The Knook Beginner Set

knook

Have you been interested in learning to knit but put off by the fear of pesky dropped stitches? The Knook combines the best of both knitting and crocheting into one fun and easy-to-learn craft. There’s no need to worry about your work unraveling if a stitch falls and because this method allows you to knit with a crochet hook, you get the added benefit of using a tool you’re already comfortable with !

kids knook

This beginner’s set includes everything you need to learn to knit using a trusty hook. In the kit, you’ll get 3 knooks, 4 super simple patterns, and a helpful how-to book. Grab the Knook Beginner Set for Kids for a great way to craft together as a family.

Go Red for Women

Since February is American Heart Month, the American Heart Association is encouraging everyone to “Go Red for Women.” A fun and easy way to participate is by wearing red to show your support for women’s heart health awareness and research. To help you create your very own “go red” ensemble, we’ve gathered up a few beautiful, ruby-hued projects from Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet.

red holly berryThe Holly Berry Cowl from the Winter 2013 Issue of Love of Crochet is a quick and easy accessory that will brighten up any outfit. The gorgeous red tones in this yarn will definitely draw attention to this lovely cowl, providing a great way to spark up a conversation about American Heart Month.

red cranberry delightThe Cranberry Delight Shawl is another stylish way to show your support for heart health awareness this month. Download this free crochet pattern directly from the Love of Crochet website, and stitch up this beautiful shawl today.

red crimson cashmereThe Crimson Cashmere Cowl and Mitt Set from the Winter 2013 Issue of Love of Knitting is a fabulous red project you can make in a flash. In fact, two skeins of this heavenly soft yarn make one cowl and two pairs of mitts, so you can make a pair for a friend as well.

red easy cranberry shawlFrom the same issue, the Easy Cranberry Shawl is a simple accessory knit mostly in garter stitch. The stunning cables in the center are sure to turn heads, giving you the perfect opportunity to spread the word about women’s heart health awareness.

Of course, you can turn any project into a “Go Red for Women” project by simply choosing a rich, red yarn. We’d love to see pictures of you sporting red handmade garments and accessories in support of American Heart Month, so feel free to share them here on our blog or on our Facebook page! Happy crafting, and don’t forget to go red!

Organize your stash – continued

In the Spring 2014 Issue of Love of Knitting, we featured some fantastic ideas for organizing your yarn stash. In fact, we found so many convenient and beautiful systems for storing your yarn, we couldn’t fit all of them in the magazine! We know that some of you are gearing up for spring cleaning, so here are a few more ideas to inspire you as you tackle your stash.five tier storage organizerIf floor space in your craft room is limited, a hanging organizer would be ideal. The Five Tier Storage Organizer has plenty of space for you to store your favorite fibers. Best of all, the mesh fabric allows you to see your yarn so you always know what you have on hand (and what you need to pick up).

Diamond Cubes Display1Additionally, Diamond Cubes are a beautiful storage solution that can be easily mounted on your wall to save space. These beautiful cubes can be arranged in countless ways to suit your needs.

project bagsThese clear project bags come in a variety of sizes to fit any of your works-in-progress. Remember, you can also create your own project kits using these bags as well.

Yarn tainerIt’s no secret that we love clear storage systems that allow us to see our yarn even when we’re not using it. After all, we want to be able to enjoy it as much as possible! These Yarn Tainers come in several sizes, and the handles allow them to double as transport containers too.

What are your favorite yarn storage ideas? We’d love to hear how you organize your stash, so stop by our Facebook page to let us in on your storage secrets!

A heart-healthy Valentine’s dessert

hearts and cookies

We love sweets almost as much as we love knitting and crocheting, so, in honor of Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month, we’d like to share a heart-healthy dessert recipe you can make tonight.

cupcakeBy simply using egg whites instead of whole eggs and replacing cream cheese with cottage cheese, you can whip up a batch of these healthy and delicious Devil’s Food Cupcakes. Just be careful not to spill the yummy sauce on your project!

If you want to display your delectable desserts beautifully, the Stars and Shells Place Mats (Love of Crochet, Summer 2013) or Candlelit Evening candle holders(Love of Knitting, Special Occasions Issue, 2013) would certainly bring some romance to your table setting.

