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Monthly Archives: May 2011

  • 5 Podcasts We Love!

    SwatchesCrafters everywhere know the importance of being focused while you work - but many of us like to have a little something interesting on in the background. Podcasts are a great source of entertainment, and can even help you with your crafting!

    One of the many free goodies on the Lion Brand website is our free podcast series, YarnCraft. This podcast is updated with new episodes every two weeks and is chock full of interviews, projects, tips and tricks for enjoying your crafting life.  Here are five more great podcasts about crafting with yarn! [As always, highlighted text is clickable.]

    Just One More Row
    Cohosts Brittany and Dana talk about patterns they love, projects they're working on and upcoming contests  in this friendly, conversational podcast. Both of these Tennessee ladies knit, but Brittany also spins and Dana is a long time crocheter. They post great notes for each episode and include links to the patterns and websites they mention, in case you want to catch up and make one of the many projects they talk about on the show!

    This podcast is a great resource for book lovers, crafters, and those who wish they could read while working with yarn. Each episode begins with a portion of crafting discussion before diving into classic literature. The host of this podcast is a knitter, crocheter, spinner and English teacher! She tailors each episode to the interests of crafters and those who love classic books or want to read them for the first time.

    Stash and Burn
    A popular favorite, Nicole and Jenny of Stash and Burn talk about projects they are working on and living "Life Under the Weight of the Stash". These two focus mostly on knitted projects, but take time out to review techniques and books. Conversations can wander from topic to topic, but always come around back to fiber arts and patterns they love!

    Stitch It
    Meghan of Stitch It tells great stories about motherhood, balancing a busy life and, of course, crafting. A busy fiber lover, she works with knitting and crochet as well as spinning and dyeing. Her episodes cover many different topics, but are full of interesting stories and plenty of fiber fun.

    The Knit Girllls
    Watching this conversational video podcast is like inviting co-hosts Leslie and Laura over for some quality stitching time together. The two ladies show off their work and finished projects, talk about patterns and announce new giveaways!

    These are just some of the many great podcasts on crafting with yarn, and each can be found through these links or on iTunes. Did we mention your favorite?

    Leave a comment to tell us about a crafting podcast you love and what you love about it!

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  • Tips for Joining a New Ball of Yarn to Your Work

    Unless you are making a one-ball scarf or hat, there is going to come a point in your knitting (probably several, actually) when you will need to join a new ball of yarn. The absolute best way to do this is to join the new ball at the edge, as this avoids messy or gapped stitches. When you do this, you simply stop working with the old yarn at the end of one row and begin working with the new yarn as you begin working the next row.

    However, there are sometimes that this just isn't possible. For instance, if you’re working in the round you obviously have no edge to join at. You also might be working on a project where you’re really concerned about running short of yarn and you want to use every inch possible. There are a couple of options for those times when you can't join at an edge:

    The best thing to do, unless you are working with a very thick yarn, is work a couple of stitches while holding the old yarn and the new yarn together. Make sure to work these double-stranded stitches as single stitches on the next row--the double stranding won't show in the finished project. This particular method gives a nice stable join with no loosening of the stitches or possible gapping between them.

    If you’re working with a particularly thick yarn (category 5 or higher), you’ll need to join as usual, meaning you’ll just stop working with the old yarn and start working with the new yarn, leaving a tail of 4-6” of each. You’ll probably need to snug up these stitches as you work the first couple of rows past the join, and may even want to temporarily tie a half hitch just to stabilize the area. Then when you're weaving in your ends, weave them across the join. In other words, weave the tail from the left over to the right and the tail from the right over to the left. This should keep that gap closed and give it the appearance of a normal stitch.

    Editor's note: When joining yarn, you also have several options to splice your old yarn's end and new yarn's end together before continuing to knit or crochet. Use Google (Bing, Yahoo, etc.) to search for "Russian join," or for feltable yarns, search "felted join". You'll be able to find many written, illustrated, and video tutorials on these two popular yarn-splicing methods.

    Are there other skills that you need tips on? Let us know in the comments!

    Related links:

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  • Crochet Flowers Round-Up

    Want to add a touch of whimsy to any project? Whip up a few crocheted flowers! These small, portable projects are also a great way to use up yarn scraps. Here are five of my favorite crochet flower patterns:

    Top row: Mother's Day Flower (left), Tradescantia (right)
    Middle row: Narcissus
    Bottom row: Irish Rose (left), Six Petal Flower (right)

    Once you've crocheted the flowers, what can you do with them? The possibilities are endless! Here are just a few suggestions:

    • Attach a pin back for a versatile accessory.
    • Add a bobby pin for a floral hair accessory.
    • Sew onto an afghan for a pop of color.
    • Add to a tote or market bag for some pizazz.
    • Sew to a hat or scarf for a stylish twist on a favorite pattern.

    What are your favorite ways to use crocheted flowers? Be sure to let us know in the comments! Knitters, check back next week for a round-up of flowers for you!

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