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baby afghans

  • One Afghan Seven Ways: Revamping A Classic

    I know I've mentioned Ravelry a few times before, but I wanted to write a post about why I think Ravelry is so stinking awesome and how I wish everyone knew it.  Sorry if this starts to read like an ode to the best social network ever, but I'm in love.  It makes you crazy.

    Chances are that someone's described Ravelry to you as "like Facebook, but for knitters and crocheters" but that's fairly inaccurate.  Thank goodness.  Yes, you can't view anything unless you have an account, but there's no newsfeed, which means you won't go from interested to resentful when you start to see your friends (yes, you can have friends!) finishing projects so much faster than you.

    Also, no games.

    A lot of people use Ravelry solely to keep track of their yarn stash, or their pattern library.  Other people live for the forums and probably spend more time on there than they do actually making things with yarn.  And then pretty much everyone gets on there for the patterns.

    Oh man.


    The search filters you can use to look up a specific project for your specific yarn, needle, yardage, mood, etc., are pretty great, but my very favorite part is that you can see what other people have done with the pattern themselves.  This is the part where my favorite parts of the crafting community--a willingness to share creativity and wisdom with others--and my favorite parts of the online community--a willingness to share creativity and wisdom with others, but with pictures and links--come together.

    I love knowing what other people are working on.  I love seeing how people can take a pattern and turn it into something a little more personal to suit their intended recipient or their resources.  I also love pictures.

    To illustrate my point, I thought I'd search through the projects of people who made the Crocheted Rainbow Set.

    This pattern is really popular among sales on the Leisure Arts website right now, and people seem very excited to be able to find it again.  I talked to Ravelers who had borrowed the pattern from friends, seen it at garage sales, or searched around eBay to find it because it's such a classic pattern.  One woman even said that her mother gave her the afghan she'd crocheted for her as a baby, so that she could make an afghan for her own baby based on this pattern!  Circle of life!

    When I saw the pattern for sale on the website, I thought it was very pretty.  Pastels are lovely for babies, and it's such a pretty blanket.  But I also wondered if people had made changes with the colors or the yarn selections, so I looked through the project pages.

    Oh wow.

    There were people who had stuck with the pastel theme--it's a classic for a reason.  There were people who had used brighter yarn, and so their blankets were more Rainbow Brite than rainbow, which thrilled me to no end.

    And then there were people who had just gone crazy with it.  I was floored.  I got so excited when I was looking through all these pictures!  I was sending emails to crocheters filled with exclamation points and gushing compliments and looking like a complete goober.  I regret nothing.  I've really been looking forward to writing this post, because researching it was so. much. fun. 

    Look at all this goodness!

    This is the Granny Ripple by cyhuffman.
    She said she made this with scrap yarn, which I thought was incredibly impressive. (And now I know I'm not the only one who is curious about her stash.)

    I love the cool tones of stashaholic's Baby's Best.  It still has a bit of the pastel look of the original, but it's still so different and creative.

    This project is called Black and Blue by mva5493.  She mentioned that she uses Ravelry for a lot of the same reasons I do--to see what other people have tried with patterns and yarns.  If you get the chance, definitely click through to see the rest of her pictures of this project.  This color scheme is blowing me away.

    This is crazycrochet's Rainbow Blanket.  I really like how the two different shades of brown look against the blue.  And I love that she took the current baby trend of brown and blue yarns and used them with a vintage pattern.  Some little boy is very lucky to have this afghan.

    Even though it's not finished, I really wanted to include Krislyn's Bronco Baby Blanket because I love the idea of using a team's colors. 

    Timeless1 named her project the Hidden Gold Baby Blanket.  I love the gender neutral look of this.

    And these flecks are awesome.

    Cassie1979's Crocheted Rainbow Blanket makes me really happy because, well, it is still a rainbow blanket!  It's also much larger than the standard Rainbow Afghan pattern because she used two strands of yarn and a Size N hook to make this.  It's stunning.

    Actually, these are all stunning.  These are maybe one-tenth of the projects I looked at for this pattern, and I love them all.  These crafters should be really proud of their beautiful creations, and I'm incredibly grateful to them for letting me use their pictures in this post because I really thought everyone should see these.  I hope you're as impressed as I am!

    Update: I accidentally left someone out!  I have 8 afghans!

    This is Vibbedille's Granny Ripple!

    Her message was a little hidden in my inbox because of similar project names, and I remember being disappointed that I couldn't show you this version because I thought it was so perfect for fall! And I love the little addition to the edging.  Gorgeous.  Just gorgeous.

  • Sometimes We All Need A Hug

    Happy Sunday Readers! I’m sending you all a big hug today in the form of The Crochet Dude Drew Emborsky’s new pattern book—Hug It Out!

    Drew became known as The Crochet Dude while working with a charity group after the passing of his mother. He says, “The motion of working with yarn was the therapy I needed, easing my grief. Truly, if you want to find comfort, give comfort to someone else!” As a result, he created the 9 crochet designs in Hug It Out to give crocheters the opportunity to help others in their time of need.

