Groundhog Day 2015 – Six more weeks of winter knitting and crocheting!

Punxsutawney Phil, the cutest weather forecaster around, saw his shadow today and predicted six more weeks of winter! I’m not thrilled about these extra weeks of slushing around in the snow, but I’m looking on the bright side by focusing on cozy winter projects. Whether or not you enjoy winter weather, you won’t be able to resist these fun patterns.

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Knitters, the Tiverton Sweatercoat is just what you need to stay toasty during our extended winter. The length of this comfy coat is flattering on everyone and understandably popular with women of all ages. I’m a sucker for well-placed asymmetry, so I love the buttons and the way the front flaps overlap.

Log Cabin

You could also stitch up a warm blanket the whole family can enjoy and use these six additional weeks of winter as a fabulous excuse to snuggle on the couch watching movies and drinking hot cocoa! The Log Cabin Throw features an easy stitch pattern worked in chunky yarn, so it’ll work up quicker than you think. The texture on this afghan is gorgeous, and it would look wonderful draped over a plush chair in the family room.

Woolie Bullie

For a special kiddo in your life, the Woolie Bullie Set is an adorable way to add some fun to drab winter gear. The vest is perfect for layering, and the hat will keep your little one nice and cozy. The sweet leg warmers make skirts and dresses an option in chilly weather by protecting your little cutie’s legs from the cold.

Midnight Snow

Crocheters, the Midnight Snow Sweater is a playful way to embrace the longer winter we are expecting. The lace panels on the sides are screaming my name, so this sweater may move up in my queue now that I’ve heard the groundhog’s prediction! Not only do these side panels give a subtle but beautifully detail to the sweater, they also keep the seaming to a minimum by providing a clever way to attach the front and back pieces. That’s my kind of design!

Bering Sea

The Bering Sea Hat and Scarf is a great set for anyone who loves a quick, textured project. Post stitches create interesting ridges and give the pieces some added dimension. They also disguise the increases on the hat, giving it a polished and professional appearance.

Child's Raglan

Finally, I definitely want to make my daughter the Child’s Raglan Sweater! It’s worked in double crochet, which may be my favorite stitch, so I know it will fly off my hook. I love the simplicity of this design, and it will make a great addition to any child’s winter wardrobe. If you’re feeling fancy, you can work the cuffs, neckband, and hem in another color to spice up this darling sweater.

Were you happy to hear Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction this year? Do you have more snuggly winter projects planned, or are you starting your spring crafting?

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Beating Afghan Fatigue – How to keep up your crafting stamina during large projects

I love making an afghan every now and again. While I usually knit or crochet accessories and other small projects, something about spending weeks or months with the same project appeals to me. I love getting to know the ins and outs of the stitch pattern so I don’t have to think (or worry about shaping) during my crafting sessions, and my hands know exactly what to do. Also, since I typically make afghans as gifts, I like picturing the recipient enjoying the blanket I made them on a chilly day. As a bonus, if I’m knitting or crocheting an afghan in the winter, I get to stay warm and cozy under it as I work.

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Some knitting or crochet projects take extra time – and that’s why we love them.

As much as I relish a good afghan pattern, it can sometimes be difficult to muster up the level of commitment a handmade blanket can require. Over the years, I’ve discovered a few methods that help me keep my stamina up during these marathon crafting projects.

  • Remember, it’s not a race (even though I just used a racing metaphor). Whether you finish a month from now or a year from now, you win – and the amazing handmade blanket you created is your prize! If I don’t feel like working on my afghan for a while, I allow myself to set it aside. Then, I start to miss it, and I’m more energized than ever when I return to it.
  • Stop to weave in your ends occasionally. If you need a break from actually knitting or crocheting, weaving in your ends allows you to make progress on your project while doing something a little bit different. Plus, after doing this, you can truly admire your work-in-progress because you’ll get a glimpse of what the finished blanket will look like and save yourself some finishing work at the end. There is nothing more motivating than a taste of success!
  • Finally, take breaks… by working on smaller projects. Don’t feel guilty for getting momentarily distracted by a quick toy or cowl. My busy hands want to stitch, even though my mind may need a break from a repetitive blanket pattern. Stopping to whip up a hat or pair of mitts isn’t “cheating” on your afghan, and it can actually be a welcome intermission that will leave you feeling ready to dive into your blanket pattern once again.

Knitters, if all this talk about afghans has gotten you in the mood to make one, check out the Stash-Busting Throw, Blanket Buddy, and Scottish Glen Blanket! Crocheters, take a look at the Mondrian Throw, Yuletide Throw, and Frozen Falls Throw.

How do you make an afghan? Do you break up the process by working on other projects intermittently or give the blanket your full attention? We’d love to hear the methods that work for you, so leave us a comment here or on Facebook to let us know!