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  • A Magical Holiday Dishcloth Dress

    Remember when I mentioned the Mrs. Claus Kitchen Helper pattern?  I tried it out!

    And it gave it to a friend!

    She cried a little!

    She also cried a little when I gave her the Short but Sweet cowl from Crochet Cowls as a present, but she's kind of an emotional person and it's a pretty sweet cowl.  Seriously, if you want to get hugged hard enough to hurt your bosom and have some back fat gripped a bit too tightly, giving cowls out as Christmas gifts is the way to go.  My friends give good hugs.  Anyway, let's talk about this pattern a bit!

    I didn't have any Christmas-y variegated yarn that this pattern calls for, so I went with red and white instead.   Red and white is always Christmas-y if you want it to be.  But this would work nicely in other color combinations--which is what I'm counting on, because I'd love to try this again.  Look at these zig zags.  So dadgummed cute!

     Plus, this has a lot of variety: SSK, K2TOG, knitting in the front and the back of stitches.  All that on top of knits and purls and color changes!  It's a quick little project that calls for worsted weight cotton yarn and Size 6 needles, and you can finish it in an hour or so.  I think it's a great hostess gift if you're going to a holiday party, or it can just be a fun project that makes your own kitchen look a little more festive.

    But this pattern is only available until December 22, so hurry and buy it now!  And if you need even more dishcloth dress magic in your life, check out Dishcloth Dresses because that's available all the time and is incredibly delightful.

    I know you need this kind of magic in your life, and in your kitchen.

  • Weekly Dishcloth: Christmasy Mods and A Chance to Give Back this Christmas!

    Since I enjoyed going back to the book Dishcloths so very much last week, I thought I'd try it again for this week's dishcloth.  I tried out the Around the Block pattern, which calls for white, lime green, and black yarn.  The effect in the book is pretty striking, and I think it would be really interesting to see this in shades of blue.

    See?  It looks good enough to make the (back) cover of the book!  It's in the far right corner.

    But it's December and my creative vision took me in a completely different direction.

    A very Christmas-y direction.

    I am a firm believer that anything can--and should!--be made Christmas-appropriate if you just have these three colors in your stash.

    Ecru, Kelley Green, and just plain Red.

    And I do, at nearly all times.  Bright white is also nice, but I prefer ecru just because I always like ecru.  Also, lime green is bright and pretty and cheerful.  But for whatever reason, I wanted to use the darker green because that would make the dishcloth more closely resemble the homemade Christmas decorations I liked when I was growing up.

    I think it does.

    I was only able to carry the greens on each colorful section, so there were a lot of ends to crochet over and trim but it was worth it.  I really like this pattern and will probably try it again in other color combinations.   This is worked in the round, but you turn your work for every row.  I used an I hook, which is what the pattern called for--but that's a size up from what I normally use.  Just something I wanted to let you know about in case you don't want a super-stiff fabric.  Or if you do.  Whatever.  This will be lovely either way.

    When I was working on this, I asked my husband if this seemed over-the-top and tacky.  He hesitated for a moment and offered "I think it looks very Christmas-like and bright."  So I guess it does look over-the-top and tacky.  Which is kind of what I was hoping for!  I'm so pleased with how this turned out that I'm keeping it for myself.

    It's going to be 'Christmas-like and bright' in our kitchen all year long!

    In other dishcloth news, friend of the blog and occasional guest poster Debbie Trainor has designed another dishcloth dress just for the holidays!  It's Christmas-like and bright, but not tacky--and the perfect amount of silly and seasonal.  I love these dishcloth dress patterns she comes up with, and I don't know if it would be more fun to get a stocking stuff of this all knitted up OR just a printed off copy of this sweet pattern!

    The Mrs. Klaus Kitchen Helper pattern is being sold on Debbie's designer page on Ravelry, and nearly half of the proceeds of each sale go to buying a sheep through Heifer International.  This is a tremendously worthwhile cause, and a really cute dishcloth dress pattern.  For more details, please check out her blog post about it here.

    There's even a donate button if you want to contribute directly to the sheep-buying goal without purchasing a pattern.  I'm not sure why you wouldn't want to purchase this pattern, but I'm told there are folks out there who don't want to knit dishcloth dresses.  But it's Christmas time and I believe in miracles.  May Santa bring the power of dishcloth dress-knitting into your heart this year.

  • A Tiny Garter Stitch Hat

    After knitting the Punkin' Patch Hat from Warm Hats for Wee Noggins a while ago, I decided to try the Basic Paper Bag Hat in the smallest preemie size possible.

