s Craftblog.

PJ Pocket Pillow

 

Every Day Carry Case

 
 
 
 
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Carina Envoldsen-Harris, author of Stitched Blooms, will be leading a special Color Workshop here on the Lark blog once a week for the next three weeks. From reviewing basic color theory to showing us how to select colors for our projects, Carina will share her expertise of all things color.

You can stitch the same motif shown in this blog post (plus a bonus motif!) by downloading them here for FREE: Stitched Blooms Motifs. Also, be sure to find out how you can enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of Stitched Blooms at the end of this post.

Update: Congratulations to Beth T., who won a free copy of Stitched Blooms! 

 

Hi! Welcome to this workshop about color. We’re going to cover a few things in these posts, but obviously, it’s an introduction to all things color. You could spend a lifetime studying these things, and that would be fun, I’m sure. But you wouldn’t have much time to do any embroidery!

The workshop is split into three sections: introduction to the color wheel, introduction to color schemes, and working with/selecting colors. Today we start with an introduction to the color wheel.

You have probably come across the color wheel before? In school, perhaps? If you haven’t, here’s a quick explanation of what the color wheel can do: It is a pie chart of sorts that shows how, with three basic colors (the primaries), you can mix all the other colors. Along with primary colors, you will often hear people talk about secondary and tertiary colors.

The three primary colors are red, yellow and blue, and they can’t be made from other colors. By mixing the primary colors, you will get the three secondary colors. These are orange (red + yellow), green (yellow + blue), and violet (blue + red).

There are six tertiary colors, each of which is mixed from a primary and a secondary color: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

There are of course lots of colors besides these — millions in fact — but they all start with this basic principle of mixing, starting with the primary colors.

When it comes to embroidery, though, “mixing” perhaps isn’t the best term to use, because we can’t physically mix two colors of stranded floss. No matter how tightly you twist them together, red and yellow floss will not turn orange — they will always remain red or yellow. But they may look orange from some distance and that is very important to keep in mind.

 

Colors are very much influenced by their neighbors. Yellow and red next to each other will make each other look slightly orange. The same thing goes for any color — if there’s another color sitting next to it, each will impact the other, even if it’s just a little bit.

This can create unfortunate, unwanted effects, like a yellow that looks very nice on its own, but when placed next to a green takes on a green tinge. But we can also use it to our advantage, to make it look like we’ve used more colors than we actually have. Much like Impressionist painters who often would mix colors not on the palette but by putting small dots or strokes of paint next to each other on the canvas (called Pointillism), creating the illusion of a third color.

This is called partitive mixing or optical mixing. And this effect is exactly what we’re doing when we put thread colors together in a piece of embroidery. You could even recreate a Pointilist effect in embroidery by using French knots — when seen from a distance, the individual colors will start to disappear and the “in between” colors will appear.

And the number of colors that can be created using the colors on the color wheel can of course be multiplied even more by mixing them with white or black —to make a pink or peach or pale blue, for example.

The color wheel is a great reminder of the relationship between the colors. And the color wheel can do so much more for us! Next week we’ll look at how the color wheel can help us choose color schemes.

 

Enter for a chance to win a FREE copy of Stitched Blooms and try your own hand at color combinations with the 300+ motifs you can find in the book! Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 13. Any comment will do, but why don’t you tell us your favorite color combination? One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced on Friday, February 14. Click here for the official rules. This giveaway is now closed.

Don’t forget to check back next week for part 2 of Carina’s Color Workshop and for a chance to win more free stuff! You can see more of Carina’s lovely, colorful motifs and projects on Carina’s Craftblog.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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Show Your Love….in Stitches!

February 07, 2014, 15:26 pm  Posted by Lark
 

Ah….stitched Valentines: what could be sweeter? Whether you’re in the market for a major commitment, a quick bit of romantic crafting, or looking to purchase a special thing for a special someone (two-legged or four-legged), here are some fabulous ideas to get your ideas flowing. From top to bottom, left to right, with links:

 Rustic Heart Ornaments

Felt Heart Balloon

Heart Cufflinks

Love Birds Stitch Pattern

Cross My Heart Cross-Stitch Pattern

Xs and Os Gift Tags

Love Pouch

Embroidered Lyrics

Love Lab Cross-Stitch Pattern

Nordic Heart Cross-Stitch Pattern

Heart Bunting Flag Stationery

Boston Terrier Cross-Stitch Pattern

 
 
 
 
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Happy (stitchy) New Year: A Crochet To-Do List!

January 01, 2014, 09:21 am  Posted by Lark
 

Watch out, 2014: I’ve got BIG plans….this year is going to be bigger, lacier, crochet-ier! I know what you’re thinking: I’m gonna need more necks! Or maybe, wow, your dog must be excited. But after a year of crocheting, I’m ready to take my arsenal of skills to the next stitchy level. Lace? Yes, indeed. Textured stitches? But of course! And yes, pretend project planning on Ravelry is EXACTLY as much fun as pretend shopping on Etsy. Here are some of my plans, left to right, top to bottom:

Girl’s Crochet Cardigan Shrug by Luz Mendoza

Delicate Air Lace Cowl by Luz Mendoza

Totally Triangles Multi-Use Bag by Lily Sugar’n Cream and Bernat Design Studio

Dory by Liza Gutierrez

Winkle Vest by Tracy St. John

Granny Bandana by Shela Zachariae

Belmont Bag by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby

Morticia Chevron Cowl by Erin Chastain-Harris

Euphorbia Dress by Rita Taylor

What are your crafty plans for 2014?