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Leisure Arts Blog

  • Pumpkin Hat

    100 Hats to Knit & Crochet

    I love Halloween. It is my favorite holiday. I have a friend with a new baby. So, I thought I would crochet him a cute little Pumpkin Hat. I used Crème de la Crème 100% cotton. I used three different colors orange, brown, and green. This pattern will fit an infant/toddler. I didn't get this pattern from a Leisure Arts book. 100 Hats to Knit and Crochet has hats that you could modify to work for your needs.

    Pumpkin Crochet Hat

    With a size G hook. Chain 60 stitches. Join in the round with a slip stitch. Be careful not to twist!

    Row 1: With main color (orange) chain 1, single crochets all the way around, and slip stitch into the chain 1. Row 2: Chain 3, double crochets all the way around. Continue Row 2 until the hat is about 3.25(3 ¼) to 3.50(3 ½) inches tall.

    Decrease is chain 3, 7 double crochet, and crochet 2 together, then 8 double stitches and crochet 2 together. You are going to continue decreasing by 1 stitch until you finish the chain 3 and 3 double crochet and crochet 2 together, 4 double crochet and crochet 2 together.

    Color change/Stem: To join the brown yarn slip stitch where you slipped the last stitch, chain 2, double crochet around. I didn’t crochet 2 together on the first round, because I did 2 regular double crochets into the next two stitches. The 3rd and 5th stitch a double into the middle of the lower stitch, and the 4th double crochet I went into the lower stitch. Continue this all the way around. The next round start your decreases chain 3, 2 double crochet and crochet 2 together, 3 double crochet and crochet 2 together. Continue decreasing by 1 stitch until you get to six stitches left and do double crochets until you get the stem length that you want then crochet 2 together 3 times.

    Green curly cue: Chain 35 stitches or however many you want to do. Do 6 double crochets into the 2nd stitch and 4 more stitches into ever chain stitch. Bind off when you get to the end. With a darning needle or crochet hook attach where ever you want it.

  • Coloring a Little at a Time

    I'm coloring another page in Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

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    It's a little surprising to me that this page is from the same coloring book as this one:

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    But I like that!  The different pictures allow for very different coloring styles.  Or just different moods.  Sometimes you want to color large floral patterns and big, bold leaves when you're playing around with natural wonders and sometimes you might feel like coloring in teeny tiny spaces and thinking about the little shifts in color you see on a feather.  I liked the big patches of blank space for my colored pencils last time, and I'm liking the small spaces to add little dots of color to this time.

    I'm enjoying myself so much, in fact, that I've been working on this page for nearly a week and a half--and I don't know when I'm going to finish! There's a lot here to keep me occupied, and I'm really in no hurry to finish it.  It's like a treat I save for myself to enjoy in small doses.

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    This past weekend I colored a few more places with reds and yellows and blues.  I'm a little appalled at how far outside some lines I am getting, but I hope that coloring in these small spaces will help me build a little control.  Goodness knows my handwriting could use some help, and it's a fun way to 'work' on my skills.  I added more colors and details to the page while listening to my daughter chattering in the kitchen while she helped my husband bake some gingerbread.  She even took some breaks to help me!  See if you can spot her handiwork:

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    She drew one of the squiggles as a smiley face just for me.  It was a pretty darn perfect moment with the coloring and the happy child and the familial baking.  But moments that good don't tend to last very long.  Which is fine because that's what makes them so special.  I know better than to try to make them last longer.  So after a nice spell of coloring, I stopped when my eyes got tired.  Coloring is kind of odd for me because it's so different from knitting or crocheting.  This isn't a present for anyone.  There's no need to finish this, and there's especially no need to finish this in a hurry.

    I'm going to keep this on hand, to color in little fits and starts whenever the mood strikes.  I think this is going to take me a while.  I'm excited about that.  006

  • Coloring Books, Coloring, and Colors: Oh my!

    Hi!  It's me, Jen.  I used to write posts for Leisure Arts for a couple of years, mostly about crocheting and knitting. Recently my buddy at Leisure Arts asked if I'd be interested in writing a few posts about their coloring books.  I was pretty tickled because it's nice to talk to you and because, what do you know, I already had one on hand to write about!

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    Or in my hand.  Whatever. I had actually picked up Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone a few weeks ago when I was Michaels.  I have some coloring books of geometric patterns that I've played with since I was a teenager, but I like the new adult coloring books I'm seeing pop up everywhere these days--they have small spaces to color and swirling lines and are generally patternless so you can work on them however you want.  Some of them are designed specifically for people who feel anxious and some are for people who just like the soothing repetition of moving their hands back and forth over the paper while they choose what colors they want set out together. There are days when I want to knit something and just don't know what.  So sometimes I just pull out my yarn and look at it.  Sometimes looking at the different textures and colors together gives me an idea for a new project, and sometimes it just makes me happy.  Coloring is like that for me as well.

