Needlecrafts - Knit, Slant on Raglans

Needlecrafts,Knit - Slant on Raglans
Image and free pattern | free pattern available here
Images | Pinterest
Raglan shaping generally refers to a set of decreases, the same number on each side in order to shape a garment knit from the bottom up with the sleeves shaped in a slant.
The 50's swing coats always appealed to me, the raglan shaped sleeves always fit so well across the chest and looked chic and modern.
To this day I prefer that sleeve shape over the traditional set in sleeve and always hunt for the perfect vintage jacket or coat.
Raglan seams can be deep in length almost like a poncho and would be ideal for a fuller figure.
Other styles have shorter seams and are quite fitted, which are well suited to a more petite frame.
Decorative enhancements can be added to the seams such as eyelets or cables, small details which perk up an otherwise simple design.
Read further for more free patterns that feature both deep and more fitted styling.


DIY Fashion - Faux Fur Projects

DIY Fashion - Faux Fur Projects
The shrug design featured above in faux fur has been a popular style with knitters and crocheters alike for some time. A large rectangle folded in half and seams sewn at each edge to form sleeves is as easy as it sounds. Read further for pointers, tips and a video showing how to work and sew with faux fur.
Image | Pinterest
An easy project to begin with is the neckwarmer, cowl or neck ring.
Image | Pinterest
When faux fur blankets first hit the stores, I loved them. Unfortunately, I couldn't justify the three hundred dollar hefty price at the time.
I had to have one, so I scoured the fabric stores, found a fabulous deal and proceeded to make one.
The front was the faux fur with a thin fleece backing and bordered in a silky upholstery fabric I had in my fabric stash.
A lot of work due to the size, but worth it. Three years later, it sits at the end of my bed and serves part-time as a cat bed for Ziggy and Zoe.
The blanket moves with me into the den keeping me toasty while watching movies and knitting or crocheting.
After seeing the Michael Kors shrug, I think it's time to bring out the faux and let the fur fly.


Needlecrafts - Knit, Crochet - Capelets

Needlecrafts - Knit, Crochet - Capelets
Please Note - this pattern has been adapted for a bulky-weight yarn | Ondori Knitting Magazine

In between the many dinners, visiting and shopping during the holiday season, there are moments where you want to have a simple project on hand.
This is especially true while watching the holiday movies and there are many that I love.
The weather has turned cold and I mean frigid so thoughts have been to make something that will cover the shoulders and yet not be too bulky and in the way.
A capelet worn over a coat or jacket made with a bulky-weight yarn was the quick and easy answer.
The fringe on the knit version is an option, creates added length and is fun to do.
For crocheters, there is a fashionable high-necked version to keep you toasty.
Read on for instructions for this design and for an easy quick to crochet pattern from airali at besenseless.blogspot.com .


Needlecrafts - Knit, Making Headway

Needlecrafts - Knit - Making Headways
Large image | Pinterest
Inset image | free pattern available here
Hat fashions, if you notice, have certainly been turned on their head.
Hats are the one accessory you either love or hate. Hathead, flathead, these are the wintry results of trying to keep your head warm in the chilly weather.
This hair flattening problem was usually the result of head hugging toques and caps.
Lately, our love of all things chunky and big has gone straight to our head.
The chunky yarn and double thickness in some styles has added bulk making the hat more proportionately flattering for large heads .
My head shape and hair length was not ideal for hat wearing but once I made the chunky toque, I was delighted with the results.
Two evenings worth of knitting produced an attractive hat, so quick to make that I ended up making another as a spare.

Read on and be inspired by 10 free pattern designs featuring different ideas for making your next winter hat, either for yourself or someone special. For more ideas on different hats, be sure to read Anti-freeze Dressing .


DIY Design - Hostess Gifts

DIY Design - Hostess Gifts
Chocolate pretzels | recipe here
Silverplate | step-by-step tutorial here
Flat finish | tutorial here
During the holiday season people, especially family, seem to gather together more often. The McGuire clan is big and getting bigger so it seems there is always an occasion or reason to party.
Everyone contributes a dish of some kind and more often than not, I seem to bring a cake. Presentation is important and placing the cake on a cake stand you've made is always appreciated.
Treats are gobbled up quickly. One sister-in-law is famous for her spiced nuts, an easy, munchy snack and another for her savoury dip. Both are great with wine and beer.
Flowers or seasonal plants are always festive and brighten up a table or sideboard buffet spread.
Candles set the mood and depending on the design, like the memory candle, can start conversations about events that happened during the year.
Your host and/or hostess has welcomed you into their home. Why not show appreciation with a small gift?


