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Pretty in Patchwork
As we get ready for Halloween tomorrow, we also look ahead as the holiday crafting season continues! What better way to start getting ready for the winter season than with our Throwback Thursday pick this week: Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays. 

 

Celebrate the season with the second in our Pretty in Patchwork series. It’s a very merry collection of absolutely adorable projects from the popular “Quilt Dad” blogger and friends, including pieced polar bear and penguin pillows, a too-cute pillowcase and matching hedgehog stuffy, stockings, ornaments, tree skirts, and more. Of course, there are assorted quilts of all sizes, too. With a robust basics section, color step-by-step illustrations, and color variations throughout, Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays will help you deck your halls in style!

 

ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF PRETTY IN PATCHWORK: HOLIDAYS

Just leave a comment on this blog post by 9 pm EST on Wednesday, November 5. Winners will be selected by Thursday, November 6. Click here for the official rules. Show us your #TBT love, and we’ll return the favor!

 
 
 
 
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Spring Preview Saturday: Designer Crochet

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Cloaked Hoodie

 

 

Drape Front Cardigan

 

 

Hooded Wrap Vest

 

 

Maxi Skirt

 

 

Off the Shoulder Dress

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

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

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

 

LEARN THE LANGUAGE

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

 

MAKE A SKETCH

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

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CHOOSING THE RIGHT MATERIALS

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

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THE IMPORTANCE OF GAUGE

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

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PUT IT ALL ON PAPER

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

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TEST, TEST, AND TEST AGAIN

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

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Happy stitching and designing!

–from Rachael Oglesby

 

 
 
 
 
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The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes

October 24, 2014, 12:00 pm  Posted by John Foster
 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Throwback Thursday: Heart-Felt Holidays

October 23, 2014, 17:42 pm  Posted by joshglickman
 

Heart felt holidaysFall is here, and we all know what that means – the holidays are right around the corner.

 

Go through the seasons with Heart-Felt Holidays – a book of fresh, easy-to-make felt decorations – all with festive and fun holiday themes!

 

Using readily available store-bought felt sheets, you can craft 40 charming projects for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, and more. The book includes step-by-step instructions, templates, and several no-sew projects that are easy enough for kids to make!

 

Authors Amanda Carestio and Kathy Sheldon are the authors of several DIY and crafty titles for Lark, including Felt-o-ween, which just came out this month.

 

ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF HEART-FELT HOLIDAYS

Just leave a comment on this blog post by 9 pm EST on Wednesday, October 29. Winners will be selected by Thursday, October 30. Click here for the official rules. Show us your #TBT love, and we’ll return the favor!

 
 
 
 
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Spring Preview Saturday: Graphic Clay

October 18, 2014, 10:00 am  Posted by John Foster
 

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

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

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

 

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Throwback Thursday: Sweet Confections

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF SWEET CONFECTIONS

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

 
 
 
 
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One + OneAre you headed to Rhinebeck, NY for the annual New York Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend? Our friends at Fabulous Yarn in Tivoli, NY will be having a pre-Sheep and Wool party this Saturday, October 18th from 10am to 2pm. The festivities will include a trunk show with finished garments from Iris Schreier’s latest book, One + One: Wraps, Cowls, and Capelets.

Iris will be at the store signing books. Yarn for project kits from the book will be offered at a discount during the event, both in person and online . There will even be goodie bags for first 50 attendees!

Visit Fabulous Yarn at 60 Broadway, Tivoli, NY 12583 or call (866) 514-1127 for more information. And be sure to RSVP on Facebook if you’re planning to attend. See you there!

 
 
 
 
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Playful Hoodies – Pumpkin Basket giveaway!

October 14, 2014, 15:03 pm  Posted by joshglickman
 

Playful HoodiesDays are getting shorter, the air is getting cooler, and October is upon us. In other words: it’s time to start planning for Halloween.

 

With trick-or-treating less than a month away, it’s time to start thinking about costumes, especially if you intend to make your own. But how are you going to convince your children that a homemade costume is better than a store-bought one? Well have no fear, because Mary Rasch is here to help.

 

In her new book Playful Hoodies, Mary takes ordinary hooded sweatshirts and transforms them into a variety of incredible costume options. With 25 projects ranging from animals to fairy tale characters, including an owl, a fox, a knight, and Little Red Riding Hood, children won’t be the only ones choosing a playful hoody as this year’s Halloween costume. Best of all, these costume hoodies are comfortable and warm, ridding children of the need for a coat while trick-or-treating.

 

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To help you with your Halloween planning, we’re offering a FREE copy of Playful Hoodies as well as a pumpkin basket filled with all the necessary materials to create your own pumpkin hoody.

 

Just leave a comment on this blog post by 9 pm EST on Sunday, October 19. The winner will be selected by Monday, October 20. Click here for the official rules. Happy Halloween!

 

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Spring Preview Saturday: Lace Yarn Studio

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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