    I've been on a garter stitch kick lately, and I liked that it was a simple pattern that didn't look too simple or sloppy.  I don't know of any hospitals in my area that need preemie hats right now and (praise God) all of the preemies I know are now big kids.

    But I still wanted to have a hat or two on hand, just in case.  I had taken some partial skeins of soft acrylic yarn from a destashing friend several months ago, and I wanted to put them to good use.

     Warm Hats for Wee Noggins has patterns for very, very wee noggins--there are 3 preemie sizes and 3 full-term sizes for each pattern.

    The Basic Paper Bag Hat is garter stitch for 7" and then a little bit of sewing.  Seven inches.

    If I remember right, my baby's head was something like 15" around at birth (3 days past her due date).  And for comparison, here's the hat next to the Frog Hat from Hats and Diaper Covers 2.  The hats in that book are for babies in the 3-6 month range.

    The hat on the left is for my nephew, who's due in December.  I don't plan to need that little hat on the right for him, and a small part of me didn't even want to make it while his mommy was still making him.  It almost feels like I'm jinxing something. 

    Yes, I know how silly that sounds. 

    I have a few balls of yarn, and they're not enough for full-term-size baby hats.  So I'll make a few more of these itty bitty hats, and stash them away.

    I may need to dig out larger portions of yarn, though.  This is a sweet little hat, and I think my gift stash could use some larger sizes of this pattern!

  • Leisure Arts Gives Back

    The art department at Leisure Arts designed aprons for the 6th Annual Tie One On event benefiting Our House. Our House is a central Arkansas charity whose mission is to provide the working homeless--both individuals and families--with shelter, housing, job training, education, childcare, and summer youth programs in order to equip them with the skills to be successful in the workforce, the community, and their own families.
    Each apron goes with a silent auction package and was designed to match a chosen theme.
    Lora Puls – Shopping
    Jessica Bramlett – Book Lover
    Kara Darling – Holiday
    Stacy Owens – Girls’ Night Out
    Becca Tally – Beauty
    Not pictured:
    Rhonda Shelby – Entertainment
    Dana Vaughn – Girls’ Night Out
    The pink lace apron was made by the art department in memory of Dana after she passed away. She was a nineteen-year employee at Leisure Arts, a talented artist, and an active philanthropist. Dana had chosen Girls’ Night Out because she loved spending time with her many friends.
    Donations to Our House can be made here.

    Contributed by Stacy Owens and Lora Puls

  • Breast Cancer & Knitting for a Cure

    Hello knitters! You’re such kind and loving folks that I’m sure that doing things for others is an important part of your life! Many of you out there are already knitting for your favorite charity! One cause that’s important to most of us is the fight against breast cancer, and I’m proud to say that Leisure Arts has just released the perfect knit pattern book to support that cause—Knitting for a Cure by designer Kay Meadors!

    Check out the details about this inspirational knit for charity book:

    Knowing the power of encouragement, Kay Meadors has created the 18 designs in Knitting for a Cure to knit and share with loved ones who are fighting breast cancer. Kay says, “The journey of Knitting for a Cure began a long time ago, when Denise Bell and I came up with the Traveling Shawl, a single project created by 50 different knitters. Its pattern and the story of its journey are right here in this book that I am so pleased to share with you, because this is one of my favorite kinds of knitting—knitting with the heart.” All in pink and with many bearing images of the breast cancer charity awareness ribbon, additional projects include scarves, a hat, a headband, fingerless gloves, a lap throw, teapot cozy, hot water bottle cover, pillow, and more.

    Take a look at the 18 inspiring knit for charity designs that Kay has included in this book!

    Traveling Shawl
    Beaded Traveling Shawl
    Traveling Scarf

    Entrelac Shawl (in two colors)
    Crescent Shawl
    Headband & Fingerless Gloves
    Stocking Cap
    Scarf
    Face Cloth
    Bookmark
    Card Insert
    Entrelac Pillow
    Hot Water Bottle Cover
    Lap Throw
    Mug Cozy
    Sachet or Soap Cover
    Teapot Cozy

    Meet the Designer: Kay Meadors!
    Kay Meadors is the author and designer of numerous Leisure Arts knit and crochet books, including I Can’t Believe I'm Lace Knitting. She also has written about how to teach a group of kids to knit and crochet and designed numerous collections of afghans, ponchos, christening sets, kid’s caps, and other creations. Early in her career, Kay was a Leisure Arts knit and crochet instruction writer. To learn more about Kay and her passion for knitting, spinning, weaving, and quilting, visit her blog at NaturalStateKnitter.blogspot.com and check out all of her Leisure Arts publications on LeisureArts.com.