Needlecrafts - S/S 2014 Trend - Fringe Benefits

Needlecrafts - S/S 2014 Trend - Fringe Benefits
All images | Style Bistro
Here we are, into the first few days of the winter season and already I'm talking about a trend featured for next spring.
Well, here's a reality check, fringes are not new. Trends are recycled and repackaged.
Some hang around for quite a few seasons and others, mercifully, die a quick death.
Ordinary fringes on the bottom of a scarf are boring, been there done that.
Now, leather or suede fringes on a knitted garment is interesting creating a boho vibe that is currently so popular.
Think tufts of fringes here and there, not necessarily in even lines.
Starting with a plain, flat base mix textures using bouclé, sheer tape, eyelash and metallic fringe.
This mix creates excitement in the design, much like mixing patterns or colour blocking.
A thick roving yarn randomly knotted on the shoulders lends a dishevelled, military feel simulating epaulettes.
The design possibilities are endless as are the types of fringe patterns and materials to make them.

Read on and be inspired by designs featuring different ideas for fringes and how to use them. For crocheters there are several novel patterns to try.


Needlework - Knit, Cowl Neck Scarves

Needlecrafts - Knit - Cowl Neck or Infinity Scarves
Images - Cowlgirls by Cathy Carron | purchase here at the Vogue Knitting store
Nothing looks or feels more cosy than a soft scarf wrapped around your neck, especially when the winds of late autumn are becoming more chilly.
Cowl neck scarves, neck warmers, circle or infinity scarves, whatever you call them, they keep the cold at a distance.
Wrapped around your neck once or double wrapped, they are accessories adding colour and texture to your jacket, coat or sweater.
The rectangles are easy to knit with edges that can be sewn together making a closed circle or zippered, buttoned and laced together for more flexibility.
The book featured above is filled with creative ideas, a lovely addition to any knitter's library, a great gift idea for that special knitter.

Read on and be inspired by designs featuring different ideas for stitch patterns and closures, how to determine size and 4 free patterns to get started making your chill chaser.


DIY Design - Handmade Gifts

DIY Design - Handmade Gifts
Finding treasures to give as gifts is truly enjoyable. Shopping for me is always enjoyable but shopping for ideas is truly inspiring and exciting.
You never know when you'll hit upon a creative nugget, so a handy notepad and pen is always good, especially if it's not easy to take a quick picture.
Shopping online, however, is nirvana as the whole world of ideas opens up with inspiration at every click.
Shelter magazines, home décor stores and of course, my favourite place to graze, I mean gaze, Pinterest.
The hunt is always for those unique ideas that can be translated into a fabulous DIY project.
Handmade gifts, ones that are made with care and love are the best.
Many times you can run out and get a gift that's cheaper, but not better.
The trend points to handcrafted items so why not give the real deal this holiday season.


Design Files - Jewelrymaking, My Designs

Design Files - My Jewelry Designs
Just over a year ago I began this blog and over the course of the year the look and the feel has evolved. In the beginning you want to write about and highlight every interest you have, posting as often as you can.
Here is the first post I wrote describing and illustrating my jewelry.
Unfortunately, with my varied and different interests, you begin to burn out by trying to cover all the topics. At last I think I've hit a balance and thoroughly enjoy curating what the web has to offer in the way of needlework ideas and building on that.
Another deep passion I've had just about all my life is making jewelry, from friendship bracelets to metalwork. I've run the gamut of making jewelry for friends and hosting jewelry parties. Sadly, like any handmade creation, unless you have gone through the process, you do not realize just how much work is involved.
Jewelry can be anything you wear for adornment. I've worked with all different mediums, love them all and continue to make and remake pieces when the desire and inspiration hits.
What is particularly effective is adding vintage parts I've collected to the mix. Plastic, glass, semi-precious stones, yarn; it's all good!


