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Weaving

  • These Projects Will Convince You That Macramé Is Your Craft Soulmate.

    Macramé!  It's an older craft that is making its way into the modern craft space, one weave at a time. I'll elaborate for the readers who saw the title of this post and asked themselves "What in the world is that?". The yarn work appeals to both knit and crochet lovers, because it falls into the middle of both widely popular crafts. Macramé is the act of knotting cord into unique and beautiful designs. It became a widely popular craft in the 70's, and we're just now seeing it make a comeback in 2018. Read on to learn all about the wonderful world of weaving!

     

    Getting Started : Easy Peasy Projects

    Macrame Woven Wall Hanging - Get Started in Macramé

    Since this craft marches to the beat of its own drum, there really isn't a large learning curve to mastering the technique. These projects from Getting Started in Macramé should help you hit the ground running when you dive into the world of weaving. The rustic appearance of the woven yarn brings a perfect balance of simple and sophisticated to your room decor, based on how intricate you want your design to be.

    Take the two examples below (still from Getting Started in Macramé). You have the beautiful wine red table runner (left) which has star-like woven trim, and a nice zig zag pattern in the middle, bringing a nice casual setting to the dining table. On the flip side, you have this delicate woven chandelier for your entryway (right), which elevates the space to make it look upscale. With Macramé, you can draw the line between casual and fancy however you want, the choice is ultimately yours. It's a choice that isn't offered often in yarn crafts, but with this particular one, you have more flexibility.

    Macrame Intricate Red Table Runner - Get Started In Macramé
    Macrame Woven White Chandelier - Get Started In Macramé

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Macramé Full of Twists and Turns

    Macramé Arrow Macramé Wall Hanging - A New Twist On Macramé

    Once you've gotten into the basics, you can get a little more creative, and we have the perfect intermediate book for you! A New Twist On Macrame brings you new projects that will help you hone your Macramé skills, and expand the amount of vintage style icons for your decor. Combine seasoned weaving techniques with with modern decorum, like this silver arrow woven wall hanging (above). Perfect to hold a cute trinket for your guests to marvel at, this home decor project brings versatility and style to that empty space above your desk.

    The projects in this book deal with activating the space above your head with planters and other free-standing mobile forms! Take these two projects below. Both hanging devices have intricately woven details, but have totally different functional uses. We've got the rich and vibrant green planter holder (left), delicate enough to soften up the look of a room, yet strong enough to hold a glass planter confidently in the air. On the right, we have the woven hanging shelf with more textured details at the top and bottom of the project, in a neutral white to make it a versatile and flexible piece for any area of the house!  The range of all three projects in this book is a testament to how much you can learn and create in this reimagined craft space.

    Macramé Forest Green Planter - A New Twist In Macramé
    Macramé Hanging Shelf - A New Twist On Macramé

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Macramé Is For Everyone!

    Macramé might seem a bit daunting at first when you see the time and effort it takes to weave one of these creations, especially if you are new to the idea. But we promise, it's just like knit and crochet! If you still think you need some time before you try your hand at the craft, try these transition books. These titles are the perfect half-step up into the weaving universe, and they're meant for yarn crafters who are looking for something new! We recommend these titles to anyone looking to dip their toes in the water before diving in.

    Crochet Wall Hangings

    Macramé screen-shot-2018-11-15-at-3-22-26-pm

    Learn To Make Woven Wall Hangings

    Macramé Macramé

    Learn To Weave

    Macramé

    Have you tried Macramé? If you have, share it on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter! We'd love to see it.

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    Happy Weaving!

     

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Here's 10 Ways You Can Show Your Love For I Love Yarn Day!

    Hey Makers! It's the most wonderful time of the year, and no, it's not Christmas. It's I Love Yarn Day on the 13th! A National Holiday that feels like Christmas to us seasoned craftsman. We get to show our appreciation for the fuzzy and fluffy crafts that have kept us company over generations. We use yarn for all types of crafts, for quick fixes, for the occasional birthday party, and for finishing touches. It's an all encompassing medium. But, have we ever shown yarn how much we care about it?

