Tag Archives: knitting

Knit and Crochet Now! Season 6 giveaway

I’m excited to share an announcement and giveaway with you today! Knit and Crochet Now! is entering it’s sixth season this month, and the folks at Annie’s are sponsoring a giveaway for a complete set of DVDs for the season to one lucky U.S. winner, so read on for details!

Knit and Crochet Now! airs through local public broadcasting stations. You can find your local schedule here by entering your zip code or state. My local station plays two episodes a week, and each episode is also repeated in a different time slot.

Season 6 includes 13 episodes and 43 new patterns, including 14 scarf and cowl patterns (perfect for the bitter cold!) in the “Scarf of the Week” segment.

Some of my favorite sneak peeks from Season 6!

Some of my favorite sneak peeks from Season 6! At left: Butterfly Tee. At right, top: Stripes and Short Rows, and bottom: Star Stitch Long Cowl.

This season, a new designer, Lena Skvagerson, joins the existing team of host Brett Bara and designers Robyn Chachula, Ellen Gormley, and Kristin Nicholas. Jenny King and Drew Emborsky (the Crochet Dude) will also make guest appearances.

You can find all kinds of fun projects and tutorials on the show, and each 30 minute episode is commercial free! And, all of the patterns can be downloaded for free here once you create a free account.

Giveaway

As I mentioned, Annie’s is providing one lucky winner with a full set of Knit and Crochet Now! Season 6 DVDs! To enter, leave a comment letting me know when your local station airs Knit and Crochet Now! and whether you’ve seen it before. You can earn extra points by sharing on social media. But remember, I only count entries logged into the Rafflecopter widget below, so be sure to let me know how you’ve entered!

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Guest Post: Yarn Substitution by Pam Powers & Blog Tour Giveaway

I’m thrilled to share a guest post from Pam Powers today, on one of my favorite topics – yarn substitution! This post is part of the blog tour for Pam’s new book, and Stackpole Books is sponsoring a giveaway, so read on for details!

Guest post by Pam Powers, Knitting designer, on Underground Crafter

This post contains affiliate links.

About Pam Powers

Pam Powers, the author of Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves: 24 Extraordinary Designs for Cowls, Kerchiefs, Infinity Loops & More, is a California-based knitwear designer. In addition to her self-published Art Fiber Design patterns, her work has also been published by Interweave Knits, KnitCrate, Knit Culture, and Twist Collective.

Pam can be found online on her website, FacebookInstagram, Pinterest, Ravelry (as psquared and on her designer page), and Twitter.

Guest Post: Yarn Substitutions by Pam Powers

I get many inquiries regarding yarn substitutions for my patterns. As knitters, we are always trying to find stash-busting projects, especially accessories such as scarves that only require 1-2 skeins. I am going to share with you how I choose an alternate yarn for an existing pattern. Disclaimer 1: I am not the aficionado on all things yarn, but I do know when something doesn’t quite work for me. 

Gauge – This is the first consideration I make. I like the gauge on the ball band to be within one stitch for a 4″ / 10 cm sample of the yarn I am substituting. This gauge should also be accomplished using needles within one needle size of the original yarn also. For example, if a pattern calls for a gauge of 20 sts per 4″ / 10 cm on a US 8 needle, a potential substitute yarn will be anywhere from 19 sts on a US 9 to 21 sts on a US 7.

Yardage / Weight Ratio – I calculate the yards per gram for both yarns by dividing the yards per skein by the grams. If there is more than a 10% difference, I know the drape and feel of the project will be different. Disclaimer 2: I once had someone tell me that this is a ridiculous system, so take it for what it’s worth.

Shirring Cowl by Pam Powers from Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves.

Shirring Cowl by Pam Powers from Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves.

Content – It is important that the substitution yarn has a fiber content that behaves similarly to the original yarn. Different fibers have varying densities and body, regardless of the gauge. For example a hemp yarn will probably not be a good substitution for a wool yarn in a pattern that requires substance or body, like when there are ruffles involved. Most of the scarf patterns in my book have texture and/or dimension to them, so having a yarn that “stands up” is crucial.

There are also other factors such as loft, ply and color (solid versus variegated) that will have an effect on the finished product. I tend to substitute with a yarn that is similar in these areas to the original yarn.

Challah Infinity Scarf by Pam Powers from Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves.

Challah Infinity Scarf by Pam Powers from Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves.

