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Accessories

  • Surprise Your Sweetie! Epic Projects That Make Great Gifts.

    February may be coming to an end, but that doesn't mean you should stop celebrating love! Love is a driving factor in crafting, Maker friends. We create and share our wonderful work with the people we care about, and we crochet, knit, color, and more because we love practicing these hobbies. Which is why we have some amazing projects that you can surprise a special someone with, and bring a huge smile to anyone's face. Be it a significant other, a friend, or your next door niehgbor that plays music a little too loud (see: Aromatherapy Jewelry), everyone can benefit from a little present now and then.

    So, find your favorite craft medium, and see if you've found the special surprise you've been searching for!

    ----------------------------CROCHET----------------------------

    Cup Cozies for the Coffee Addict

    surprise Cup Cozies - Book 75568
    surprise Cup Cozies - Book 75568

    Oh, Coffee. 64 percent of Americans drink one cup every morning. So why not make their morning moments more comfortable? Not to mention, cute! We have these crafty and quirky patterns from Cup Cozies that are perfect for your favorite caffeine junkie. We did a previous Blog Post on this book a few moons ago, if you want a more in depth look at these crafty cozies. Crochet the cunning kitten for your favorite Cat Lady (top right), or the bumble bee cozy for the exceptionally busy bee (top left)!

     

     

    ----------------------------KNIT----------------------------

    Warm & Fuzzy Feet = Warm & Fuzzy Hearts

    surprise Knit Socks For Those You Love - Book 7369
    surprise Knit Socks For Those You Love - Book 7369

    Socks have always been classified as a boring gift, but you always end up needing them, and essentially can't live without them (nobody wants stinky feet). So don't underestimate the power of a cute and cozy sock as a present, especially knit ones! We have a variety of socks to knit from Knit Socks For Those You Love that can be used for multiple scenarios. Do your morning Yoga routine in these coral ankle wraps (top left), or crash on the couch with this bubblegum pink pattern (top right).

     

     

     

     

     ----------------------------CRAFTS----------------------------

    Aromatherapy Surprise - Create & Meditate

    surprise Aromatherapy Jewelry - Book 7353
    surprise Aromatherapy Jewelry - Book 7353

    Who doesn't love a good scented candle or lotion? The right smell can transport you to a new attitude, and keep you meditating for days. Now imagine being in that relaxed state, all the time! That's what you get when you wear one of our designs from Aromatherapy Jewelry. With easy to follow instructions on how to infuse essential oils with absorbent Volcanic Lava Beads, you can surprise your special someone with a beautiful and modern piece of jewelry. But that doesn't have to just extend to your significant other! Our Aromatherapy Jewelry designs make the perfect gifts for friends, colleagues, you can even incorporate these beads into a dog collar! Dogs deserve to be relaxed too.

     

    ----------------------------QUILT/SEW----------------------------

    Bright and Beautiful Baby Baubles (Say that 3X fast)

    surprise Baby Quilts - Book 7363
    surprise Baby Quilts - Book 7363

    The perfect surprise for a new mother is a breathtaking baby blanket. Our geometric and colorful Baby Quilts are perfect to brighten up and revamp a nursery, and keep the next generation cozy and crafty. Play with shapes, colors, appliqués, and overlays as you customize any of these seven quilt patterns. This project might take a bit longer to create and surprise someone with, but the end result is definitely worth it.

     

     

     

     

     

    Which project would you surprise someone with? Tell us below! If you make any of these projects, tag us @leisureartsinc with #LeisureLife. We love to see what's going on in your studios!

     

     

     

    Stay Creative!

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    -Leisure Arts Team

     

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  • The Perfect Knit Pumpkin Centerpiece!

    You might have seen the pictures of our Leisure Arts Halloween festivities yesterday! (If you haven't seen them, click here!) If you have a watchful crafter's eye, one thing might have stuck out to you. This Knit Pumpkin!

    Crochet Pumpkin Leisure Arts! Halloween Knit Pumpkin - Leisure Arts

     

    Isn't this adorable? The soft yarn and muted orange makes this plushy pumpkin perfect for a warm Fall dinner setting. As a special treat from us, we're giving you this Knit Pumpkin pattern FOR FREE! Here's how it's done:

     

    THE KNIT PUMPKIN

    Stem and Top

    With Brown, tie beginning yarn between the third and fourth st to form a ring.

    Rnds 1-3: Knit around.

    Rnd 4: Increase in each st around: 6 sts.

    Rnd 5: Beginning with the next loop bind of 6 sts, place marker in remaining st.

    Rnd 6: Beginning with the next loop, (increase in next bind off st, pick up one in next st) around: 9 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 7: Beginning with marked st, bind off 9 sts, place marker in remaining st.

    Rnd 8: Beginning with next loop, increase in each bind of st around: 18 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 9: Beginning with marked st, bind off 18 sts, cut yarn after second working loop and pull through remaining st.

    Body

    Rnd 1: Join Orange and pick up one loop in each bind off st: 18 sts.

    Rnd 2: Beginning with next loop, bind off 18 sts, place marker in remaining st.

