12/24/2015

Happy Holidays - Top 10 Posts 2015

12/24/2015
Happy Holidays - Top 10 Posts 2015
To all of you, a safe and happy holiday season! See you back here in the New Year, January 5th. Until then, enjoy the top 10 posts of 2015.



Top 20 Posts | Click on image below for posts

12/18/2015

Needlecrafts - Knit, Child's Play | Poncho with Hood

12/18/2015
Needlecrafts - Knit -Child's Play
Lanas Katia free pattern
Who can resist this adorable and quick to knit poncho with a hood. This is definitely a garment that a child will love to wear. Any garment easy to put on, take off and layer for added warmth is ideal for school recesses and outdoor play. The suggested super bulky yarn makes it a winner for both experienced and beginning knitters. So bring out the yarn during the holiday break and knit a poncho for a special wee one !

12/10/2015

Needlecraft - Knit, 5 Folksy Fair Isles

12/10/2015
Needlecrafts - Knit - 5 Folksy Fair Isles
Free patterns for all 5 garments | read further for link(s) under each image
Time to reinvent the traditional, old-time styles for bright, contemporary counterparts that will have you reaching for your needles this winter. Fair Isle knits are definitely on our fashion radar right now. Traditional Scottish pattern - multicolored bands of geometric shapes rendered in sizzling colors. The cardigan and pullover styles in sophisticated color palettes and modern silhouettes have a more bohemian flavor, definitely what's in-store these days. So check out the 5 colorful picks that made the cut!. Look for helpful videos which show easy techniques for knitting fair isle bands with 2 colors and how to deal with long floats. From classic double knitting to worsted yarn weights, there are five easy pieces to consider for your wardrobe.

12/04/2015

Needlecrafts - Knit, Up In Arms in Stitches

12/04/2015
Needlecrafts - Knit, How to Arm Knit
Blanket pattern | free pattern available here Premier Yarns - Couture Jazz | available for purchase here
Simply Maggie | How to Arm Knit a Blanket in 45 Minutes
When I first saw the arm knitting craze happening, I have to admit I wasn't impressed. Quickie ideas for knitting have come and gone in the past. One such fad was the "Condo Pattern". Sales of 12mm needles hit the roof to supply knitters wanting to make this open stitch pullover. At the time, I was working for a chain of yarn shops and, of course, we had to publish several patterns with this design to support our in-house brand yarns. Everybody was ecstatic with the results until it came time to wash the garments. Not everyone was careful with these very open and very loose knits. So, you guessed it, they stretched beyond belief, and you can see why I thought "Oh yeah another form of condo knitting!". But inevitably, cruising the web, I came across the blanket featured in the first photo and I was taken aback at how this design looked so finished and well made. I became a believer again. Really heavy yarn helps to fill in spaces, as shown in the second image but doubling bulky yarn and keeping the "arm gauge" consistent and tight helps to maintain an even fabric and, therefore, a beautiful finish. Finger knitting is a great way to get kids to understand and develop a love for knitting. Be sure to see several small accessory projects for arm knitting and very helpful tutorials and videos to get you started.

11/26/2015

DIY - Home Decor, Top of the Tree

11/26/2015
DIY - Home Decor, Top of the Tree
Window inspiration | Pinterest
Holiday season is here in full swing. We've already had our turkey day up here in the "North" in October but our southern neighbours are just enjoying their feast today.
Black Friday fever is definitely pent up and ready to blow with thoughts about the house, gifts, and getting ready for the holidays.
One of my sisters-in-law happens to work at HomeSense (HomeGoods to the south). She explains the pattern of sales this way.
First Decor, then Presents, then last minute, Entertaining. Already there is madness in her store. Poor girl!
We are fortunate that we celebrate Christmas Eve with just the brothers and wives (no kids!) at our house - Christmas evening mass and afterwards lots of food and holiday "cheer".
The main events are bedlam as there's always a packed house with all the children and grandchildren. The numbers can easily swell to 30 or more depending on who's bringing who.
It's lovely to have a more calm experience with 8-10 people.
We have a relatively small home, so a grand tree is out of the question.
Finding ways to be festive and yet not take up much room needn't be challenging. Featured in this post are many ways to decorate without taking up precious space.
Getting the kids to help make decorations is fun and gives them a chance to create "souvenir" decorations they'll cherish in years to come.

