Pages

Join Our Spring Home Decor KAL/CAL!

With Spring and Summer comes warmer weather, and the desire to knit or crochet cozy woolens is gone. You don’t need to put down your hooks or needles though, it’s time to make home decor!

From now until June 30th, we’re hosting a home decor CAL/KAL - just knit or crochet something for your home and share it with us in this Ravelry thread for your chance to win great prizes (more on that in a bit).

During the month of May, we’ll be sharing pattern ideas on our Facebook page, so be sure to check those out. In the meantime, here are 3 of our favorite home decor patterns to inspire you:

This blanket is amazing because it allows to create any size of blanket all the while only having 10 stitches on your needles at a time. This is a variation on the rectangular blanket, made famous by Staci Perry’s tutorials on her Very Pink Knits YouTube Channel.

This is a trend that continues to be popular, this crochet pattern by Nadia Fuad is so fun. It would look especially great in a semi-solid yarn.

We love this basket pattern with the chunky braids and handles! Now you can have a knitting basket that you knit yourself!

As previously mentioned, there are some great prizes up for grabs for anyone participating in our CAL/KAL:
Winners will be selected from the Ravelry group thread and from Instagram, using the event hashtag #KPSpringKAL. You can make as many projects as you like for multiple entries in the contest drawing; double dipping with other KAL/CALs is ok, too!

Once the KAL/CAL closes, we'll announce the winners here on our blog at the beginning of July.

Be sure to share your projects on Instagram with the hashtags #knitterspride and #KPSpringKAL. We can't wait to see what you make, and don't forget to add our blog to your reading list because in our next post, we’ll share a free knitted wash cloth pattern!

Winner + Designer Spotlight: Pia Thadani

As part of our ongoing Designer Spotlight series, we take a look at what makes designers tick.

This week we have Pia Thadani, crochet designer and Crochet Guild of America Member! Pia calls the beautiful state of Illinois home.

Pia designed the Sargassum Shawl featured in the Crochet Guild of America Crochet Along this month! Be sure to participate for a chance to win a set of our Crochet Hooks that we donated to the CAL.


When did you learn to crochet? Do you do any other crafts?
My mom taught me to crochet when I was very young – maybe around 5. I started with chaining by hand, without a hook, to make bracelets. When I got tired of that, I still remember spending days making mile long chains and then braiding them together to form jump ropes (which only worked marginally well, but was still fun)! Mom taught me lots of other fiber arts too – knitting, tatting, embroidery, needlepoint, rug hooking, macramé, sewing, and probably more that I’ve forgotten. I can’t remember any part of my life that didn’t involve making things, and I’ll try pretty much any new craft. Sometimes they work out, and other times I’m just horrible at them (like sewing). I tend to go in spurts – for a while, I was obsessed with scrapbooking, and more recently it’s been spinning. Crochet has more or less stuck as my main passion through all of them though.
How did you get started designing?
I actually started blogging first, as sort of a crafting diary, and would write about modifications I was making to patterns. I almost never follow a pattern exactly as written, and I’ve always been that way. I usually read through it, get the gist, and then start making bits up as I go. My blogging friends soon started encouraging me to make up whole patterns from scratch, and everything just grew from there. Joining the CGOA was a big step for me in taking crochet from a hobby to a business. The local chapter activities, online projects, and national conferences have all provided invaluable networking and learning opportunities. On top of that, the new friendships and sense of community I’ve found through the CGOA have been amazing.
What is your design process typically like? - or - What are your favorite projects to design?
Growing up, crochet to me was always about gift giving on a budget. I still love to make things for other people, so I often end up designing to fit specific gift giving opportunities. If someone wants a sweater for Christmas, I make a sweater. If someone’s having a baby, it’s going to be all things baby for a while. There always has to be a reason to make something. I have a much harder time just sitting down and coming up with a design without any context. Recently I’ve started designing more for myself, but it still is usually when there’s something I need (or want). If you want a very detailed look at my design process, check out my series on “How a Pattern Happens”.


Tell us about your design for the CGOA CAL. Are there any special techniques that crocheters will need to master to complete the project?
Sargassum is a perfect example of designing to fit a need. I was going on vacation in Florida, and needed something light and pretty for the chillier evenings. I’ve had a gorgeous skein of discontinued cotton yarn in my stash that I had been wanting to use, and the color reminded me of the Sargassum seaweed that you find on the beach. The lace stitch for the bottom border was something I had played with months earlier (coincidentally, in the same yarn). The pattern does incorporate a lot of different techniques, which is one reason why I thought it would be best introduced as a CAL. The techniques appear one at a time, so you can master one before having to deal with another, and the pattern includes links to tutorials for all of them. Some of them are also optional, and easier alternatives are provided. The first is foundation stitches, then chainless starting double crochets, a few rows later there are puff stitches worked so they lie sideways, then color changes, beads, linked double crochet in the top border, and finally a shell and picot edge. Fun fact – that’s my mom in those pictures!