    Rnd 3: Beginning with next loop, (pick up in next bind off st, increase in next bind off st) around: 27 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 4: Leaving marked st unworked, knit each st around.

    Rnd 5: Beginning with marked st, bind off 27 sts, place marker in remaining st.

    Rnd 6: Beginning with next loop, (pick up in next 2 bind off sts, increase in next bind off st) around: 36 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 7: Leaving marked st unworked, knit each st around.

    Rnd 8: Beginning with marked st, bind off 36 sts, place marker in remaining st.

    Rnd 9: Beginning with next loop, (increase in next bind off st, pick up in next 3 bind off sts) around: 45 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 10: Leaving marked st unworked, knit each st around.

    Rnd 11: Beginning with marked st, bind off 45 sts, place marker in remaining st.

    Rnd 12: Beginning with next loop, pick up one st in each bind off st around: 45 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 13: Leaving marked st unworked, knit each st around.

    Rnd 14: Beginning with marked st, bind off 45 sts, place marker in remaining st.

    Rnds 15-26: Repeat Rnds 12-14, 4 times.

    Rnd 27: Beginning with next loop, pick up one st in each bind off st around: 45 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 28: Leaving marked st unworked, (K2 tog, K7) around: 40 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 29: Beginning with marked st, bind off 40 sts, place marker in remaining st.

    Rnd 30: Beginning with next loop, pick up one st in each bind off st around: 40 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 31: Leaving marked st unworked, (K6, K2 tog) around: 35 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 32: Beginning with marked st, bind off 35 sts, place marker in remaining st.

    Rnd 33: Beginning with next loop, pick up one st in each bind off st around: 35 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 34: Leaving marked st unworked, (K2 tog, K5) around: 30 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 35: Beginning with marked st, bind off 30 sts, place marker in remaining st.

    Rnd 36: Beginning with next loop, pick up one st in each bind off st around: 30 sts and one maked st.

    Rnd 37: Leaving marked st unworked, (K3, K2 tog) around: 24 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 38: Beginning with marked st, bind off 24 sts, place marker in remaining st.

    Rnd 39: Beginning with next loop, pick up one st in each bind off st around: 24 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 40: Leaving marked st unworked, K2 tog around: 12 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 41: Beginning with marked st, bind off 12 sts, place marker in remaining st.

    Rnd 42: Beginning with next loop, pick up one st in each bind off st around: 12 sts and one marked st.

    Rnd 43: Leaving marked st unworked, K2 tog around: 6 sts.

    Rnd 44: Beginning with marked st, bind off 6 sts; cut yarn 6 loops past the last worked st. Cut loops open to form a long end.

    Thread yarn needle with long end and weave through bound off sts; gather tightly and secure end.

    OPTIONAL JACK O' LANTERN FACE

    Eye (Make 2)

    With Black, cast on 4 sts.

    Row 1: K2 tog twice: 2 sts.

    Row 2: K2 tog; cut yarn 6 loops past the last worked st. Cut loops open to form a long end.

    Mouth

    With Black and beginning with 13th loop, pull 12th loop through 13th loop, pull 11th loop through 12th loop, work in same manner using all loops from cast on; cut yarn 8 loops past the last worked st. 

    Cut loops open to form a long end.

    Using photo as a guide, attach facial featured.

     

    Halloween Crochet Pumpkin - Leisure Arts! Halloween Knit Pumpkin - Leisure Arts!
    Thanksgiving Pumpkin- Leisure Arts Thanksgiving Knit Pumpkin- Leisure Arts

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Ta-Da! You have yourself a perfect centerpiece that can last you through the entire season of Fall. The best part about this pattern is that you can make just the Pumpkin base, or you can add the Jack O' Lantern face for Halloween! The versatility in this design is what makes it a perfect project to take on, no matter the skill level.

  • Homemade Accessories That Are Cooler Than A Diamond Bracelet.

    As Marilyn Monroe once sang, diamonds are a girls best friend! Except for today, because this post is about homemade accessories that are way cooler than wearing a boring and cold diamond bracelet on your wrist.

    Making your own accessories sets you apart from the crowd, and brings out the creative monster inside of you. Some people make a living out of selling their homemade jewelry, and others just don't want to look like everyone else. No matter how you look at it, there are multiple reasons to start making your own stylish accessories. Let us help you make the coolest ones! Here are some of the best accessories that you can make yourself, that'll go with any outfit.

     

    Quick and Simple Stringing - SKU # 7212

    A beaded jewelry technique made from stringing a variety of beads together, this technique can turn a simple thread into modern magic. Just look at some of the designs you can create from our patterns!

     

    Homemade Accessories Classic Pearl Strung Necklace
    Multi-Colored Stacked Necklaces Multi-Colored Stacked Necklaces
    Homemade Accessories Retro Sunburst Turquoise Necklace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Just look at that pearl necklace! It looks like you could get that at any fashionable jewelry store. But if your style is more subtle, you can make something simple that makes a statement, like the stacked necklaces.

     

    Quick and Simple Linking - SKU # 7213

    Similar to any chain link technique, this method lets you link jewels with metals or beads, or really any shiny thing you think would look good. This method can give you the chance to make grand statements, and let's you keep adding to your piece if you wanted. here are some striking examples!