I get a lot of emails from knitters asking if a certain yarn will work as a substitution in one of my patterns. The only way of really knowing, even if this yarn meets all of the criteria above, is to knit a swatch. And let me just say, if you have to talk yourself into believing that the yarn works, it probably doesn’t. However, my intention when knitting a new sample of a pattern is to have the new project emulate the original. Whether something “works” or not is really up to the knitter. In the end, that is the beauty of making a handmade project—creativity rules!

Giveaway

Thanks, Pam, for sharing these tips!

Gingham & Wool Cowl and Fraulein Scarf by Pam Powers from Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves.

Gingham & Wool Cowl and Fraulein Scarf by Pam Powers from Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves.

Like me, Pam clearly has a passion for neckwear! Her book, Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves: 24 Extraordinary Designs for Cowls, Kerchiefs, Infinity Loops & More, includes 24 gorgeous knit patterns for scarves, ascots, cowls, and kerchiefs. You can see stunning full page pictures of each design them here in the Stackpole Books look book.

By the way, if you’re still intimidated by yarn substitution, several of her book designs, including the Chantilly Lace Ascot and the Cowboy Cowl, are available as Craftsy kits (along with Ruffled and Ruched Scarf and other great designs by Pam).

Guest post by Pam Powers, Knitting designer, on Underground Crafter

If you love knitting scarves, you’ll want to enter this giveaway for Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves, courtesy of Stackpole books! This giveaway is open to U.S. readers. Enter by Tuesday, January 13 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern, and be sure to add your giveaway entries to the Rafflecopter widget (since that’s how a winner will be chosen at random). Good luck!

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Jumbo Knitting Book Giveaway!

Today, I’m really excited to share a jumbo knitting book giveaway! It’s that time of year where many of us are stressed about holiday knitting or shopping, so what better time to take a moment to focus on a little something for yourself?

I’m giving away 6 great knitting books today. A winner for each book will be chosen at random, and you can enter the giveaway for as many or as few as you are interested in having.
I’ll ship any prizes free to those with a U.S. address, and international winners will need to pay the cost of shipping. To enter, share a comment below about your 2015 knitting plans by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, December 21, 2014. There are all kinds of extra entry points, too, so check the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post for details and terms and conditions.

This post contains affiliate links.

And the prizes are…

50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt

50 sunflowers

50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt: Patterns and Projects Packed with Lush and Vibrant Colors That You Will Love to Make by Kristin Nicholas is a collection of patterns for sunflower appliqués and motifs. The book begins with a 22 page Before You Begin chapter that includes an overview of supplies such as knitting needles, crochet hooks, yarns, and other notions; a review of basic knitting and crochet techniques and special stitches used in the book, with both written instructions and illustrations; tips and instructions for felting, stuffing, blocking, and embellishing with embroidery and beads; and an overview of color theory. A gallery of the projects in the book follows, and then the patterns are presented. There are 31 knit and 25 crochet patterns (yes, there are more than 50!), some of which are shown felted. The knitting patterns are written with U.S. pattern abbreviations, and the crochet patterns include both stitch symbols and pattern abbreviations. The Projects chapter includes instructions for transforming the designs into a variety of home decor and wearable projects.

Although the title suggests that only patterns for sunflowers are included, there are actually other types of flowers and leaves, and a variety of creatures you might find in a garden, such as bees, butterflies, lady bugs, and birds. This book is ideal for an advanced beginner or intermediate multi-crafter who loves to make portable projects.

A free review copy of 50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt was provided by St. Martin’s Griffin. You can read my review disclosure here.

Expand Your Knitting Skills

60 Quick Luxury Knits

60 quick luxury knits

60 Quick Luxury Knits: Easy, Elegant Projects for Every Day in the Venezia Collection from Cascade Yarns® is another book in Sixth & Spring‘s 60 Quick Knits series. (You can read my review of 60 More Quick Knits: 20 Hats*20 Scarves*20 Mittens in Cascade 220® Sport here.) As the title suggests, this book features patterns designed with Cascade Yarns Venezia Sport and Cascade Yarns Venezia Worsted. About 2/3 of the patterns are in Venezia Sport, with the remaining patterns in Worsted. There is a variety of accessory designs for women, including 20 projects for neckwarmers (9 snoods/cowls/infinity scarves, 8 scarves, 2 collars, and 1 kerchief), 14 hats and headbands, 12 projects for the torso (including 8 wraps/shawls/shawlettes and 4 capes/capelets), 7 armwarmers/mitts/mittens, 2 bags, 2 belts, and individual patterns for legwarmers, socks, and a necklace. About 2/3 of the patterns are at the intermediate level, with 12 easy projects and 3 experienced level projects. All patterns are written with U.S. pattern abbreviations, and 16 also include charts (typically for color, lace, or cables).

