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  • Severe Weather Season in Arkansas

    This is the stairwell at Leisure Arts. We become very familiar with it during certain times of the year in Arkansas. It’s where we hide from tornadoes, and where we found ourselves last Thursday afternoon.

    March through June is the official severe weather season, but, being precocious, we, of course, started early this year. Thankfully, nothing serious happened this time, just repeated tornado sirens and too many nervous folks all crowded into too small a space…

    Sort of a stark environment, huh? Needs some artwork, maybe some floor pillows? We’ll have to work on that.

    Hope you’re having a safe Sunday! I think we’ve got more scary weather on the way...

  • The Basketweave Scarf

    While I was stuck at home watching the snow not melting, I started crocheting a new scarf for myself—a Basketweave Scarf. I love the color of the green yarn I’m using, and this richly textured basketweave pattern is so wonderfully easy with it’s repetitive Front Post/Back Post Double Crochet stitches that I’m sure to actually finish this scarf in no time.

    If you’re looking for easy skill level projects to stitch up quickly, I found this pattern plus 9 other hat & scarf designs to crochet in designer Bonnie Barker’s Noggins & Necks from Leisure Arts. These pretty sets are perfect for crocheting in a weekend or less!

  • 20 Years at Leisure!

    We had a party yesterday! We celebrated Janie’s 20th anniversary at Leisure Arts with BBQ and cake.

    Janie has worked her way around the company in those years. From pattern tester to plastic canvas production assistant, to charting plastic canvas and cross stitch, she had a hand in it. Next, she took on scrapbooking, helping out in our Design Department, and coordinating tradeshows. From there, she found a place for her skills in the Art Department. Now, she’s settled in Prepress. And she’s been a most appreciated asset in every position! (Forgive me, Janie, if I’ve left anything out!)

    Congratulations Janie! Thank you for all your hard work over the years.

  • CHA

    Check out our booth!

    A bunch of our Leisure Arts folks traveled to Los Angeles on January 29-Feburary 1 for the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Winter Conference and Trade Show. CHA is where designers, publishers, and manufacturers come together to show off their new and coming soon products to the people who buy them to sell in your favorite craft stores and websites.

    Be sure to browse our website for our newest releases!

  • Debbie Macomber Blossom Street Collection - New Yarn

    Yarn shop owners visited novelist and knitter, Debbie Macomber, at last week’s TNNA show in Colombus, Ohio. (The National Needlework Association is a trade show for retail buyers to come see all the new yarns, fibers and fabrics, new books and more.) There she introduced her new yarn line called Debbie Macomber Blossom Street Collection and signed pattern sheets featuring selected patterns from the first 3 knit and crochet pattern books. All will be available in shops this fall.

    The show booth was abloom with fabulous colors and yarns aptly named after flowers like Rosebud and Wild Meadow. My favorite yarn is Cashmere Fleur De Lys. So soft! My favorite yarn name? Any or all of them; I love all flowers and loved all the yarns too. Debbie was a lot of fun; she’s a bundle of energy and truly enjoys spending time with fellow knitters and yarn shop owners. When she’s traveling, she visits yarn shops and typically leaves with more yarn for her stash. She has a yarn shop too, in Port Orchard, Washington. Can you imagine how fabulous it would be to have an office right above a yarn shop? When you need a break you can just go downstairs to the shop and knit for awhile.

    Retailers are placing their orders now, so be sure and visit your local yarn shop this fall and ask about Debbie’s new yarns from Universal Yarn - Debbie Macomber Blossom Street Collection - and her new knit and crochet pattern books from Leisure Arts. (Yes, of course you will be in your yarn shop many times before fall. We’ll give you another reminder later.)

  • Show and Tell

    Show and Tell – well that’s what we call it anyway.It is the time of month when our talented hard working production team gets to show offthe latest and greatest in Leisure Arts publications!

    We are always anxious to see what they will bring. I want to share two new books with you. The first book, Oxmoor House Publications, is available now and it is the 12thin its series- Gooseberry Patch Christmas #12. This best selling series is chock full of recipes, entertaining, sewing and crafts.

    Coming soon from Leisure Arts and Amy Gaines, creature designer extraordinare is Little Knitted Creatures”. They are adorable. The book features 23 creatures in all : a woodland set, a garden gnome, a birdhouse with birds and much more. Aren’t they cute? This book will be available in August. Mark it on your calendar!

  • Birthday Gifts from Philly

    Having grown up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I am a Philly girl through and through. I am super picky about my cheesesteaks (provolone, wit!) and the memory of a city gone wild when the Phillies won the 1980 World Series is seared into my mind forever. I have 3 friends with similar birthdays and this year I scored with this cute Phillies baseball shirt I found on a recent trip to my favorite city of brotherly love.

    Here's how I wrapped one of them along with a tin of tea, using a variation of the Single Handle Wrap found on page 46 of The Wrapping Scarf Revolution.

    First fold the t-shirt so that it is a nice solid piece instead of all bendy wendy.

    Then place items on the diagonal in the center of a small size wrap and tie opposite corners in a square knot (a secure double knot).

    Bring the other 2 corners together and tie a snug half knot which is just the first part of a double knot.

    Bring those corners together and tie a square knot to make a little handle. Presto you're done!
    Any Phillies fans out there?

