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Bring on the Luck of the Irish!

March 04, 2016, 12:00 pm  Posted by admin
 

61Ou85QzfeLAs some of you might know from last year’s post, St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal in my family. Over the years I’ve donned everything green, ate all the corned beef and humiliated my friends with ‘Kiss Me I’m Irish’ pins. This year, I wanted to do something different with my affinity for the holiday.

Well, I didn’t need to look very far for inspiration. Aimee Ray’s Doodle Stitching The Holiday Motif Collection was sitting right on my desk, daring me to get creative. For those of you who haven’t seen this book, I suggest you get your hands on it. It’s filled with over 300 embroidery motifs designed specifically for the holidays and seasons. It even comes with a CD with all of the motifs in simple black lines so you can enlarge, edit or combine them as you like!

The book has the perfect motifs for St. Patrick’s Day. You can add them to tea towels, clothes, tote bags, pillows, and your own personalized cards. Below are a few to wet your shamrocks. I plan on adding that leprechaun to the elbows of my green sweater this year!

You can also download the black lined PDFs of these motifs here: LeprechaunPot of Gold, and Shamrock. Grab a copy for you or a loved one now!

Buy here: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, IndieBound

Continue reading...
 
 
 
 
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Wedding Papercrafts – Free Project!

February 24, 2016, 11:00 am  Posted by admin
 
Invitation from Wedding Papercrafts

Click to enlarge

In celebration of the upcoming release of Wedding Papercrafts, we’re offering a free download of the Paper-Cut Garden Vine Invitation template from the book.

With just a craft knife, some sketch paper, and a backing cardstock in a color to match your scheme, you can create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind keepsake wedding invitation to impress your guests. If you don’t currently have a wedding to plan, consider making these invitations for an “It’s Finally Spring!” get-together.

Find the instructions and template for creating the invitation below, and pre-order your copy of Wedding Papercrafts at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or IndieBound.

 

 

 

Materials & Tools:

• Download: Paper Cut Invitation Template

• One sheet of regular copy paper

• One sheet of colored cardstock, at least 9 x 9 inches (22.8 x 22.8 cm)

• One sheet of white sketch paper

• Craft knife

• Metal ruler

• Cutting mat

• Craft glue

• Small, soft paintbrush

• Tape

Instructions:

Wedding Papercrafts Cover1. Copy the invitation design template onto regular copy paper. Cut the template outline from the copy paper and lay it over the white sketch paper. Use tape to affix the template to the sketch paper to keep it in place as you cut. Be sure to use a cutting mat to protect your work surface.

TIP: If you’ve never used a craft knife before, practice working with the template, cardstock, craft knife, and cutting mat first.

2. Cut along the lines of the design template, using firm pressure to ensure that the blade is slicing through both the thin copy paper and the slightly heavier sketch paper. Take your time and be sure to keep your fingers away from the blade. You can rotate the paper as you go to make cutting in different directions easier. As you move from piece to piece, position the blade below the surface of the two layers of paper on the last cut to “pop” out the paper pieces.

3. When you finish cutting the entire template, gently move your hand over the copy paper to feel the grooves made by the blade to make sure you haven’t missed any lines before removing the design template.

4. Lift the copy paper template from the sketch paper. If a few pieces of the cutout still remain, rescore the lines with your craft knife and gently pull the pieces out. Clean up any jagged or unclean lines with the blade of the craft knife.

5. Using a metal ruler to guide the craft knife, cut the colored cardstock backing 7¼ x 5 ¾ inches (18.4 x 14.6 cm).

6. Brush a thin layer of glue on the back of the paper cutting and affix it to the colored cardstock. Let the card dry, then place it beneath a stack of heavy books to ensure it lays flat.

 

 
 
 
 
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Holiday Gift Tags by Cynthia Schaffer

December 24, 2015, 10:20 am  Posted by admin
 

If you’re a last minute shopper like most people in my family, chances are you’re also in desperate need of a card or note to attach to that gift you just waited 45 minutes in line for. A quick, easy, and fun solution is a gift tag. With free-motion stitching goddess Cynthia Shaffer’s project below, you can easily make a pretty and festive gift tag to adorn all of those presents.