Be sure to also read all the past posts further down for more creative ideas on decor and gifts.
Pvc pipe tree | free tutorial available here
Twig tree | Pinterest
Branch tree| free tutorial available here
Recycled boards tree | free tutorial available here
Birch tree stacked slices | free tutorial available here
Knitted cones | Finished knitted cones or pattern available for purchase here
Wood finials| free tutorial available here
Covered boxes | Pinterest
Video Tutorial | How to Make a Tree-Shaped Napkin Fold
Upcycled book page tree | free tutorial available here
Doily trees | free tutorial available here
Upcycled paper band tree | inspiration source here
Recycled card tree | inspiration source here
Click on images below for more of past posts featuring
stylish holiday decor ideas and easy-to-make gifts!
Top 20 Posts | Click on image below for posts
Happy DIYing!

11/19/2015

Needlecrafts - Crochet, Beginning to Cable

11/19/2015
Needlecrafts - Crochet - Beginning to Cable
Taupe headband | free pattern available here
Black hat | free pattern available here
Pink hat | free pattern available here
Bow Pattern - be sure to read complete tutorial | here
Cables in crochet can be quite simple and easy to understand. Unfortunately, so many patterns, especially afghan or throw patterns have complex combinations which, quite frankly, can be scary. When you break down the individual patterns, some are less intimidating. Another reason to look at throw patterns for inspiration. The simple bow cable is easy to make and great for embellishing other projects you may have made. Practice makes perfect as they say. Swatches are terrific for trying out a new stitch as you can see by the brown swatch I made taking a simple 4 stitch cable and working it into an uncomplicated pattern. Helpful videos and a step by step tutorial are featured further on to walk you through the front and back post stitches and how to work the front cross of the cable. Gifts for the holidays are the perfect way to perfect your crochet skills with quick to crochet accessories and how to get a new twist on the simple cable.

11/11/2015

DIY - Restyle, All About the Lace

11/11/2015
DIY - Restyle, All About the Lace
Lace halter bustier | free tutorial available here
Gold lace cuff | free tutorial available here
Gunmetal lace neckpiece | free tutorial available here
Victorian lace neckpiece | free tutorial available here
Lace has always had great eye appeal but this fall there is a definite darker mood. Whether you call it Goth or Victoriana, in black it adds a glamorous edge to any holiday outfit. Think about kimono coverups this holiday season in sheer fabrics with black lace and velvet ribbon edging the kimono. The bustier automatically adds up to glamour and with a velvet tuxedo jacket would be a standout fashion ensemble for a party. For those who want a hint of lace, accessories are the way to add this season's trend. A soft scarf with black lace edging will provide the look you want. Yes this fall it's all about the lace.

11/04/2015

Needlecrafts - Crochet, Finishing Edges

11/04/2015
Needlecrafts - Crochet - Techniques, Finishing Edges
All images | Pinterest
Knowing how to properly finish crochet pieces to be seamed is probably as important as the quality of your crochet work. A garment that is sewn together properly will hang better because the seams match and don't pucker. When I first started to crochet garments, I was always in a hurry to wear the garment so the garment was sewn up haphazardly and much to my disappointment didn't look handmade, just homemade. Throughout my career, I was lucky enough to meet people who would give me tips on how to make a garment look professionally finished. Some techniques I developed on my own through trial and error. This, in some ways, was the best way as it taught me patience and how to adapt what I already knew to different yarns and situations. Taking the time and yes it does take time to even out edges will in the end save you time and a whole pile of headaches when you go to sew the pieces together. Even though you add a bit of width, nothing to get too excited about, you now have the ability to match stitches from one edge to the other edge. Keep in mind to have the same number of stitches on each side. Read further for very helpful instructions, tutorials and videos. If you find that you would like to finish the edges with a more decorative finish, there are 21 free edge patterns that are easy and good to have in your library of stitch patterns.