    If you haven't, that's okay. Make up for lost time! We've put together a list of ways that you can show your love for your multicolored and miscellaneous yarn bin tucked away in your closet at home (don't lie, we all have one).

     

    Knit Or Crochet For A Cause

    There's nothing better than doing something nice for others. Charity is the best way to lend a helping hand to people in need, and what better way to lend a helping had than with crafts? We can help you think of some great patterns with A Charity Guide for Crochetand A Charity Guide for Knitters, based on what craft you prefer. Just look at some of these patterns! A blanket with pockets? Insanity. Show your Love by trying out some of these daring designs.

    I Love Yarn Day Charity Guide For Crocheters
    Charity Guide For Knitters Charity Guide For Knitters
    Blanket With Pockets Charity Guide Crochet Blanket With Pockets Charity Guide Crochet

     

     

    Update Your Space With A Stylish Wall Hanging

    Vamp up your Home Decor situation with a new wall hanging! Yarn can create the most versatile styles of wall hangings, ranging from pristine and proper one color wall tapestries, to grungy and eclectic color blocked frocks. Learn to Make Woven Wall Hangings and Wall Hangings are two books that show a grand variety of wall decor patterns that you can choose from.

     

    Spiral Stem Wall Hanging Spiral Stem Wall Hanging
    Triangle Woven Wall Hanging Triangle Woven Wall Hanging

     

    Give The Gift Of Cozy Feet!  

    Ah, Fall. The best time for leg warmers, scarves, and fuzzy socks. Check out these rockin' awesome sock books that will keep your feet warmer than a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

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    More Fun Socks - Knit 

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    Make Fun Socks - Crochet 

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    Slippers for the Family

     

    Amigurumi – What’s Not To Love!

    Amigurumi! The craft everyone loves to make, but hates to pronounce. Homemade Amigurumi stuffed animals knock your traditional stuffed animals out of the ballpark when it comes to quality, and cuteness factor. I mean, just look at these adorable designs from two of our Leisure Arts books, Cute Amigurumi Monsters and Huggable Amigurumi

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    Make someone an adorable Amigurumi doll for I Love Yarn Day!

    Make Your I Love Yarn Day A Little Brighter With A Pom-Pom Project

    Pom-Poms aren't just for cheerleading! They can also be for home decor. There are a lot of things that you can make with a simple pom-pom, big or small. All it takes is l little bundle of yarn. Show your love for yarn projects by trying out some of these pom-pom patterns in Crazy About Pom-Poms

    screen-shot-2018-10-11-at-11-43-02-am Pom-Pom Dream Catcher - Crazy About Pom-Poms

     

     

    Make an old love new again with Macramé

    Macramé is one of those vintage crafts that is making a hard and fast comeback to the maker community. We have been seeing new Macramé projects all over our social sites, and it's hard not to notice beautiful projects like these ones from A New Twist On Macramé and Get Started in MacraméIf you haven't tried Macramé, give it a go for I Love Yarn Day!

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    Give the Gift of Imagination with creative toys and playsets

    Do you have a special little one to shop for? If you do, show your love for yarn by making the best baby toy patterns around! Busy Baby Boxes and Baby Stacks have some great homemade toy patterns that give your baby that extra nudge to learn and process.

    screen-shot-2018-10-11-at-11-28-23-am screen-shot-2018-10-11-at-11-28-38-am

     

    Pass Your Love Of Yarn To Someone Special

    One thing that we need to keep alive is passing on our skills from generation to generation. Imagine what your children or grandchildren can come up with after learning great craft techniques from you and your maker friends! We've got you covered with Teach me to Crochetand Teach me to KnitThese books teach the foundations of two of our most popular crafts, and from there, that special someone you have in mind to teach can pick up on some of your styles!

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    If you have an itch to teach your skill or craft, don't forget about the Craft Yarn Council's Certified Instructor Program. The best way to show your love of yarn is to share your love of yarn, so sign up today!

