Last minute fall or Halloween decoration!

Halloween is a pretty big deal here at the Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet office, and we’ve all been busy planning our costumes for tomorrow. Some of us are making them, some are piecing them together from thrifted items, and some have been scouring the internet to find the perfect outfit. With all of the costume craziness going on, I really neglected my house when it comes to Halloween or fall decorations. Luckily, I came up with a super quick and easy project that instantly gives any space a cute, festive vibe. And guess what – it involves yarn!

Pompom garland

I made a few little pompoms in fall colors and strung them onto a long strand of yarn to create a garland that is so adorable, it’s scary! This baby came together in just a few minutes, and it was really fun to make, so you could easily whip one up for tomorrow. The best part is, you can use different colors to make garlands for any holiday! I’m thinking orange and black for Halloween, blue and white for winter, and maybe pastels for spring. You could also do red and green for Christmas, or make them in your favorite team’s colors!

The pompoms can be made without any tools, but they are a LOT easier with a pompom maker – especially if you’re going to make a bunch of  them. Then, once you get hooked on making pompoms, check out these awesome patterns and put your new tool to work!

Snow Day HatCrocheters, the Snow Day Hat from the Holiday 2012 Issue of Love of Crochet would be perfect for gusty fall evenings. The bobbles and multicolored pompom are just too much fun!

Candy Cane Hat

The Candy Cane Hat from the same issue is another great option. The braided ties can be worn down as a cute design feature, or you can tie them under your chin to stay extra cozy.

On the Slopes

Knitters, the On the Slopes Hat from the Winter 2013 Issue of Love of Knitting has a cool cabled band that really sets off the pompom made in the same color. I also love how the variegated and solid colors play off each other.

Just pom funYou can even add pompoms to a scarf, like the Just Pom Fun Scarf from the Holiday 2011 Issue. This fun design will brighten up any dreary day!

However you decide to use your pompoms, they are guaranteed to add a cute, cheerful detail to any hat, scarf, or decoration. What are your favorite ways to use pompoms?

Help! I’m crazy for crocheted cables!

Have you ever found a technique or stitch that absolutely steals your heart? Right now, I’m smitten with crocheted cables, and I can’t get enough of them! There are so many variations to try, so I keep making swatches to test them out.

Crochet cableI usually make my cables using post stitches because there are so many ways you can work them. Check out this swatch I whipped up using front post double and treble stitches. I can’t decide what to make with this stitch pattern, but I’m head over heels for it!

I also wanted to play around with other ways to crochet cables, so I swatched up this variation using an easy technique of crocheting into skipped stitches. I love the diagonal ridges it creates, and this stitch would make a warm and cozy blanket worked in a bulky yarn like this one.

Rattan wrap cable

bubble gum twistIf you want to give crocheted cables a try (careful – they’re addictive!), take a look at these inspiring patterns. The Bubble Gum Twist hat from the Crochet More Issue is a fantastic way to test the waters because it can be stitched up in a day. These cables are created with front post double and half double stitches,  and they really make this hat stand out.

Simple cabled cardi

The Simple Cabled Cardi from the Winter 2013 Issue uses post stitches to create the ribbing and the stunning cabled design on the back. This would make a great everyday cardigan, and you can wear it all year round. I’m thinking basic black for mine, but what color would you choose?

Rattan wrap

Finally, the Rattan Wrap from the Fall 2014 Issue is the pattern that inspired my bulky swatch above. The cables on this design are created by crocheting into a skipped stitch to the right of the stitches just worked. On this wrap, the cabled pattern is worked in a lace weight yarn to create a more delicate look that still has plenty of texture. This design screams fall to me, and I’m dying to try this stitch pattern in a finer yarn.

Have you ever tried crocheted cables? Did you use post stitches, crocheting into a skipped stitch, or a different technique? If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, the Winter 2013 Issue has a super helpful Stitch Dictionary that will introduce you to three fun cabled stitch patterns. Give it a shot, then tell us about your experiences with crocheted cables here or on our Facebook page!

