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  • Yarncrafting Costumes: Knitted Light-Up Wings

    When our Marketing Team asked me to turn myself into a yarn hero, I was so excited for the opportunity to create a whimsical super hero costume with wings! I decided to become a “moon fairy," whose superpower is bringing light to the dark places.

    gali wings 1

    In plotting the costume, the moon crown I knitted last year was the perfect choice for headwear. Always happy to re-use a costume piece!

    Knitting Wings

    Next up, I wanted to design wings. For an ethereal look, I chose to work with LB Collection Wool Stainless Steel in Azalea. Knitting the fine yarn on larger-gauge needles created a lacy, airy fabric using just simple garter stitch.

    For inspiration, I looked at photos of butterfly wings and sketched out the wing shape. Each of the two wings would be composed of two separate wing pieces, with a long tail on the lower pieces. I drafted a rough pattern and wrote down the details as I knitted. These notes were especially important since I wanted to create matching wings!

    Constructing

    Construction presented an interesting challenge. How would the lacy, floaty knitted fabric hold its shape? Armature wire to the rescue! Often used in sculpture, this wire is soft enough to manipulate by hand, while sturdy enough to hold its shape. After knitting each wing panel, I threaded armature wire around the perimeter of the panel and bent it in to the desired shape. I used the long ends of the armature wire to connect the panels to each other.

    Now, how would I attach the wings to my body? For a comfortable way to wear the wings on my shoulders, I made straps out of silvery grey elastic. These straps were then sewn to a matching shade of felt, to blend in with the wire frame of the wings. I added a felt sandwich to the wings using hot glue, thus hiding the messy knot of armature wire where the wing panels all connected.

    Pink LED strand lights woven around the perimeter added some extra fairy sparkle. A pocket made of felt held the battery packs for the lights. And so my wings were ready to light up the night!

    Check out this short video so you can see them in motion!

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  • Try This Stitch: Fanfare Crochet

    Fanfare is a beautiful crochet pattern that's delicate and elegant without being too difficult.

    fanfare 1

    You don't need to be an expert crocheter to make something like fanfare stitch. You need to know single and double crochet, chain, and how to work into a chain space. If you need help with the basics of crochet, check out the Learn section or the Learn to Crochet series that recently finished.

    Fanfare looks nice in a heavier yarn, but would also be delicate and soft in something lighter. It makes a nice square -- which could be combined with other stitch squares into a blanket -- or repeated many times for a scarf or shawl. The sample here was crocheted using Lion's Pride® Woolspun®. It is three repeats wide and three tall.

    We have a large selection of knit and crochet stitches and motifs, called the Stitch Finder. In it, you'll find all kinds of interesting things. Lace, cables, flowers, trims, you name it. You can make an entire blanket from the blocks you'll find on that page, too. All the patterns listed are reprinted with permission from various books.

    Fanfare Stitch

    fanfare 2

    (ch a multiple of 6 sts + 4)

    Row 1: Work 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in next 2 ch, *ch 3, skip 3 ch, 1 sc in next 3 ch; rep from * across. Turn.

    Row 2: Ch 1, 1 sc in first 2 sc, *skip 1 sc, 5 dc in ch-3 sp, skip 1 sc, 1 sc in next sc; rep from * end 1 sc in last sc. Turn.

    Row 3: Ch 4 (counts as 1 sc and ch 3), skip (2 sc, 1 dc), 1 sc in next 3 dc, *ch 3, skip (1 dc, 1 sc, 1 dc), 1 sc in next 3 dc; rep from * to last 4 sts, end ch 3, skip (1 dc, 1 sc), 1 sc in last sc. Turn.

    Row 4: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 3 dc in first ch-3 sp, *skip 1 sc, 1 sc in next sc, skip 1 sc, 5 dc in ch-3 sp; rep from *, end last rep 4 dc in last ch-3 sp. Turn.

    Row 5: Ch 1, 1 sc in first 3 dc, *ch 3, skip (1 dc, 1 sc, 1 dc), 1 sc in next 3 dc; rep from * across. Turn.

    Rep rows 2–5.

    fanfare chart

    Stitch directions reproduced with permission, from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary: Volume Four, Sixth & Spring Books, 2007

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  • Crochet For Your Home with Fast-Track®

    Fast-Track® is an incredibly useful and versatile yarn. The softness of the cotton-poly blend makes it great for clothing while the tape-like shape makes it sturdy enough for home goods.

    We've already shown you how great Fast-Track® is for garments with the super popular knit Oxford Boyfriend Sweater. You agreed! The demand was so great we added three more color choices to the kits.

    Well, this yarn is also excellent for crocheting home wares, as well. It's soft but still durable, chic but useful. Since it's washable and it comes in a lot of different colors, Fast-Track® can work with almost any decor. It's sturdy enough for a rug, but light enough for a basket or bowl.

    Home Decor with Fast-Track®

    Baskets and Bowls

    Rugs and Mats

    The easy care means it's perfect to use this around kids and pets! They'll find it comfy to nap or play on, and when an inevitable mess appears, it's simple to clean. Toss it in the machine to wash, then lay it flat to dry.

    Of course, this is also a fun yarn to get really creative with. Try making it into jewelry or weaving it for wall hangings. Get the kids involved -- there's no need to knit or crochet, they can make bracelets or other pieces by braiding, wrapping, or weaving.

    The unique look will make for truly interesting and beautiful pieces.

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