Must-Have Yarns That Make Great Gifts

What better holiday gift to give to a fellow knitter or crocheter than a few skeins of top-notch yarn? They’ll be so touched you thought of it, especially if you choose a yarn that fits their personality and lifestyle. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Bernat YarnSoftee Chunky by Bernat

This chunky yarn knits up quickly into snuggly afghans, cozy cowls, and warm hats, and it comes in an array of fabulous colors. Best of all, the yarn is machine washable and dryable! Because of its versatility and easy care, this yarn would be especially great for parents with young kids or for college students.

Alpaca YarnBaby Twist by Alpaca with a Twist

Made with 100% alpaca fiber, this soft, beautiful yarn is pure luxury for your fingers, and it’s sure to be a welcome treat for any knitter or crocheter! It can be knit into a wide variety of garments — from scarves and hats to shawls and sweaters — and it would be a perfect gift for someone who enjoys unique, natural fibers.

Big Wool by Rowan

This super bulky yarn knits up fast! Give it to a beginning knitter or crocheter so they can enjoy the immediate gratification only bulky yarn and big needles and hooks can provide. After an evening of crafting, they’ll have a completed project to show off!

And hey, if some of these yarns sound enticing, you can always add them to your wish list too!  To find out about more great yarns, check out the yarn reviews on our website.

Behind the Scenes at a Photo Shoot

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at a photo shoot? In today’s blog post, we open up about all the fun details!

From deciding what outfit will go with a certain garment to selecting a well-composed background for a specific shot, so many little decisions go into each photo you see printed in one of our magazines. Whether we’re adjusting the lighting or fixing a model’s hair, we do our best to make each photo pop.

It takes a team of people to pull it off. In the snapshot below, you can see our Editor-in-Chief and Art Director standing watch behind the camera, ready to jump into action when need be. JC, our talented photographer, is busy taking photos as our Graphic Designer holds up a light reflector.

Photo Shoot at Love of Knitting Magazine

The model is hidden in the previous photo, but you can see her from a different angle here. She’s wearing a gorgeous top that is scheduled to appear in our Spring Issue. We can’t wait for you to see this beautiful knitting pattern once it is published!

Photo Shoot at Love of Knitting Magazine IIIt may seem like a simple process, but there are so many things to think about during a photo shoot. We want to show you how a garment drapes on the body, and we also try to get close-up shots of stitch patterns as well so you can have a helpful visual guide as you knit the pattern.

Because we take photographs for our Spring Issue during the winter, we need to brainstorm ways to make each photo feel spring-like, even if the temperature is below freezing and the ground happens to be covered in crusty snow that day. It takes some creative thinking to make it all come together, but we have a lot of fun in the process!

Knitting and Crochet Inspiration

Inspiring Articles About Knitting and Crochet

Just in time for the weekend, we wanted to share a few fun links to articles from around the web to give you a dose of crafting inspiration. Enjoy!

Kids and Crafting: Crafting can be a fun way to connect with your kids and encourage their creativity, but battling the constant mess can be a struggle for parents. In this article, Joan Sampley talks about how she learned to cope with all the crafting clutter.

Knitting During a Hurricane: One writer describes her experience knitting during Hurricane Sandy and talks about her latest inspiration, the knit designer Kaffe Fassett, among other fascinating topics.

A Knitted Fence: With gorgeous photographs, Kate Davies shows off a knitted fence made with black twine in a Shetland lace design. It looks beautiful next to the pretty flowerbed. So imaginative and creative!

On Crochet and Postpartum Depression: On some level, every knitter and crocheter understands how helpful our hobbies can be for our own mental health. In this post, Rachel talks about how crochet helped her get through postpartum depression. Turning to a hobby she loved helped her to relax and let go of anxious thoughts.

A Clock That Knits: Norwegian designer Siren Elise Wilhelmsen created a clock that knits one stitch every hour, making a two-meter long scarf each year. It’s her way of representing “the nature of time in a different way.” An video interview is included with this article as well.

Book Giveaway! Tips on Selling Handmade Crafts

Have you ever thought about selling things you knit and crochet? With the popularity of etsy, many crafters are opening up shop and selling their handmade creations.

If you do decide to go for it, the first question that is bound to come up is pricing. How do you know what to charge? To help answer that question, we’re turning to the expert James Dillehay, author of the book How to Price Crafts & Things You Make to Sell. (And to sweeten the deal, we’re giving away a copy of his insightful book. Read on to find out more!)

Q: Pricing can feel a bit like a guessing game. How can people be more strategic about it?

A: When I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t making much of a profit, I began applying the following strategy. Whenever I go to price an item now, I look at: 1) how much a piece costs to make and 2) how much shoppers are willing to pay for similar items in similar marketplaces.

What it costs me isn’t necessarily my asking price, because the average market price of work like mine may be higher. If I only ask enough to get my costs back, I will leave money on the table. I have a gallery in crafts village near Santa Fe, NM where I display my work. I started off pricing my hand-woven scarves at $65 because it covered my production costs and paid me a decent hourly wage for my time.

However, when customers coming into the store mentioned they had seen scarves the same size of mine priced at $100 in nearby Santa Fe, I immediately went through and upped my prices to $74. My sales not only did not suffer; they increased.

Q: What kinds of things should crafters consider when assessing their production costs?

A: Production costs include the cost of all the materials that go into each item and the cost of your labor. For example, you make a Christmas ornament that has glass, wire, paint, and glitter. You may have to estimate little things like how much paint and glitter, but get as close as you can. Let’s say you find you have $2.75 in total material costs.

Next, figure how much time it took you to make the ornament. For example, you want to earn at least $10 per hour and it took 45 minutes to make the item; your cost of labor is $7.50. Add material costs to labor costs which brings your production cost to $10.25.