DIY Fashion - Jeanius Jewelry

DIY Fashion - Jean Jewelry
Large image and tutorial | read complete Tea Rose Home tutorial here
Inset image | Pinterest
One can become obsessed with denim. I know this for a fact because I love all things denim. Not only in the variety of jeans, but jean jackets, shirts and accessories.
Repurposing jeans can come off looking somewhat iffy, not polished if care is not taken in the finishing.
Whatever you are restyling, redoing or repurposing doesn't need to be tailored to an inch of it's life and can even be shabby chic in nature.
My horror is the shabby not chic, long threads hanging, projects that look half finished and slapped together.
Closeup, the necklace above is not precious in it's style. The edges are raw with an urban cool vibe but the beads pull it all together and add a hint of refinement, detail.
Read on to see that not all denim accessories need to be casual or worn casually.
What can be more wonderful than to take the stuffiness out of a silk blouse by adding a necklace made of denim loops that are snapped together.
You will look at your old jeans in a whole new way. It's jeanius!


Needlecrafts - Knit, Boot Cuffs

Needlecrafts - Knit, Boot Cuffs
Boot toppers are not new fashion accessories. Just when you thought you saw every possible design, along comes a new inspiration.
Popular for several seasons now, lace and cable variations have been worn with riding boots.
These boot toppers are pint-size versions of the popular leg warmers, still worn today but really came into fashion in the "Flashdance" 80's.
Worn with leggings, in neon colours, they were the rage along with big hair, scrunchies and headbands.
The leggings we still wear, thank you. Comfort, for me, is key.
Booties or shorter boots are everywhere these days and these skinny toppers just don't cut it visually.
On my hunt for something different, I came across these boot cuffs or spats as they flare out and cover a lot of the boot, both in front and back.
Making a few minor adjustments to the traditional boot topper is all it takes.
My plan is to make several pairs the colour of the boots and or my skinny jeans.
Contrast is lovely but a long leg line is nicer!

Read further for more ideas of styles, stitch patterns and free patterns to start making your own.


Needlecrafts - Knit,Crochet - Triangle Scarves

Needlecrafts - Knit, Crochet - Triangle Scarves
Images | Phildar 77
In the movie "Le Divorce", Glenn Close is describing French women to Kate Hudson and their fondness of scarves, to which she adds "A whole chapter could be written about the French woman and her way with scarves."
The next scene breaks into scenarios where you see a parade of women wearing scarves tied in a multitude of ways.
My bulging "scarf department" is bursting in agreement but I believe there's always room for one more to squeeze in.
Shawls have been worn as scarves over the shoulder on coats. A version of this triangle is called a "shawlette", a baby version of the original large shawl.
Tied like a neckerchief, the ends come back to the front, either left hanging or tied into a loose knot.
Tassels of all sorts are being added to the corners and often more ornate ones at the front corner of the triangle.
My preference is the crocheted half granny-style as it adds a bohemian vibe to an outfit, a look I adore.
There are several free crochet patterns available as well as attractive free knit versions.

Read on and be inspired by the decorative tassels and how to make them. Well I guess that wraps it up!;)


Needlecrafts - Crochet, Border Pattern Scarves

Needlecrafts - Crochet, Border Scarf
Images | Phildar 98
Vintage shows always have an abundance of antique linen, lingerie and handkerchiefs with beautifully finished crocheted edges.
Intricate, lacy edges were made with very fine crochet thread, usually for a bride's trousseau.
Finely worked linens became family heirlooms, were lovingly cared for, repaired and passed down through the generations.
Years passed and yarn replaced crochet thread for baby blankets and afghans.
Skip to present tastes and you find that lace patterns are no longer just for finer yarns and threads. Designers have definitely embraced chunky and bulky yarns for lace patterns.
Scarves are a good way to revisit some of these lovely patterns.
Making two long strips of lace and joining them together gives a feminine touch to any sporty look.
Not all lace edgings have to be labour intensive. Read further and see that some are fun and quite modern.