     

    Homemade Accessories Stacked and Linked Amber Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Simple Citrine Linked Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Subtle and Simple Stacking Necklace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These designs are perfect for the one who doesn't want to wear diamonds, but still wants to feel luxurious. Plus, it's a definite bonus that these beautiful baubles won't break your bank.

     

    Quick and Simple Wirework - SKU #7214

    Wire wrapping! An extremely intricate looking jewelry style, that is a lot easier than you think. This is a style that can really make any kind of jewelry, because you are actually forming most of the metal products yourself. This is by far the most creative and eccentric method of the three, and for good reason! Check out some of our examples from the book.

    Homemade Accessories Wire Wrapped Crystal Gemstone Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Beaded Silver Wirework Bracelet
    Homemade Accessories Wire Wrapped Bracelet and Broach Set

     

    You can tell how much work is put into each of these designs - and how unique it make them. This Jewelry type is for the stand outs, the ones who know they are making a statement when they wear it, and love it.

     

    Bonus Accessories!

    The bonus this week is a book that's gotten a lot of attention lately, so how could I not include it (again). You may or may not remember this book from last week's post on homemade spa materials.

     

    Aromatherapy Jewelry with Lava Beads - SKU # 7353

    The designs in this book merit a mention in this week's post, because of how simple but striking the designs are. Not only that, but they are unique because of what you can do with them. The lava beads are porous enough to absorb your favorite scented oils and fragrances so you get a two for one deal! They deserve to be put into this sophisticated self-made jewelry category. Check out our examples!

    Homemade Accessories Simple Strung Lava Bead Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Lava Bead and Gold Necklace
    Homemade Accessories Stacked Beaded Necklace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These may not be diamonds, but they look luxurious without them.

    So, the next time you think about going to an expensive big brand retailer for high end jewelry, think about the options you have for making your own. You don't need to spend a fortune!

     

    Have you made any of these before? If so, post them to our social pages! We love to see what's going on in your studios.

     

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

     

     

     

  • The Best Cozies and Coasters for Your Morning Cup

     

    Hey craft family!

    Everyone loves their morning Cup O' Jo, and that term applies to tea drinkers too, or really any hot drink. The one thing we can all agree on, no matter what we are drinking, is that we hate it when our fingertips get stung by the scalding hot temperature of our cup after a few minutes. Or when you set your cup down on that glossy end table, and put a permanent cloudy ring through the first few layers. Which is why this week, we're talking about cozies and coasters, your drink's best friend! Here is our list of some of our favorites.

     

    Cozy Cozies

     

    Cup Cozies - SKU # 75568

    Cozies and Coasters screen-shot-2018-06-27-at-11-01-51-am screen-shot-2018-06-27-at-11-02-24-am

    You can get creative with the ways you keep your coffee warm, like these nature cozies up above, or animal friendly cozies down below! What matters is how much fun you have making it. Most patterns show a basic background, with attachments added to them after the cuff is made. So, these patterns are an easy weekend project that you can just keep adding to whenever you feel like it.

    screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-12-23-00-pm screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-12-23-20-pm screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-12-23-52-pm

    These patterns are sure to make you unique when you're out and about on the town, and you get to brag about your crochet skills when people stop you and ask where you bought it from!

    screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-12-24-25-pm screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-12-24-35-pm screen-shot-2018-06-28-at-12-24-53-pm

     

    My Pet Crafts - SKU # 6862

    My Pet Crafts

    This is my personal favorite, from our book My Pet Crafts. How can you not want to make this adorable raccoon felt cozy! If you're not the crochet type, this is a perfect and sleeker alternative.

     

    Crafty Coasters

    You've probably something seen or used one at some point in your life, and if you haven't, I worry about your manners. Coasters are a great way to keep your furnished tables...nicely furnished. These are some great coaster patterns to try out.

     

    All About Cotton - SKU # 7055

    All About Cotton

     

    Knits For Summer - SKU # 7198

    Knits For Summer

     

    Coasters - SKU # 6078

    Coasters Coasters

    Plastic Canvas is a great craft to make coasters from. It's durable, flexible, and overall fun to merge! These coasters are fun and creative, and can show your house guests what you really care about in a fun and practical way.

    Coasters Coasters

     

    Coasters and Lollipop Covers - SKU # 6482

    Coasters and Lollipop Covers Coasters and Lollipop Covers

     

    Big Book of Coasters - SKU # 5855 

    This book has the best range of designs to choose from. It has coasters for every occasion and season!

    Big Book of Coasters Big Book of Coasters

    Big Book of Coasters  Big Book Of Coasters  Big Book of CoastersBig Book of Coasters

     

    Alternatives... Be Unique!

    For the eclectic soul who doesn't want to have cookie cutter coasters. Switch up your crafting routine with these projects!

     

    DIY Pallet Projects - SKU # 7239

    DIY Pallet Projects

    Pallet wood projects are big right now, and this personalized plate doubles as a crafty coaster. Not only can you fit your gigantic coffee cup (not judging) on your tray, but you can fit breakfast, or a nice book on it too.