The book is beautifully presented and definitely inspires you to start knitting! However, as with all pattern books, you’re more likely to enjoy it if you like the patterns included, so be sure to check out all of the projects in this book on its Ravelry source page here. My favorites are the Bow Clutch by Devin Cole, the Button Cable Beret by Kim Haesemeyer, the Buttoned Cable Cowl by Angela Tong, the Knotted I-Cord Belt by Alex Capshaw-Taylor, Solid and Stripe Infinity Scarf by Steven Hicks, and the Two-Color Cloche by Elena Malo. Hmmm, I guess it’s obvious that I like buttons and cables… If you’re an intermediate knitter who enjoys making women’s accessories, this may be the right book for you!

A free review copy of 60 Quick Luxury Knits was provided by Sixth & Spring Books. You can read my review disclosure here.

Arm Knitting

Arm Knitting

Arm Knitting: How to Make a 30-Minute Infinity Scarf and Other Great Projects by Mary Beth Temple is a fabulous introduction to the world of arm knitting. You can read my full review here and my interview with Mary Beth here.

Free review copies of Arm Knitting were provided by Design Originals. You can read my review disclosure here.

 

Chroma 2014 Collection

Chroma 2014 Collection

I have two print copies of the Chroma 2014 Collection, a pattern booklet including six (really eight) knitting patterns using Knit Picks Chroma Worsted. My Symmetrical Scallops Scarf (below) is one of the included designs, so I don’t think I can give it a fair review :).

Photos (c) Knit Picks.

Photos (c) Knit Picks.

You can see all the patterns in this collection here on Ravelry. There are two blanket patterns, two neckwear patterns, two mitten patterns, and individual hat and shawl patterns.

Free giveaway copies of the Chroma 2014 Collection were provided by Knit Picks.

 

Knitted Mitts & Mittens

Knitted Mitts & Mittens coverKnitted Mitts & Mittens: 25 Fun and Fashionable Designs for Fingerless Gloves, Mittens, and Wrist Warmers by Amy Gunderson is a collection of patterns for the hands. You can see all 25 patterns here on the Ravelry source page. I actually shared an interview with Amy here as part of the blog tour for the book in April, but due to some technical problems on my blog at the time, I couldn’t host the giveaway.

The little projects are a fun way to try out different techniques on a smaller scale. My favorite designs are the Gradient Flip Top Mittens, It’s a Fish Eat Fish World Mittens, and It’s a Plaid Plaid World.

A free giveaway copy of Knitted Mitts & Mittens was provided by Stackpole Books.

 

So, are you feeling inspired to knit? Let me know what your 2015 knitting plans are in the comments. Do you have a specific project you plan to make, a new technique you want to learn, or will you be waiting for inspiration to strike?

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Giving Tuesday – The Crochet (and Knitting) Way

Today is Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving. I’m sharing some of my favorite crochet and knitting related charity links today in honor of this event, which encourages us to put aside the shopping for a moment during the holiday season. I hope this roundup with inspire you to share your talent (or money!) with charities that are important to you.

If you’re looking for a crochet-a-long, Sunset Family Living is hosting the annual 12 Days of Christmas Charity Challenge (also known as the NICU charity challenge). She is challenging people to crochet 12 hats for preemies in their local neonatal intensive care unit. Last year, over 26,000 (!) hats were donated as part of the challenge, which runs through January 6, 2015. 20 crochet designers have donated hat patterns, and if you’d like to sign up to participate, you can read more about the project here.

Dozen Baby Hats (in the round), a free knitting pattern by Denise Balvanz. Image (c) Denise Balvanz.

Dozen Baby Hats (in the round), a free knitting pattern by Denise Balvanz. Image (c) Denise Balvanz.

If you’re more of a hat knitter, check out Denise Balvanz’s free patterns, Dozen Baby Hats (in the round) and Dozen Baby Hats (knit flat). Both patterns were inspired by the Afghans for Afghans June-July Baby Shower, and are great projects to donate to a local charity, too.

Some designers sell specific patterns to raise funds for a favorite charity. Some of my favorites are the Mitered Cross Blanket (knitting) by Kay Gardiner. All proceeds from the sale of this pattern are donated to Mercy Corps, an international emergency response/disaster relief organization.

Mitered Crosses Blanket by Kay Gardiner. Image (c) Kay Gardiner.

Mitered Crosses Blanket by Kay Gardiner. Image (c) Kay Gardiner.

