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  • Stitching With A Conscience: Crafting and Wellness

     

    Hey craft family! 

    We know that last month was ‘Stitch Away Stress’ month, but let’s face it, that’s every month for us hardworking civilians. In a perfect world, life’s biggest pressures would be swept away with the power of a single cross stitch.

    In a Perfect world.  

    The cold hard truth of this life is that some days are going to be harder than others, and that can make us feel overwhelmed. But never fear, crafting is here! We artists have found ways to cope with our stress though many mediums, be it painting, writing, or, our personal favorite, stitching! Crocheting, knitting, sewing and quilting; you name it, and we’ve all tried it at some point. 

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    The act of creating something, anything, gives you a sense of comfort and control, even when you’re at your most uncomfortable and unkempt. We get to choose what to make, how to make it, and what to do with our creation afterwards. I know when I work on my projects, I feel a sense of peace wash over me, and I can go into a nice meditative state. In the New York Times article, “The Health Benefits of Knitting”, Jane Brody quotes that the repetitive action of needlework can induce a "relaxed state" in crafters, very similar to the meditative state one would reach if they were doing yoga. When we get like this, our heart rates lower, our blood pressures drop, and we can almost feel the cortisol (stress) hormones leaving our bodies. 

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    With stitching, you can set up your own meditation studio anywhere you go. You could be on the train to the beach with a cup of hot tea beside you; or at home, lounging on the couch, kicking back to the classics while your kids do the dishes and leave you in peace (in a perfect world, am I right?). The point is that the repetitive looping action, working towards a greater goal, with nothing else to worry about but the next stitch in the set, will bring you more peace than any yoga instructor with their 'vegan milkshakes' ever could. 

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    If you’re worried about not being artistic enough to reach this bliss, don’t worry! Even if you think you can’t do something well, just the simple act of doing it relieves your stress. In a Huffington Post article, Priscilla Frank writes about a recent discovery after a test was conducted on several participants during an art making session. Forty-five minutes of creative activity significantly lowered cortisol levels in the body, regardless of artistic talent. So, don’t let self-doubt get it in your way of relaxation.

    If you’re looking to find that new project, these books have some of the best projects to work on if you just want to mindlessly create and meditate: 

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    Fidget to Focus:

     

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    Quick Thread Projects:

     

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    Make in A Weekend Comfy Knit Throws:

     

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    50 Cross Stitch Quickies - Animals and Friends:

     

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    Make a Crochet Garden

     

    To learn more about the wellness benefits of stitching, check out these articles: 

    The Truth About Knitting and Crochet…

     

    Study Says Making Art Reduces Stress, Even If You Suck At It

     

    The Health Benefits of Knitting

     

    Stay creative, crafters! 

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Lacy Chevron Afghan from Breaking Amish & Return to Amish

    Today's Guest Blogger is Ann Elaine from Craftdrawer Crafts.  Her blog is full of ideas for crochet, knit, crafts, sewing and cross stitch.  Today, she tells us about one of her favorite Leisure Arts patterns: Lacy Chevron Afghan.  You may recognize this as Mary's Afghan from the TV shows Breaking Amish and Return to Amish.  Welcome Ann Elaine!

    Lacy Chevron ePattern by Leisure Arts Lacy Chevron ePattern by Leisure Arts

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Lacy Chevron Afghan is an interesting afghan to crochet. It combines a repeated shell stitched with the look of the ripple afghan pattern. I have always been a fan of the ripple afghan and enjoy the way it looks when combining it with other colors. The Lacy Chevron takes it one step further and gives the afghan the feel of movement within the colors of the yarn. The wave pattern of the Lacy Chevron afghan is one similar to the one featured on an Amish reality television show.

    Leisure Arts Afghan Parade eBook Leisure Arts Afghan Parade eBook

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In addition to the ePattern, the Lacy Chevron Afghan can also be found in the Afghan Parade eBook along with three other designs for a total of four patterns.  The afghan made by Mary on the shows Breaking Amish and Return to Amish is actually called a Lacy Chevron.  I've tried the pattern with a few random scrap colors for practice and found it’s was fairly easy to crochet once you got the hang of it.

