Top ten reasons I LOVE yarn

Whether you prefer knitting or crocheting, one thing we can all agree on is the wonder of YARN. It makes us happy, and we even get butterflies in our stomach when we encounter a particularly soft or beautiful fiber. We long to snuggle with it and hold it next to our skin, and we can spend hours alone with it, completely content. There are countless reasons we love this fabulous craft supply, but this year, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve narrowed down my reasons to a neat and tidy top ten. Oh yarn, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

10.  My yarn always agrees with my Netflix or Pandora choices. I can happily stitch away, watching or listening to whatever my heart desires.

Stitch some color into your life

9.  The rainbow of colors in a yarn shop makes me smile every time. Whenever I see all those brilliant hues, I get a rush as I imagine all of the amazing possibilities. You can even dye your own yarn and create your own signature blend of colors.

8.  Novelty yarns don’t take themselves too seriously. They are fun, playful ways to make unique projects with simple stitches. They do all the work involved in spicing up your fabric, so no intricate techniques or stitch patterns are necessary to create an outstanding piece.

7.  My yarn doesn’t judge me for wearing pajamas every time we meet.

So much yarn, so little time

6.  There is always a new and exciting fiber to try, so it’s easy to keep the spark in your crafting alive. Have you tried yarn made with bison down, possum, or milk? What about recycled sari ribbons? Yarn never fails to surprise me.

5.  Besides knitting or crocheting, there are lots of other creative uses for yarn. You can make a pompom garland, string art, or even a clever yarn bouquet.

4.  Yarn is a forgiving medium. If you don’t like what you’ve created, it’s easy to rip back and start again. You may utter some expletives during this process, but your yarn won’t hold a grudge and you can start with a clean slate.

3.  Some yarns make me feel a little closer to nature. When I’m working with a soft wool or alpaca yarn, I can picture the fascinating journey the fiber has traveled to make it from the farm to my fingers.

Yarn snob kitten

2.  There is a yarn for every budget. I’m no yarn snob, and I firmly believe there is a time and place for every fiber, from acrylic to yak. If I could think of a fiber that starts with Z, I would have said that – but you get it.

1.  I’ve met so many friendly, interesting, and inspiring people simply because we share a love of yarn. Whether I strike up a conversation with a fellow knitter on a plane or compliment someone on a gorgeous crocheted hat, it’s so satisfying to watch someone’s eyes light up over something I’m passionate about. Plus, since we yarnies are part of an active online community, I can gush about yarn with enthusiasts across the globe… all while wearing my pajamas.

i love nice ppl, make cool things

I’d love to hear some of the reasons YOU love yarn. Leave a comment here or on Facebook, and let me know!

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Exciting News – We’re getting a new look!

Hello friends!

I’m excited to announce that we’re in the midst of some big changes here at Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet. We are in the process of redesigning both magazines, and I know you’ll love our new look as much as I do!

We’re still adding the finishing touches to this work-in-progress project, but you’ll get an exciting sneak peek at our hard work in the Spring Issue of Love of Crochet, on newsstands March 26. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll see it even sooner, and you may notice how fresh and modern we look. The best part is – while our look has changed, we will continue to feature the same great content inside.

We welcome your feedback and we take your comments to heart. We have listened to your comments about what you love and what you don’t love and used that information to make our content better each year. We are constantly reviewing our patterns to ensure that they are easy to read and understand. Because we value your input, I really want to make sure your voice is heard and you continue to receive the magazines you know and trust. We are putting the finishing touches on a new survey for you to share your thoughts about what you love about knitting and crochet, the crafting community, and Love of Knitting and Love of Crochet. I will be posting a link to the survey on our blog in the next few weeks, so check back to be sure that your thoughts are included. The survey will also be sent to all of our newsletter subscribers, so watch for the survey e-mail coming soon. If you haven’t subscribed to our free newsletters yet, sign up for the Love of Knitting newsletter and the Love of Crochet newsletter now to ensure that you don’t miss the survey delivered right to your inbox.

Change can be difficult to accept, but I have a feeling you’ll love what you see and agree that this change is a great one! I’ll be posting more teasers to bring you sneak peeks during the months of February and March, so check back here frequently for an inside look at what we’ve been up to.