Multiple yarns held together – tips and projects

Several of us here at the Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet office are now officially obsessed with working with multiple yarns held together. This technique is really fun because you knit or crochet with all of the strands as one, so you get the thickness and dimension of multiple yarns without having to worry about any colorwork. Three cheers for easy techniques that have a big payoff!

Laughing
Who knew frogging could be so hilarious!

If you follow Love of Knitting on Instagram, you may have seen this photo of our team joining forces to help Megan frog her project after she realized she needed some jumbo knitting needles to get the loose gauge she was after.

Jen knew the unraveling would go smoother if we had one person holding on to each strand of yarn, and working together made the whole process pretty entertaining. Of course, we ran into some snarls, but a couple of us get a sick thrill from untangling yarn. Danielle even joked about untangling the strands by doing a maypole dance around Megan’s project. It didn’t come down to that, but it’s a good idea to keep in your back pocket!

Done
Victory!

Once Megan got the mega-needles she needed, she whipped up her gorgeous project in no time. She even plans to make several more patterns knit with two or more yarns held together. I’d say she’s hooked!

Kathy multi yarnKathy has crocheted a few designs with two strands of yarn held together, and she shows no sign of slowing down. Check out the awesome color combination she is working on right now. I love how the two yarns seem to blend together to create a heathery look.

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Megan and Kathy have inspired me, and I’m jumping on the multi-yarn bandwagon! I am in awe of the Party Starter Skirt from the Holiday Knits Issue. Knit together, these two yarns create a sparkly yet sturdy fabric I can’t resist. I’ve also been on a chevron kick lately, so this skirt is right up my alley.

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If you’re in the mood for some instant gratification (and who isn’t?), The Triple Delight Shawl from our Best Summer Knits Issue is just what you need to start your own obsession with multi-yarn projects. Sometimes a simple, garter stitch project is the perfect way to unwind at the end of the day, and the three yarns combine to make this easy design look really impressive! Thicker yarns and big needles mean you can stitch this baby up faster than you think.

Victorian laceCrocheters, we have a super quick project to help you dip your toes into the multi-yarn waters. The Victorian Lace Card Holder from the Summer 2014 Issue is crocheted with two strands of cotton thread held double. The sample is made with the same color held together, but I want to use two different colors of thread together on the flower to give it a cool, colorful look.

With all of these choices, I’m having trouble deciding which multi-yarn project to stitch up first! Have you ever knit or crocheted with multiple yarns held together? We always love hearing about your experiences, so tell us your stitching stories here or on our Facebook page!

Easy Weekend Crochet Hats

Did your eyes light up when you saw the adorable Pixie Bonnet featured in Love of Crochet’s special Holiday Crochet 2014 Issue? This cute hat has a special magic that will make your little girl feel just like the fairies and pixies in her favorite movies.

017-Davis_200pxThis sweet design was excerpted from Easy Weekend Crochet Hats by Jennifer J. Cirka, a phenomenal book full of designs for all ages that were inspired by the beauty of Colorado. If you’re craving quick and easy patterns that are also stylish and fun, you are in luck! Easy Weekend Crochet Hats is now available for purchase!

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In this book, you’ll find tons of inspiring patterns that would make fantastic holiday gifts. Then, when you’ve crocheted your fill of hats (if that’s even possible), check out the FREE Pixie Scarf pattern and make a charming accessory to complement the Pixie Bonnet.

Easy Weekend Crochet Hats

Do you have a few hat-lovers on your list this year? Grab your copy of Easy Weekend Crochet Hats and get a jumpstart on your holiday crafting!

Charity Spotlight – Alice’s Embrace

Alice’s Embrace is a wonderful charity that makes a difference in the lives of those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease by donating lap blankets and prayer shawls. We would like to invite you to join the cause and knit or crochet one of these items to provide comfort to the memory impaired.

Alice's embraceBefore you make your lap blanket or prayer shawl, be sure to check the guidelines for acceptable yarns and patterns. The good people at Alice’s Embrace take care to ensure that every donated item can be machine washed and dried because these items will get a lot of use and love every day. This means that these treasured lap blankets and shawls will last a long time and become familiar items to the recipients.