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    Coloring doesn't accomplish a whole lot, but I think that's kind of the point.  I started this page last week after mortifying myself at work in front of several different people in multiple ways.  After putting my daughter to bed, I shouted some things at my husband (mostly to let him know about the mortifying things I'd done. None of those things were his fault, but I couldn't stop myself from shouting), and then I flipped through the coloring book for a nice page to color.   I also went ahead and shouted at the guide at the front of the book offering up helpful advice about color wheels and tones.  There were some excellent points in there, but I was apparently in a mood to sass a coloring book about how I was a grown woman who could put clashing colors together if she chose to do so. That also doesn't accomplish a whole lot, but I was already on my way to feeling better.  After an hour or so, I was pretty happy with my fall leaves.

     

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    I picked up this page again over the past weekend when my daughter had a nasty cold and I was stuck inside on one of the most beautiful fall weekends I've seen in quite some time.  The coloring eased my self-pity a little bit and kept me entertained while she napped.

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    My final touch was to fill in the background with brown.  It just seemed like a good idea.  It was the only space left on the page and I still felt like coloring for a little while longer.

     

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    Natural Wonders has coloring sheets for leaves, flowers, mushrooms, and some cute pages with birds and flowers.  There are even owls!  I think I'll probably try one of the bird pages before I get in a grouchy mood.  And I think I'll use markers next time.

  • Crochet Fingerless Mittens

    Hats & Handwarmers for the Family

    I crocheted these Fingerless Mittens for a friend’s birthday. The colors reminded me of a new box of crayons and she loves lots of colors. I didn’t get this from pattern from a Leisure Arts book. But here is a Leisure Arts book that has a great pattern. It is Hat & Handwarmers for the Family. That you could modify to make it look like the one in the photo. Just crochet to cover the palm of the hand and if you don’t want to crochet the thumb then don’t that is your call.

    Fingerless Mittens - Crochet

    This is how I made my Fingerless Mittens:

    With a size H crochet hook I chained 28 stitches. (If H is too small or big you can go up or down a crochet hook size) I joined it in the round with a slip stitch. I made sure not to twist it. Use a place marker so you know where you joined in the round.

    Row 1: single crochet.

    Row 2: single crochet into the back stitch and repeat for 16 rounds.

    Increase rounds: crochet two single stitches into the stitch before your place marker and into the stitch on the other side of the place marker. Your next round is a single crochet into the black stitch. Continue these two rows four more times until you have 38 stitches.

    Thumb and palm: crochet until 4 stitches before the place marker and chain 3 count four stitches past and crochet. Use a place marker in the second chain so you can keep up were you joined it in the round. You should have skipped a total of 9 stitches. (The last stitch before the chain I did a single crochet through the whole stitch and also a whole stitch when joining the thumb hole. This makes it stronger.) Then single crochet into the back stitch for 8 rounds.

    Fingerless mittens are a great gift idea for birthdays, Christmas, or just because you want to do something for someone special.

  • Day of the Dead

    A lot of people think that the Day of the Dead happens on Halloween. But that is not true. It is a couple days later. I believe it is on November 2nd. It is a day of celebration of the dead that started in Mexico. It will still get you in the mood for Halloween. I love the Day of the Dead art work. I was really excited when I saw that Leisure Arts had a new series of coloring books and one of them was a Day of the Dead coloring book.

     

    FullSizeRender (38) I used color pencils, markers, gel pens, and a paint pen.

    This is what I like about this book it has several examples of the coloring pages done to show what different types of coloring utensils. This book shows what gel pens, markers, and color pencils look like. It gives you helpful blending tips. I never thought to use my gel pens to color with. I have even used my new box of crayons and a couple of my paint pens to color. You could use a clip board to hold your coloring pages. I use a piece of Masonite board and a clip to hold my coloring sheets. The books have easy tear out pages and I find it easier to color.  I like pull my coloring books out at the end of the day and it helps me unwind. The stress of the day just melts away.

    I cannot decide which new coloring book to get the Abstract and Geometric Designs or Folk Art.

  • Boot Cuff

    Cool-Weather Family Fashions

    I needed a quick project to take on the go this week. I looked through all my Leisure Arts books and I saw these really cute Boot Cuffs in Cool-Weather Family Fashions. I used a bulky wool yarn. I have no idea what the name of this cream colored yarn is. I hate when my labels fall off. It was a yarn that I had in my stash.

    FullSizeRender (36) Use a place marker on the knit row side. This is the right side.

    Finished Cool Weather Fashions Boot Cuff

    I knitted the Boot Cuffs on size 11 straight needles. I love the pattern that this makes. It is quite a lovey stitch. One row is a rib stitch and the next row is a knit. I’m going to do a scarf or a cowl next with this stitch. If you want to knit this and you don’t like sewing up the sides you of your projects. You could cast on the number of stitches that you need for the size you require onto double point needles. Join in the round making sure not to twist. I know that is what I’m going to do next time I knit these. Remember Christmas is just a little over 3 months away. These would be a quick and easy project for someone who loves to wear boots.

    Boot cuffs as ear warmers Or a boot cuff for a dog cowl or earmuffs. Just kidding!!! I am not that bad!
  • Knit Hat

    I have been coloring in my Leisure Arts coloring books off and on all week and my favorite colors right now are neon iridescent colors. When I saw the Toybox Collection yarn called Candy at my local yarn shop called Yarn Kandy the yarn is 100% acrylic. I knew that I had to get it to knit a hat for a friend who runs very early in the morning.