Thank you for your loyalty and honesty.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Burt

Lacy crochet patterns – It’s time for spring stitching!

I know we still have several more weeks of winter, but the weather here in Colorado keeps teasing us with gorgeous sunny days and temperatures in the 60s and 70s! That is why I’ve decided it’s officially time for spring crocheting. I’m super excited about the Spring Issue of Love of Crochet, which hits newsstands on March 24th, but I need something to hold me over until then.

To me, spring crocheting is all about lace because the gorgeous designs in the openwork create a fabric that is just right for warmer weather. If you’re also ready for some spring stitching (and a little selfish crafting), these lacy garments and accessories will keep you happily occupied until spring officially arrives.

Portland

The gorgeous motifs on the Portland Tunic, from the Holiday Crochet 2014 Issue, are the perfect way to welcome spring flowers! This brilliant design is topped off with trendy slits at the shoulders, making it fun and youthful. If the slits aren’t your thing, it’s easy to omit them by simply seaming the shoulder completely.

Golden Grace

If you’re in the mood to make a quick and lacy spring accessory, the Golden Grace Wrap, from the Winter 2014 Issue of Love of Crochet, is ideal for an elegant night out. This pattern is surprisingly easy, and I’m curious to try it in several different yarns since it works up so fast. The sparkly mohair yarn in the photo is amazing, but I’m also thinking of a cool cotton for a more casual look and maybe a sequined or beaded yarn to make it even more glamorous.

Sandpiper

I’ve had my eye on the Sandpiper Tunic, from the Spring 2014 Issue for a while now. The subtle cowl neckline would look fabulous with either professional slacks or comfy jeans, and the lace pattern is simpler to create than it looks. I’m a sucker for designs that work just as well at the office as they do on the weekends.

Coral Blooms

The Coral Blooms Scarf, also from the Spring 2014 Issue, is a lace lover’s dream come true. The stitch pattern creates sections of delicate flowers alternated with segments of lattice lace to form a light and airy scarf you can wear indoors or out. I usually like to switch up the colors when I crochet a pattern, but this bright and fun hue is calling my name.

Have you started spring crocheting yet? Are you as infatuated with lace as I am? We love hearing from you, so tell us what you’re working on here or on Facebook!

Needle Arts Mentoring Program – Sponsored by The National NeedleArts Association

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and we would like to encourage knitters and crocheters to celebrate in an unconventional way, by sharing their love of crafting with children who are eager to learn. Crafters often teach kids or adults in a casual setting, and many want to branch out and share their skills more regularly but are unsure of how to begin. The National NeedleArts Association sponsors a phenomenal program that provides mentors with the supplies and resources they need to do just that.

TNNA mentoring program

The Needle Arts Mentoring Program focuses on sharing the skills we love with children in order to inspire a new generation of crafters. They suggest that one volunteer mentor works with a group of 3-5 children and recommend that the kids are at least 8 years old. Once you have found enough mentors and children for a class, you can request your supplies and decide on a time and meeting place. The supplies are generously donated by yarn and notion manufacturers who understand the importance of passing crafting skills, tradition, and passion on to others.

The National NeedleArts Association has found that a one-hour session once a week works best, and they recommend that each program runs for 6-10 weeks so each child gets a good foundation of knowledge about their new craft. There is no set curriculum, but some handy resources are available to help every mentor feel confident and successful. Each set of supplies also includes a helpful book to guide young knitters and crocheters as they learn.

Even if you can’t commit to a full program, by teaching just one child the craft you love, you are giving them a priceless gift that includes hours of entertainment, relaxation, and fun. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day… except eating chocolate – and you can take breaks from your stitching to enjoy some!

Blocks blanket
Blocks Baby Blanket

If you’re looking for some great patterns for beginners, knitters should check out the free Animal Washcloths. They only require simple knits and purls, and their small size gives a beginner instant satisfaction. The Blocks Baby Blanket is a larger project, but it only uses the knit stitch and is worked in a soft and chunky yarn.

two wordy

Beginning crocheters can try the “Two Wordy” Game Bag as an easy flat project, then make the free Vintage Hot Pad to practice working in the round.

Have you ever taught anyone to knit or crochet? We’d love to hear your stories!

Modern Baby Crochet – Sweet Tweeter is finished!

