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Bring on the Luck of the Irish!

March 04, 2016, 12:00 pm  Posted by Diana Ventimiglia
 

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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Scenes from Vogue Knitting Live – New York

January 19, 2016, 10:25 am  Posted by Connie Santisteban
 

Vogue Knitting Live – New York has come and gone and here are some of my favorite moments from the weekend.

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Just a few steps past registration and we’ve had our first celebrity sighting—Arne & Carlos! L-R: Carlos Zachrison, me, Lark assistant editor Deborah Stack, and Arne Nerjordet.

 

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My first purchase at Vogue Knitting live is unfailingly from Jill Draper Makes Stuff. Jill can always spot me a mile away in a bright green sweater, although surprisingly I walked away with a sweater quantity of her Windham yarn in a lovely dove grey color called Mourning Dove. I think I have shocked Jill for daring to leap outside of my green safety net.

 

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The most satisfying moment of the weekend was delivering the very first copy of More Lovely Knitted Lace (publishes on April 5th and you can preorder your copy here) to our author Brooke Nico. My camera didn’t capture it, but moments before she was jumping for joy! Fans will remember her first book Lovely Knitted Lace.

 

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Drive-by yarning. I loved seeing so many wonderful gradient options in the marketplace and this set is from Ewetopia.

 

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Marsha of One Geek to Craft Them All combines the best elements of geekdom with fiber necessities. Are you a Whovian in need of a tiny notion bag? She has what you need.

 

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The Lexicorp Superkits are on my to buy/to make list!

 

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We stopped by Nicky Epstein’s table to see the newest dolls and accessories from Enchanted Knits for Dolls. Here is Ms. Epstein with Lark assistant editor, Deborah Stack.

 

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No night is complete without a little knitterly competition. In celebration of Carol Sulcoski’s new book Knitting Ephemera , Vogue Knitting Live hosted a Knitting Trivia Night/Cocktail Reception. From L to R are: co-host Chris Vaccari of Sterling Publishing, Maria Novilla of the Subway Knits podcast, designer Lily Chin, Cynthia – round 1 fan winner obscured behind Lily Chin, designer Amy Detjen, designer Franklin Habit, and co-host and author of Sock Yarn Studio , Lace Yarn Studio, and Knitting Ephemera, Carol Sulcoski.

 

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Winner Franklin Habit accepts the knitting needle tiara and scepter of stockinette for being a font of knitterly knowledge!

 

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Thanks for the fun photo booth, Lion Brand!

 

Until next year VKL! We’ll keep warm in our handknits in the meantime.

 
 
 
 
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Christmas Cat Toy Project

December 15, 2015, 14:48 pm  Posted by Ardi Alspach
 

tis the season to be feltycat1
We’re deep into holiday crafting season, and while we make ornaments, garlands, and other whimsical gifts for friends and family, let’s not forget about our furry friends as well!

I was inspired by Kathy Sheldon’s ‘Tis the Season to be Felt-y and decided to convert one of the projects into a cute toy for my cat.

Please note that the author hasn’t endorsed the use of her projects in this way, and that the nature of felt makes these toys less sturdy than manufactured cat toys. Please supervise your cat while she’s playing with her handcrafted toy! Additionally, when you’re choosing a project to convert, avoid projects that require glue or beads/buttons. You don’t want your cat to end up eating anything that could be potentially harmful.

On to the project!

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The gnome from the stocking project was too cute to pass up even though it involved more pieces to sew than other options in the book. Here are some things to keep in mind when converting a regular felted toy into a cat toy:

1. Double up on your thread to add extra strength to your stitches

2. Keep your stitches close together to help prevent teeth and claws from snagging on them.

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3. Add an extra layer of felt behind the outer layer to help keep the top layer sturdy.

4. Don’t forget to buy catnip for the filling! I alternated layers of catnip with layers of fiber fill, but you can also make a separate pouch of catnip to insert into the body of the toy before sewing it up.

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Pause for a “cat scan.” She has to be sure you’re putting in enough catnip!