    Cheers to you and Happy Wrapping to all!
    xo Patricia

  • Good Buzz about Debbie Macomber!

    There were books, books and more books being introduced at this year’s BEA and one of our all-time favorite authors, Debbie Macomber, was certainly at the center of the excitement.

    Debbie’s new novel, Hannah’s List, from Harlequin, and the companion Knit Along with Debbie Macomber pattern book, from Leisure Arts were showing front and center! Hannah’s List is the latest novel from the popular Blossom Street series and Debbie has been on tour for the past 4 weeks introducing the sequel and meeting her devoted readers. If you haven’t read her novels, start with The Shop on Blossom Street, and you’ll most certainly see why people wanted “more of the story!” Debbie doesn’t just write about knitting - she truly is a knitter and shares with you things you will really want to make. If you haven’t been doing any knitting lately, pick up any of her pattern books and get inspired to join in the fun.

    Soon there will be more pattern books from Debbie Macomber featuring her new yarn line, Blossom Street Collection, to debut this fall. Yes! Her new yarn line!

    New Debbie yarns from Universal…

    New Debbie pattern books from Leisure Arts…

    New Debbie novels from Harlequin…

    There is even more New to come inspired by the delightful knit lover, Debbie Macomber. Stay tuned.

  • Star Struck in the Big Apple

    Last week I winged my way toward NYC for the Book Expo America show (BEA) to share with the book world our latest and greatest books in the creative, crafty arena. While I was enjoying my lay over in Chicago, I gave the Late Show with David Letterman a call to see if they had a standby ticket for little ole me for the taping that afternoon. Well, they did but I was #50 on the list and I had to be at 53rd and Broadway no later than 3:30. I was scheduled to land at LaGuardia Airport at 2:14, which I actually did! But the traffic just wasn’t on my side (or so I thought). By the time I made it by the hotel on 31st Street, checked in, dropped my bag, and grabbed a cab uptown I was about 20 minutes late to the Ed Sullivan Theatre. The cute little girl managing the line must have been new – she was so sweet. She went to check but the answer was no, they weren’t letting me in.

    I was disappointed but decided to hang around the stage door on 53rd Street. Sarah Jessica Parker was the scheduled guest and two friendly Aussie gals told me she had already entered. So I hung around talking to them and others that began to gather. The official paparazzi began to arrive as well. Finally, about an hour later, she emerged! The screaming and pushing was a little overwhelming but I stood my ground. After SJP gave the paparazzi a wave and a bow she crossed 53rd Street and waltzed right up to our group of fans patiently standing behind the barrier. She was friendly and ever-so-kindly signed autographs pushed her way. With the crowd pressing in, I ended up with a lot of sidewalk shots and tops of heads but am especially pleased with this one.

    So, you see, if I had gotten into the theatre I would have missed out on the up close, star experience and talking to all those other folks from other parts of the country and world. What a great way to start my visit to New York City!

  • Celebrity Style in Knit and Crochet

    We’ve been seeing them for the past couple of years, from the streets of Los Angeles to the high-fashion runways of New York City. They’re slouchy beanies—those loose, floppy caps sported by so many of our favorite celebrities. We first started spotting them on some trend-setting actresses but their unisex appeal soon had the boys getting in on the beanie action too. Now you can see them not only on television and movie stars, but rock and pop musicians and even a few famous athletes.
    We have to admit… we love them! Sure they’re great for keeping your head warm, but they also make fantastic fashion accessories. These hats are super chic and have a timeless style that’s simple, yet sophisticated. They go with just about any outfit, day or night and lend it a truly hip and urban appeal! Put one on, slip on the shades, and we feel just like one of those celebrities dodging the cameras of the paparazzi. What’s not to like?
    Now, I suppose you could pick one up at a pricey boutique, but we’re all creative types, right? Why would we pass up the opportunity to make our own hip headwear? And while we’re at it, we might as well work up hats for all our loved ones! That way, the whole family can feel like they’re in the spotlight. The good news is we’ve got two new leaflets from Leisure Arts that will help us all do just that.
    Are you a knitter? We’ve got you covered. Crazy about crochet? Never fear, we didn’t forget about you. Two versions of Celebrity Slouchy Beanies for the Family are available, one with knit patterns and one with crochet. How great is that? You can choose your preferred craft or dive into both. Each booklet has enough unique and inspired designs that you’ll definitely want to explore all of them!
    Both leaflets feature 7 designs from the fabulous Lisa Gentry, an amazingly talented designer who we always enjoy working with. She’s definitely outdone herself this time.
    Knit Celebrity Slouchy Beanies runs the style gamut, from the clean lines of the Easy-Going beanie to the vintage braids of the Cabled Classic. And what toddler wouldn’t look oh-so-precious in the Fun Stripes beanie?
    Crochet Celebrity Slouchy Beanies also encompasses a diverse selection of toppers. He’ll look great in the Textured Stripes beanie and she’ll be surprised how hip a classic design can be with the Granny Square beanie. Of course, the striped Kids Stuff beanie will have any child loving their fun, textured cap.
    We can’t wait to get stitching and make ourselves a slew of cool and contemporary headwear—hopefully you’ll be inspired to join the celebrity slouchy beanie revolution as well. After all, it’s always fun to feel like you’re the center of attention. Put yours on and you can almost hear the cameras clicking.

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