I am excited to announce that I’ve finished my (daughter’s) Sweet Tweeter from Modern Baby Crochet! This little guy worked up in a flash, and my only delay was waiting for the squeaker to arrive at my doorstep. I’m glad I waited though, because it makes this darling stuffed animal even more fun!

Sweet Tweeter done
All finished!

I made a couple tweaks to the pattern based on the materials I had available. First, the pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, but I fell in love with the teal color of this easy-care DK weight. To make it work, I held the yarn double and used an I hook instead of the H suggested in the pattern. My change worked out nicely, and I love the finished fabric on my birdie.

Also, since I was stitching the yarn from both ends of the skein, I ran out just before the end of the pattern. I had another ball of this same yarn, but since I was so close to being finished I decided that my Sweet Tweeter would simply have a tail that is 4 rounds shorter than the pattern calls for. I think his little tail is pretty cute!

There are several other projects from Modern Baby Crochet in my queue, and I will definitely be making them in the near future. I love how the patterns in this book are cute, bright, and more contemporary than your typical baby patterns. Don’t get me wrong – I adore pastel ruffles and motifs, but it’s nice to switch it up once in a while.

Do you crochet lots of projects for kids or babies? What types of baby projects do you like to make? Do you ever adapt or adjust a pattern to fit your needs? Tell us your experiences here or on Facebook. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Knit with us in Ireland!

Mark your calendars because Love of Knitting is going to Ireland this November, and we hope you will join us in an exciting craft tour of this beautiful country! Ireland has a rich history that includes plenty of incredible things related to our favorite pastime, knitting, as well as sites and experiences that will make any traveler giddy with excitement.

LOK in Ireland
Imagine knitting with this view behind your needles!

This amazing trip is from November 6-15, and the price includes round-trip airfare from New York City, a private driver and tour guide, first class hotel accommodations, most meals, and lots of fascinating tours and outings! Join Love of Knitting in Ireland and take the trip of a lifetime with a group of fellow knitters.

Here are just a few of the fabulous experiences included:

  • A visit to the stunning Rathbaun Farm where you will drink traditional tea and learn to make Irish scones
  • A trip to the extraordinary Cliffs of Moher
  • A visit to the Connemara Marble Shop and Celtic Crystal Factory where you will see Irish gemstones and master carvers at work
  • A panoramic tour of Dublin, the Irish capital, and Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland
  • A visit to a family-owned textile shop in Avoca and knitting lesson from a local Irish instructor
  • An outing to the Knitting and Stitching Shop, Ireland’s premier craft event
  • Free time for you to explore the sites that interest you most!

The time to start your planning is now, so grab your passport and be ready to join us on this fun adventure! I’m already daydreaming about this incredible experience. Which activity are you most excited about?

Modern Baby Crochet – Sweet Tweeter toy

My daughter and I LOVE birds. We don’t have a pet bird or anything, but they are a favorite stop when we visit the zoo, and she points out every pigeon and goose she sees when we’re at the park. In my crafting, I’ve been known to “put a bird on it” on more than one occasion. I can’t help it – they add a fun and whimsical touch to a project, and they are pretty easy to make. That’s a win-win, in my opinion. Also – I’m ready for spring, and if Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction is correct, I will have to make my own cheery and colorful birds to hold me over until the real songbirds show up!

Modern Baby Crochet
The soft grey birds are adorable, but I chose a bright teal.

Right now, I’m in the middle of making the Sweet Tweeter from Modern Baby Crochet for my little bird lover. This cutie has an adorable round shape that’s easy and quick to crochet, and there aren’t too many pieces to sew together. I’m not a big fan of finishing work, so this is a definite plus for me!

Sweet Tweeter
Bird parts

I don’t have any plastic eyes in the right size, so I used the instructions for baby-safe eyes instead of purchasing plastic ones. My kiddo is old enough that plastic eyes wouldn’t be a problem, but the crocheted eyes are definitely the way to go if you’re making this tweeter for a younger child. I did order a plastic squeaker to go inside the toy to make it a little more fun, and I’m eagerly awaiting its arrival so I can finish this cute project!

Who would you make this birdie for, and in what color? I’ll share more photos when my tweeter is finished, and I’d love to see photos of your crocheted toys or bird projects!