     

    99 Granny Squares To Crochet - SKU # 6393 

    99 Granny Squares To Crochet 99 Granny Squares Crochet 99 Granny Squares to Crochet

    Granny squares in their simplest forms are just small blocks of crochet that can be combined to make a larger project. So, why not keep this craft in its simplest form for a soft and practical coaster? As you can see from above, there are limitless variations that you can create, and you can even make a nice cozy if you combine the two together!

     

    Doilies Updated - SKU # 7035

    Doilies Updated Doilies Updated

    Doilies work on the same level! Essentially they're just extra fancy coasters. Which is why they can be so versatile now! This book has a lot of great uses and patterns for the modern doily, and I think you'll find some great ideas or coasters here too.

     

    From one avid coffee and tea drinker to another, having that extra something special with your morning drink can set the precedent for the rest of the day. These fun cozy and coaster projects make for great entertainment, that ends up being functional overall.

    Which coaster is your favorite? Let us know in the comments down below. Even better, share your recent projects with us! We love too see what you guys are working on.

     

    Happy Crafting!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

     

  • Tidy Tips with Leisure Arts: Organizing Your Craft

     

     

    Hey craft family! 

    We all wish that we had a super-sonic vacuum that just magically cleaned our homes and arranged everything perfectly (if you haven’t dreamed of this, you’re lying). But the reality is that we make messes every day, and have trouble cleaning up after ourselves. The phrase, “Eh, I’ll do it later” has probably ruined more lives than a natural disaster has. So, let’s be honest, if you’re reading this article, your craft space is probably a natural disaster in and of itself. 

    That’s why this week, we are here to help!

    We’ve compiled a list of tips that help you get in the habit of keeping a tidy and organized workspace, and because we're so nice, we'll give you some neat projects to help you with your newfound mission. Here we go! 

    Compartmentalize… But In A Good Way.

    Salt Water Taffy Collection

    Stashing everything left and right isn’t going to do you any good in the long run. You can lose important items, or even worse, forget you had some items and go out and buy them again (trust me, we’ve all been there). The best thing to do is to categorize your things into sections! By doing this, you know where everything is at all times, and won’t end up with two extra bottles of that fabric glue you needed last week. 

    Boxes, Baskets, and Shelves, Oh My!

    Baskets

    You can’t compartmentalize without having actual compartments. Boxes are the best way to keep things in the right place, but other great storage ideas include shelves, baskets, and hanging storage devices. Here are some great ideas for storage From Leisure Arts that you can make yourself! 

    Baskets - #75496

    screen-shot-2018-06-18-at-9-42-53-am

    screen-shot-2018-06-18-at-9-42-29-am

    Baskets - yellow

    T shirt Yarn Home Décor - #7222

    T-Shirt Yarn Home Decor

     

    Love and Let Go - Get Rid of the Clutter! 

    If your inner hoarder is cringing on the inside at this post so far, don't worry! If you cannot bear to part with the scraps you tend to keep from other projects, then put them good use, and start a scrap project! This way, you get to be creative and tidy at the same time.

    Here is a similar scrap project idea book that will help you with this project:

    More Projects From Your Scrap Bag - #5169

    More Projects From Your Scrap Bag

     

    Clean Up at the End of the Day - You’ll Thank Me Later

    This tip is the most important, because it will help keep your space constantly clean! If you spend just a little bit of time cleaning up at the end of each work day in your craft area, you have less to worry about and more time to work on your projects for the next day! A little goes a long way, especially when it comes to cleaning!

     

    Hopefully, these projects inspire you to keep a clean workspace, because after all, we work at our best when we have a clear mind, and a clean office.

    Happy Crafting!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

     

  • Animal Rugs

    Kids will squeal in delight over the novelty crochet rugs in Kristi Simpson's Rugs for Kids.  The six fun designs help children step into imaginary worlds where creativity is key. From a unicorn, racetrack and rocket ship to a penguin, lamb and cow, every kid will have a favorite rug!  We've invited today's guest blogger, Kristi Simpson, to talk about the inspiration for her fabulous designs in Rugs for Kids.Welcome Kristi!

    Hi! I’m Kristi Simpson, designer of the patterns in the Leisure Arts’ book: Rugs for Kids. I have enjoyed designing and teaching for many years and this book so cute! I enjoyed designing all of these rugs and you can crochet them in a jiffy! Keep your feet warm and floors cute with any and all of these rugs.

    screen-shot-2018-03-02-at-1-26-05-pm Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The cow is one of my favorites! It is based off of a lacier rug idea. I know many of you have one, don't deny it! Pretty, dainty...and now a cow! Approximate finished size of the cow is 28" (71 cm) diameter. Look at the face and arms; it just brings a fun personality to any room.

    Cow Rug in Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson Cow Rug in Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Have you ever made a motif rug? What about a motif OWL rug? I loved designing this one, as I had to figure out how to make it proportionate and look like an owl with just a few colors. I love the flower motifs....can you tell? Approximate finished size for the owl, 32" wide x 39" high (81.5 cm x 99 cm).