What are your favorite heart-healthy desserts?

American Heart Month and the health benefits of crafting

February is American Heart Month, so we’re here to give you kudos for regularly participating in a heart healthy activity: crafting! We know that crafting is a wonderful way to reduce stress, and the calming effect it provides improves our heart health as well. Carolyn Serviss, a stamping artist and blogger, wrote an inspiring post about the health benefits of crafting. In her article she says, “Passion for a craft keeps you interested, while the rhythmic and repetitive nature confers the mind-body benefit. Knitting, sewing, crocheting, woodworking and other rhythmic crafts are great choices.”

heart yarn

She also explains the importance of making time for your crafty hobbies. She quotes Dr. Robert Reiner, a psychologist who studied the health benefits of leisure activities, saying, “View your craft as if it were a medication that you need to take every day for optimal benefit. If you stop taking the drug or doing the craft, you’ll lose the benefit.”

With that in mind, we challenge you to take some time to knit or crochet every day for the rest of February (if you don’t already), and we hope this helps you form a habit that  continues beyond American Heart Month. If anyone tries to distract you from this goal, just tell them you’re following doctor’s orders!

Gift ideas for your favorite fellow crafters

If you’re searching for the perfect gift for a fellow crafter who seems to have everything, check out the gift ideas from our Crochet and Knit Shop. All the products here are under $20, so you can get one for a friend and one for yourself as well!

cross stitch phone case

The Cross Stitch Phone Case is sure to please the creative, tech-savvy people in your life. Cross stitch an original design or one of the 4 charted designs included, and have fun showing off your handiwork wherever you go.

sweater stoneThe Sweater Stone will keep your handmade and store-bought garments looking like new. Don’t let pilling ruin your favorite garments! Give them new life with this essential product.

tempo tapeTempo Tape allows you to highlight and write notes on your pattern, but the tape comes off easily without leaving a residue. A great gift for a crafter or a studious college student, this tape is sure to make life a bit easier.

Tape measure necklace

The Tape Measure Charm Necklace lets you keep an essential crafting tool close to your heart. Several other styles are available, so check out the assortment of dainty charms in our Crochet and Knit Shop.

lavisheaThe Lavishea Lotion Bar comes in an assortment of tempting scents, and it is a convenient way to keep your hands moisturized without leaving a greasy residue. Our hands are always busy knitting or crocheting, so we want to treat them right!

These are just a few of the wonderful gift ideas from our Crochet and Knit Shop. Click over today and get a special gift for a friend just to show you care.

Be Mine, Valentine!

valentinebag_IMG_0338_medHere is a quick and easy crocheted project to carry (and receive) all those great little Valentine cards and candies! My daughter has already claimed it for her Valentine’s party at school! It’s also a great project to help you learn bobbles if you’ve never done them before. The bobbles I used are called 3-stitch bobbles, and the instructions came from our Beginner’s Guide in the Love of Crochet Spring 2013 Issue.

Download the FREE Valentine Bag pattern here!

If you’re in a rush and need a really cute, but really easy crocheted top for your Valentine’s dinner date, take a look at the Blackberry Lace top from Love of Crochet’s Weekend Crochet Issue. It would be super cute over just jeans, or you could spice it up with a black tank and black pencil skirt! Don’t forget your sassy heels! Ooooooh!

If you just want to try out some more bobbles, check out the Simple and Stylish Sweater from Love of Crochet’s Holiday 2013 Issue for a really beautiful sweater that will go with just about everything.

If you’re a knitter and need some easy projects to update your Valentine look, wrap yourself in the beautiful Easy Cranberry Shawl from our Winter 2013 Issue of Love of Knitting, or the Lacy Shrug from Love of Knitting’s Special Occasions 2013 Issue.

Winter Games – GIVEAWAY!

In honor of the amazing competitors in Sochi, we are hosting our very own crafty Winter Games! This is a fun opportunity for you to showcase your skills and talents as knitters and crocheters to win yarn, books, and products. To enter, all you need is a camera and your crafting gear.

yarn world

Here are our crafty “events.” One knitter and one crocheter will be randomly chosen as the winner of each event, and you can enter as many events as you like.