 

 

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5. Again, due to the nature of felt, this is not a project that’s meant to last forever. Keep an eye on your cat to make sure she’s not shredding through it too quickly!

6. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Whether for cats or kids, everyone loves a bit of whimsy with a handmade toy. Imperfect stitches just adds a flair of individuality!

 
 
 
 
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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.

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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.


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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.

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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!

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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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Fall Preview Friday: Sew Sweet Creatures

May 22, 2015, 09:00 am  Posted by Brita Vallens
 

I can’t wait for the release of our upcoming title Sew Sweet Creatures! The book contains instructions for creating 16 adorable plush projects—each with its own accessories.

 

Anna the Snuggly Llama has a hat, blanket, and booties, Samuel the Superhero Pig is ready to save the day with his cape and mask, the Adventurer Bear has a backpack and camera for his travels, the Owl and Pussycat are ready for a peaceful sleep with a cloud pillow and their favorite book, and Petula Lark, the “mod chick” has go-go boots, a poncho, and a cute retro cap. These are just a few of the cute projects included in this book.

 

Sew Sweet Creatures will be available in the fall and you can pre-order the book HERE. In the meantime, check out a few images from the book below and visit the designer’s websites to see what they’re currently up to!

 

Adventurer Bear

Adventurer Bear by Jessica Fediw

 

Mod Chick

Mod Chick by Suzie Millions

 

Owl and Pussycat

Owl and Pussycat by Aimee Ray

Snuggly Llama

Snuggly Llama by Mollie Johanson

 

Superhero Pig

Superhero Pig by Laura Howard 

 
 
 
 
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Winter has finally breathed its last, frigid gasp and spring is really here! Crocuses are in bloom, trees are budding, and it’s time to shed those winter coats for some lighter layers.

 

The patterns in Designer Crochetby Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby, are constructed with lightweight yarns, so if you’re looking for fashion forward crochet projects using lace, superfine, fine, and lightweight yarns, look no further.

 

The Beginner Cardi is a staple for every wardrobe and can really be worn in any season as a layering piece.

 

Beginner Cardi

 

The Motif Maxi Skirt is a showstopper piece that will take you from spring to summer in style.

 

Maxi Skirt

 

The Sleeveless Hoodie is great as a jacket, a vest, a light layer, you name it.

 

Sleeveless Hoodie

 

Wear it as a tank on a hot day or dress it up as a shell under a blazer or cardigan, the Solid Tank is another staple for every wardrobe.

 

Solid Tank

 

Every pattern contains instructions for sizes small to 5X and with 32 patterns to choose from there is plenty to choose from for most shapes, sizes, and styles. Designer Crochet is out now, so pick up your copy today!

 
 
 
 
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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.

 

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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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Lark Crafts DIY: Operation Easter Knitting

April 03, 2015, 10:07 am  Posted by Connie Santisteban
 

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

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–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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Check out our Fat Quarters blogger roundup

March 24, 2015, 10:49 am  Posted by Deborah Stack
 

Fat QuartersFat Quarters hit shelves last week, and we couldn’t be more excited — but we’re not the only ones! Everyone is buzzing about this fantastic book and its many fun ideas for crafts to make with Fat Quarters. 

 

We’ve compiled a roundup of blog posts from the book’s talented contributors about all the cool projects featured in this handy book. Browse through to get a sneak peek of some of the awesome projects you’ll find in the book, including baskets, blankets, quilts, curtains, and much more!

 

Take a look at some of our contributors’ blog posts below and be sure to order your copy here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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Aimee Ray’s newest addition to her popular Doodle Stitching series hits stores in April!

Doodle Stitching Transfer

 

Doodle Stitching Transfer Pack is a one-stop resource with 300 of her most popular motifs, including 30 new designs. The best part of the book…perforated iron-on pages!

 

There’s no need for tracing or photocopying here. Just tear-out the pages, iron the reusable patterns onto your fabric of choice, and start stitching flowers, letters, embellishments and so much more. There’s even a sealable envelope to store the motifs for future applications. It’s so fun and simple!

 

Pre-order your copy today!