    Owl Rug in Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson Owl Rug in Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Say Hello to Penguin! I love this lil guy...er, rug! It's fun and easy-- you need to make one! If you wanted to make one for a girl—what would a fun ribbon tied for a bow look like? Or maybe a fun bow for a boy? Have fun with this adorable design. Finished size of the penguin, 36" (91 cm) wide (from wing to wing) x 36" (91 cm) high (from bottom of feet to top edge).

    Penguin Rug in Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson Penguin Rug in Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Vroom! Vroom! Making this rug was hard to keep a secret from my boys! Even after seeing it in the book they wanted it! What little boy (or girl!) wouldn't? It's made in 4 sections, sewn together and then you add the road pieces on top....it's so much fun! Let's play! Finished racetrack, 30" (76 cm) square.

    Racetrack Rug in Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson Racetrack Rug in Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Take off with this fun rocket rug! It's a 'blast' to crochet! Okay, I'll stop with the word games, but seriously----you have to make this one, too! It was hard for me to pick a color for the rocket because my boys would want one in every color (red, blue, green, yellow!) What color would YOU USE? Finished size: rocket, 22½" wide x 42" high (57 cm x 106.5 cm)

    Rocket Rug in Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson Rocket Rug in Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I was inspired by my daughter for this last unicorn rug. She loves horses so much--and when she was little, she believed in unicorns and anything magical and 'princess' themed! If you have a little dreamer in your life, you need to make her a unicorn rug right now! Unicorn measurements: 24" wide x 26" high (61 cm x 66 cm).

    Unicorn Rug in Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson Unicorn Rug in Rugs for Kids by Kristi Simpson

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Now that you’ve had a chance to see the rugs, you need to make your own! I hope you enjoy these patterns and your little ones roll all over them!

  • Crochet for Babies & Kids

    What do a crocheted ladybug blanket, a bumblebee cardigan and butterfly hat all have in common?  They're just part of the adorable collection of crochet for babies and kids in Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks.  We love the cuddly cute designs so much that we invited today's guest blogger, Michele Maks, to talk about her fabulous designs in Cute as a Bug. Welcome Michele!

    Oh, how I love to crochet for little ones!

    Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    Hi! I’m Michele Maks, the designer of all the cute crochetwear in Cute as a Bug. Don’t you just love to stitch projects that are as cute and fun as the small people you are stitching for? 

    screen-shot-2017-09-20-at-1-38-59-pm Crochet Star-Struck Hat in Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    While you'll find crocheted ladybug, butterfly and bumblebee items in Cute as a Bug, you'll also find this adorable Star-Struck set which I happen to think is also cute as a bug! What's not to love about these stars and stripes?

    Star-Struck Cardigan in Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks Crochet Star-Struck Cardigan in Cute as a Bug

    Whether you are stitching for a girl or boy, cute and quick and easy is the way to go!

    I think this colorful crochet butterfly is a great example!  In Cute as a Bug you'll also find a matching hat and blanket for this adorable sweater.

    Crochet Butterfly Cardigan from Cute as a Bug Crochet Butterfly Cardigan from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    And this crochet blanket coordinates with the ladybug and bumblebee sets, not only making it super cute, but practical too!

    In Cute as a Bug, you'll find: blankets,

    Crochet Ladybug Blanket from Cute as a Bug Crochet Ladybug Blanket from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    sweaters,

    Crochet Star-Struck Sweater from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks Crochet Star-Struck Sweater from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    and hats – oh, my!

    Crochet Ladybug Hat and Cardigan from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks Crochet Ladybug Hat and Cardigan from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    No Cute as a Bug crochet book for babies and kids would be complete without a bumblebee set to round it out.  This sweater and hat are perfect for both a boy and a girl! Like all the sets in the book, you'll find instructions for sizes ranging from 6 months to four years so babies and kids of many ages can join in on the Cute as a Bug fun!

    screen-shot-2017-09-20-at-1-46-54-pm Crochet Bumbleboee Hat and Cardigan from Cute as a Bug by Michele Maks

    Cute as a bug in a rug; play school will be abuzz about these handmade wardrobe winners!

     

  • Halloween Tote: Reflective® Finish

    My last blog entry told you about my trials and tribulations while learning how to crochet in the round. I shared with you my swatches and what I learned from each example.  I was very anxious to get started using the yarn specific for the project, Halloween Tote.  The project is one from Leisure Arts' item #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions.

    All projects in Light-Reflecting Fashions (Leisure Arts' #75526) use Red Heart® Reflective® yarn. All projects in Light-Reflecting Fashions (Leisure Arts' #75526) use Red Heart® Reflective® yarn.

    All the projects in this leaflet use Red Heart® Reflective® yarn.  October 31st is fast approaching so let me make one more review of my project instructions and off I go to get started!

    Having crocheted multiple swatches earlier, familiarized me to the pattern instructions, as well as setting my expectations of working with multiple strands of yarn. Not that some unexpected twists and turns couldn't happen, but I thought I was prepared. Oops; a snag!