    If you're interested in signing up to be a certified instructor, Click Here.

     

    Use up your scrap Yarn and make something new to love!

    If you have a scrap pile that needs to be taken care of in your maker space, then check out these patterns from Scrappy Afghans and Projects From Your Scrap Bag that use up those extra scraps that you can't seem to part with. Show your love of yarn by giving it a clean home!

    Scrappy Afghans Scrappy Afghans
    Scrappy Afghans More Projects From Your Scrap Bag

     

    Get Crafty With Yarn

    You don't have to knit or crochet to use up that favorite ball of yarn! Our book, Yarn Crafts is an exception to the typical yarn user, where you can get more creative with your projects and your yarns! Try making string art with just a few nails and wrapping methods, or give that frumpy vase some added flair to spice up your dining room table. The possibilities are endless!

    Rainbow Yarn Vases - Yarn Crafts Rainbow Yarn Vases - Yarn Crafts
    Ampersand String Art - Yarn Crafts Ampersand String Art - Yarn Crafts

    There are many other ways to celebrate I Love Yarn Day, but we're glad that we could give you just a few! If you have thought of something fun that we haven't thought of, comment below! We'd love to hear it. Be sure to share your projects that you have created for I Love Yarn Day on our Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram pages. We love to see what you guys are working on.

    Happy I Love Yarn Day!

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Wall Hangings That Will Bring Out The Interior Decorator In You

    We've all done it. We've seen the fancy fiber art wall hangings that are typically in niche home decor stores, or luxurious art galleries, and take it off the rack, ready to give it a new home. But then you feel the cold stab of betrayal as you flip the price tag and see that the wall art you loved so much, costs a lot more than you would like to spend. Et Tu, department store markups?

    That's why we had Sharon Silverman come in to save the day with her awesome guest blog, and show you that you can teach those department stores who's boss! You can learn to craft beautiful crochet wall hangings that won't break your bank, and will make you look like you vacation in Cabo every third Wednesday.

    Take it away, Sharon!

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    I love browsing in furniture stores, don’t you? It’s so much fun to see the vignettes they have set up for home, office, and outdoors. Being a fiber artist, I always pay particular attention to the accessories. What kinds of rugs and afghans are popular? How about the pillows? What type of art is on the walls?

    There are plenty of furniture stores to explore in and around the newly expanded King of Prussia Mall, just 35 minutes from my home in Pennsylvania: Arhaus, Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, and more. Recently, I started to notice a common theme in their textiles: lots of fabric and yarn wall-hangings, including some that took me right back to the macramé days of my youth! Seeing those put a smile on my face, but the price tags didn’t. Hundreds of dollars for pieces that I knew I could make myself for a fraction of the cost—and so could you.

    That was the beginning of the idea for Wall Hangings.

    Wall Hangings Wall Hangings

    Once I got the go-ahead from Leisure Arts, I started coming up with designs. I wanted to incorporate flourishes like tassels, pom-poms, and fringe in some of the designs. Exuberant Embellishments uses a variety of yarn weights and textures from Lion Brand Yarn: LB Collection Wool, Romance, Color Clouds, Vanna’s Glamour, and Glitterspun. 

    My Wall Hangings

    Wall Hangings Exuberant Embellishments

    The neutral colors of the piece let the textures and finishes of the yarn stand out. Even though I am usually a fan of lightweight yarn, I really love the chunkiness of the fringe and some of the larger stitches.

    Winding Links also incorporates pom-poms and tassels, but this time in a consistent yarn weight. I used Red Heart Super Saver in brown (Coffee) and Aqua (Aruba Sea), but you could choose any two contrasting colors that complement your décor. 

    Wall Hangings Winding Links

    Winding Links is made in segments and then hung on a dowel. I-cords are used to hang the segments at various heights and to connect them to each other. If you haven’t mastered crocheted I-cord, this is a good chance to practice. After a few tries and misfires, I discovered that I love making it!