 

What you need:

  • Shipping tag, 2 3/8 x 4 ¾ inches (6 x 12 cm)
  • Scrap of red print fabric
  • Glue stick
  • Sewing machine with a free motion or quilting foot
  • Black thread
  • Acrylic paints in turquoise, orange and white
  • Small paintbrush
  • Black fine-tip permanent marker
  • One page of old book text
  • Black watercolor pencil
  • 10 inches (25.4 cm) of ½-inch (1.3 cm) wide black rayon ribbon

 

What you do:

1. Cut out random small shapes from the fabric and arrange them onto the tag.
KF6A7145

 

2. Glue the fabric shapes into place.

Tags-004

 

3. Free motion stitch around the fabric shapes and then onto the tag.

KF6A7149

 

4. Using the fine-tip marker doodle on the tag around the stitched shapes.
5. With turquoise paint fill in some of the stitched and doodled shapes.

KF6A7152

 

6. Cut out small shapes from the book text and glue them to the fabric.
7. Free motion stitch the book text into place.
8. Paint the tag with orange and turquoise paint and blend in a messy manner. Note: I wasn’t liking the way this tag was turning out so I simply covered up all my previous doodling with the paint!

KF6A7162

 

9. Using the watercolor pencil, doodle around the stitched scallops and blend a bit with water.

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10. Attached the black ribbon tie the tag onto a gift.

Tags-022

 

Cynthia Shaffer is a mixed media artist, creative sewer, and photographer. For more of Cynthia’s gorgeous work, check out her most recent Lark title, Simply Stitched Gifts, as well as any of her previously published Lark titles; Stash Happy Patchwork (Lark, 2011), Stash Happy Appliqué (Lark, 2012), co-author of Serge It (Lark 2014) author of Coastal Crafts (Lark, 2015).

 
 
 
 
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Lark Crafts DIY: Latvian Easter eggs

April 03, 2015, 15:00 pm  Posted by admin
 

My favorite Easter activity is coloring eggs. My father’s side of the family is Latvian, and every year I make traditional Latvian Easter eggs with my sister, great aunt, and grandmother. This year, I had a special kitchen buddy—Ernie. My sister’s 9-month-old Australian Shepherd is, like most dogs, very interested in any and all food prep, but Ernie seemed particularly fascinated by the Latvian Easter egg preparations.


ERNIE 2

 

Latvian Easter eggs are colored using dyes derived from all-natural materials—we color ours usingonion skins. It’s a really popular Latvian Easter egg-coloring method. The onion skins give the eggs a really beautiful earthy, rusty-red color and dried spices, herbs, leaves and/or flowers, wrapped or pressed around the egg and covered and held in place by the onion skins before boiling,  can result in really interesting shapes and patterns. You can also scratch the eggs after dying to create intricate designs.

 

What you’ll need:

Onion Skins

Nylon Stocking, Cheesecloth or, in a pinch, paper towels

Vinegar

Rubber bands (if using cheesecloth or paper towels)

Scissors

 

Optional:

Sharp tool for etching

Leaves, flowers, or other natural materials to create extra patterns on the egg

Vegetable oil or butter

 

First, collect a good amount of yellow onion skins. We bought a whole bag from the local grocery store, but some stores actually sell bags of just the skins.

 

Onion Skins

 

If you’d like to experiment with creating patterns using leaves and flowers on the egg, wrap them around the eggs first. (My sister and I dripped a little hot wax onto the egg to help keep the flowers and leaves in place before wrapping with the onion skins.)

 

Flower on Egg

 

Next, wrap the entire egg in onion skins (you can wet them first to make it easier to wrap them around each egg), then wrap each egg tightly with cheese cloth or paper towel and wrap each with a few rubber bands to keep everything in place while boiling. You can also use nylon stockings to create little bags for each covered egg. Simply cut pieces of the stocking big enough to cover each egg, place the egg in the stocking, pull the fabric tight around the egg to keep the onion in place and tie the stocking off at both ends.

 

Wrap onion skins around the egg

 

Place the eggs in a pot, add cold water and a little vinegar, and bring to a boil. Cook the eggs for 10-15 minutes. You’ll notice that the water will turn a red/orange color as the dye from the onion skins is extracted.

 

When the eggs are done, let them steep in the water for a few more minutes, then remove them from the water and let them cool. Use scissors to remove the rubber bands and the cheesecloth/paper towel/stocking and onion skins to reveal the color and patterns created by any plants. Peeling back the fabric and onions to reveal the color and patterns is the best part of the process. Use a sharp tool to scratch patterns into the egg if you like, then rub the eggs with vegetable oil or butter to give them a nice shine.

 

Dyed Eggs

 

Our eggs ended up with a lighter color (we could have used more onion skinsto make them darker) and a few of the leaves and flowers we added made interesting designs. We started to add a few etchings to the eggs with the point of some small scissors as well.