    I'm so excited to start the bottom of the tote with Red Heart® Reflective® yarn. Uh-oh; there are two frayed, snagged areas so I'll be careful! I'm so excited to start the bottom of the tote with Red Heart® Reflective® yarn. Uh-oh; there are two frayed, snagged areas so I'll be careful!

    Both of these snagged areas looked worse than they were! I could easily tuck any loose fibers in between all four strands of yarn. I finished the bottom and was pleased that I did not have large holes in the composition of each stitch.

    The range of crochet hook sizes for the Halloween Tote project. I chose the middle hook marked Size P, 11.5 mm. The range of crochet hook sizes for the Halloween Tote project. I chose the middle hook marked Size P [11.5 mm].
    I chose to work with the middle hook as pictured above. The size stamped on it says Size P [11.5 mm]. This is smaller than the millimeter hook range as listed in the book's project instructions (SizeP/Q [15 mm]) but I was pleased with the results and the hook was comfortable to hold.

    As I approached Round 11 I took a closer look at my rounds and was pleased, except...except for the joining stitches! I couldn't understand why each stitch looked so loose on several rounds. Then I counted my most recent round and had one too many stitches! OUCH! I was very frustrated because I thought I marked the proper first single crochet stitch and managed the tension successfully while holding four strands. Quite the contrary!

    I did some research about the joining of rounds and what pitfalls crocheters experience. The reply by Karen of Colour in a Simple Life to one of her reader's problems addressed this issue. Karen showed a marked photograph, as well as a written explanation, which solved my dilemma; read it here in the blog entry, Colour in the Winter Blues from 2013.  Thank you, Karen!

    I do not have a picture of the ugliness of the five rounds before I ripped them out. But I was relieved to know that there was a solution -- and it really worked. I'll show you several pictures of the corrected rounds with their joining stitches looking neat and blending in with the other single crochet stitches quite nicely.

    The end of this round; now I clearly see my first single crochet marked with a stitch marker. The end of this round; now I clearly see my first single crochet marked with a stitch marker.
    The joining stitches for each round now look much tighter and blend more easier with the other stitches than my first try. The joining stitches for each round now look much tighter and blend more easier with the other stitches than my first try.
    Even looking at the joining stitches close up, they look consistent and neat. There could be improvement, but I am happy with each round. Even looking at the joining stitches close up, they look consistent and neat. There could be improvement, but I am happy with each round.
    Marked my first single crochet at the beginning of a new round. Marked my first single crochet at the beginning of a new round.

    I was happy to continue with my orange for the tote's body. Soon, I must change colors to black for the top section which included making handles. Another challenge since I had never done anything other than a flat pattern. It's tricky to work with dark colors because it really is challenging to see the stitches. Thank goodness I wasn't learning a new stitch on top of using a dark color for the first time!

    Almost done; I just joined the black yarn. Dark colors make it harder to see each stitch! Almost done; I just joined the black yarn. Dark colors make it harder to see each stitch!

    I did have to rip out the first handle once, but after that I "saw" the stitches more clearly and could complete the handles successfully. If I was an experienced crocheter, I might have opted to make the handles thicker. I say this because if this tote bag will be used by an avid trick-or-treater who might gather multiple pounds of candy, while swinging the bag to-and-fro, I might try to add another round to the handles.

    It really looks like a tote bag! Now for the finishing touches: the spider web and spider! EEK! It really looks like a tote bag! Now for the finishing touches: the spider web and spider! EEK!

    Okay - let's make this tote bag Halloween-ready...

    Voila; now I can more safely walk the neighborhood for trick-or-treat fun! Voila; now I can more safely walk the neighborhood for trick-or-treat fun!

    The spider web was not difficult to do. Just count the number of stitches/spaces to determine where to stitch your web in a fairly symmetrical placement on your Halloween Tote. Ta-dah, done! I love it, and not in a braggadocios way, but in an accomplished manner. It is a very compact and sturdy tote bag.

    Have fun getting revved up for October 31st by planning your decorations, costumes, and trick-or-treat travel route. Happy Halloween!

    Martha

     

     

  • Crafters - Make a Yarn Basket from Your Stash!

    I have always used yarn in some sort of craft even before I "learned" the basics of knitting and crocheting as an adult. Two memories encouraged me to crash-the-stash of yarn and get weaving! When I was a Brownie Girl Scout, my troop learned how to craft a God's Eye or Ojo de Dios; a cultural symbol showing a woven motif created by using several colors of yarn wrapped around twigs. That is the first time I recall being amazed how several objects by themselves look and function one way, but used together in a different manner created an entirely new object! It was a magical transformation of sticks and yarn into a beautifully patterned piece of art. When I was an older Girl Scout, I made a woven basket. It took two weeks of soaking and weaving, soaking and weaving, until the basket was completed. It's funny how images from a current book can take you back in time, inviting you to revisit a past passion. Whether you discover the uses of yarn for the first time, or rediscover the transformation of your supplies into new objects, it's time to create a yarn basket project!

    The small project that caught my eye was the woven basket on the outside front cover of Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts. Not only was it cute (small, compact, and uncomplicated), I could fit this project in to my schedule of other items on my to-do list. Plus, I had [minimal] weaving experience -- come on, decades' old hands-on knowledge still counts, right? Right - I immediately jumped on to making this project!