Needlecrafts - Knit, Patchwork Scarves

Needlecrafts - Knit, Patchwork Scarves
Images | Phildar 98
New stitches can be exciting to try and master! I remember all too well when I began knitting all the texture stitches calling to me, "Try me! No! Try me!"
What I wanted to try were the cables, even the easiest ones intimidated me in the beginning.
All that putting stitches onto a cable needle, losing them while knitting from behind. Yikes! It was a bit frustrating until I got the hang of it.
Constantly making swatches gave me the confidence to try more unusual stitches and master them.
Fashion, at the moment, loves patchwork which brings me to the topic of swatches.
What better way to practise your knitting than to get a few odd balls of yarn, make rectangles and sew them together for a fashionable scarf.

Read further for more inspiration and how to make a hooded scarf.


DIY Fashion - Boho Style Scarves

DIY Fashion-BohoScarves
It's safe to say that scarves can be the most hard working and decorative accessory you own!
They provide colour, fill in spaces you may want to hide, add texture and pattern, totally upgrading a basic outfit into something special.
Scarves can fill in for jewelry, which I've done on more than one occasion, especially when travelling.
What's really wonderful are all the easy DIY ideas available. In most instances a minimum of effort and cash and you have a fabulous fashion statement . Read further for more inspiration and tutorials on making that special scarf .


Needlecrafts - Crochet, Quick & Easy Slippers

Needlecrafts - Crochet, Quick and Easy Slippers
Sometimes a lovely gesture warrants a small gift, nothing too elaborate but something that is attractive, wearable and shows you appreciated a friend's or family member's kindness.
There are times when crocheted slippers make an ideal gift.
Perhaps an invitation to the cottage. You can never have too many slippers.
This is something I am very familiar with. The McGuire family "get togethers" are large and not everyone thinks to bring slippers or indoor shoes to slip on when the weather outside is wet and muddy.
There are many styles available that you can make from the simple ballet slipper to
the full blown "ugg-style" bootie.
An interesting way to attach a felt sole is also included should you wish a stiffer and sturdier sole.
Read about several ways to make your slippers nonslip .
Read further for more inspiration, instructions for different styles of your next slipper project.


Needlecrafts - Crochet, Teaming with Texture

Needlecrafts - Crochet, Teaming with Texture
Image | Schachenmayr Brazilia Color
Clashing of textures has been showing up in knitwear as a key component in the design of the garment.
Whether the texture is created with exaggerated surface stitches, different weights of yarn or simply by mixing exotic yarns with plainer, smooth ones, the result is dramatic.
A simple, uncomplicated pattern is all you need as the texture and mix of yarns create visual excitement.
Being economical, for the most part, is something I try to practise. Cleaning out the fridge when making soup or stew gives the soup body, makes it flavourful and pretty much can't be repeated.
Yarn stashes can be the same. My particular habit is buying a ball or two of an interesting yarn, preferably on sale to try it out.
Needless to say, this "trying out" never happens and my collection of odd balls keeps growing.
The inspiration images show that texture clashes, a more fashionable term for scrap knitting or crochet really means "anything goes". In fashion, designers are mixing prints and textures.
The best and safest approach is to put families of colours together or combinations that are compatible.
Find inspiration for interesting colour combinations at ColourLovers , a community dealing with all aspects of colour.
Read further for more inspiration, instructions for a simple pattern worked sideways and ways to make a unique version.


Needlecrafts - Knit, Fit and Flare

Needlecrafts - Knit, Fit and Flare
Both images | here
Peplums, handkerchief hems, flared hems, trapezoid shapes are so appealing because they flow or skim over curves rather than constrict or hug them.
In my closet are a few go-to pieces that I wear when I've overindulged for a period of time. Not only do I appear more confident, but I also feel more comfortable.
When I ran across this pullover by Sacai Luck at an online store, I knew it was a winner.
Sure enough, this style was sold out at a number of other online stores even though it was very expensive (by my standards) - $525.00 to be exact .
Taking a closer look at the sweater I realized what made the style so fresh and modern were the exaggerated gore panels.
Gussets, godets and gores are used to create fullness or flare and therefore, a better fit for certain body shapes.

Read further for examples of what each of these terms mean, how they are used and free patterns that feature these styling tricks.