What is your absolute favorite Knitter's Pride product, the one you would HAVE to have if you were stranded on a desert island?
If you had asked me that last year, I would have said my sock blockers. These things are magic for socks, and I think they even help them to dry faster. Also, when you tie them together, they work really well as a weight on hand-spun skeins! But, I recently got a set of Nova Cubics Platina Interchangeables, and those are now my new favorite Knitters Pride product. I swatched with them right away and they are absolute heaven. The unique ergonomically shaped shafts are surprisingly comfortable to hold and help with getting the needle into tighter stitches, and they’re just the right amount of slippery for my taste too. Just my luck though - since I got them I’ve been buried in lighter weight projects that need smaller needles. As soon as I have a chance, I’m dying to work up a nice big project on them.
Do you have any crocheting horror stories or mishaps?
I tried to make a swimsuit cover-up once, with a big fillet crochet butterfly on the back. It came out really nice…until I wore it over a wet swimsuit. I had used a kitchen cotton, and I learned the hard way just how much that type of yarn can stretch when it’s wet. Think saggy butterfly butt. Yeah, not attractive.

Winner
Congratulations to BinaBKnits,  this month's giveaway winner! We will contact you to arrange for the delivery of your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered this month's giveaway, we got some awesome ideas for - click here to check out the comments & get inspired to reuse and recycle

Keep it Green by Upcycling for Earth Day + Giveaway

Do you want to help keep as much as you can out of the landfill? Do you hate to see things going to waste? Here are a few tips to help upcycle materials this spring!


Unravel a sweater to reclaim yarn
We all have those sweaters in our closet that are destined to go to the thrift store after the Spring cleaning purge, but what if that sweater could become your next new project?



Start by examining the sweater, if it is still in good condition, you can reclaim the yarn. Start by unseaming the sweater. Once the sweater is in parts, find an end and start unraveling! This can be a fun project to do with kids. Using a swift makes the process go a little faster, and prepares you for the next step. Wash the yarn in a yarn soak to relax the fiber, then hang it up to dry with a weight to get out any of the pesky kinks.


If you don’t like the original color of the yarn, this is the ideal time to dye it.


If you don’t have any old sweaters, head to your local thrift store and there are sure to be plenty of them there to turn into a pretty sizeable stash. For a more detailed explanation of this process, check out this great blog post.


Turn fabric into yarn
Whether it’s a worn out t-shirt, or old sheets, any fabric can become your new rug yarn! Cut up t-shirts and sheets to create long strips of fabric that you can either crochet, knit, or weave long-lasting durable rugs. This gives those old garments a second life, and gives you an excuse to use your Jumbo Birch needles and hooks!



Crochet Rug Tutorial from 1 Dog Woof


Upcycle your worn-out clothes
If you have a t-shirt that is a little worn out or just don't love it anymore, adorn it with yarn!



The Jelly Bean Tee Edging pattern teaches you how to add a knit yoke around a shirt, which can add new life to your favorite sweatshirt! Or, try adding some lace around the worn out cuff of your jeans.



Spruce up your boring outfits by adding appliques, as seen here in the Sweater Makeover pattern from Meredith Crawford.

Giveaway
What is your favorite upcycling tip? How do you celebrate Earth day? Let us know in the comments below for your chance to win 1 of two prizes: a set of our Naturalz DPNs or a pair of our Fixed Circular Needles

We'll announce our winners in our next blog post on Friday, April 28. Good luck!

If you liked this blog, please share it with your friends and knit group! If you try any of these projects, let us know over on Instagram and use the hashtag #knitterspride.

Winner + Designer Spotlight: Boo Knits

Our ongoing Designer Spotlight feature allows us to get a glimpse of what drives them to create.

Today, we interview Boo Knits. Bev is a knitter of shawls predominantly, and she has an avid obsession for beautiful yarns, beads and knitting needles. She lives in mildly moist but beautifully green England.

When did you learn to knit/crochet?
My aunt tried to teach me when I was a child but gave it up as a bad job when I just couldn’t hold my yarn properly. I still don’t! Many, many years later I taught myself with the aid of books, YouTube and a fair bit of trial and error to find the easiest way that worked for me.