    This cute woven basket on the front cover (Leisure Arts' sku 6758 - Yarn Crafts), looks perfect for some discontinued yarn I gathered from our yarn stash! This cute woven basket on the front cover of Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts, looks perfect for some discontinued yarn I gathered from my yarn stash!

    Reviewing the directions in the leaflet, I decided to add some coloring to the cardboard base of my basket. After reviewing my various coloring book choices, I chose a page from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    I have chosen the page I want to color for the cardboard base of my basket. The page is from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. I have chosen the page I want to color for the cardboard base of my basket. The page is from Leisure Arts' item 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    This added step of coloring a page to add to the basket's cardboard base was not the hardest step, but it did take the most time!

    After reviewing the steps on how to weave the Yarn Basket, I decided that my piece of cardboard used for the basket's base would be covered by a coloring book page. After reviewing the steps on how to weave the Yarn Basket, I decided that my piece of cardboard used for the basket's base would be covered by a coloring book page.

    Of course I wanted both the inside and the outside of the basket's base to have a colorful design, so I colored the whole page. I used markers for this part of project, then sprayed acrylic sealer on the page after it was colored.

    Oh, yes; adding my colored sections from a coloring book page will be the perfect addition to the cardboard base (two circles, one for the inside and the other for the outside of the basket). Oh, yes; adding my colored sections from a coloring book page will be the perfect addition to the cardboard base (two circles, one for the inside and the other for the outside of the basket).

    Once my colored pages were cut into circles the same size as my cardboard base, I glued them to each side of the cardboard using a spray adhesive. Next, I used a sharp needle to puncture holes through the paper (that would be the inside of the basket) into the cardboard. Remember my earlier picture showed the cardboard already had the punctured holes; this was done before I made a final decision to add some coloring to my project. After the colored circle was glued to the cardboard, it was easy to puncture a new "layer" of holes going through just the coloring book page into the prepunched cardboard.

    Following the directions outlined in the Yarn Basket project found in Leisure Arts' item 6758 - Yarn Crafts, I inserted toothpicks into each hole and used hot glue to hold them in place. Some toothpicks would not stand straight up so I amended the directions by placing a pony bead around each toothpick. Then I added a different glue that would remain flexible after drying; I used E6000.

    Following the Yarn Basket's directions, 37 toothpicks have been glued into holes into the cardboard. I chose to add pony beads thinking these might add extra stability. (My cardboard example has been covered with a coloring book page). Following the Yarn Basket's directions, 37 toothpicks have been glued into holes into the cardboard. I chose to add pony beads thinking these might add extra stability. (My cardboard example has been covered with a coloring book page).
    Here's a side view of the toothpicks glued into the base cardboard. Most stood straight in place. Here's a side view of the toothpicks glued into the base cardboard. Most stood straight in place.

    I gathered three different bulky or super bulky weight yarn skeins. All three colors used were from partial skeins of discontinued colors. I began weaving - it was so easy and the pattern developed so quickly I wished I had more 'reeds' as my toothpick frame was quickly becoming a recognizable basket. I decided to quit for the night and had no worries regarding "where to start" in the morning.

    The first stage of weaving. A third color has just been added to the basket's body or frame. The first stage of weaving. A third color has just been added to the basket's body or frame.

    I changed colors as often as I liked; I didn't have a master plan. TIP: It was very easy to unweave rows when I decided to change colors at a different location. That's a great bonus - especially if you run short on a yarn color since you might be using up your stash of partial skeins! HINT: As you are weaving, gently push the yarn down each toothpick sliding it as close as possible to the woven row below it. This was a technique taught during my Girl Scout basket weaving experience and I started doing this automatically when weaving my current project! Following this technique gives the yarn basket a compact and tightly woven look.

    After the weaving is completed, a finger crocheted chain was added to the top of the basket. I placed the back ridge of each chain around the tip of each toothpick. Use some glue to hold in place as necessary. Here's a close-up showing both the top and base of the basket. The top shows the crocheted chain in place and the cardboard base with some toothpicks and pony beads still visible.

    A sideview close-up of the basket almost finished. I decided to add E6000 glue (over the hot glue); E6000 remains flexible. A sideview close-up of the basket almost finished. I decided to add E6000 glue (over the hot glue); E6000 remains flexible.

    I made another finger crocheted chain and glued it to the base's ridge. I wanted to conceal the pony beads as much as possible; these were used as structural support rather than as embellishments. A piece of single strand yarn was used to wrap around the basket near its top. As shown in 6758 - Yarn Crafts, I filled my basket with a variety of whole nuts.

    Woven yarn basket is finished and sitting on my countertop! Woven yarn basket is finished and sitting on my countertop!

    What a perfect container for a small space -  but this one little extra container will add definition to any side table, countertop or shelf. I hope to have this basket for years to come. Oh, by the way; I still have that Girl Scout basket I made all those years (decades) ago in summer camp! Fiber art lives on to tell us stories and create memories. Make some art today - enjoy!