Needlecrafts - Crochet, Different Joins for Motifs

Needlecrafts - Crochet, Different Joins for Motifs
Image | Katia Yarns
Square motifs, aka granny squares and the like are great building blocks for any size project you wish to tackle. You determine the size of the squares by simply adding more rows.
Whether you want to make a simple scarf or an enormous blanket will be determined by the number of squares you make and the arrangement of those squares.
Making the squares was always so satisfying but the sewing part, not so much.
This is why I'm sure there are many shopping bags filled with lovely finished squares and crocheters overwhelmed with the daunting task of putting them together.
Not only could sewing be tedious, but a finished garment would look heavy with sewn squares close together.
The chaining between the squares gives the squares a lighter look, is much easier, faster and more fun.
These methods are much more forgiving as they don't show mistakes like sewing can. Whichever square motif you pick, the methods shown below are fast, fun and fantastic.

Read further for more design inspiration and stitch patterns.


DIY Restyle - Denimology

DIY Fashion - Restyling Denim
Large and inset image | here
Who doesn't love denim! There's at least 10 pairs of pants (that I can think of LOL) in my closet. Jeans for every occasion.
Jeans for when you feel thin, fat days, casual, dressy, you name it, it's there for the wearing.
The hunt is always on for the perfect jean that makes your body look great, whether for "real", in your own mind or in front of a "good" mirror.
Sometimes plain Jane denim doesn't cut it. Now there is denim available with every imaginable coating and embellishment.
Foiling, bleaching, bejewelling, cutouts, patchwork, distressing, the list goes on and on. For every new treatment, there is a DIYer attempting to personalize their own denim.
When I ran across Denim Refinery, the creative juices started flowing and I was in denim heaven.

Read further for more inspiration, step by step tutorials and videos on how to restyle your denim pieces.


Needlecrafts - Knit, Basics for the Wee One

Needlecrafts-Knit,basics for the Wee One
Inset Image | free pattern here
Simply adorable baby knits!
Recently, the world was focused on the birth of the royal prince and all things baby.
Every prince or princess can have these charming, easy and quick-to-knit basics, from booties to hoodies.
Ideal patterns for the mom who is learning to knit or for more experienced knitters that love to knit "wee" fashions.
Free Patterns
Left Side - Top to Bottom:
1. Casual Booties simple no-fuss style and quick to knit.
2. Comfy Cozy Socks a change from booties if you prefer socks.
3. V-neck Folkwear embellish with simple folk embroidery or leave the top plain as a classic v-neck.
4. Boatneck Topper a simple texture border gives the top interest.

Right Side - Top to Bottom:
5. Checkered Cardi checks are fun to knit and work up quickly.
6. Thinking Cap embellish the ends of the drawstring with pom poms or tassels.
7. Wee Mittens too cute and no fingers to knit.
8. Striped Hoodie would be just as stylish in a solid with a simple rice texture stitch.
Happy Knitting!


Needlecrafts - Knit, Boat Neck Style Tops

Needlecrafts - Knit, Boat Neck Tops
Image | Online 10 knitting magazine
Boat neck styles have always appealed to me as the neckline looks great under a jacket and highlights your statement necklaces.
T-shape tops are boat neck style but have increases for sleeves, thereby looking like the letter "T" .
Another great feature spares knitters the headache of following neck shaping in intricate pattern stitches.
Casting off in a straight line becomes a no brainer, a good thing when you want an easy knitting project or for beginners.
The straight cast-off edge also allows you to add interesting finishes such as lace and ribbon.

Read further for more creative ideas on how to finish shoulder seams of the t-shape top and a basic pattern for the garment.


Needlecrafts - Crochet, Hexagon Granny Cardi

Needlecrafts - Crochet, Hexagon Granny Cardigan
Large image | here
Inset images | pattern available here
Granny squares have fascinated and delighted crocheters for as long as I can remember.
During the 70's craft magazines were filled with granny square projects.
There was no shortage of ideas, either in fashion or decor.
At the time, the most popular yarn weight used was worsted and for the most part, acrylics.
What appealed to me about this design was the simplicity of the pattern.
You can virtually adapt this design to suit your every whim.
Personally, I like to keep it simple and let the yarn do the work.
This is where marls, tweed and multicoloured yarns are so good.
Whatever you pick, this design is fast, fun and fantastic.