Dawn Hansen donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales of her Autism Awareness Puzzle Hat (knitting) pattern to the Autism SocietyCharity Windham’s Ten Stitch Twist for loom knitters pattern raises funds for Frankie Brown’s (interviewed here) favorite charity, the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.  And speaking of Frankie Brown, she has has over 240 (!) free crochet and knitting patterns. She would greatly appreciate a donation to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation through her Just Giving page.

Wheels within Wheels, one of my favorite patterns by Frankie Brown. Image (c) Frankie Brown.

Anastacia Zittel uses the same model, and appreciates a contribution to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in exchange for her free knitting pattern, Armwarmers, or for any of her over 65 free crochet patterns. (I also interviewed Anastacia here.)

Alexis Winslow’s Caring Cowl (knitting) is another fundraiser pattern. Alexis donates proceeds from this pattern to the American Red Cross.

Caring Cowl by Alexis Winslow. Image (c) Alexis Winslow.

Caring Cowl by Alexis Winslow. Image (c) Alexis Winslow.

I donate $1 from each sale of my 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets ebook, which includes 20 crochet and 10 Tunisian crochet patterns that are great for pet blankets, to a local no-kill pet charity each year.

A selection of stitches included in 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets.

A selection of stitch patterns included in 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets.

I also donate pet blankets in the sizes suggested by the Snuggles Project. (I interviewed Deborah Green from Bideawee about blanket donations here, if you’d like to hear how local shelters use these blankets.) The website allows you to search for a local pet charity that accepts handmade blankets. The Snuggles Project is a program of Hugs for Homeless Animals.

Another organization that accepts handmade goodies is Project Linus. Their mission is to “provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer ‘blanketeers.'”You can find out more about donating a crocheted or knit (or sewn) blanket to a local chapter, contributing funds to help defray shipping costs or volunteering on their website.

The Kitty Cap by Bella Crochet. Image (c) Bella Crochet.

The Kitty Cap by Bella Crochet. Image (c) Bella Crochet.

If donating an entire blanket is out of your crochet comfort zone, Warm Up America is another charity that distributes blankets and accessories to a variety of social services agencies. You can send a blanket square, or accessories such as hats or scarves to them for distribution. The Kitty Cap by Bella Crochet is a great free crochet pattern for making children’s hats for charity.

Twisted Cable Scarf and Headband, a free crochet pattern by Kim Guzman. Image (c) Kim Guzman.

Twisted Cable Scarf and Headband, a free crochet pattern by Kim Guzman. Image (c) Kim Guzman.

You might also be interested in the Red Scarf Project from Foster Care to Success. Each year, they coordinate the delivery of Valentine’s Day care packages, including handmade scarves, to young adults who have aged out of foster care as they experience life on their own at college. You can learn more about this charity in the current issue of Crochetvolution here. There are also two great free crochet patterns in this issue, Big Red and Vino Scarf, that would make great projects for the Red Scarf Project. You can also try some of Kim Guzman’s many great free winter patterns. (I interviewed Kim here.) Two of my favorites that would be perfect for the Red Scarf Project are the Reversible Pinstripe Scarf (double-ended crochet) or the Twisted Cable Scarf.

What are your favorite charities to share your crochet and knitting with?

Interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor

Interview with (mostly) knitting designer, Stefanie Bold, on Underground Crafter

Today I’m sharing an interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor.  Like me, Peggy Jean is participating in the 2014 Indie Design Gift-a-Long, a virtual extravaganza running through December 31st here on Ravelry.

This post contains affiliate links.

Stefanie can be found on Ravelry (as pjkaylor and on her designer page). All images are copyright Peggy Jean Kaylor and used with permission.

Interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor, on Underground Crafter blog.

Peggy Jean Kaylor.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to knit?

Pegg Jean: When I was very young, I would watch my great-grandmother (my mother’s maternal grandmother) knit and crochet.  The first time she put needles or hook and yarn into my hands, I was about 4 years old.  I would sit with her and try to make the stitches she showed me … for maybe 5 or 10 or 15 minutes … then I would run off to play with my big brother or little sister.  Whenever I came back, my knitting or crochet was always waiting for me to work on it some more.

My mother has since told me that she caught Grandma putting the wool and needles/hook away in a drawer between sessions.  She said she tried to tell Grandma not to do that with her precious yarn and tools but Grandma wouldn’t listen.  Instead Grandma gave me a small supply of yarn oddballs, a pair of needles and a hook.

It took a few years … and my paternal grandmother took over teaching me when my great- grandmother became blind.  By the time I was 7 years old, I was beginning to knit and crochet Christmas gifts for family and friends.

Interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor, on Underground Crafter blog.

Belgian Waffles Scarf, free knitting pattern by Peggy Jean Kaylor.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Peggy Jean: My transition into designing was a long, drawn out process.  I was in my late teens when my paternal grandmother and I had a conversation.  I can remember her telling me that before I could make anything at all, I needed to have a pattern for it.  I probably took that as something of a challenge.  Granted, up until then I had always had a pattern to work from and I always followed it somewhat religiously … but … at that point, I began modifying many of the things I made from patterns.  At some point in my late 30s, I had reached the point where I had never met a pattern I couldn’t modify … and during my 40s, I worked steadily to free myself of all the patterns.

Finally during my mid-50s, my teenage daughter convinced me to begin writing up formal patterns for some of my designs.  My darling daughter also convinced me to join Ravelry (she had already joined) … she argued that it was a place where I could self-publish my designs.  So, I guess Ravelry has been a ‘business decision’ from the get go … but I never had more fun from any other business decision … and my husband tells me every year at tax time that it’s not a business yet, it’s still only a hobby.

Interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor, on Underground Crafter blog.

Hourglass Chevron Scarf, knitting pattern by Peggy Jean Kaylor.

UC: You have a joint Ravelry shop with your daughter. How did you decide to start this venture? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working together with family?

Peggy Jean: Yes, I have a joint venture Ravelry shop with my darling daughter.  Our Ravelry shop, Fiber Fabrications, really represents the fact that I did pass this art form on to the next generation … to the daughter I’d named for the woman who taught me to knit and crochet.  I was thrilled when my own daughter asked me to teach her how to knit and crochet.  Because of my own experiences, I made sure to teach my daughter that she could make anything she wanted to … whether or not she had a pattern.  While she was a teenager, I helped her design a felted backpack … I used the project to teach her how to pick up stitches, how to shape the bag seamlessly, how to make mitered squares, how to felt (full) the fabric, how to sew the straps and inside pocket onto the bag, and how to write clear instructions.  She sold a few hard copies of her pattern at the LYS down the street and around the corner, where she worked every Saturday while she was in high school.

Having the Ravelry shop with my daughter is now mostly a gesture … because last spring she finished her BS in Chemistry and this fall she moved to almost the other edge of the country to pursue a PhD in Biophysics and Biochemistry.  I miss her a great deal … and she hasn’t had time since she graduated high school to design and produce any patterns.  I am a good mom, though.  I let her have whatever she wants from my own stash every time she is home because it would be way too sad if she did not have enough yarn to engage in stress knitting while she keeps up with the intensity of graduate school.

Interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor, on Underground Crafter blog.

Heart Throb Scarf, knitting pattern by Peggy Jean Kaylor.

UC: Most of your patterns are for scarves and wraps. What do you enjoy about these types of projects?

Peggy Jean: I have enjoyed the challenge of designing reversible scarves and stoles.  I’d grown tired of scarves and stoles that roll and curl when they don’t hold a block … and it pains me when one side is much less attractive than the other and yet still often seen.  It makes my day to design something that is totally reversible.  I do have some things in the works that are not reversible … hats and cowls and such … hopefully, those designs will see publication during the next year along with some more shawls and scarves.

Interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor, on Underground Crafter blog.

Melite, Nymph of Calm Seas knitting wrap pattern by Peggy Jean Kaylor.

UC: What’s your favorite knitting book in your collection?

Peggy Jean: Well … I kind of feel like Elizabeth Zimmermann wrote the Old Testament of Knitting (I was able to borrow some of her books once, so I’ve read a couple of them and find that her ‘voice’ is much like that of the great grandmother who taught me my first stitches), Barbara G. Walker wrote the New Testament of Knitting (I own all 4 volumes of her Treasury and they are well worn), and Nicky Epstein wrote the Apocrypha of Knitting (I own and love her entire Edge series).  I can’t really choose a favorite from amongst those.  They are all very important to me.  The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt is the other really important book in my personal reference library.

UC: Tell me about a designer you discovered through participation in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long. What attracted you that designer’s work?

Peggy Jean: Annie Watts.  I am tickled by her whimsy.  I will be knitting her Fightin’ Words (fingerless mitts) in the Indie Design Gift-a-Long Hand & Arm Things KAL for my darling daughter.

Thanks so much for stopping by for an interview, Peggy Jean!

To find more designers participating in the Indie Design Gift-a-Long, visit this forum thread on Ravelry.

NaBloPoMo

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through November, 2014.