    Martha

  • Summer Yarn: Finger Crochet a Scarf or Necklace in Cotton

    I do love scarves as a great embellishment to most outfits. They can be fun and funky, or sleek and classic; chunky for coats, silky for dresses. Now that summer temperatures and humidity are looming, I don't want anything heavy, bulky or scratchy around my neck.  But I do want to wear a little extra color and pizzazz to more casual outfits. The perfect solution is a light-weight, airy Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace in cotton yarn!

    After choosing my yarn colors, I was off making chain after chain. I did hold my yarn a little differently than demonstrated in Leisure Arts' Finger Crochet video, (this video is found as an additional video listed with the, "Learn to Arm Knit" video. Scroll down below the initial viewing window and select the Finger Crochet video). Once I got comfortable with how I was finger crocheting, I easily fell into a rythym.

    Make chain stitches one after another creating a long chain for your Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace. Make crochet chain stitches one after another creating a long chain for your Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace.

    I knew Leisure Arts had both a video tutorial and pattern associated with finger crocheting, so all I had to do was to rummage through my cotton yarn stash and choose some colors. When I learned how to arm knit, I remember seeing a bonus finger crochet pattern shown in the leaflet, 75517 - Learn How to Arm Knit. If you don't have a stash of yarn but are quite intrigued by arm knitting and finger crocheting, you might consider purchasing a kit that has all needed supplies included! The kit's contents found in 47134 - Learn to Arm Knit includes yarn, an instruction booklet with a finger crochet scarf pattern and tassel/pom-pom making techniques.

    My Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace is growing. Finger Crochet is described in several Leisure Arts' items: 47134 - Learn to Arm Knit Kit and 75517 - Learn How to Arm Knit. My Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace is growing. Finger Crochet is described in Leisure Arts' items 47134 - Learn to Arm Knit Kit and 75517 - Learn How to Arm Knit.

    I chose colors that were definitely summery that elicited thoughts of beach breezes, mild winds, shoreline discoveries, porch swings, bare feet...relaxed fun. Trying to look fresh and cool during the summer can sometimes be difficult. In order to remain comfortable while adding some relaxed embellishment to my outfits, I wanted to use cotton yarn. It is light-weight and breathable. Both of these characteristics were necessities for my scarf or necklace that I planned to drape around my neck during the summer!

    Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn in colors Cornflower Blue and Cool Breeze Ombre. The Learn to Arm Knit booklet that is included in the kit; note the Bonus items listed on the front cover. Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn in colors Cornflower Blue and Cool Breeze Ombre. The Learn to Arm Knit booklet standing next to the box is included in the KIT; note the Bonus items listed on the front cover.

    I knew I had to have a very long chain to loop multiple times around my head in order to drape properly. I just kept in the zone of chaining; it was much easier to keep going once I started rather than breaking my time up into crocheting segments. I never did measure my final length of chain; I can only guess how long it was if the inside loop measures 27" in diameter when I laid it on the table.

    Close-up of the length of chain looped around and around trying to determine the final appearance of the scarf or necklace. Close-up of the length of chain looped around and around trying to determine the final appearance of the Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace.
    Finger crochet chain - chain - chain to whatever length you desire! The inside circle loop measures 27". Finger crochet: chain - chain - chain to whatever length you desire! The inside circle loop measures 27" inches in diameter.

    As I was crocheting, I thought of adding a little something more to finish the scarf a little differently than the examples that I had seen showing bulky yarns. I did not want to add weight to my project because that would defeat the purpose of the scarf or necklace being light-weight. I returned to my stash and found a solution!

    Other supplies used: 7-9mm Freshwater Pearls, Stretch Magic bead and jewelry cord (0.7 mm / 0.28 in), and a wooden button (1.5" in diameter). Other supplies used: 7-9mm Freshwater Pearls, Stretch Magic Bead and Jewelry Cord (0.7 mm / 0.28 in), and a wooden button (1.5" in diameter).

    I strung some Freshwater Pearls onto Stretch Magic Bead and Jewelry Cord before weaving into one section of my project.

    Fresh water pearls strung on the Stretch Magic cord to add a little glimmer to the chain. Freshwater Pearls strung on the Stretch Magic Bead and Jewelry Cord to add a little glimmer to the chain.

    I attached the scarf or necklace together as described in leaflet 75517 - Learn to Arm Knit or instruction booklet contained in the 47134 - Learn to Arm Knit KIT. Then, I added a wooden button as my signature - I love buttons, too!

    The final Finger Crochet Scarf / Necklace has seven loops, not six as pictured when the innermost loop measured 27" inches in diameter. The final Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace has seven loops, not six as pictured when the innermost loop measured 27" inches in diameter.

    The Finger Crochet Scarf or Necklace is in summer colors and is a free-flowing pattern of loops. it is light-weight even with its added Freshwater Pearls and wooden button, and will feel cool hanging around my neck since it is made using cotton yarn.

    A snapshot at the end of the day; the necklace is a good length. A snapshot at the end of the day; the necklace is a good length.

    This is a great way to end a few long, hot days -- and summer hasn't officially begun! Until next time, stay cool!

    Martha

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