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Monday, October 20, 2014

I much prefer puppets over dolls, and I love stuffed animals like the ones found in Farm Animals. Some people can look at a mass-produced puppet or stuffed animal and just randomly choose to purchase any one. On the other hand, I line up at least three at a time, all sitting next to each other on the store shelf or countertop, so that I can look at every one. The hair, eyes, and smile can all be a little different on each puppet or doll; each one’s expression is unique.

My love of stuffed animals and puppets leads me to crochet, or rather, my learning to crochet. I love seeing crocheted animals, animal pillows, animal-headed hooded towels, character hats and diaper covers, and finger puppets. I want to play with them and make their characters come alive; they encourage so much imagination!

The first step: learn to do the chain stitch. I have difficulty holding the yarn – most of this caused by a bad fall hurting my fingers. But, I could try – and try again. Goal: make stuffed animals. But first, learn how to do the chain stitch. Next: learn to keep consistent tension. Finally: have fun!

Through all of Jen’s experiences, she had fun. Jen expressed that through her blog posts. By Jen having fun and sharing her thoughts with us, we enjoyed her experiences, too. I’ve decided to combine my love of stuffed animals, trying something new and sharing my experiences resulting in the decision to try crocheting. So, come have some [more] fun with me while I learn how to crochet!

-Martha ( Check Out My Videos )

Original Blog Post

I love crocheting.  I'm primarily a knitter, and so I kind of forgot how much I liked crocheting for a while.  But then I started crocheting more and more this year because I got sucked into the amigurumi trend.  Since I've started knitting more, I realized one of the things I like so much about crocheting is that the Size H crochet hook you use for an amigurumi Easter egg is the same Size H hook you use for a granny square potholder, which is the same Size H hook you use for an afghan big enough to cover a king size bed.  With knitting, you need different lengths and types of needles for different projects.  Not so with crochet.  Even better?  If your crochet hook falls out of your project, you're fine.  You just pick it back up, place it back in your one loop, and go on about your business.

(We don't have to talk about what happens when all those knitted loops fall off the needle.  It's too upsetting for mesomepeople.)

Crocheting is a great car-trip activity, and most crochet projects go faster than knitting.  Did I mention amigurumi?  Can I mention it again?

I really didn't want to write this post without showing you those little owls.  So cute!

There's just something about crocheting--I don't know if it's the texture of a crocheted item, or the look of granny squares, or if it's just that crocheting is a much more accessible activity for some crafters.  Whatever the 'something' is, I just like crocheting and I think everyone else should too.

Now that I've convinced you, here's how you get started!

The first step in crocheting is making a chain.  Here's an HD video showing you how.

Some people never learn anything more about crocheting once they learn how to make a chain.  I have a sister who is one of those people and her house has a lot of very nice garland around Christmas time!  But there's really no need to stop there!  Now that you know how to pull yarn through a loop, you can do anything!

Fine, maybe not anything.  But you know how to set up the foundation of a crocheted project and that's the only place you can start.

It's only going to get more exciting from here!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What Kind of Knitter are You?

Ravelry: Traditional Design
1. The Simple knitter
If these perfectly stacked knit dishcloths are the vision of your knitting dreams, then you might be a Simple Knitter. You appreciate the fundamentals of knitting. 

This dishcloth pattern is free on Ravelry! (click the photo to find it) 

2. The Detailed Knitter
You appreciate a pattern that you can think about. Lace might be your favorite. You always are thinking about your next lace shawl. 

Ravelry: Rosemary (Romi) Hill
Ravelry: Boo Knits
Ravelry: VĂ©ronique Charmette

3. The Professional 
You have found a way to make knitting your occupation. There is probably an Etsy store with your name on it. If not your own shop! You might also write and publish your own patterns. 

If these kinds of things scare you. Just think about how much you love knitting. Maybe you could start with selling just a simple pattern, or teach one person to knit. Next thing you know you are teaching a whole class! 

