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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Caps, caps everywhere!

Caps, caps everywhere! I am inspired.

It seems there is no end to all of the choices we have for the caps we will wear and share this year. No doubt about it, it’s a favorite project to knit or crochet around here. Every year Leisure Arts employees donate their time to “Knitting for Noggins”, making caps in every spare moment and having a great time doing it. I dare say there are often a few competitions among friends to see who can make the most and just to beat last year’s contribution.

Knitting for Noggins

We have long enjoyed participating in numerous charity efforts, both through the personal involvement of our employees and through the many books and leaflets we publish. One of the first ones I remember was “Caps for Kids”, started in the San Francisco Bay area by Bonnie Green in 1984. Bonnie owned the Yarn Country stores and suggested to her customers that they make hats with their scrap yarns and Yarn Country would find an organization that could use them. The program grew by leaps and bounds. Across the country thousands of hats were being given to needy children.

In 1987, TNNA and the Hand Knitting Association sponsored a national hat design contest to generate new patterns. Leisure Arts published the winning designs and proceeds from the sale of the publication also went to help support “Caps for Kids”. What a great initiative, and knitters and crocheters are no less generous today.

The cap fever I’m seeing isn’t limited to the work place. Neither is the act of giving by so many stitchers. Last weekend, I visited my mother. I entered her home to find an array of knitted caps and scarves of all kinds and colors. Yes, she had been in her yarn stash and it was wonderful. Kids and grandkids were invited to choose their favorites and the happy selection and modeling began! Now she’s starting on crochet styles. Lucky me! I’m counting on getting at least one of them.



If you like to crochet, check out Drew Embrosky’s, All In Caps. My personal favorite is the pick slouchy beret on the cover. It doesn’t always turn out that my picks are on the cover but this time it did!







If knitting is your preference, get into Deborah Norville’s book to find the pattern for these little cool-colored jewels.



Caps are great gift ideas and ‘tis the season for giving so grab your knitting needles, crochet hooks and join in the fun. The recipients will love them. Be sure and treat yourself to a few – you’ll be warm and stylin’ too!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Stylish Texture, 8 crochet afghans

On my way home for the evening, I walked past the lunchroom where a beautiful wave of color and texture stopped me in my tracks. I had to stop for a closer look and of course, to touch. Draped across a large table was a group of crochet afghans displayed together that made such a pretty picture I had to share it! No one was around at that precise moment but I soon learned these afghans were all made from patterns in the new Leisure Arts leaflet, Stylish Texture, 8 crochet afghans. I want them all, but realistically I have to start with one and think my choice will be the one called “Tranquility”. Soft, puffy popcorn stitches made in Vanna’s Choice™ Baby – the color: Sweet Pea. I even like the yarn color name, so it’s decided.

Stylish Textured Afghans

At least once a month, our editors have a show & tell where they share all of the finished projects from new books that are on their way to the printer. It’s a tradition that everyone enjoys and an opportunity for learning about all sorts of arts and crafts. The room was filled with a variety of other handcrafted items too, in the preparation for the event to be held the next morning – but this time, I was drawn in early by the crochet afghans and the color palette.

4464 Stylish Textured Afghans
Fantastic Yarn!

The back inside cover of the afghan book lists all of the yarns our pattern testers used for photo models. If you love them like I did, check out this handy reference. Of course you can choose your own favorites for these stylish crochet patterns designed by Barbara Shaffer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What a thrill to be blogging for Leisure Arts! It has been such a pleasure to work with the wonderful staff to get The Wrapping Scarf Revolution published and I have become thoroughly convinced that the world would be a much better place if we all had the lovely manners of the southern ladies down in Little Rock.

Yesterday was a beautiful crisp autumn day here in Connecticut. My friend Tracy invited some friends over for lunch and I decided to bring some mandu which are tasty Korean dumplings. You may have tried Japanese or Chinese dumplings which are similar to mandu but I highly recommend you try Korean dumplings if you ever get the chance.


Mandu is delicious steamed or boiled in a soup, but for Tracy's, I decided to pan fry in healthy grapeseed oil, so that the ladies could enjoy a fun finger food. To make things easy for the hostess, I love to bring food that is already nicely displayed in a dish. Transporting odd shaped dishes of food is a cinch with a wrapping scarf. I was also bringing some cookies in a separate covered container so I stacked the mandu on top of the cookies and wrapped it all up with a wrapping scarf. I used the lotus wrap which you can see demonstrated in this video.

We had a ball catching up with each other's most recent sagas of childrearing disasters and workplace woes. The mandu was a big hit and I'd love to share the recipe with you sometime in a future post! Until next time, happy wrapping!






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