    The choice of stitch patterns creates the texture in Fur & Loops. Lion Brand Cotton Bamboo is worked in the loop stitch for the persimmon section, and the fur stitch for the hyacinth section. Looks challenging, right? Don’t tell anyone, but the fur stitch and loop stitch are easy variations on single crochet. They are actually the same stitch, but for fur stitch the loops are cut to make them shaggy.

    Wall Hangings Fur and Loops

     

    The natural world inspired several of my designs. Spiral Stems uses a sturdy twig as the hanger for the individually crocheted spirals in greens and greys from Patons Décor.

    Wall Hangings Spiral Stems

     Some of the spirals are long and skinny, some are shorter and thicker, just like the variations found in plants and trees.

    Wall Hangings Spiral Stems Close Up

    When I worked on a yarn installation at Hagley Museum and Library, the original site of the DuPont powder works in Wilmington, Delaware, I used a lot of crocheted roses to adorn the iron gates.

    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor Detail

    I was reminded of them when I worked on the Wall Hangings designs. They’re fun to make, cheerful to look at, and bring a great pop of color to a room! I used various shades of pink and yellow, as well as green leaves, for Rose Arbor. The flowers are Red Heart Super Saver, and the leaves are Lily Sugar ‘n Cream.

    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor
    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor Close Up

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The monochromatic panels in Windy Sails gives that project a classic look, updated with coiled I-cord decorations at the bottom. Panels use different stitch patterns to create interest. Dowels at the top and bottom keep things neat.

    Wall Hangings Windy Sails

    Leisure Arts holds onto the finished projects, but I liked Curves & Lines so much that I made one for my dining room and another one for my son’s apartment. (I did his in blues with some black and white thrown in, and made the fringe in an arc shape to mimic the trajectory of a rocket after launch. When you’re the mother of a rocket scientist, you get some unusual requests!) All of the projects use Patons Lace. I picked a straight dowel to go across and extend beyond a quilting hoop because that arrangement kind of reminds me of Saturn.

    Wall Hangings Curves and Lines
    Wall Hangings Curves and Lines Alternative

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I try never to miss an opportunity to add beads to my work, and this leaflet was no exception. Beaded Tapestry uses a variety of beads in earth tones on a background of blue Lily Sugar ‘n Cream to create a pattern that’s just abstract enough to make you wonder what it is. A bird? A fox? Just shapes? You decide.

    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry
    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry Close Up

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The fringe below is adorned with beads of various colors at different heights to finish off this long, graceful hanging in style.

    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry Detail

    It was a pleasure working with Leisure Arts on Wall Hangings. Along with doing the editing and photography, they staged the pieces in a variety of attractive settings.

    I encourage crocheters to make wall art using these patterns, rather than paying inflated prices for finished products. The projects are rated Easy, but even experienced crocheters will find them interesting to make—and may even learn some new techniques and stitch patterns along the way. Wall hangings make great gifts, too: one size fits all! 

    As for my professional background, I am the author of 16 crochet books and a private line of patterns. I’m a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America and a design member of The National NeedleArts Association. I was a featured guest on HGTV’s fiber arts program, “Uncommon Threads,” and have been interviewed on numerous radio podcasts. My crochet work includes large-scale museum installations, indoors and out. I am a crochet instructor for Annie’s Online Classes.

    I’m inspired by everything from the beauty of nature to the stunning creations of architects and furniture-makers. And, of course, by yarn! 

    Please join me on Facebook and Pinterest at Sharon Silverman Crochet; on Ravelry, YouTube, Etsy, and Instagram at CrochetSharon; and on my website, www.SharonSilverman.com.

    Happy crocheting!

    Sharon Silverman Sharon Silverman

     

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    Are you ready to make your own Wall Hanging? What are you waiting for! Go get Sharon's book, and show off your newly learned crochet skills.

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Crafting Across Cultures: Mexico

     

    Hey craft family!

