Coming soon – One Hour Cowl Crochet Along!

Don’t you just love quick projects that make a big impact? The One Hour Cowl from our special Crochet More Issue is one of those easy accessories that can transform any outfit from basic to beautiful!

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Kathy’s cowl in Meadow

I fell for this design the first time I saw the sample, and I immediately put it at the top of my list of “someday projects.” This incredibly soft cowl was designed by Kathy, our art director, and she was amazed at how quickly it worked up. Although she didn’t time herself with a stopwatch as she made it (although that actually sounds like fun!), she estimated that it only took about an hour to crochet.

I’m inviting you to make the One Hour Cowl with me as our next crochet along! This accessory is a great example of the quick yet stylish projects in our Crochet More Issue, and it’s going to be a blast to make. Since I’m in lazy summer crafting mode, I’ll be taking it slowly and savoring each part of the process. However, if you are in the mood for a speedy project (or a speed-crocheting competition, anyone?), I would be THRILLED to see exactly how long it takes you to make this beauty!

Whether you are going to take your time or race to the finish, get your One Hour Cowl kit today so you’ll be all set to join me. It would be tough to find the yarn alone for the price of the kit, so this is a great project for budget-conscious crafters.

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My color choice – Cinnamon

The Chunky yarn by Misti Alpaca is so luxurious, you simple have to feel it. The six color choices range from versatile neutrals to fun brights, so there is a color for every crocheter. Kathy used Meadow for the original sample, and I’ve chosen Cinnamon for my cowl because I’m a sucker for this rich burgundy tone. The kits come with the pattern and 2 skeins of Chunky by Misti Alpaca, which is everything you need to make this easy design.

We’re starting our crochet along on Friday, August 22nd, and I can’t wait to wear my One Hour Cowl! Which color kit are you getting?

Tips for Selling Your Knit or Crocheted Projects

When we crafters get into the groove, we can often end up with more gorgeous handmade creations than we know what to do with. Selling your knit or crocheted items is a fantastic way to free up some space in your craft room (for new projects, of course!) and make a bit of money to boot!

The Handmade MarketplaceWe were lucky enough to snag a Q&A session with Kari Chapin,  author of The Handmade Marketplace. This book is a super helpful resource for crafters who want to turn their hobbies into businesses, and the updated edition with new online strategies and marketing trends is now available from Storey Publishing. Check out Kari’s advice below, then get your copy of The Handmade Marketplace and start getting paid to do what you love!

Q&A with Kari Chapin – The Handmade Marketplace

1. In the second edition of The Handmade Marketplace, you talk about ways to find inspiration. How do you find inspiration for your work?

For my work with handmakers, I look to my community for inspiration. What do they want to know? What are the wondering about? Where is their motivation coming from? I take my cues from the people I most want to support and help.

For my personal creative projects, I find inspiration almost everywhere. Nature, books I’m reading, and color all spark my imagination. I love going to galleries and museums and gardens. Sometimes great ideas come from having a conversation with a good friend over a cup of coffee and simply window shopping sparks something for me.

2. You also talk about establishing a sense of community with other crafters. What are some of your favorite ways to do this?Sock with moneyOh, there are so many good ways! Personally, I belong to a local crafting group. We have a monthly Crafternoon where we explore a new craft that none of us are experts at. This is not only a really fun way to spend a day, but I get to explore new techniques and supplies. I also run an online community of crafty business people, and a lot of good connections happen in that group. You can sign up for my newsletter at http://www.karichapin.com to join the group for free! I also try to go to as many craft shows and art shows as I can manage. I introduce myself to people and ask them to have coffee with me. It’s a great way to meet new people and expand my community.

3. How can crafters cultivate their brand’s particular vibe or feeling?

Think like your customer, not like yourself. If you were buying what you make from you, would you see what you wanted to see? Look at your branding and your materials through the lens of your ideal customer. What do they want to know or see or read about your work? Make sure you are appealing to their lifestyle and their needs.

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4. Crafters love things that are creative and fun. How can they make marketing creative and fun as well?
Think about the products you use everyday and would recommend to a friend. Do you have trouble expressing the love you have for your favorite brand of shoes or telling people about a great book you’re reading? Chances are no. Look at your own work with the same enthusiasm you have for other items you use and adore. If you like sharing what you think is valuable, then apply that same enthusiasm to your own business. It works!

5. What would you recommend as a first step for knitters or crocheters who are eager to begin selling their handmade projects?

Honestly, my best advice to just BEGIN. It seems so simple, but it’s true. Begin by making a list of what you want to accomplish and then break it down into tiny, micro steps. Work a little bit on your business every day. An hour here, ten minutes there, they add up. Businesses don’t start themselves and like everything valuable we do in life, you have to start somewhere. There was once a day when you didn’t know how to knit or crochet, right? One day you had to pick up the needles or the hook and learn. Selling your projects works the same way. Also, pick up a good book like The Handmade Marketplace to help you get started 🙂

Photo shoot vocabulary

We just wrapped up our winter photo shoot, and as always, we had a great time! It is so much fun to see the designs we feature “in action.” We get to play around with different ways to style them, and we’re always saying, “Ooh! I’d wear it like that!”