What are your favorite projects to design?
I love to design shawls and have designed a couple of scarves/stoles but that doesn’t mean that that is all I will ever design. I have something different on the needles at the moment and we will have to wait and see whether it will become a pattern or not. I love the fun of designing and knitting lace – the playing with pattern and texture is mesmerizing.
Diamond Fizz by Boo Knits

A lot of knitters are intimidated by lace knitting. What are some of your fool proof tips for success with lace projects?

The most important thing is as simple as read the pattern. Read it again. Make a cup of coffee. Read the pattern. The answers to many of the questions I get asked are already in the pattern. Another useful tip - Stitch Markers! Stitch Markers are your friends, they are not a sign that you are new, less than able, cannot count, they are there to help keep track of your stitches and pattern and to help to make sure you don’t get to the end of the row only to have to tink back to put something right at the beginning. The finer your stitch markers the better, especially with lace knitting as some of the thicker markers can leave a mark in your knitting that looks like a ladder. These often disappear after blocking but not always and prevention is better than cure.

Many of your designs use beads; do you have any tips or tutorials to help knitters who are new to this technique?
Using beads is much easier than anyone would think. I would definitely recommend the better-quality beads on the market and particularly like Miyuki, Toho and Matubo – they have nice, smooth, large holes to get your yarn through. I almost always use their Size 6 Seed Beads and Size 5 Triangles on lace as the smaller beads simply get lost on anything heavier than cobweb. All of my patterns have the beads placed on the stitch individually. This ensures that the bead sits nice and straight on the stitch rather than sitting on a slant which happens when the beads are pre-strung.

There are many ways to apply a bead; with a tiny crochet hook, dental floss, a specially designed beader or, my favourite way, using a cro-tat hook. I load beads onto about six cro-tats at a time and stand them up in either a small vase or a jar of beads so that I don’t have to keep reloading. This means it is much quicker to finish a row with beads on and is less fiddly than only having one bead at a time.

Somehow it is smoother to apply beads when you have several on your hook. Just pop your stitch onto the loaded cro-tat, hold your hook at about 45 degrees with your stitch taut (at about 90 degrees from the hook) and push the bottom bead gently. The top bead should just pop onto your stitch and you are then ready to work the stitch as directed in the pattern.

What is your absolute favorite Knitter's Pride product, the one you would HAVE to have if you were stranded on a desert island?
As a lace knitter, it would have to be blocking wires and t-pins – an absolute must for anyone knitting shawls! I am sure, if stranded too long, they would become really good multi-purpose tools too.
Moonflower by Boo Knits

I have a MKAL starting 1st May called Just Be You. The shawl has been designed in conjunction with Lichtfaden for Sabine’s Meridian Pure Silk yarn. Just Be You is a crescent shaped, beaded and worked from the top down in a heavy lace weight yarn 660m/110g.
Sabine’s love for colour is evident to all and we talked at length about a style and influence for the design. Wave-Gotik-Treffen (WGT) is a gothic music and fashion festival held every year, for the past twenty-five years, in Leipzig, Germany.
With a Victorian picnic in the park, readings, theatre performances and medieval markets as well as the huge number of music events it is the biggest festival of its kind anywhere and is considered the ‘Mecca’ for cybergoths, metal heads, steampunks, neo-Victorians, dark romantics, dark electro, industrial and medieval fans.
Thousands of people descend on the city wearing the most amazing outfits – people attend alone, with friends or with their entire family and travel the world over to take part and experience this week-long event that is always a friendly, tolerant and trouble-free festival. So, whether your style is Victorian Lady, Gothic, Steampunk, or Jeans and T-shirt – Just Be You!
This shawl is a celebration of all of us, whoever we are, whatever we are and wherever we are – that we accept ourselves and others without judgement. Choose your colour and wear your shawl with pride and love and be true to yourself.
If you cannot wait until 1st May to cast on, then there are lots of other patterns available to try. Rum and Cola and Spritzer are brilliant for those new to lace, Voodoo and Spellbound would be great for anyone wanting something with more detail and Wintersweet, Danse Macabre and Temptress would be perfect for those with more experience. There really is something for everyone.

Winner
Congratulations to Connie K., this month's giveaway winner! We will contact you to arrange for the delivery of your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered this month's giveaway! 