    I carried Hug It Out home with me this weekend because I couldn’t resist Drew’s Baby Hat pattern.

    With The Cat’s supervision, I started it this morning. I ought to be able to whip up multiples of these darling little hats (in 6 sizes) as part of my charity hat donations.

    Check out the other projects in Hug It Out:

    Mobius Cowl

    Chemo Caps

    Baby Comfort Afghan

    Kennel Blanket


    Prayer Shawl

    Comfort Teddy

    Drawstring Bags

    And here’s your December Challenge from me: Help someone in need during this holiday season by sending out a few crocheted (or knitted or knooked) hugs of your own!

    (And a special thanks goes out to Drew for creating just the kind of projects I needed exactly when I needed them!)

  • Get Inspired to Help Others!

    {We’ve got a guest blogger today! Leisure Arts in-house designer Anne spent an evening with the ladies in her church prayer shawl guild and thought our Everyday Life at Leisure readers might be inspired by what this group has accomplished!}

    The Trinity United Methodist Church Prayer Shawl Guild

    The Trinity United Methodist Church Prayer Shawl Guild Members

    I had a wonderful time visiting with the ladies from the Trinity United Methodist Church Prayer Shawl Guild. This ministry started in October of 2009 with about 14 members. The group has added a few and lost a few in the past three years, so the number of members stays pretty much the same, but with some different faces.

    Barbara Steeley

    Barbara Steeley, the Guild President said, “This is a place to come together, all of us want to be here.” The guild meets at the church every Wednesday evening for knitting or crocheting, fellowship, and prayer time. They have a large folder of scripture and suggested prayers to use as they create their shawls, “which we do…and we visit a lot, too.” They also knit or crochet at home. The group has different skill levels stitching together for this very special ministry. “So some of the shawls go super fast, and others have taken up to a year,” Barbara added.

    Beautiful shawls ready to be distributed!

    The ministry offers shawls at the Pastor’s discretion for illness, death in family, health or personal issues, and the gifts are not limited to the members of the congregation. The shawls all are about 2-3 ft. wide and 6 ft. long. All of them have fringe, but the pattern and yarn choice are up to the individual stitchers. Most of the ones I saw tonight where straight knit because—“they work up faster.”

    Each shawl has a wooden cross and a Trinity Prayer Shawl Ministry label stitched at a corner.

    The group has expanded its ministry to include baby blankets for gifting at baptisms and scarves for graduating seniors.

    Alice Browning all wrapped up in a finished shawl.

    The shawls, blankets, and scarves are to represent—“God’s love wrapped around you,” and to let the recipients know that the congregation is praying for them. Each item is blessed at the alter before being given. At this time, the guild has given out approximately 50 stitched pieces.

    Ruth Vanderin shares her contribution to Scarves for the Special Olympics.

    This year the guild has also joined in the national Scarves for the Special Olympics 2012 Winter Games. Each scarf will be given out at the event in Springdale, Arkansas, in February of 2012. The scarves represent Unity, Support, Compassion, and Empowerment. These scarves are 6" x 56-60", stitched in red and blue. (The Special Olympics organization has specifics available on their website, just in case you might be interested in stitching one or two for the event.)

    The guild’s busy hands have been hard at work this year!

    One of the scriptures I noticed the ladies using as they stitched (and that I love) is Psalms 139:13. Check it out.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share!


    {If you’d like to start your own charity knitting or crochet guild group, check out these pattern books to get started: Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: A Charity Guide for Knitters, The Prayer Shawl Ministry, The Prayer Shawl Ministry Volume 2, Crochet Prayer Shawls, Knit Prayer Shawls, Knit Along with Debbie Macomber: Friendship Shawls, and Vanna’s Choice Heartfelt Gifts. Plus, stay turned! The Crochet Dude—Drew Emborsky’s got a new book coming soon that will be a must have for every crocheter who stitches for those in need!}

  • Afghans for Charity

    Are you an afghan fan?

    Seriously, when the world stinks for one reason or another, what’s better than curling up in your very own handmade afghan?

    Perhaps knitting or crocheting that afghan with your very hands for someone in need?

    Are you ready to get out those hooks, needles, and yarn and make something for someone who needs a little comfort? Let me inspire you with some quick-to-make afghan designs from the industry legends—Rita Weiss and the late Jean Leinhauser, the Creative Partners:

    Crocheters looking for quick and easy afghans to stitch for charity will love the projects in 48-Hour Afghans & More 48-Hour Afghans which were designed with just that in mind. Each book contains 12 patterns that work up in no time—many made with big hooks and bulky yarn or with two strands of yarn held together!

    Wanna do something special for the babies who need a little extra love? The 16 designs in 24-Hour Baby Afghans offer up some darling blankies that you can crochet in around 24-hours! The designs are rated for the most part on an easy skill level with a few intermediates for you folks with mad crochet skills.

    How about some Quick Knit Afghans? All in easy to intermediate skill levels, these eight afghans using big needles, multi-stranded yarn, and easy stitches equal a fun, but not time-consuming adventure for knitters.