 

Ernie approved. Happy Easter!

 

Ernie with Eggs

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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Lark Crafts DIY: Operation Easter Knitting

April 03, 2015, 10:07 am  Posted by admin
 

Are you the resident crafter in your family? It’s definitely a badge of honor, but when you’re running late on that Easter basket it turns last-minute crafting into an art form!

 

DIY Easter 1

 

For my niece’s Easter basket I decided to go with a different approach—I wanted something cute and fun, but also useful.

 

Step one: the Bag-sket!

Instead of a traditional basket I decided to make her a reusable bag using Laura Spradlin’s “Grrlfriend Market Bag” free pattern on Ravelry. I used a solid color for the base and handles and a variegated color for the body to produce a bright, fun, machine washable, reusable bag/basket. A bag-sket!

 

DIY Easter 2

 

You’ll be starting at the bottom, center of the bag and working up. Here’s a helpful tutorial for Emily Ocker’s cast-on from New Stitch a Day. It was my first time using this technique, so a tutorial was essential for me.

 

DIY Easter 3

 

Step two: the Easter bunny!

No basket is complete without a furry bunny friend to deliver the holiday goodies. I opted for Susan B. Anderson’s “Rabbit” pattern, which is another free Ravelry download.

 

DIY Easter 4

 

My bunny tail turned out slightly huge, but I say go big or go home and this giant pom helps this guys stand up straight. Win-win!

 

DIY Easter 5

 

Susan also created an absolutely essential video tutorial on embroidering faces to a knitted toy, just the thing I needed to create a simple, but adorable face on this little fella.

 

Step three: the final touch—a carrot!

Easter bunnies get hungry too, y’know? I had a tiny bit of time left so I decided to make a little something for him to nibble on while waiting patiently for Easter Sunday.  I used Emily Ivey’s “Carrot: It’s Good for You” pattern, again another fun, free Ravelry download.

 

DIY Easter 6

 

Mine turned out a liiiiittle ridiculously huge, but what bunny doesn’t love a huge meal?

 

DIY Easter 7

 

(Optional) Step four: bunny scarf

If you’re worried that your bunny will get cold I recommend knitting up a tiny scarf with whatever sport weight yarn scraps you have lying around. Here’s what I did:

–Using any cast-on method, CO enough stitches until you reach 4” (10cm).

–Knit 8 rows

–BO

–Tie on a few strands to each end for fringe

 

DIY Easter 8

 

Quick, cute, and warm. :-)

Now throw in some sweet treats and your bag-sket is ready to go!

 

DIY Easter 9

 

Happy Easter from the Lark family to yours!

 
 
 
 
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Lark Crafts DIY: Easter egg dying

April 02, 2015, 14:00 pm  Posted by admin
 

Dying Easter eggs is a favorite tradition for many families, and one of my favorite techniques is one I was taught in college. My friends and I had a lot of fun experimenting in our kitchen with “tie-dyed” eggs.

 

Martha Stewart provides a great tutorial here teaching readers how to dye eggs using old silk ties. All you need to do is pick up some patterned ties (of 100% silk) from your local thrift shop, and soon enough you’ll have striped, spotted, and paisley eggs!

 

Take a look at some inspirational photos below:

 

egg1

These awesome eggs were made by the folks at Dabbled.org. Follow this link for their tutorial.

 

silk_egg2

This beautiful egg was posted on Econesting.com. Learn more here.

 

egg3

We love these gorgeous eggs dyed by Our Best Bites! Check out their tutorial here.

 

Here are the results of my silk-tie egg-dying experiment. Our eggs weren’t perfect, but we had a lot of fun making them!

 

463413_10150788488811800_1308367164_o (4)

 

 

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459982_10150788491371800_1762132371_o (5)

 
 
 
 
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Make your own Pressed Clay Wreath from Artful Christmas

November 25, 2014, 09:00 am  Posted by admin
 

Artful Christmas CoverThe elegant yet easy-to-make projects featured in Susan Wasinger’s Artful Christmas are all beautiful, but my favorite project from the book has to be the Pressed Clay Wreath (pictured below).

 

I was really surprised to see how such an ornate and elegant wreath could be made using widely available materials and in just 4 simple steps. Easy to make, yet sophisticated and beautiful, the projects included in Artful Christmas are perfect for those of us who are usually scrambling to pull everything together during the busy holiday season.