2 Tips for Crocheting in the Round + Giveaway

Happy National Craft Month! Since March is also National Crochet Month, we're sharing two great crochet tips for jogless stripes and better joins for in-the-round crocheting. Stay tuned for a special giveaway, too!
in the round.JPG

Many beginning crocheters are disappointed when they see jogs in their striped projects (such as hats) or when they have a bumpy seam going up their in-the-round projects. 

The Problem: Color Jogs & Messy Joins
First, let's look at the traditional joining method to see why color jogs happen:


In color A, single crochet all the way around, slip stitch to join. Chain 2, insert your crochet hook into first stitch and join color B.
traditional joining.JPG


This technique creates a spike or a jog in the stripe. While it isn’t that apparent in large stripes, with 1-3 row stripes these jogs are unsightly.


The Solution:
In Color A, single crochet around until you get to the final stitch of the round. Insert your hook into the last stitch, yarn over with Color A and pull a loop through. With Color B, yarn over and pull the final loop through, and slip stitch to join. This gives you a jogless join!

jogless step 1.JPG
jogless step 2.JPG
jogless step 3.JPG


What about those funny bumps when joining in the round?
For solid color pieces in the round, your best option is to use the spiral method.


When you reach the end of your round, instead of slip-stitching to the beginning of the round, single crochet into the first stitch and continue. Use a removable stitch marker to keep track of the number of rows you’ve crocheted. Slip stitch on the final row to finish off the piece.
spiral step 1.JPG
spiral step 2.JPG

We hope these tips help you with your crocheting in the round!


Giveaway
One lucky blog reader will win a Waves Crochet Set! To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us what projects you're looking forward to making this spring. Be sure to also mention your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win.

We will pick our winner at random to announce on our next blog post on Friday, March 24. Good luck!

Winner
Congratulations to Margo B., our winner for the bonus giveaway we announced on our last blog post! We'll get in touch with your shortly to arrange the delivery of your prize. Thank you to everyone who entered our contest!

Designer Spotlight: Jen Geigley


Chunky knits are still hot! These quick-to-knit projects offer instant gratification, and there are so many great designs making use of big yarns, big needles, and oversized texture. Designer Jen Geigley could be called the queen of chunky knits: both of her books, Weekend and Everyday, are chock full of gorgeous & wearable projects. Below is our interview with Jen, and be sure to read on to the end to see who won our February blog giveaway, and for a special treat!


When did you learn to knit/crochet?
I started knitting in 2008. I had two friends who were knitters and I begged them to teach me. One night, they taught me how to cast on, knit and purl and I immediately became obsessed. I read every book I could get my hands on and I haven’t stopped knitting since.

How did you get started designing?
I wrote my first pattern in 2010 – just a simple cowl that I had knitted a few times, but really liked. So I decided to write down the pattern. That pattern accidentally launched me into knitwear design because (almost overnight) it became very popular online. After that, I decided to experiment more, play with yarn, shapes and stitch patterns and keep writing.


What is your design process typically like? What are your favorite projects to design?
Everything starts in a sketchbook that I carry with me. I also make mood boards for larger projects, like my books. I draw first, swatch next and then start writing. I really love making an entire collection and envisioning how it will look together when photographed. It generally takes me about a year to write a book and knit samples. Some things end up not fitting with the collection and I usually have to knit them in their entirety to figure that out. Some things just don't make the final cut … it's kind of like Project Runway (Make it work!).
Leo Scarf from Everyday
You've now self published two distinct collections of patterns, Weekend and Everyday. How were you able to complete such big projects on your own?
It definitely takes a team in the end! I had lots of help from my tech editor and my talented photographers and models made everything look amazing. But yes, for a long time this was just me … slowly playing with ideas and brainstorming how things would look when they were all put together. With my first book, I definitely had to talk myself into it. I didn’t get completely serious about writing a book until I hung out with a successful photographer and book publishing friend of mine. We sat down and he talked me through the publishing process. He filled in the blanks and answered so many of my questions. I had the knitting part figured out, but the rest had been a mystery. It was that day that I decided to jump in and really go for it. I made myself a firm deadline of Fall 2015 and that was it. I wasn’t going to let another knitting season pass me by. I wrote a note to myself on a post-it and kept it on the inside cover of my sketchbook. And it just said ‘Don’t stop.’
I first started the rough outline of my book by dividing it into two parts – the first half is very photo-heavy and the second half is the text portion of my book. The patterns. So I made a list of photography shots that I wanted to get of each project. Then I made some bullet points for everything I’d need to write … special technique explanations, resources, acknowledgements, the table of contents, etc. And of course, the patterns themselves. Each pattern needs a list of supplies, notions, the sizing information and gauge. Plus a detail photo, and the instructions. So I began organizing that info in a graphic way using InDesign … experimenting with the hierarchy and the flow. (Sometimes being a graphic designer is a valuable thing!)
To track progress and keep up with the deadlines I had set for myself, I used Action Method notebooks. They have little blanks for Action Steps and things to put on the backburner. I kept several of these going … I’d cross things out or move on to new lists as things changed or new goals took priority. I also kept one sketchbook where I’d draw out pattern ideas and jot down quick notes. It’s very messy and scribbly but I’ll probably keep it forever.
Gap-tastic Cowl