    Do you like the simplicity of knitting or crocheting with those 16-ounce skeins of yarn that are now on the market? Sometimes, for me, it’s great to just be able to grab one big skein and go, and most of the designs in Crochet Baby Afghans by the Pound and Knit Baby Afghans by the Pound can be completed with a single pound of yarn, unless there are color changes. The books feature ten projects each, and the projects range in skill level from beginner to intermediate.

    Hope you enjoyed this little stroll through some of Rita and Jean’s afghan books, and I hope that now you’ve got a little incentive to create a few afghans on the fly to share with those in need. If you need a little more enticement, leave a comment at the end of this post by Monday, Aug. 15, ’cause you might have a chance to win one or a combination of some of these great books. Be sure to let me know which creative passion you prefer—knit or crochet.

    We’d also love it if you’d post a photo of your charitable creativity on our Facebook Page so everybody can see and be inspired!

  • The Big Book of Baby Afghans

    The only thing more popular with crocheters than a whole book of afghans to crochet is a whole book packed full of baby afghans! Isn’t that the truth?

    Well, The Big Book of Baby Afghans from Leisure Arts certainly fits that description. It’s definitely packed with patterns—29 of them in fact, and there’s most decidedly something for everybody!

    Take a peek at a few of the designs!

    The book offers up traditional and lacy:

    Lacy Treasures

    Pink Posies

    There are sweet pastels (plus pretty babies to look at!):

    Cluster Stripes

    Baby Loves Springtime

    Sonny Boy

    Grand Prize

    And if you want something a little different, check out the brights:

    Big Wheels

    Square Motif

    Wavy Stripes

    And more…The Big Book of Baby Afghans features projects from your favorite designers—Kay Meadors, Anne Halliday, Annis Clapp, Mary Ann Sipes, Sandra Abbate, and Mary C. Abadir.

  • Knit & Crochet Walmart Exclusives!

    Heads up, Knitters & Crocheters! Just wanted to let you know that Leisure Arts has released (just in time for World Wide Knit in Public Day) 7 perfectly portable little books full of patterns, and you can only find them at your local Walmart!

    The titles include: Slouchy Beanies (9 knit & crochet designs), Learn to Knit (step-by-step how-tos + easy projects), Learn to Crochet (step-by-step how-tos + easy projects), Dishcloths (12 crochet designs), Prayer Shawls (11 crochet shawls for adult & child), Afghans (8 crochet blankets), and Baby Wraps (8 crochet blankets).

    I really like these books. Their lightweight, rounded corner format feels good in my hands, and their 6-1/4" x 7-1/4" size fits nicely in a project bag. Plus, they reference yarns that you can easily find on the shelves of any Walmart yarn department!

    So celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day and run on down to Walmart, grab a couple or all seven and some yarn, find yourself a nice shade tree, park bench, or coffee shop, and share your knit and crochet creativity with the world!

  • Baby Day!

    I thought I’d put a spotlight on all the sweet baby pattern books recently released by Leisure Arts. There’s a bunch of them ’cause, you know, ultimately, the world revolves around the babies…

    Judy Lamb’s Elegant Ensembles to Knit, Book 2, features more of the beautiful keepsake baby layettes as seen in Book 1—four christening sets, each with gown, cap, and booties:

    Too Cute! Dreamy Cocoons features 6 sacks and caps to crochet by Kim Kotary. Look at these precious baby faces—

    Circular baby afghans were so popular after Book 1 that Leisure Arts put together a second pattern book—More Circular Baby Afghans, including 5 more designs from some of our favorite designers to be exact. Here’s a sneak peak at a couple so you can see how pretty they are:

    And if you’re really all about crocheting afghans especially for baby, you’ll need to add Crochet Baby Afghans by the Pound with 10 projects by industry legend Jean Leinhauser and A Year of Baby Afghans, Book 5, with 12 patterns from multiple Leisure Arts designers like Barbara Shaffer, Jennine Korejko, Tammy Kreimeyer, Anne Halliday, and more, to your pattern library!

    Hope you have fun knitting and crocheting for baby!

  • A Prolific Knitter

    One of our quilt book editors, Jean, is also a prolific knitter.

    She’s been working on a scarf during her morning commute to work. Her husband works here, too, in our distribution center, so he drives while she knits.

    She just finished this sweet spring-colored baby afghan. It’s from one of our Leisure Arts books—Quick Knit Keepsakes Book 2 by Melissa Leapman. Oh, so pretty!

    She’s got of bunch of sampler squares and rectangles knitted up from 60 Easy-To-Knit Pattern Stitches. Now, she’s got to put them together…(I once handed a bag full of crocheted granny squares to a friend with the words, “Here’s the afghan I made you…some assembly required.”)

    And she’s tackling the afghan from I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting Cables. It calls for super bulky weight yarn, but she didn’t have any and is using two strands of medium weight yarn instead.

    Wish I could be half as productive. I finished a crocheted potholder. Well, I would have finished a potholder if I could bring myself to actually whipstitch the seams together.

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