Christmas Tree Trio Crochet Along – Deadlines affect my gauge

I just finished the small and medium trees of my Christmas Tree Trio! These cute decorations work up so quickly, I might have time to make more than I had hoped. I’ll be giving these sets as gifts this holiday season, so I am definitely crafting on a deadline this time.

Christmas Tree Trio - all trees done

After making the cone sections of the trees, I slipped them onto my Floracraft foam cones to see if they fit. For some reason, my small tree seemed a tiny bit snug with the cone inside, and the foam showed through more than I wanted. My gauge was spot on when I checked it, but maybe the pressure of crocheting on a deadline caused my stitches to tighten up by the time I got to the small tree. To fix this, I took a sheet of sandpaper and carefully sanded off a thin layer of my small foam cone. Bits of foam flew around for a moment, but I wiped the cone off and slipped my tree back on. Now it fits perfectly!

My next step is to string my beads onto the Cascade Ultra Pima to make my garlands. Have you ever crocheted with beads before? If you’re new to this technique, this pattern is a fantastic introduction because the garlands are made with a simple chain. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

How is your Christmas Tree Trio coming along? Share your progress with us here or on Facebook, and be sure to follow us on Instagram to share photos! If you haven’t started this fun set yet, get your Christmas Tree Trio kit today and join me in making these festive decorations!

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GO [insert team name here]! – Two sporty crocheted scarf patterns

Living in Colorado, the majority of folks in our area are going to be Denver Broncos fans. My dad asked me recently if I could make a Broncos scarf for his wife for Christmas. Any time my dad asks for something, I know he’s put a lot of thought into it and I am always happy to help him out!

I’ve been on the hunt for a chevron pattern for some time and realized this scarf would be the perfect project to do it with. But first, I had to find a chevron pattern.

Always helpful and coming to my rescue, Jamie, my fellow crocheter and associate editor, heard my plea and started looking frantically for a chevron pattern to help me in my “crisis.” (Ok, maybe she wasn’t really looking frantically and it wasn’t really a crisis, but she understood the magnitude of my situation).

Jamie found a great chevron pattern on our website. It actually came from a Beginner’s Guide article about yardage, called “Yardage: Crochet vs. Knit.” In the article, there are several chevron swatches, as well as feather and fan swatches in knit and crochet versions. And the best part? It’s a FREE download!

I decided on the Crochet Chevron 1 swatch to make my scarf and intermingled the definitive Denver Broncos colors of orange and blue. I added some white to break it up a little and maybe give it more of a “sporty” look.

20141121_125702_smI think it is coming along nicely. I did 9 rows of blue, then 3 rows of orange, 2 rows of white, and back to 3 rows of orange. The next 9 rows will be blue again and then back to orange and white. I’ll just keep going until I find the size I like. Hopefully, it will end with the blue color!

Of course, if you aren’t a Broncos fan, you can substitute any team’s colors and make a scarf too. This pattern works up quickly, so you could make a few for gifts for the sports fans in your life this Christmas.

If you aren’t really into chevrons, we also have the Game Day Scarf from our Love of Crochet Holiday 2012 issue. Since it, too, was made by a local designer, it is also in Bronco colors. Again, substitute the colors for your team and, “GO [insert your team name here]!”

Help break the world record for the largest Christmas stocking!

Our friends at Spinrite are planning something huge for the holiday season of 2015 – they are enlisting charitable knitters and crocheters to come together to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest Christmas stocking! They are already accepting donations of 3′ x 3′ blankets that will be sewn together to form the stocking, so you can imagine how big the finished piece will be by the end of 2015.

Children of Fallen PatriotsThe best part is that everyone is encouraged to use their fabulous new yarn, Caron United, and 15 cents of each skein sold goes directly to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. This wonderful organization provides college scholarships to the children of military heroes who lost their lives serving our country. Then, after the stocking is assembled and measured for the world record, it will be taken apart and each blanket will be cleaned and donated to a military charity.

World's largest stocking

We here at the Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet office are excited to contribute to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation by being a part of this amazing endeavor! If you’re participating too, be sure to share this cute button to raise awareness of the world record attempt and the amazing charity it supports.

Spring 2015 Photo Shoot

Last Friday we wrapped up the photography for the Spring 2015 Issues of Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet. While our photo shoots entail a lot of running around and toting bins full of knit and crocheted projects from location to location, we always have a blast. However, this time Mother Nature blasted back… with insanely frigid temperatures!

Cold photo shoot

It was challenging to get a warm, springy look in our photographs when our poor models were shivering even when we were inside, but JC, Kathy, and Danielle somehow managed to make the photos look bright and cheery. It’s amazing how different things can look through the camera.

Photo shoot me

At times, the reflection of the light off the snow worked to our advantage, but other times it was a little intense. Here I am trying to filter it with a sheet.

Oakwood homes photo shoot

Even though the weather outside was frightful, we had a fabulous time checking out the Oakwood Homes’ Carriage House Models in Denver during the shoot. These homes are spectacular, and the layouts are functional and attractive. All of us kept saying we could see ourselves living there. The people at the Oakwood Homes are wonderful as well, so be sure to stop by if you’re in the area.