What is your absolute favorite Knitter's Pride product, the one you would HAVE to have if you were stranded on a desert island?
I cannot live without my Knitter’s Pride Nova Cubics Platina interchangeable circulars set! Truly. I can’t remember how many years I’ve owned these, but I knit almost everything in my books with these needles. I love how my stitches stay uniform when knitting with Cubics. Truly a game-changer. I also love that Knitter's Pride carries the big needles that I need for my super-bulky projects – I have the Jumbo Birch circular US 36 and US 50 needles and I use them all of the time.


Do you have any knitting horror stories or mishaps?
Well, I just lost one of my project bags for an entire week. It had 4 skeins of yarn in it and a half-finished sweater! Every time I thought about it, I felt sick. I had no idea where I'd left it and called every single place I’d been to that week (which was a lot of places) and it finally turned up at a car dealership where I’d had an oil change.


I also left my entire knitting bag at a coffee shop one time and as I had walked out, one of the yarn balls had trailed behind me into the parking lot, unbeknownst to me. When one of the employees found my bag, they must have went outside and scooped the yarn up and saved the bag for me until I came back the next time. There was a big post-it note on my bag that said 'give this to the knitting girl.'  I've decided to attach luggage tags with my contact info on all my project bags from now on. HA.


Jen Geigley has written and self-published knitting patterns since 2010. Clean, modern designs inspire her and she has a love and appreciation for simple knits that are wearable. Her designs have been published in Knit Simple Magazine, Noro Magazine, Knitsy Magazine and Rowan’s Online Publications. She is the author of 'Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits' and 'Everyday: A casual, modern hand-knit collection.' (Jessica Jones actress Krysten Ritter is a fan of her books and recently recommended them to her Instagram followers!) Jen's most popular pattern, the Gap-tastic cowl, has been knit 18,252 times on Ravelry. She is passionate about sharing the love of knitting by teaching knitting classes to adults and children at local high schools and workshops and loves knitting with her daughter.


Find Jen around the web!
Buy the books here - http://www.jengeigley.com/shop/


Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Iamjoannep! You have won this month's blog giveaway, we will get in touch with you to arrange for the delivery of your prize.

Bonus Giveaway!

One of our lucky readers will win this prize pack! You can enter our contest by using the widget below, or click here to view a mobile-friendly version. We'll announce the winner on our next blog post on Friday, March 10. Good luck!


Giveaway + 3 Ways to Use our Fabric Bags (That Aren't for Knitting)

While we love knitting (and yarn and crocheting, too!) some of our products aren't just for knitters. Our fabric bags are colorful, durable, and washable - made from stunning hand-printed fabrics in a variety of styles, they are ideal for many different uses! Read below for 3 non-knitting ways to use these bags.

1. When you travel, it's important to keep all of your vitamins. supplements, and other small things contained and all in one place. The small zipper pouch from the Amber line is great for teas, Emergen-C and other small things you might need when traveling, and want to be able to reach quickly.



2. Another organizational/travel tip is to use one of the large zipper bags from the Joy line as a makeup bag or dopp kit. Keep small toiletry items inside along with make-up, travel-size shampoos or lotions, or a small hair brush. This will help clean up and dress up your bathroom counter with a cute fabric bag.


3. If you are into other fiber arts like embroidery or needlework, a medium zipper pouch from Amber line is good for containing other tools of the trade, here we have embroidery floss, some wooden cross stitch blanks, scissors, and other small notions.


Click here to see all of our fabric bag options on the Knitter's Pride website. If you already have one of our fabric bags, we'd love to see how you are using them - show us over on Instagram and use the hashtag #knitterspride!

Giveaway

One of our lucky blog readers will win a red Amber zipper pouch this month! To enter, leave a comment telling us how you would use one of these bags! Be sure to also include your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win.

We will randomly select a winning comment to announce on our next blog post on Friday, February 24. Good luck!