    Join Kay Meadors and help make a difference! Do your part in charity knitting for a cure! Get a copy of Knitting for a Cure today and start those needles flying to provide comfort to folks fighting breast cancer! 
  • Crocheted Hats for Charity

    Hope you’re having a fabulous Sunday! It just dawned on me that I never shared the photo of all the hats I crocheted for charity in 2011! I may not have been as prolific as some of you master crocheters out here, but, for me, I think I did pretty good!
    Wanna take a little trip down crocheted memory lane with me?
    This Two Stitch Hat came from Bonnie Barker’s Noggins & Necks!
    These 3 little hats are from the Baby Hat pattern in The Crochet Dude Drew Emborsky’s Hug It Out!
    Gotta love the Chinese Acrobat Hat from Shibaguyz Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby’s Heady Affairs!
    And my autumn-colored Basket Weave hat from Bonnie Barker’s Noggins & Necks!
    I was very pleased with this Eco Green Hat from Lisa Gentry’s Celebrity Slouchy Beanies to Crochet!
    This little green hat with the crocheted flower…
    …and these 5 baby hats (plus the blue one in the big picture) all came from one of my favorite pattern books—Teach a Group of Kids to Crochet by Kay Meadors!
    Cute & Cozy Caps by Lori Adams was the source for my little purple Ruffled Pillbox hat.
    Drew Emborsky, yet again, is responsible for the pattern for this Cabled Tam. It’s from his In All Caps little book!
    Did you knit or crochet any hats for charity last year? What have you got on the hook for 2012?
  • Another Crocheted Hat For Charity

    Remember that crocheted Ruffled Pillbox hat from Cute & Cozy Caps by Lori Adams that I blogged about as my “1st Hat for 2012”…Well…I got a little sidetracked…

    Look how cute it is even without all the ruffles…

    I did finally finish it this weekend! Hurrah for me! It’s ready to go in the bag with all the other hats I’ve crocheted for charity this year. I’ve got 16 done so far!

    What sort of charity stitching are you working on for 2012?

  • The 1st Hat for 2012

    Happy Sunday All! I’m doing my usual Sunday morning thing, drinking coffee, watching the birds, discussing life with The Cat, and working on my newest charity hat crochet project—the Ruffled Pillbox hat from Cute & Cozy Caps by Lori Adams.

    As I’m said before, who could resist making that hat on the front cover? It’s just too adorable. My version’s going to be made with light weight Lion Brand Baby Soft yarn in lavender. (I seem to be going through a purple phase—not usually one of my colors of choice…) I’ve also discovered that I need to go up a hook size from E to F to make gauge.

    Here’s where I’m at so far. I’m through the top of the hat and starting on the sides. This is an intermediate pattern, so wish me luck! And good luck with your projects for 2012! What’s everybody out there working on?

  • The Hat Madness Continues Into 2012!

    Happy New Year Everybody! Yes, I’m still crocheting hats! I’m determined to carry on with my charity hat crochet into 2012. I finished the light and lacy Two Stitch Hat I was making from a pattern in Bonnie Barker’s Noggins & Necks. When I started this hat, Noggins & Necks was out of stock on the Leisure Arts website, but it’s available again now! And at the request of a reader, here are pictures of all of the projects in the book:

    Basket Weave Hat & Scarf

    Woven Stitch Hat & Scarf

    Two Stitch Hat & Scarf

    Fisherman Hat & Scarf

    Braided Hat & Scarf

    Over the holidays, I also finished three hats in various sizes made from the Baby Hat pattern in Drew Emborsky’s new pattern book—Hug It Out! Very sweet and quick to finish! (And I have to admit, I’ve discovered yet another yarn to love—Bernat Cottontots. That’s what I made the yellow hat with. It feels really nice in my hands!)

    Finally, I’m a little intimidated, but I’m also contemplating the stitch patterns in the new Kooler Encyclopedia of Crochet-Revised in view of creating a hat design of my own. What do you think? Can I do it?

    Anywho…Here’s wishing all of you the happiest of new years! Why not get it off to a good start by doing something nice for someone in need?

  • The Lights of Leisure: Big Donations!

    Check out the Leisure lobby tree! I’m loving the great big ornaments on it!


    Take another look at it with all the gifts under it that Leisure Arts has collected to donate to Dorcas House/Nehemiah House/Union Rescue Mission!


    All the donations are packed up and on their way! Hopefully we’ll be helping those folks have a big Christmas!

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