Read further for more design inspiration, a free pattern and a video tutorial.


Needlecrafts - Knit, Draped Cowl Tops

Needlecrafts - Knit, Draped Cowl Tops
Image and free pattern | here
Draped cowl tops are not only stylish, but extremely flattering, especially for those who are considered full figured.
The increases you knit create folds, falling into a soft V-neck which attractively frames the face .
Draping the neck can be incorporated into many styles, depending how deep you want the cowl to be. Included are different techniques in draping the neck.
The tunic length free pattern in a soft cotton would be ideal as a coverup or over leggings.
Once you've decided on the type of garment, rethinking yarn and colour is all it takes. Basically speaking, this is definitely a keeper for your library.

Read further for more free draped cowl patterns, schematics, helpful tutorials on differenttypes of increases and finishing tips.


Needlecrafts - Knit, Basic Pint-sized Cardi

Needlecrafts - Knit the Basics, Child's Cardi
Large image | Mamy Factory, Paris
Inset image | Le Petit Bateau
A simple, yet stylish cardigan is another basic garment pattern that's a must not only for adults but also for children.
A cardigan is the perfect, soft layer for kids. They're comfortable, easy to move in and every child should have these in their wardrobe, just like mommy.
The featured pattern, like the basic cap-sleeved cardi, lends itself to many different types of yarns and looks.
Use up your ends and make a striped style, a tweed for fall and of course cotton.
Also, like the basic cap-sleeved cardi, you are knitting the body in one piece. Easy peasy and a great shower gift.
Choosing different stitch patterns for this simple garment will give the beginner practice with their knitting skills.
If you are a crocheter, finishing all the edges with a scalloped edge or make simple eyelet holes for small buttons.
Read further for schematics, pattern, buttonhole tutorials, finishing tips and other helpful sites.


Needlecrafts - Baby Shower Gifts, Nursing Capelets

Needlecrafts - Knit the Basics, Wide Rib Pullover
Image and free pattern | Ravelry pattern library
PDF pattern (English version) directly from Pierrot Yarns, Japan | here
Nursing a baby in public when done discreetly is no longer such a delicate and controversial issue.
What is horrible are the modesty nursing capes available for this purpose. The capes are large, totally unfashionable and reminds one of the capes they use in hair salons.
By sheer fluke, I came across a practical, yet stylish capelet design from Pierrot Yarns in Japan.
My immediate response was to modify an existing capelet pattern for nursing in public. Remaining stylish, yet practical was the aim.
Really, any circular pattern can be modified, but a great choice is a simple pattern as it can be worked up quickly for a shower.
What a unique gift to present to the mother-to-be. Surely, everyone else will provide enough onesies and diapers.

Read further for an adapted capelet pattern and schematics,free patterns fo more inspiration including crochet, finishing tips and helpful sites.


Needlecrafts - Crochet, Mesh Stitch Primer

Needlecrafts - Crochet, Mesh Stitch Pattern
All Images | style.com
There's nothing to hide this summer as it's all transparent where fashion is heading.
It can be sheer pleasure or sheer torture depending how you look at this trend.
To my eye, sheerness around the shoulders is delightful and sexy as shown in the very chic Gucci design.
This same sheerness can be translated into summer tops and tunics designed with open and easy to stitch mesh patterns.
A pullover or vest with an overall design in a mesh stitch can be complimentary to all body shapes with an attractive camisole underneath.
Crocheted skirts over leggings are stylish yet give you confidence in the coverage.
Read further to become totally inspired, get tutorials on different versions of the net stitch pattern and free crochet patterns that feature net patterns .


Needlecrafts - Knit, Simply a Shrug

Needlecrafts - Knit the Basics, Simply a Shrug
Image | Sirdar
A few posts back, I featured a beginner's garment made with rectangles.
It was truly a great way to venture into knitting without too much trauma.
This design featured above is another idea based upon rectangles. In this case, they make a shrug. You can't get any easier than that.
Once you have dimensions, you can use any weight or type of yarn for any season. A pattern I've suggested is for a traditional worsted weight.
A good place to begin as this weight is the easiest and most times the most economical for beginners.

Read further for schematics, pattern instructions, finishing tips and helpful sites.