    Beginner Friendly Knitting

    I know that she wears other iridescent clothing when she runs. But I wanted to knit her a hat to keep her ears warm, and something else so that she can be seen when it is still dark. Leisure Arts has neon iridescent colored yarns but it is a bulky yarn. You can use it but you will probably have to cast on less stitches and use a bigger size circular knitting needle.

     

     

    Finished Knit Hat CircleCircular Knitting a Hat

    My knitted hat pattern isn’t a written pattern. It could be written some place. I just haven’t seen it. Leisure Arts has a hat similar to the hat that I have knitted called Beginner-Friendly Knitting by Rita Weiss.  I just played with it until I got it right. I casted on 88 stitches on size 8 circular knitting needles, the first time I casted on 96 and it was way too big. I noticed this after I was 6 inches in and I had to rip it all out and start again. Joined in the round make sure not to twist. Going to start a rib stitch which is K2, P2 for an inch to inch and a half, but don’t forget your place marker to show were you joined. Then knit in the round until the hat is 6 inches. Decrease knit 6 knit 2 together all the way around to were your place marker is. When you start decreasing you are going to needle double point knitting needles. Knit the next row. Continue decreasing until you have 11 stitches left. I know that the photo has a hole I stopped at 22 stitches because my friend who this was for asked to. She wanted it so that hat could have a little ventilation. When you are done cut a 6 inch tail and with a darning needle weave the end through all the stitches on your double point. I always go around twice just to be safe. Tuck in your ends and you have a hat.

    Finished Knit Hat

    I hate to say it but Christmas is going to be here in a blink of an eye. School starts in a few days. Everyone needs a warm hat. Great for Christmas, birthday, or a just because I was thinking about you.

  • Adult Coloring Books

    I bought my first adult coloring book years ago. I love to color. It really helps to relieve stress and anxiety. It is very cheap therapy. I was so excited when I saw that Leisure Arts had come out with not 1 but 5 different coloring books. I was coloring at my Monday night knit group I felt like coloring instead of knitting and I have colored while having my coffee at Starbucks. But what I thought was funny was when I realized I was coloring like I was a little kid. Laying on my tummy on my bed, while coloring with my left hand and cuddling with my little dog on the right. It was truly a wonderful feeling. I was having some art and dog therapy. I cannot tell you which book I like the best. Yesterday, Ocean Wonders Color Art, today Living Wonders Kaleidoscope. I am bringing the 80's back with the iridescent colors. I cannot remember where I found them. But for the rest of my color pencils I had from art school at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. I bought them at my local art supply store called Art Outfitters.

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    Leisure Arts has really done a fabulous job with these. I have had so many friends and strangers ask me what I am coloring. Many get really excited. It also helps get the creative juices flowing. Something else that I like about this book is that on the inside cover in the front and the back they have really helpful tips for color theory and blending. One of my friends pointed out that this would be good for people in nursing homes or in the hospital. The books have really nice bold lines. Some of the pages are so pretty that I don’t want to color they remind me of wallpaper or wrapping paper. So check out the adult coloring books and have some art therapy.

  • Hand Mitts

    One of my favorite storybooks as a small child was the Three Little Kittens that lost their mittens. Well I found my mittens. But something is missing. It is missing the fingertips and thumb coverings. I like finger less mittens because you can still use your fingers for texting; I even knit and crochet with my finger less mittens. I found this quick and easy pattern in a Leisure Arts book called Cool-Weather Family Fashions the pattern is called Hand Mitts.

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    I used size 11 straight knitting needles and I know that the pattern calls for chunky yarn but the only chunky yarn that I had in my yarn stash is a ½ alpaca and ½wool. I know that the pattern calls for two different colors but I just used the one.  It took an hour to knit one finger less mitten and that included stitching up the side. Now I am ready for cooler weather. Finger less mittens are great ideas for gifts.

  • Bull’s Eye Coasters

    This is just a quick and easy project. Something small that you can carry around with you it’s too hot to try to work on really big projects. I have a baby blanket that I stopped working on in May because it was getting to hot. I found the pattern for Bull’s Eye Coaster from a Leisure Arts book called Modern Motifs. But the book says Bull’s Eye Square. I was going to do crochet a square. But I thought they were so pretty and the perfect size for coaster. I am making them for a gift. I will make the square at a later time I need a couple pot holders for my table.

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    I found the pattern to quite easy to follow. I did my very first join with a DC (double crochet). It took me a couple tries to get it down. I was chasing my yarn around the crochet hook. Quite humorous if anyone was watching me. I used The Sassy Skein mercerized cotton, a hot pink and an electric blue. I loved the bright colors. I thought that it would be perfect for a Bull’s Eye target. It makes me want to go out and get a target and throwing darts. Probably not a good idea I don’t want a whole bunch of holes in my wall or in my foot which I did at my aunt’s house when I was a kid learning how to throw. I learned very quickly not to drop darts the land sharp point down.

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