Adopt a Book – Crochet Me & Blueprint Crochet

Books are my weakness.  It doesn’t matter whether the book is fiction, non-fiction, or a pattern book, I love all books. I have been known to purchase a crochet book because I love one pattern in the book, and my crochet book collection is extensive (although I can always find a new book to add to my library). Because of my great love of books I cannot pass up a book sale, and I am delighted to announce that the Interweave Store is currently having a doozy of a sale!

I was first drawn to Crochet Me because of the spectacular sweater on the cover and after reviewing the gorgeous patterns inside, I had to have a copy of this fabulous book. I immediately began work on Robyn Chachula’s Victorian Shrug + Wrap, and I loved how easy it was to follow the pattern.

Crochet Me

This sweater is one of the most comfortable and flattering sweaters I own and I wear it frequently every winter. As an added bonus I crocheted my sweater with alpaca so it is as toasty warm as it is beautiful. Because of my great love for this sweater, when I saw that Robyn had written a book, Blueprint Crochet, I knew that I would need a copy (without even seeing any of the patterns).

When I picked up my copy of Blueprint Crochet I found it as wonderful as I knew it would be, and my only challenge was figuring out which fantastic design I want to make first. I have fluctuated between several different designs, but I have finally narrowed down my selection to the Maggie Wrap Top.

Maggie Wrap Top

Now that the hard part of selecting the pattern is over, I have the challenge of selecting the yarn.  I have two color options in a fabulous cotton I love, or I might go a more traditional route and use a merino wool. Or, perhaps I’ll make two sweaters, one in cotton and one in wool.  Regardless of the final yarn choice, I know that I will love this finished sweater and I cannot wait to wear it this summer.

What about you? What are your favorite Crochet Me and Blueprint Crochet patterns?

3 tips for picking knitting and crochet travel projects

Summer is (un)officially here, and many of us have fun travel plans lined up during the next few months. Sometimes, travel means extra crafting time, which is always a welcome treat for knitters and crocheters! When I’m thinking about which project to bring with me on a trip, a few different factors help me decide which one of my current works-in-progress to pack.

1. I like a simple travel project. Of course, simple is a relative term, but I personally don’t want to think about complicated cables or count tiny lace stitches when I’m on the road. The Stockinette Satchel is an easy knit that will keep your hands occupied but let your mind rest. The Simple Sequins Shawl is another fun accessory stitched almost entirely in effortless double crochet, making it a great project to pack in your suitcase this summer.

2. Speaking of suitcases, small projects take up less room so you have more space for your other necessities (and maybe even another project!). However, I prefer a project that will keep me entertained for my whole trip, so I don’t want one that’s too tiny. Socks are a wonderful happy medium! The Periwinkle Picot Socks are exciting enough to hold your interest but small enough to fit into any project bag, and the Rolling Fog Socks will show everyone that socks aren’t only for knitters.

3. Finally, I don’t want to do any seaming on the road. Sometimes I make my motifs or pieces during my trip and seam them when I get home, but other times I take a seamless project so I won’t have to worry about it later. Seaming isn’t my favorite thing to do, and like I said before, for me, travel projects are all about simplicity! The Seamless Lace Cardi has a special place in my heart and I hope to have it on my hook sometime this summer. The Wispy Willow Cardigan is another seamless design with gorgeous details that will make your travels even better, and both of these cardis are small enough to take anywhere!

What do you look for in a travel project? If you’re taking any trips this summer, we wish you a safe and happy journey! Bon voyage!

I Love Sales!

If you are like me, you cannot pass up a good sale and the Crochet & Knit Shop is currently offering a 40% off everything sale that I can’t resist. With such deep discounts now is the time to pick up those hooks, notions, and kits that you have been eying. And you won’t have to limit yourself because once the discount is applied you can pick up an entire crochet project for the cost of one item. Sales like this don’t come around often and to encourage you to take advantage of this amazing deal, I have put together a collection of a few of my favorite things.

Must Haves!

Hooks

Interchangeable hook sets are a must for every project bag and I love the easy to use Denise Crochet Hooks. Featuring 14 different sized hooks this set is sure to have the perfect size for your next project.

Denise Crochet Needles in a Della Q Case Red | NM70402

Cross-crafters

If you are like me and you are both a knitter and a crocheter, now is the perfect time to pick up the  Denise Knit & Crochet Set. Featuring 14 knitting needles and 12 crochet hooks, this set will have the hook or needles you need for your next project.

 

Bags

I love my JanetBasket Aluminum Frame Basket. The aluminum frame makes it very light-weight and the open top makes it easy to see what is in your bag ensuring that you have your project, pattern, and extra yarn. The handles fold down for easy access to the interior while you are crocheting,  plus the entire basket collapses down for easy storage when you are not using it (although I am always using mine so it’s never been collapsed…). Available in several fun fabrics I need to add a few more of these baskets to my project bag collection.