1. Mad Hatters: Tell us how many hats you hope to finish during the two weeks of the Winter Games. Send us a picture of you knitting or crocheting and a photo of your finished projects.

2. Sock Stitchers: Tell us how many socks you hope to finish during the two weeks of the Winter Games. Send us a picture of you knitting or crocheting and a photo of your finished projects.

3. Faithful Finishers: Send us a picture of your WIPs (works–in–progress), and then send us a photo of the projects you finished.

4. Fearless Crafters: Tell us what technique or project you have been afraid to try. Send us a picture of you conquering that fear and a photo of your finished project.

Knitters, send your photos to us at contests@loveofknitting.com. Crocheters, send yours to us at contests@loveofcrochet.com. You can also share them on either the Love of Knitting or Love of Crochet Facebook pages. However you submit your pictures, be sure to put the name of the event in the subject line. Our winners will be randomly chosen on Friday, February 28th. Someone who finishes one hat or WIP has as much of a chance as someone who finishes ten, so don’t be afraid to enter!

We can’t wait to see the photos you send in! Are you ready? On your mark, get set, craft!

Imperial Yarn / Imperial Stock Ranch

As many of you know, Ralph Lauren is the official designer for the garments worn by the American athletes at the Olympic Games. After previously providing garments made outside of the United States, Ralph Lauren pledged that the garments worn by the athletes at the 2014 Winter Games will be made in America.

We were over the moon when we heard that our friends at Imperial Stock Ranch would be supplying the fiber for these Olympic sweaters, and we are thrilled that we can offer this same yarn to you as well. On Friday we will post two free hat patterns for you to make using Erin by Imperial Yarn, so order your yarn today to connect to our American athletes.

While you wait, read on to hear more from Jeanne Carver, one of the owners of Imperial Stock Ranch / Imperial Yarn,  about this amazing experience.

Tell us about this experience. From the initial call to shipping the yarn, how quickly did this process move?

Jeanne: Following the initial call, I put together a packet of information and samples to send off to New York. It shipped out the next day. And then, about a month later (August 2012), a Ralph Lauren design team came to Oregon from New York to visit us. They were interested in everything about the ranch, including the yarns, and we had a fantastic day enjoying plenty of conversation while touring the landscape to see groups of animals and historic buildings. After that, we filled some small orders for sampling and the process continued for quite a few months, with them ordering a couple more significant amounts of yarn for sample sweaters. Five to six months after the initial call (late December), they placed a production order. We moved wool through the steps, completing the spinning and dyeing, and shipped the final load of yarns to the knitting factory in early May, 2013.

What impact has this amazing opportunity had for Imperial Yarns?

Jeanne: It’s hard to say yet, how this will affect us. Immediately, what it did was allow an element of cash flow that had not been expected. We used all the profits from the order to add 6 new colors to our worsted spun craft yarn palette. That was a big plus for our local yarn shops and needlearts customers. Even before Ralph Lauren contacted us, we were seeing an increase in inquiries about American yarns from apparel companies for garment production here in America. With the visibility that has come from the work with Ralph Lauren on the Olympic uniforms, we have experienced more companies taking the step of sampling with our yarns. Hopefully, some of these projects will move forward to production for Fall 2014 collections. The increased visibility helps open additional market channels.

Has this opportunity made a difference in your community?

Jeanne: The opportunity to work with Ralph Lauren on the Olympic uniforms has had a strong positive impact. For Imperial Stock Ranch/Imperial Yarn, it helps ensure jobs for local women in a remote location in this value added agricultural business. We used to shear the wool and then sell it as a commodity. We did that for 130 years. Then with the off-shoring movement and the loss of more than 90% of the textile manufacturing in this country, it became much more difficult to sell the wool. We faced a major decision in 1999 as to whether to continue raising sheep. Since we’ve changed our thinking and begun working toward a value added product with the wool, we’ve created jobs in the process. We employ 7 local women in the Imperial Yarn business, and those are rural jobs that wouldn’t otherwise exist. An order like Ralph Lauren placed with us makes a significant contribution to our local/domestic economy. 

In addition to the economic impact, this effort to make the uniforms for Team USA in America has connected everyone inside the factories and businesses that have been a part of it. All the people in all of the communities where those businesses are located now feel a special connection to our Olympic team they would not have had. There’s a growing pride and support of our team that is very strong across the country, including our local community.