4. The Gift Giver
You might as well name your projects based on who they are going to end up with. Or you might not ever know who you are going to give it to. You just have to make it. You will figure out who to gift it to later.

Might I recommend Dishcloths? They knit-up quickly, AND they are useful gifts. 

Dishcloth Dresses
5. The Perfectionists
You can’t knit a pattern unless it tells you what kind of yarn to use. This is not because of a lack of creativity, but Perhaps you think, that if you are going to put so much work into it, it might as well come out perfect.

If you are interested in learning skills to perfection I would recommend our “I Can’t Believe I’m…” books (we have many). 
I Can't Believe I'm Entrelac Knitting
I Can't Believe I'm Fair Isle Knitting

6. The Free Knitter
Have you ever seen a pattern and thought, “I like it but I will just do this part differently?” or started a project without a pattern? Brave soul! Keep up your knitting ways.  

I recommend our “50 Patterns” books. They are filled with stitches for you to learn and then use to make whatever you want!

Thanks for reading! 

Stay crafty!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Jen is gone and we are sad here at Leisure Arts. But, we are also happy for Jen because she is relieved to have more time to spend with her family, and less juggling. Thank you, Jen, for all that you have done for us during the last two years!

So, “Hello, this is Martha; as in Tip-See Tuesday, Martha.” I will help introduce some of Jen’s earlier blogs with any creative thoughts of my own. I am not the new blogger; but, we didn’t want our followers to feel abandoned. We welcome you and want to stay connected!

I understand the juggling predicament. I want to do everything, and do them all well. But, I can’t. I have to pick and choose. Juggling is tough, frustrating, exhilarating, annoying – a balancing act that requires a lot of attention to detail. Can it be fun? I suppose, but juggling usually carries a negative connotation, as if there are too many things to successfully juggle. Juggling can cause anxiety if you can’t control the juggling routine. The routine has to change so the juggling act remains intact.

I commend Jen for realizing that she wanted to change her juggling act. She wanted to make a change because her routine needed balancing. I expect Jen will continue her devotion to handmade crochet and knit projects. In the future, I would love to see more of her creations and hear more stories about her craft discoveries.

In the meantime, I will try to keep us connected until we find another blogger. Until then, let’s rediscover some of the posts from “Everyday Life at Leisure” highlighting Jen’s creative adventures.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

16 Reasons to Appreciate Knitting This Fall

A few weeks ago I posted about "16 Reasons to Appreciate Crochet This Fall." Now it's time to do one for knitting. Here are 16 Reasons to Appreciate Knitting This Fall. Knit will never go out go style! 

1. Hats
Slouchy beanies are always cute during this weather. But I am also noticing that not-so-slouchy beanies and pom-poms are an adorable trend! I've never made pom-poms but they are so cute I'm going to give it a try. (Check out Leisure Arts' pom pom tutorial here!)
Leisure Arts: Loom Knitting pattern (one of our favorites!)
Etsy: Love and Knit
Leisure Arts: Fair Isle Knitting
Ravelry: Bethany Hill
Pinterest: Wool and The Gang. London Fashion Week.

2. Scarves
It’s not really cold yet, but I am already seeing bulky knit scarves. Scarves are a great way to try out new stitches, or even make your own pattern. These scarves are my favorite part of fall! 

This Silly Girl's Life
Ravelry: Thao Nguyen
Ravelry: Carrie Bostick Hoge

3. Mittens

Ok, I think I have fully stressed how much I plan on loving mittens this season. 

Ravelry: Barbara Gregory
Leisure Arts: Partridge Eye Mittens
My favorite! They are warm because you knit them with two strands of yarn.
Ravelry: Mary Ann Stephens
4. Muffs

Can we bring these back? They are so conventional and classy! I might recommend adding a pocket so this hand warmer can double as a pouch!

Ravelry: Lisa Ellis
Ravelry: Tiny Owl Knits 
This one is crochet. But too cute not to include! 
Ravelry: Kate Davies
Ravelry: Bev Galeskas
Thanks for reading. 

Stay crafty! 


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