JanetBasket Vintage Large Aluminum Frame Basket | NM80553

If you love this bag but you are worried about your project falling out, pick up this handy basket cover and worry no more!

JanetBasket Brown Large Basket Cover | NM80560

 

Fun Kits

Get a jump start on your Halloween crafting with the fun Mummy, Pumpkin, and Frankenstein Treat Bag kits.  Including all of the yarn and the pattern necessary to make these fun bags, this kit will be a hit with kids of any age.

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Don’t let this sale pass you by – use the discount code CAKS 40 and receive 40% off your next purchase.

 

Six best knitting and crochet patterns for summer

Summer isn’t officially here yet, but I’m already eager to start some summer crafting. Warm-weather knitting and crocheting are always part of my summer plans. After all, you can’t beat leisurely stitching by the pool or on the porch. Add a cool glass of lemonade, and you have a little slice of heaven! Since summer is all about relaxing and taking it easy, I’ve gathered up some of my favorite summer patterns to help make your search for the perfect project a little easier.

Tahitian Water

A good cover-up is a summer essential, and the Tahitian Water Cover-up is gorgeous wrapped version with a cool checkerboard lace detail at the hem. The tied straps make it easy to adjust, so you’ll always get the perfect fit. Knit this beauty and lounge by the beach in style this summer.

LOC_BeachBonnet_200

While we all love the warm summer sun, it’s important to protect ourselves so we don’t get burned. The Beach Bonnet is a stylish way to shade your eyes while you’re burying your toes in the sand. This cute crocheted accessory is sized for kids and adults, so you can make one for yourself and your little ones.

Double-latte-200

For the guys, a handsome knit vest is a great way to dress up a plain tee for a party or night out. The Double Latte Two-Some Vests are sized for boys and men, so all the guys in your family will be dapper and dashing. The  stripes add just enough style to keep it interesting, but you’ll love the simple, classic look.

LOC_Meadowlark_200

The Meadowlark Dress is one crochet pattern in my queue that has a special place in my heart. Just look at those gorgeous pineapple motifs on the skirt! How can anyone resist? This light and summery dress is crocheted in fine cotton thread, so it drapes beautifully and fits like a dream.

Carribean Breeze

If you’re searching for the perfect halter top, your search can end here! The Caribbean Breeze Halter Top has a smooth stockinette bodice with simple lace accenting the fabric below the empire waistline. This is one of those designs you can wear almost anywhere, so knit this one up and head out for a picnic, ball game, or even a fancy dinner!

Men's hoodie

Finally, guys love a basic hoodie, and our sleeveless Men’s Hoodie pattern screams summer. The pockets give him a place to put his keys, phone, and wallet, and this fun and casual design is a great layer for fickle weather. If you love this piece as much as I do, don’t get jealous of the guys – there is also a women’s version, so you can crochet one for yourself too!

What types of patterns do you like to knit or crochet in the summer? Tell us your thoughts here or on Facebook – we can’t wait to hear from you!

Knit and crochet patterns for grads

School is almost out of session (or is already out, for some), and many new graduates are getting ready to start the next phase in their lives. This exciting transition is a cause for celebration! Send the new graduates in your life off on their new journey with a handmade gift that will keep them warm, but also remind them of your constant love and support. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite knit and crochet patterns for new grads to help you narrow down your search for the perfect gift.

Collegiate Cables

Knit the Collegiate Cables Sweater to send a high school graduate off to college with a classic style and warm cardigan. The clever cabled button band gives it a unique look, placing the buttons in between each twist. Choose your grad’s new school colors for a personalized gift she’ll adore.

Classic letterman sweater

For your graduating guys, the Classic Letterman Sweater is just what he needs for a smart but youthful style. Contrasting color bands on one sleeve give this crocheted cardigan a cool vintage look, while the handsome fit can easily be dressed up or down.

Two Tone Twist

For a quick knit, the Two-Tone Twist Hat is another fun project that lends itself perfectly to classic college colors. The stripes are twisted into eye-catching cables, so the colors are entwined beautifully. I know that summer hasn’t even started yet, but fall (and the beginning of the next school year) will be here before you know it! It’s never to early to start knitting an intriguing new hat pattern, and this one is most certainly in my queue.

Carry all tote

The Carry-All Tote is another fun accessory that will work up in a flash. Crochet this versatile bag for a college grad so she can keep all her essentials in place as she enters the job market. The simple button closure and sturdy cotton fabric make it a sensible design, but the playful stitch pattern will remind the recipient to find time to relax and have fun!

Baby Blue Sampler

Blankets are always welcome gifts, and the Baby Blue Sampler Blanket would make a fantastic addition to any dorm room. The simple squares are knit in basic textured stitch patterns, making this afghan an easy way to show how much you care.