10/27/2015

DIY - Jewelry, Hippy Chic Stacked Up

10/27/2015
DIY - Jewelry, Hippy Chic Stacked Up
All inspirational images above | Pinterest
When it comes to accessories and the latest jewelry trend, more is most definitely more. Bohemian style is all about piling on the pieces from rings and bracelets to necklaces and earrings. The best part is, there are no rules! But if you're worried that your "arm party" or "neckwear" will look more crazy than festive, here are a few guidelines and ideas. 1. Keep the bracelets monochromatic, but think different shapes and materials. 2. Layer delicate necklaces in graduated lengths. 3. Pair your wider cuffs on one arm with a selection of layers on the other arm to balance the look. IMPORTANT NOTE Remember to have fun with your accessories - they make your look memorable by looking finished.

10/22/2015

Needlecrafts - Knit, Crochet - Head Bumps

10/22/2015
Needlecrafts - Knit, Crochet - Head Bumps
All inspirational images above | Pinterest
Talk about standing a head above everybody. These beanies or toques are definitely sky high. What is most interesting are the many shapes you can make with the crown. Pussycat ears are definitely whimsical and fun. Embellish them further with pom poms. The children's version, in some cases, are called gnome hats as they resemble the pointed hats on those magical, humenoid creatures. Whatever you name them, these designs can be very flattering for those who need to wear hats that have some height. An extremely popular past post - Making Headways featured looser, flatter beanies. Look for free patterns there as well. Read further and be inspired by the different styles of knit and crochet hats, free patterns to knit and crochet as well as versions for the small fry. See helpful tutorials and videos on how to duplicate stitch a design onto a plain hat. The sky is the limit with these high hats.

10/14/2015

Needlecraft - Knit,Crochet - Fringe Elements

10/14/2015
Needlecrafts - Knit,Crochet - Fringe Elements
All images | style.com
Boho chic or some form of bohemian style has been popular and a strong fashion trend for as long as I can remember. Fringe, often found on garments created by Native American tribes served a purpose for repelling rainwater from the wearer. Fringe became a fashion statement with the 20's flappers rebelling with short skirts, unconstructed clothing and short hair. Easy Rider in the 60's depicted a much more rebellious version seen on leather bike jackets. Fringe was an outgrowth of the hippie movement that rejected mainstream values and was a badass rock and roll symbol of the counterculture. Jimi Hendrix famously rocked out at Woodstock in a fringe jacket and this festival look has since become iconic. Over the past few years, fringe has seen a resurgence in popularity and today can be found not only on jackets, dresses and skirts, but on all accessories, too. Read further and be inspired by the different textures and types of fringe. What is also exciting is the use and placement of fringe. If you have a favorite thrift find, see how to add fringe to the surface of the garment.

10/05/2015

Needlecraft - Crochet, Inserting Granny Squares

10/05/2015
Needlecrafts - Crochet, Inserting Granny Squares into Double Crochet background
All images | Pinterest
If you love granny square projects but not the idea of joining a whole bunch of squares together, there is a clever solution.
Starting with a simple scarf, you can play with width, length, texture, color combinations and placement.
The design idea is highlighted in the inspiration images above showing that you can space granny squares in between simple double crochet background. A gauge and granny square pattern has been suggested for a chunky weight yarn giving you a 16.5cm (6½ in square) . Make 4 scarves the same width and length, seam them together, fold in half and seam the sides for a shrug as shown here. The concept is easy and definitely allows for being creative in designing your own pattern. Once you've made one, you'll want to try different granny motifs.

9/29/2015

Needlecrafts - Knit, Wide Neck Pullover

9/29/2015
Needlecrafts - Knit, Wide Neck Pullover
Pattern image | Burda Knitting F/W 2013
Whenever I come across a design or pattern that is simple but fulfills many purposes, I immediately want to share it with readers.
The wide neck sleeveless vest or shell is perfect to wear on it's own with a cami underneath or over a jean jacket for added warmth in late fall and early winter.
Knitting with a double strand of worsted weight yarn is not new but what is new are the wonderful array of colours available to experiment with.
What a wonderful way to allow you to be creative and create your own marl yarn, which is really two colours twisted together. Think of all the possibilities, whether you like strong contrasts such as black and white or subtle tonal contrasts like pale pink with sage.
Don't forget trying a tweed or space dyed yarn with a solid. Yummy mixtures, only limited by your imagination. Work a solid with marl yoke as shown or design your own colour definition.
All you have to remember is to work two strands together.
Fully fashioned sleeve openings are featured in this pattern, not to worry as this knitting term is explained both in words and with a helpful video.
Two pieces, easy stocking stitch knitting. What could be better?
Read further for schematics, pattern instructions, helpful tips and videos on finishing that garment perfectly.