    Today we’re switching it up with a hot new crafting series, affectionately known as “Crafting Across Cultures”. We get so wrapped up in our own projects, and tend to forget about what’s going on with the rest of the world (in crafting, that is). I want to focus in on a specific country for each post in the series, and shine the spotlight on some of the great crafts and Folk Art they have to share with the world. Let's expand everyone’s horizons in craft, and spread new ideas across cultures.

    This Week? We have Mexico! 

    Mexico

    Known for its beautiful textiles and interesting pottery designs, Mexico has had a stronghold in the arts for quite some time (since 1400 BCE, according to Wikipedia). Today, we’re going to focus on the traditions of making these crafts, and the cultural significance it has for Mexico. 

    textiles

    Textiles

    The textiles of Mexico have worn many hats. Clothing was originally made from plants and cottons, which later expanded to more luxurious fabrics like silks and wool after the conquest of the Aztec Empire. Most fabrics are made with naturally dyed fibers, which give nice earthy tones to the coloring and prints in the textiles. Most are embroidered and adorned with fresh patterns that incorporate the Mexican flag in some form or fashion.

    Here are some of Mexico’s most popular textile fashions!

    rebozo

    Rebozo

    This is a garment that is still widely used today in both mixed-race communities and indigenous cultures. This long shawl is used to carry heavy objects close to the body, or support a baby. It’s traditionally a long piece of cloth with fringe on the sides, and can be made as big or as small as the crafter wants.

    saltillo-blanket

    Serape / Saltillo Blanket

    Always featuring a diamond shape in the center, the Saltillo blanket is beautiful and functional. The blankets were historically worn by men during their travels. Made with natural woven fibers, they are always bright in color as a tribute to the gods. It is speculated that if you wear bright colors, you keep evil spirits away and are granted favors from the gods. That’s why these blankets will always have luxurious blues, pinks, greens and purples, all naturally dyed from fruits and insects.

    Otomi embroidery

    Otomi Embroidery

     This is a style of embroidery that is implemented on fabrics in Mexico. This style of hand painting on fabric is based off cliff painting and could take weeks or even years to complete. Otomi Women trace a design on a white cotton cloth, and then go back and stitch with a technique that only appears on one side of the cloth. The designs seem abstract, but relate to cave painting motifs that date back to hundreds of years ago.

    pigments

    The Making of Textiles in Mexico

    The textiles you just saw are traditionally made by spinning, weaving and sewing. Hand weaving fabrics on backstrap looms to create intricate patterns and color combinations are still common practices in Mexico. In fact, this article from Zinnia Folk Arts references that each Mesoamerican culture had a deity that watched over the women who wove and created fabrics. Textile making was known to be a gift to women from the gods. Fabrics were used as a form of payment earlier in time. Whoever had the best fabrics were known to be of a higher social class. Materials and adornments like beads, feathers, and rabbit fur were woven into the nice materials, and cotton was eventually introduced from the areas the Aztecs took over (but was only available to the wealthy). It’s amazing to think about how important materials like fabrics can be to a culture. From fibers to thread, then thread to tradition.

     

    Hope you had fun learning something new today! If there are other crafts to make from Mexico, please share them with us. We’re always curious!

     

    If you want to learn how to start crocheting or weaving so you can make these awesome designs (or designs similar), we have a few books to recommend!

    Learn to Weave

    Learn To Weave

    Learn To Embroider

    Learn to Embroider

    Poncho Rebound 

    Poncho Rebound

    Modern Southwest Afghans

    Modern Southwest Afghans

    Cool String Art

    Cool String Art

    Lastly, If you wanted to learn more about the Crafting Culture in Mexico, we have some pretty neat links for you to click on below!

    History of a trend: Otomi embroidery and patterns

    Textile Making in Mexico by Cristina Potters of "Mexico Cooks" 

    Textiles of Mexico

    Mexican Textiles 101: The Saltillo Blanket or Serape 

    Mexican Textiles 101: Cochineal, A Natural Way to Create Red Dye

    Mexican Textiles 101: What is a Mexican Rebozo? 

     

    Happy Crafting!

     

    -The Leisure Arts Team

     

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