We can’t wait to share our Spring 2015 Issues with you! Until then, check out the Winter Issues of Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet to hold you over. We have plenty of gorgeous patterns to keep your hands busy and your wardrobe stylish.

Crazy for Cowls

When it comes to knitting and crochet projects, do you play favorites? While I make my fair share of hats, toys, and even the occasional afghan or sweater, I’ve realized that I definitely have a favorite type of project. I am a cowl-aholic.

I like cowls because they are pretty quick to make and you can often wear them indoors and show them off all day long. They’re great for dressing up a plain shirt because they almost act like cozy yarn necklaces! These same wonderful qualities make them fantastic gifts as well, so keep them in mind as you’re planning your holiday crafting.

If you’re also crazy for cowls, check out a few fun projects in my crafting queue.

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Knitters, have you seen the Eternal Knot Cowl? The knot motifs are created with easy slipped stitches and symbolize friendship, so this pattern would be an amazing way to show a dear friend how much she means to you. I’m trying to decide which colors I want to use. What colors would you choose?

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I’m also a big fan of the Cinched Rib Cowl. This one will be easy knitting, but the cool smocked sections give it a little something special. If you’ve never wrapped stitches like this, our handy wrapped stitch tutorial will walk you through the process. The wraps highlight the different colors in the yarn, so a variegated yarn is perfect for this pattern.

Moonstone Cowl

Crocheters, can we take a moment to drool over the Moonstone Cowl together? I love how the diamond stitch pattern is both lacy and substantial. You can get completely different looks depending on the yarn you select, so this design is really versatile. It has been especially cold here in Colorado, so I’m leaning towards a worsted weight yarn to make my cowl a little cozier while still keeping the delicate look.

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Since it has been so chilly, the cozy texture of the Nottingham Cowl has been calling my name. The popcorn stitches are worked in a chunky yarn to make it extra plush, and it’s big enough to wear as a hood as well. I can’t wait to wrap myself up in this design!

If you haven’t gone crazy for cowls yet, I am officially inviting you to take the plunge! Do you have another favorite type of project? Share your thoughts with us here or on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Charity Spotlight – Warmth for Warriors

In honor of Veteran’s Day, we would like to introduce you to a wonderful charity that donates handmade knit and crocheted hats to comfort both active duty and retired soldiers. Warmth for Warriors is a great organization that is dedicated to thanking soldiers for their service by giving them a small but incredibly meaningful token of appreciation.

This note from a soldier who received a handmade hat says it all:

Warmth for Warriors“I just wanted to say thank you! What a great surprise to have received the hats the other day. I came back from a mission dirty, hungry, and tired; you brought a great smile to all of our faces. I think most of my soldiers slept with your hats on the same day/night. God bless you all, and thank you for what you do.” SFC K. F.

If your craft group would like to knit or crochet a few hats to thank these brave heroes for everything they do, please use wool or another natural fiber in a dark color to ensure your donations will stand up to the wear and tear our soldiers experience.

Our soldiers do so much for our country, and it is an honor to have the opportunity to give them a thoughtful gift that will be greatly appreciated.

Christmas Tree Trio Crochet Along – Magic loop mania!

I made some good progress on my Christmas Tree Trio set over the weekend, and I have one tree down, two more to go! Like I mentioned last week, I started with the bottom section of the large tree so I could check my gauge. My gauge changes depending on my mood, so I wanted to be sure.

Christmas Tree TrioThe first step in each section of the trees is an adjustable ring or magic loop. I have a love/hate relationship with the magic loop technique because I love the neat look it creates but find the process kind of finicky. Thankfully, it goes by quickly and eventually becomes second nature. If you’re new to this technique, have no fear! Our free adjustable ring tutorial will walk you through each step.

First, you’ll make a large loop by wrapping your yarn around your fingers. Make sure your working yarn is in the back and your yarn tail is about 4″ long. Take your hook, draw the working yarn through the large loop, then chain 1.

Now you can work the indicated number of stitches into the large loop. Pull your yarn tail to tighten up your loop. At this point, I think it helps not to tighten the loop all the way until you’ve worked the first stitch of your next round. Then, you can pull the tail to tighten it the rest of the way and continue with your next round!

I love how this technique eliminates the hole at the beginning of the project. If you don’t want to use an adjustable ring, you can also chain 2, work the indicated number of stitches into your first chain, and continue the pattern from here. You may have a slight hole in the center, but in many cases it won’t be noticeable.

Large tree bottom

Large tree

My adjustable ring went smoothly and quickly, and then I whipped up the bottom of my large tree. My gauge was spot on, so I kept using my H hook and crocheted the cone section. I slipped it onto my foam cone to test it out, and it fits perfectly!

This week, I’m going to make the small and medium-sized trees before starting any of the garlands. If you haven’t ordered your Christmas Tree Trio kit yet, you still have time! With the kit, you’ll be sure to get the right sized cones, and you won’t have to worry about finding all of your materials. I’m all about easy, trouble-free crafting!

What about you? Have you finished your large tree yet? We love hearing from you, so be sure to let us know how your Christmas Tree Trio is progressing!