9/23/2015

Needlecrafts - Knit, 5 Easy Cable Pieces

9/23/2015
Needlecrafts - Knit Fall Basics - 5 Easy Cable Pieces
Free patterns for all 5 garments | read further for link(s) under each image
Red Head Wrap | free pattern available here Grey Head Wrap | free pattern available here Dark Grey Scarf | free pattern available here Yellow Wristwarmers and Hat | free pattern available here Textured Garter Shawl | free pattern available here
No doubt, intricately cabled sweaters are as beautiful to look at as they are challenging to knit. But if you want a satisfying, quick project, comfy and cozy yet uncomplicated, those are not for you. Whether there is one larger cable, giant cable panels or smaller cable panels, the five featured patterns are designs you will be delighted to knit. The designs are oversized for comfort, perfect to throw over jeans and under a poncho. A cable that splits into a V-neck is stylish as is the sleeveless turtleneck vest. Omit the ribbing on the bottom of the vest, make the body longer and you have one of fall season's must haves. For even smaller projects, included are five simple accessories to wear this fall with your sweater. Be warned you can make them as gifts, but once you've knitted them you'll want them for yourself. From classic worsted yarn weights to super bulky outdoor wear, there are five easy pieces to consider for your fall wardrobe.

9/16/2015

Needlecrafts - Knit, Vested Interests

9/16/2015
Needlecrafts - Knit, Vested Interests
Inspiration images | freepeople.com and Wilfred clothing Past post - Edgy Vests | Click here for post
This fall we are going to great lengths with the sleeveless vest.
Case in point are just two of the versions featured in stores for this season.
A slight twist on the traditional style vest is the turtleneck style, worn sleeveless and open at the sides.
Due to the popularity of a past post Edgy vests , I am featuring pattern instructions adapted for this style in bulky weight yarn.
Front and back are alike to make it an easy, quick project.
If you like the idea of a looser cowl neck, work the rib for the neck with larger size needles to spread the rib and make the collar long enough to curl.
Another option would be to finish the garment in a boat neck style by omitting the neck.
There are so many beautiful yarns for this season, you'll want to knit more than one.
Read further for schematics, pattern instructions, helpful tips and videos on finishing that garment perfectly.

9/08/2015

Needlecrafts - Knit, Taking a Ribbing

9/08/2015
Needlecrafts - Knit, Taking a Ribbing
All inspiration garments | Club Monaco
Some of the simplest, classic designs in knitting can make a strong fashion statement. In this case, the humble rib takes center stage whether it's a simple K1, P1 rib or a handsome wide K6, P3 rib. The garment shape and yarn color can convey the fashion message whether it's subtle or in your face bold.
Read further for several collections of free knitting patterns, starting with the quick and easy accessories to the more elaborate pullovers for the male in your family. Cozy and oversized or slightly more form fitting, there will be a stylish pattern to suit everyone's taste for this fall. Also, there are several alternative rib patterns for you to try, test and think about using in future projects.

9/02/2015

Needlecrafts - Knit, Crochet, Foldover Shrug

9/02/2015
Needlecrafts - Knit, Crochet, Foldover Shrug
Main, bottom inset images | free pattern available here
Top inset image | free pattern available here
Putting together past posts featuring shrugs, I came to realize just how much I love shrugs.
From the very first one I made, it was love at first wearing.
Up until then, I owned and loved jackets of every description, not conservative but they were the backbone of my work life wardrobe.
As soon as you slip on a shrug, you realize how easy it is to wear yet they provide the same benefits of a jacket.
Call it softwear, once you try one, you'll never go back.
The jackets I kept still hang in my closet, just in case, but I know eventually they'll be given away.
Read on and find your favorite style. Trust me, you will love them too.
Click on images of past posts featuring easy shrug patterns and ideas
Happy Knitting and Crocheting!