Spring Crochet Along – Ready, set, go!

I am ready to craft up the beautiful Periwinkle Mitts from our Spring Issue! My yummy Kollage Fantastic yarn is wound, so I’m eager to start this quick project later this evening.

Peri Mitts wound yarn

Do you have your yarn and hook ready to go? This fun, richly textured design by Sue Perez will be a fabulous transitional accessory to keep you cozy during the last few chilly weeks of spring. I love how the combination of twisted and slip stitches creates a stretchy, ribbed fabric, and I can’t wait to see it work up!

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Charity spotlight – Hats of Comfort

Do you have any yarn in your stash that you don’t plan on using? Whether you got it from a friend or purchased it long ago, perhaps you are hanging on to it simply because you don’t want it to go to waste. Spring is the perfect time to sift through your stash and get rid of unwanted skeins to make room for that new yarn you’ve had your eye on!

hats of comfortOne environmentally-friendly way to purge unwanted yarn from your stash is to donate it to a charity that means something to you. Hats of Comfort is one charity that is always happy to receive donated yarn. They provide hats and other handmade items to people who have lost their hair due to illness. To help, you can also donate completed projects made with soft yarn that won’t irritate sensitive skin.

Have you ever donated yarn to charity? It’s a wonderful way to give that stray skein at the bottom of your stash some new life and bring comfort to someone in need at the same time. Do you know of any other charities that accept donated yarn?

Spring Crochet Along – Starting next week!

We are excited to start our next crochet along project, the Periwinkle Mitts from our Spring 2014 Issue! These gorgeous fingerless gloves, by Sue Perez, are working in mostly slip stitches with some interesting twisted stitches and clusters in there to jazz them up. The result is a beautifully textured, comfortable fabric that will be perfect for keeping your hands warm during these spring days when the weather can’t quite decide what it’s doing.

PeriwinkleMitts_IMG_8774_200px

We invite you to crochet along with us as we make this quick and fun project! Grab some Fantastic yarn by Kollage and a copy of our Spring Issue, and we’ll begin stitching these up together on Friday, April 25th. We can’t wait to start, and we hope you’ll join us in making these toasty mitts!

Soak – Product spotlight

Since we are focusing on ways to be more environmentally friendly (while having fun and crafting at the same time!), we want to share some great information about a new product in our Crochet and Knit Shop with you.

SoakSoak wash is a gentle, biodegradable cleanser that comes in several yummy scents as well as a scentless formula. Use it to wash your handmade or delicate garments either by hand or in the washing machine. Soak is so gentle that you don’t even have to rinse your clothes after washing with it! This helps to extend the life of your favorite items and leave them smelling divine. The recyclable bottle is made of 100% post-consumer resin, meaning the plastic has already been recycled once through the system.

Soak truly is a product you can feel good about using, and it will leave your handmade items feeling (and smelling) fantastic as well. Try it out, and let us know which scent is your favorite!

Crochet Along–All done!

I have finished my Raspberry Tart Scarf from Love of Crochet’s Winter issue and I have to say it is quite gorgeous. Well, except for the part where I unintentionally went rogue.

Sigh.

Row3-4_Side2_CAM00063I realized as I was reading the directions for row 5 for the second half of the scarf, something wasn’t making sense. I referred back to the stitches I created in row 5 from the first half, and that’s when it hit me—I added some extra stitches. I checked the chart and sure enough, instead of adding just one single crochet in the middle cluster, I added single crochets between the clusters. It definitely took a few minutes to get past my “stunned” stage before I could think about what I should do next. I was only one row away from completing the scarf, so I definitely wasn’t going back. I accepted my defeat of row 5 and moved on.

20140414_100933_resizedDoing these extra stitches created wavy edges to my scarf instead of a flat, smooth edge. No big deal, but I was really hoping to make it look just like the original in the pattern for my first Crochet Along, but alas, it just wasn’t meant to be for this pattern. Maybe I am meant to free-style for the rest of my crochet life, but I don’t give up that easily. My next Crochet Along is already calling my name, begging me to try again. Look for the project in Love of Crochet’s Summer issue, on sale May 27!

Getting crafty to go green

yarn earthWhile we try to be as earth-friendly as possible all year round, it’s nice to take some time to think about new ways we can be good citizens of our world. With Earth Day just around the corner, there is no better time than now! We have a few crafty ideas to help you go green and have fun at the same time.

Do you have a stash of flimsy plastic bags hiding somewhere in your kitchen? Cut them into long strips, knot the strips together, and you have thick plastic yarn you can use to knit or crochet a sturdy reusable tote that will last for ages.

If you have some old t-shirts that are too tattered to donate, cut them into strips to make versatile fabric yarn. T-shirt yarn is wonderful for making thick rugs, trendy bags, or even pretty storage containers for your shelves.

Next time you’re near your local thrift store, stop in and see if there are any knit or crocheted items you can unravel for the yarn. You’ll want to be sure the pieces aren’t cut from machine-knit fabric because you want to avoid finding many short, separate strands of yarn in the piece rather than a long, continuous piece. After you ball the yarn, use it to make any type of project you like, and feel good about the fact that you are reusing resources!

Have you ever tried any of these ideas? What are some other crafty ways we can go green? The Summer Issue of Love of Knitting goes on sale on Earth Day, April 22nd, and we have another fabulous idea we can’t wait to share with you. Trust us – you won’t want to miss this one!

The scoop on size – Factors that affect your gauge

Do you find that your gauge varies from day to day or pattern to pattern? Have you ever knit a new pair of socks only to have them come out two different sizes, even though you used the same needles? Each crafter’s gauge can depend on a variety of factors, so it’s important to consider a few things to be sure your finished projects work up to the right size.

baby in big hat
I think my gauge was a little off…

Your gauge can be affected by the type of hooks or needles you’re using. Many crafters find that their stitches are larger or smaller depending on whether they’re using wood, metal, or plastic tools. When you make your gauge swatch, be sure you’re using the same yarn and tools you’ll use for your actual project to avoid any sizing snafus.

Many times, our gauge is different depending on how familiar we are with a stitch pattern. Some crafters stitch at a tighter gauge when they are working a new pattern because they are unfamiliar with it and have yet to find their groove. This can affect projects with pieces that are supposed to match up in size, such as socks, mitts, or the front and back of a sweater. If you suspect that this could be affecting your gauge, try making a new gauge swatch before you begin your second piece to see if you need to change hooks or needles.

Sometimes, our gauge will be different on a flat project than it is when we work in the round. Many knitters purl at a different gauge than they knit, so it makes sense that stockinette fabric would stitch up to different sizes depending on how it’s worked.

Our moods can also affect our gauge. If you’re stressed or anxious, you might find that your gauge is tighter than usual. Imagine that your feelings are getting worked into every stitch of your pattern. Then, take a deep breath and let your project help you relax. Feel free to take a break from your craft and return to it when you feel more at ease. Your stitches will thank you!

Do you find that any of these factors affect your gauge? Do you have any others to add to the list?