What about Imperial Stock Ranch? How has this affected Imperial Stock Ranch?

Jeanne: Well…..I guess you could say that the cowboys are now more tolerant of the sheep! Close to home, our entire ranch family is in awe that this has all happened. It has been hard to comprehend, but now that we’re seeing Olympic athletes wearing red, white and blue sweaters, it becomes more real.  I think for all of us, not just at the ranch, but in the mills, dye houses, and factories of all kinds, this chance to be part of something important reaffirms that the work we do has value. Deep down, you know what you do on a daily basis matters, but most of the time you labor in obscurity. This process has touched so many people because it makes us feel our work matters.

Wool hasn’t been the economic basis of the Imperial Stock Ranch since the 1950s. There have been shifts in production as well as shifts in our culture, and although raising sheep has been maintained throughout the ranch’s 143 years, the relative importance of wool had diminished. The work with Ralph Lauren, along with our growth in the needlearts industry as we moved to a value added product, has rekindled pride in the wool production and sheep at the Imperial Stock Ranch.

 Do you know of any other economic impact these “made in America” garments have made?

Jeanne: I can’t speak to the whole uniform effort or the whole country, but I know that economists say that dollars spent here at home have a multiplier effect, meaning those dollars recirculate within our own economy and help more local people or groups. The Ralph Lauren order of yarn for Team USA uniforms was worth more than 1.3 million dollars of economic stimulus to our region and the country. I think that’s very important, and I have no idea what the total impact of their decision to make this apparel in America was. However, I think it was huge.

We are already huge fans of your yarns, but we know how difficult it can be to get your name out there. How many phone calls are you receiving from people wanting your yarns?

Jeanne: We’ve definitely seen an increase in phone traffic. The credibility and visibility the partnership with Ralph Lauren has given Imperial Yarn is very positive. We have been able to sample yarns to more than a dozen designers or apparel companies for the coming year. I think it’s really fun that people at home can knit with the same yarns that they know were chosen by an iconic American brand like Ralph Lauren for a project with this high a profile. That’s rare.

What are your plans for next year?

Jeanne: Our plan is to keep doing what we do first….ranching. We will also provide new and exciting patterns and yarns to needlearts enthusiasts and continue to partner with great brands that want an American yarn. We are also excited to launch our own apparel line, the Imperial Collection by Anna Cohen for Fall 2014.

Lastly….I’d like to thank Ralph Lauren for their decision and commitment to sourcing and manufacturing the Olympic uniforms for Team USA in this country. The connections that have resulted and pride that’s been built in support of our Olympic team is a win for all.

To hear more about Imperial Ranch, visit the Ralph Lauren site and watch the Made in America video.

Valentine’s pattern roundup

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and we like to think of this as a holiday to celebrate everyone we love having in our lives. What better way to do that than with some wonderful handmade projects that come straight from the heart? We have gathered up some of our favorite Valentine’s inspired knit and crochet patterns, and some of them are small enough that you’ll have plenty of time to make them before the 14th!

heart_to_heart_web_bonus_200The Heart to Heart Sweater is a darling free pattern you can download directly from the Love of Knitting website. It is covered in colorful hearts, knit in intarsia, and sized for kiddos age 3-8.

Sweaters. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa)

The Love Your Stripes sweater from the Spring 2012 Issue of Love of Knitting is sized for ages 2-12 and features a heart worked in easy duplicate stitches. The classic stripes are sure to please even the pickiest little fashionista.

heart_bunting_200The Heart Bunting from the Summer 2012 Issue of Love of Crochet will work up in an evening for a sweet decoration to get your family into the Valentine’s spirit.

crochet_bookmark_20013

The flowery Book Buddies from the Spring 2013 Issue of Love of Crochet would be a great gift for a book lover in your life. Give one of these charming bookmarks instead of (or in addition to!) a bouquet of their favorite flowers.

We’ll take any excuse you can imagine to stitch something wonderful out of yarn, and Valentine’s Day gives us the fabulous opportunity to make cute projects for the people we care about. Do you have any Valentine’s crafts planned?