    Close-Up of Lacy Chevron Afghan Close-Up of Lacy Chevron Afghan

    I did find similar patterns to the Lacy Chevron online but the instructions in the original Afghan Parade eBook are written better and much easier to understand. It reminds me of crocheting a repeated shell stitch afghan along with granny squares. It’s best to crochet with a worsted weight yarn and with similar colors to enhance the wave effect. My sample pattern was modified and I crocheted a smaller ripple from the pattern to give it a slightly different look.

    When crocheting the Lacy Chevron it’s good to read through the pattern and take your time. The directions are clear and if you use shades of yarn in the same color it works up beautifully. In the Afghan Parade eBook the afghans featured are all worked in one piece so there are no seams to sew. If you like the look of the Lacy Chevron you will also enjoy crocheting the V-Stitch Shell, the Small Shell Afghan, and the Stained Glass afghan included in the Afghan Parade eBook.

    - Ann

    Thanks Ann!  You can find Ann Elaine everyday at her Blog Craftdrawer Crafts.   If you want more information about the connection between the shows Breaking Amish and Return to Amish and the Lacy Chevron Afghans, check out her blog entry on the subject here: Mary's Crochet Afghan Patterns from Breaking Amish and Return to Amish.

    P.S. If you'd like to make your own Lacy Chevron Afghan, we've just released a new Lacy Chevron Afghan Kit with a modern neutral yarn palette.  You can check it out here: Lacy Chevron Afghan Kit.

    Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 4.25.42 PM Lacy Chevron Afghan Kit with Yarns Included
  • Best Projects for Crochet Beginners

    Best Projects for Crochet BeginnersIf you're new to crochet, scrolling through pages and pages of patterns can be intimidating. I remember when I first started and it was a whole lot of not even knowing what I didn't know. I'd finally find a "perfect" pattern, something adorable yet easy looking, only to realize 3 rows in that I'd inadvertently purchased plans to build a rocket.

    Ok, maybe not a rocket. You get what I'm saying, though.

    We are here to help. If you have mastered your single and double crochet and are ready to move beyond your basic rectangular scarf, keep reading. I've picked out some great patterns to build your skill set and keep your frustration to a minimum.

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  • Do you Instagram?

     

    It's very possible I'm addicted.

    We (not the royal we, the Leisure Arts we) do! Here are some of my other faves, as well.

    You can also check out my personal account. I'm @chelsye_mae. It has a lot of the art I make for school and I'll be posting more progress pics for the projects I talk about here.

    Comment below with your account or your favorites!

  • Works in Progress

    Progress. I'm using that term loosely.

    Let's see, I've got the stockinette scarf that I started because I couldn't focus on anything more complicated. But it's warm now and two feet later I'm bored with it. I've got a small stack of granny squares going, and I really need to get through row 6 of that cute little flower square but it's making my eyes cross. I'm doing a snarky little custom cross stitch for a friend, but I'll be finished with it in no time. My doggies still need sweaters but I'm waiting on the pattern book I ordered. Oh, and I'm contemplating making a baby blanket for my ex-husband and his girlfriend, but no. Just no.

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  • Granny Squares

    My obsession with granny squares continues.

    After organizing my yarn, I noticed I had an enormous stash of 100% wool in a pretty muted color palette. There's really only 1 thing to do with that much yarn - afghan. I've done things with granny squares before and I absolutely love how quick and portable they are. Perfect for my on the go schedule, right?

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  • Organizing: Before

    Starting a new year and this new gig with Leisure Arts has me thinking about my knitting/crochet/sewing habits. They're pretty easy to summarize - lots of supply buying, not a lot of project finishing. I've decided 2015 is my year though (my chinese horoscope said it would be waaay better than 2014 - I'm going with it) and I am determined to reverse those trends.

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  • New Blogger Chelsye Mae Garrett

    Hi there!

    My name is Chelsye Mae Garrett and I am beyond thrilled to be the newest addition to the blogging team at Leisure Arts! I am sure we’ll get to know each other better over time but I’ll start by telling you just a smidge about myself.

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