If you sell at shows, you need to account for rental fees, travel, and food. Over time, I learned my overhead tended to average around 25% of sales, so I started adding 25% of my production costs to cover overhead. This may be a little low since you could be selling at prices higher than your production costs but look at your own sales over a year’s time and determine a percentage that comes close.

So for our example ornament, I add $2.56 (25% of my production costs) to $10.25 which brings my total costs to $12.81 per piece. I cannot charge less than this amount without losing money.

Q: Why do so many craft makers undercharge for their products and why is that a mistake?

A: I think it’s natural to think a lower price means we’ll sell something faster. But with handmade items, this isn’t always true. In my gallery, I have several times had to raise prices on items before they start selling. Shoppers saw initially low prices and thought the items were cheaply made, so they passed them by. Once I upped the prices, the perceived value increased and so did sales.

About the author: James Dillehay is a professional craft artist, gallery owner, and author of nine books. He has been interviewed in The Wall Street Journal Online, Yahoo Finance, The Chicago Tribune, Bottom Line Personal, Family Circle, The Crafts Report, and many more including Entrepreneur Radio and HGTV. For more information on his book and tips on pricing crafts, see

This Q&A barely skims the surface of all the great, practical advice this book has to offer. For a chance to win a copy, leave a comment below.

Changing Seasons

Here at the Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet offices in Colorado, we had snow for one of the first times this year! The temperature has dropped considerably. The leaves have changed, and it’s starting to feel like winter is just around the corner.

We don’t mind the change in seasons, though. Cold weather is a great excuse to snuggle indoors and get going on knitting and crochet projects! Working with soft, warm yarn keeps us comfy and relaxed, and it just fits so well with this time of year.

What’s it like in your part of the world? We know many of you have been affected by Hurricane Sandy and our thoughts are with you.

Whatever the weather may be, we hope you have a chance to knit or crochet something special — something that makes you smile and keeps you cozy and warm.

Try a Free Issue of Love of Crochet!

As a knitter, you love handmade items. That’s why we’re so excited to introduce you to our new sister publication, Love of Crochet. This brand-new magazine includes patterns for garments, gifts, accessories, and home décor — over 25 in each issue!

And you’re invited to get a free preview issue packed with the best crochet inspiration around! In your free issue, you’ll enjoy dozens of projects with step-by-step instructions, valuable how-tos, skill-building tips and techniques, along with big, beautiful photos and diagrams.

Try the next issue of Love of Crochet — absolutely FREE! Request your FREE ISSUE today.

US orders only.

Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn Giveaway

We are so excited to offer you a chance to win a free yarn giveaway of Bernat Softee Chunky yarn! There are so many reasons to love this yarn. The soft, thick strands will knit up quickly, and the easy care of the acrylic fiber is perfect for busy families. Plus, the yarn we have for this giveaway is the color pumpkin — what could be better for this time of year?

You can use Bernat Softee Chunky yarn to knit the free block pattern available on our website. It’s a part of our new Year of Yarn program! Each month we will be offering a free pattern to our readers for a block knit with a unique ball of yarn. Knit each block along with us, using the suggested yarn in the colors of your choice. At the end of the year, sew each block together and create a unique, fabulous throw to keep you cozy.

The gorgeous stitch pattern in the Bernat Softee Chunky block may look a bit intimidating for some, but it is actually a relatively simple design that is not difficult to learn. Cables are so much fun to knit, and the results are sure to impress!

To enter to win this yarn, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Then share a link to this giveaway on your favorite social media outlet and leave a comment below so we can contact you if you win. In your comment, let us know which social media outlet you chose and how you helped spread the word about this exciting yarn giveaway.

We’ll select winners on Monday, October 29th!

Charity Spotlight

It all started back when they were in high school. Three regular dudes who loved to ski and snowboard picked up some crochet hooks and learned to crochet hats that they could wear on the slopes. They enjoyed crocheting so much that they even sold a few hats to family and friends.

Later on in college, a trip to Uganda gave them a deep desire to help others break out of the cycle of poverty. They thought about what they had to offer — and they turned back to the humble crochet hook and decided that was all they needed to get started and make a lasting difference.

Since then, they launched their own nonprofit called Krochet Kids International. They work with people in Uganda and Peru and teach them how to crochet. By paying fair wages and selling the finished crocheted items on their website, they are helping to empower and employ over 150 people.

Stop by their website to buy a hat or to learn more

Happy I Love Yarn Day!

It is officially I Love Yarn Day! It’s time to celebrate!

As many of you have pointed out on our Facebook Page this week, every day is really I Love Yarn Day, but it’s nice to have an excuse to stop and celebrate the hobbies we love so much.

How are you going to affirm your passion for yarn today?

Will you wear something you knit or crocheted yourself? Teach a friend to knit or crochet? Or just spend some extra time working on your latest project? Share your ideas in the comments section.

And don’t forget! We still have a fantastic yarn  giveaway going on. The last day to enter to win free yarn is today (Friday, October 12th). Click over to Monday’s blog post for the details!

Yarn Bombing

I Love Yarn Day is coming up on October 12th, and we’re getting in the spirit of things. Here are some fun, playful photos of yarn bombing! Enjoy, and be sure to tell us which one is your favorite.

Looks like someone decorated the Rocky Balboa statue. Gotta love the expressions of the people walking by!

Image courtesy of wool love – functional fiber art

A street post is transformed into R2D2.

Image courtesy of makezine

These parking meters look like little people having a conversation.

Image courtesy of fresh stitches

This almost looks like something out of a cartoon. Nice bright colors!

Image courtesy of modern parents messy kids