 

I’m currently in the midst of an apartment move, and with the usual hustle and bustle that inevitably accompanies the holidays, plus a new apartment full of unpacked boxes on my hands, I won’t be able to spend a lot of time and energy on decorations for the holidays. With this in mind, I definitely plan on scratching my creative itch and making a few of these projects to decorate my new place this Christmas.

 

Check out the Pressed Clay Wreath project from the book below and consider making your own to display as a table centerpiece or decorative wreath.

 

Pressed Clay Wreath - Artful Christmas (4)

 
 
 
 
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Join us for a Chunky Knits Knit-a-long!

September 26, 2014, 18:11 pm  Posted by admin
 

Chunky Knits cover (3)Fall is officially here, we’ve entered jacket season, and in about five minutes, it’ll be hat season. Don’t be left out in the cold! Join us for a Chunky Knits knit-a-long (KAL) to make the Button-Up Slouchy Hat and stay warm in the coming months.

 

If you missed it, you can download a free copy of the pattern here.

 

Between the months of October and March slouchy hats are my daily wardrobe staple. I hate it when my ears get cold, so I typically pick my hat patterns based on potential ear coverage. That makes the Button-Up Slouchy Hat perfect for me. See how toasty her ears are?

 

Button-up slouchy hat (5)

 

Fellow Lark editor, Deborah Stack, will be joining me for this mini KAL journey and it’s a notable one for her:

 

“For my entire life, I have struggled to wrangle my curly hair into any sort of order. After many failed attempts to style a hand-knit hat many years ago, I’ve built up the courage to try again. I always wanted a jaunty red hat and a stashed skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Chunky in Cardinal seemed to fit the bill.

 

Chunky Knits KAL De#156CEDC (3)

 

While picking up the heart buttons at my LYS, a gorgeous skein of Ella Rae Lace Merino Chunky caught my attention. I couldn’t let this incredible yarn sit alone in the sale bin. Now my worries have extended far beyond how to stuff miles of unruly curls into a knitted hat–I need to pick a color!”

 

Chunky Knits KAL De#156CEA4 (3)

 

As for me, I’ll be casting on with The Plucky Knitter’s Plucky Bulky in the color Hop Diggity and using these adorable bicycle buttons from the famed Jennie the Potter. The yarn was a gift from a dear friend who deeply understands my penchant for green fiber and the buttons are my first purchase from my very first NY Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY. I’ll be proudly wearing this hat and displaying these buttons in Rhinebeck next month, so they’ll finally come full circle.

 

Chunky Knits KAL Connie yarn and buttons (3)

 

What are your yarn and button plans? Do you have a color preference to help Deborah decide? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Next week we’ll show you work-in-progress shots.

 

Chunky Knits by Ashley Little will be available starting on October 14th, so be sure to pre-order your copy.

 
 
 
 
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Chunky Knits: Free Sneak Preview Pattern

September 19, 2014, 19:26 pm  Posted by admin
 

Chunky Knits cover (3)What’s not to love about fall? Pumpkin spice lattes, fall foliage, and the handknits finally come out of storage to keep us warm once again. The morning air is turning crisp here in New York City and you know hat weather will be upon us soon.

 

Kick off your fall knitting with the Button-Up Slouchy Hat by Amanda Lilley. Here’s a free sneak preview pattern for you from the forthcoming book Chunky Knits by Ashley Little, publishing on October 14th.

 

Free Download: Chunky Knits – Button-Up Slouchy Hat

 

Button-up slouchy hat (3)

 

I’m definitely eyeing my stash for just the right yarn and buttons to cast on. I think a knit-a-long will be in order soon. Stay tuned!

 

In the meantime, pre-order your copy of Chunky Knits today.

 
 
 
 
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One + One: Wraps, Cowls, & Capelets: FREE PATTERN

September 18, 2014, 12:20 pm  Posted by admin
 

One + One

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a knitter in possession of two skeins of yarn, must be in want of a striped shawl.”

 

I may be misquoting the first line of Pride and Prejudice, but I would argue that if Jane Austen were a knitter today this is exactly what she’d say. Striped shawls are very on-trend and we’ve got the perfect free pattern for you.

 

The Old and New Shawl uses just two skeins of DK weight yarn and is from Iris Schreier’s latest book, One + One: Wraps, Cowls, & Capelets. Pair a variegated skein with a semi-solid for a similar look to this sample:

 

Old and New Shawl (3)

 

Download your free copy of this pattern here: Old_and_New_Shawl_free_pattern, or store it in your Ravelry library.

 

Be sure to grab your copy of One + One: Wraps, Cowls, & Capelets and cast on today!