Model winter photo shoot
JC capturing a gorgeous moment in stunning knit accessories

During our shoot, we realized that we say some other things that might sound foreign to our wonderful models. It seems that we’ve developed our own sort of “photo shoot lingo” over time, and it can be pretty funny. Take a look at a few of the terms and phrases we throw around during our photography days, and try not to laugh at us too hard!

Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet Photo Shoot Vocabulary

This little guy – Kathy uses this cute phrase to describe just about anything from a garment to a prop. Example – Let’s get this little guy in the shot.

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Getting down and dirty for the perfect shot!

Exorcist head – When we are shooting a garment from the back and we ask the model to turn her head as far around as she can so we can get her face in the picture. Example – How much can you exorcist your head?

Close up pretty shot (CUPS) – An angled shot that fades out into the distance. Example – JC, can you get my close up pretty shot?

Medical shot – A photo taken straight forward to show the details of a project. Example – Now get the straight-on medical shot.

Danielle’s see-through pretty shot – A photo of a project taken so you can see the light shining through the openwork. Example – Ooh! The lace on this shawl will be perfect for Danielle’s signature see-through pretty shot!

Head rotations – When the model moves her head around to give different angles and expressions. Example – Don’t angle your body too much because we want to see the sweater, but feel free to do any kind of head rotations.

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Who needs shoes when you’re rocking an amazing poncho and your feet aren’t in the shot?

 While JC takes stunning photos of our amazing handmade projects, I’m busy taking behind-the-scenes shots for Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet. Follow us on Instagram for more funny, beautiful, candid pictures of photo shoots, fun around the office, and so much more.

See it. Try it. Love it! – Finding fabulous fibers

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All of us here at the Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet office have dedicated ourselves to learning crafty new skills. Each one of us had a specific skill or technique that seemed to both haunt and inspire us. Every time we would see a pattern featuring it, we would think to ourselves, “I NEED to try that!”

See it. Try it. Love it! was born when we realized that all crafters seem to experience this same urge to learn and create. Even if we never move beyond garter stitch scarves, something initially inspired us to pick up our needles and knit our first wonky creation!

Jen's stash

We’ve picked the projects that will help us learn our new skills, and now we are in the process of picking our yarn. Sifting through the heaps of fabulous fiber in Jen’s office is always a treat. I love playing with different color combinations and textures, trying to find the perfect yarn for my project.

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Piles upon piles of gorgeous yarn

We’ll keep you posted about the yarns we choose, but be sure to visit us on the Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet Facebook pages in the meantime! Tell us – do you find yarn selection to be a fun part of the process, or would you rather just grab some yarn and get to the crafting?

Paris, here I come! Olive Twist Crochet Along is finished!

I have finished my Olive Twist shawlette (now a shawl), and it came out great! I’m really happy with the size and glad I stopped when I did. The pattern was really easy to follow, and who knows, maybe I will make another one for someone else. The final size of my shawl is 93” wide and 50” tall.

I noticed that my shawl definitely came out a little more open and airy than the one in the image for the pattern, and then it occurred to me — the dreaded gauge. I will admit right now, I just looked at the gauge in the pattern. I had looked at it when I first started, however, I completely forgot about it as I started working the pattern. The gauge for the pattern is 4 rows = 3″ (8cm). I had Jamie help me figure out what my gauge was, and it looks like my 4 rows equal about 3.5 – 4 inches. It still looks really nice, but it is a little more open than the original. Whoops.

20140801_093347mistake_smI did notice one other, itty-bitty mistake in my very last row when I was pinning it to block. It looks like in one stitch I did the 3 hdc, but then forgot to finish with the ch 2 and the next 3 hdc. I stared at it for a while, either hoping that A) It would magically fix itself if I stared at it long enough, or B) I could just accept my defeat of that one stitch and be proud of my accomplishment of the rest of my shawl. I chose B. It was a devastating feeling, but I decided to just go with it—no one will ever know. Well, except me and everyone that may be reading my blog post. You guys won’t tell, right?

While I was laying my shawl out on the floor to block, I had a million little pins holding it out which caused my husband to freak out a little. He was worried the kids, who are 11 and 8 years old, would wake up early and start playing/walking/running/jumping by it or on it, therefore causing a possible run to an urgent care center or just a lot of loud screaming and crying. So, I solved the problem by posting a sign to inform the aforementioned children of the dangers lying ahead. Since we didn’t hear any crying and/or screaming, I’m going to assume it worked.20140727_074922-blockingsm

20140801_092647~2_finalI love my shawl and cannot wait to wrap it around me as I make my way to London and Paris in a few weeks! This crochet along was super fun and I hope you enjoyed it too! I would love to see photos of your Olive Twist shawl. If you didn’t get to follow along, you can still purchase the kit online and make your own!