Mondrian

Artistic graduates will love the color blocking and clean lines on the Mondrian Throw. This fun and easy crochet pattern has a simple style that will transition perfectly from dorm to apartment (and eventually the recipient’s first home!). The stitch pattern is subtle enough that it doesn’t compete with the bold colors, but it gives this piece just the right amount of texture.

Do you have a new graduate in your life? Show them how proud you are by giving them a handmade gift they’ll always treasure! We’d love to hear about your rad grads, so give them a shout out here or on our Facebook page!

5 Best Shawl Crochet Patterns

Spring and summer, with their combinations of sunny days and cool breezes, are the perfect seasons for shawls! Shawls are great for fickle weather because you can wrap them snuggly around your neck to ward off a chill, then drape them loosely over your shoulders when the sun comes out. If you’re hoping to crochet a brand new shawl, here are some of our favorite patterns for spring and summer.

Amythest

The Amethyst Smoke Shawl is an elegant and airy design crocheted in Frolicking Feet. The body of the shawl is created with easy chains and single crochet stitches, and double crochet clusters form the wavy edging. That means two gorgeous stitch patterns in one springy shawl!

RaspberryIceTea_DSC2993_200px

Tunisian crocheters will love the Raspberry Iced Tea Shawl. The extended stitches make it light and wispy, while the bobble fringe gives it an extra dose of fun. Crocheted with Irish Jig by Interlacements, this piece even has a touch of sparkle so it’ll easily take you from day to night.

Olive Twist

The Olive Twist Shawl comes in a handy kit, making your yarn selection easy. Using the right fiber is essential for this crisp summery shawl, and Creative Linen does just the trick. Get this unique filigreed look by crocheting large chain loops and twisting them during the next row. If this technique sounds new to you, our free picture tutorial will show you how it’s done!

Sonoma

If you love texture, the Sonoma Shawl will be right up your alley. The puff stitches are arranged in a cool geometric design, and they really set this shawl apart. I wear my Sonoma Shawl wrapped around my neck like a cowl when it’s chilly, but drape it loosely over your shoulders and you’re ready for summer!

Mandala

Finally, the Mandala Shawl is an irresistible accessory that I can’t get out of my mind. The circular motifs are created with broomstick lace worked in the round (intriguing!), and the alpaca and silk yarn feels heavenly to the touch. The motifs are joined as you go, so you won’t have to worry about stitching them all together at the end.

Are you ready for shawl season? Which one of these 5 patterns is your favorite? Tell us your thoughts here or on Facebook – we can’t wait to hear from you!

Earth Day Tutorial – Save energy with dryer balls!

When I first heard about DIY dryer balls from my friend Megan, I jumped at the chance to do a good deed for the environment AND make something fun with yarn. Dryer balls are felted wool balls you put in the dryer with your laundry. They reduce your drying time and help to cut down on static cling, so you can eliminate the irritating chemicals found in dryer sheets while saving energy. That’s a win-win for the Earth and your wallet!

Making dryer balls is fun, fast, and easy. You only need a few materials, and you can probably find them around your house.

You’ll need:

  • Non-superwash (feltable, not machine-washable) wool yarn or roving
  • A pair of old pantyhose
  • Scissors
  • A washer and dryer
  • Laundry detergent

Dryer - pre felt in bowl

First, wind your wool yarn or roving into balls about 4″ in diameter, and tuck the end under a few strands of yarn to secure it. You’ll need about 5 or 6 to effectively cut down on drying time.

Dryer - pre felt with pantyhose

Next, cut one leg off your pantyhose. This will help the balls hold their shape while they’re felting.

Dryer - in pantyhose

Now, insert one ball into the tube of pantyhose, all the way down to the toe. Tie a knot in the pantyhose just above the ball. Insert the next ball into the tube, all the way down to the first knot, and tie another knot just above the second ball.

Continue inserting balls into the tube and tying knots between them. Tie a knot just above the last ball to secure it inside the pantyhose.

Put your tube of wool balls into the washer with a small amount of detergent and a few towels that need to be washed. The towels will provide extra agitation to speed up the felting process. You’ll need to use the hottest setting and longest cycle, but by felting your dryer balls with a load of laundry, you’re not wasting water or energy!

When the wash cycle is finished, throw your wool balls and towels into the dryer and put it on the hottest setting. When they’re finished drying, untie or cut the pantyhose to see your brand new dryer balls! They may felt to the pantyhose a bit, but you can pull them off fairly easily. Look at all this felty goodness!

Dryer - after felting

You may need to repeat this process until they are felted properly and will not unravel, but mine only took one cycle.

I keep my felted balls inside the dryer and simply toss my laundry in with them. My clothes dry faster and come out soft and static-free.

If you have some feltable yarn you’re not going to use, try making dryer balls to save energy and cut back on the chemicals used in your laundry. The Earth, and your bank account, will thank you!