Knit or crocheted with chunky yarn, these projects will work up in no time and help to enrich the life of someone affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. We hope you will join us in supporting this cause by using your talents to create a handmade item that is destined to be cherished.

Christmas Tree Trio Crochet Along – Coming soon!

Even though we’ve just barely gotten a taste of fall weather, I am planning my holiday crocheting so I can avoid feeling rushed as December gets closer. The Christmas Tree Trio, featured in the Holiday Crochet 2014 Issue, is one adorable project that makes my planning a lot simpler.

Christmas Tree Trio

I actually designed this fun set with someone special in mind, and I can’t wait to see her face when I give it to her. However, several other people on my list saw the original samples and said they would adore these three darling trees, and they have the perfect spots for them on their mantels or festively decorated side tables. Basically, I’m making a whole mess of these trees because I keep getting requests for them.

We invite you to join us in crocheting this fun set on Friday, November 7th! If you want to add some “wow” factor to your own holiday decorations this year, or if you know someone else who loves to deck the halls, get your Christmas Tree Trio Crochet Kit and make this quick and easy project with us.

The kits contain the pattern, yarn, beads, and Floracraft foam cones, and you would have a tough time finding all of these materials for a better price. Getting all of the materials together makes planning my holiday crafting a breeze and eliminates all of the legwork on my end. As we gear up for gift-giving season, anything that can make finding the perfect present simpler is right up my alley!

I hope to see you crocheting along with us! Be sure to visit us on Facebook or Instagram to share photos or updates of your progress. We’d also love to hear who you are making this super cute set for. Don’t worry – we can keep a secret!

Sonoma Shawl – A blocking confession

I just finished my Sonoma Shawl, and I can’t believe how fast it worked up after I mastered my puff stitches! Even though they were tricky at first, I kept plugging along because I loved the look of them so much. As I neared the middle point of my shawl (or what I estimated was the middle point), I realized that the puffs had been flying off my hook almost as quickly as the chains and double crochets!

Sonoma - getting thereAs my shawl grew, I took some time to admire the amazing softness of the superwash merino wool. I couldn’t wait to wear it, so I dedicated a couple of late nights to this project so I could enjoy it sooner.

The edging is quick and easy, but it really makes this shawl! Created with even more puff stitches, it highlights the texture and beauty of the entire design. When I finished up the border, it was time for me to block my shawl… This is where my confession comes in.

I know that blocking is absolutely necessary for some projects (and this is one of them), so you can open up lace patterns and really put the finishing touch on the design. However, I  refuse to buy blocking mats. Maybe I would buy them if I really needed them for a certain project, but they are rather pricey and I’ve found a makeshift solution that works great for me! Are you ready for it?

Sonoma - block see table
Don’t mind the toys under the table

I lay a folded fleece blanket over my dining room table, then cover it with a fitted crib sheet. It may not be the prettiest or most professional setup, but it works! I’ve blocked sweaters, scarves, and shawls on it, and it has never given me trouble.

Sonoma - block close upI used the quilted design to line up my shawl as I stretched and pinned it out to the measurements in the pattern (I do own my fair share of blocking pins – we can’t have rust!). There was a lot of wiggle room as I pinned my shawl. If you want your shawl to be deeper rather than wider, simply stretch and pin it to the measurements you desire.

After pinning, I sprayed it down with water and let it dry overnight before removing the pins. I noticed an immediate difference in the fabric after blocking it! The stitch pattern opened up brilliantly, and it drapes in such a beautiful way.

Sonoma - st patt
A close up of the stitch pattern

Sonoma - doneSince mornings are now a bit chilly here in Colorado, I’m wearing my shawl wrapped around my neck like a cowl. If it warms up this afternoon, which is very possible, I can drape it over my shoulders with the point in the back. Triangular shawls are so versatile!

Have you finished your Sonoma Shawl yet? If you weren’t able to crochet along with us, you can still grab a copy of Love of Crochet‘s Fall 2014 Issue and get started! We love seeing what you’re up to, so visit us on Facebook or Instagram and show us your shawls!