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  • Blazingly Beautiful Baskets and Totally Totable Totes

    Why You Totally Have to Tote

    Today has brought another scorcher to New York City.  I’m normally scurrying around, carrying all kinds of things in heavy clothes with lots, and lots, of pockets (Yes, you could call me a… Pocket Monster). But in this kind of heat, who can get away with it?

    The only acceptable way to scuttle to-and-fro while carting around who-knows-what is to do it in a tote bag or some sort of basket-like device. And why would you sling a shoulder bag, canvas carryall, or wicker basket when you could be using this as the perfect opportunity to show off your magnificent fiber arts skills?

    Stripes with a Strap!

    This post was inspired in part by a phenomenal Stripey Hanging Basket by our dear friend Elizabeth at the fabulous Crochet in Color. Elizabeth needed a wide variety of colors, so she went with our fabulous Vanna's Choice. "The colors are so bright and cheerful," says Elizabeth, speaking of Vanna's Choice. "The acrylic holds up well for repeated use and gives it the right amount of form and shape." We couldn't agree more! It's always good to have a bunch of Vanna's Choice hanging around; a project like this is a stashbuster's delight!

    Do You Need to Make This? Totes McGoats...

    If you're like me, you're going to need to take a minute to sit here and soak in this gorgeously silly Totes McGoats tote by the inimitable Moogly. Ah yes. I'm nearly done soaking.

    Sorry, where were we? Totes McGoats. For that one friend you have who is actually obsessed with goats. For your many friends who are obsessed with memes. And for that goat farmer who helped dig your car out of a ditch that one time. And even though I do not believe that fall could possibly be around the corner, it actually is, and this would make a great Halloween bag.

    Moogly used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky - 4 balls of Fisherman and 1 ball of Walnut.

    So make Reginald T. McCoates, for whom the pun was named (and yes the T stands for Totes, improbably!) proud, and work up this lovely goatfriendbag.

    We *Heart* Baskets

    Leave it to Stephanie from AllAboutAmi to capture a heart in a basket (thanks for making it a yellow heart, Stephanie, chuckle!). She certainly has captured our heart. Stephanie used 6 skeins of Hometown USA in “Houston Cream” (Main color) and 1 skein of  Hometown USA in “Madison Mustard” (Contrast color). After you've got the yarn, head over to AllAboutAmi for her in-depth step-by-step, and free pattern!

    Get Chunky With It!

    While you're still at AllAboutAmi take a look at her post about big chunky crocheted baskets made out of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick!

    These big ol' chunkies are based on smaller baskets made by Elizabeth from Crochet in Color!

    From Chunky... to MONKEY!

    Rebecca from Little Monkeys Crochet has come up with a basket just perfect for slinging in your monkey paws! For this gift bag, Rebecca used 24/7 Cotton (by Lion Brand) in color blocks of Lilac, Café Au Lait, and Ecru. You'll want to balls of each. And you'll also want to prepare yourself for the epic-mega-super-hyper-hug that you get from whoever you give this tote basket to as a gift!

    Bonus Basket: The Jewelry Catcher!

    Check out this beautiful little guy! Sure, this isn't exactly a container to go zipping around town with (although I appreciate tremendously the mental image of someone bustling about while holding this basket in their outstretched palm), but this Jewelry Catcher by MamaInAStitch is simply too cute not to post. "I think the small basket in particular would be great to keep next to the kitchen sink to throw rings or jewelry in when you’re doing dishes or cooking," says its creator, Jessica! To get it looking as picture-perfect as Jessica's beautiful photo, you'll want a ball each of Lion Brand Hometown USA in Houston Cream (white) and Phoenix Azalea (pink).

    Get Working, Basket Case!

    That's all we've got room for in our tote basket for this day. Stay tuned for more basket-goodness to come. And for the love of Reginald T. McCoates, make yourself some totes.

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  • The 12 Kits of Christmas in July: The majestic aura of the Tree of Life Afghan

    12 Kits of Christmas

    From the dawn of time, human beings have been breathlessly inspired by the king of the plant world, the Tree. Imposing in stature, existing in a mysterious state that transcends our human-scale notions of consciousness, time, and space, trees have infiltrated the very roots of human imagination, representing spiritual growth, fertility, transformation, and transcendence.

    They also look super great on a knitted afghan!


    Just take a look at today’s kit, this glorious Tree of Life afghan, from our Christmas in July celebration! Can’t you just feel the thrum of eons of mystique dwelling within these stylized, leafless hulks?

    Close your eyes and picture the wintery landscape where these living, ancient talismans dwell. Do you hear the strange song of ages that pulses soundlessly from the essence of these silent giants? Can you feel the cool air whistling through their branches? I can’t. It’s hot as heck out, and my imagination isn’t that great.

    But that’s not going to keep me from grabbing 10 balls of Wool-Ease: Fisherman and getting to work making this ultra-sweet afghan. Get the pattern, kick up your heels, dial up Terrance Malick’s The Tree of Life on your streaming-platform-of-choice, and start knitting up this genuinely serene, beautiful pattern. It makes for a marvelous gift, perhaps to wrap oneself in while communing with the elder spirits of the forest.

    When you have returned to this plane of reality, keep your aura tuned to our blog for more exclusive kits available only at during our Christmas in July celebration! You get a whopping 20% off these kits, but you’ll need to act faster than a tree: these inspiring kits are on sale until August 7!

    So make like a tree and leave this blog so you can get started knitting!

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  • Moogly Shows You How to Crochet the Openwork Shawl!

    How to Crochet the Openwork Shawl by Lion Brand Yarn!

    by Tamara Kelly,
    openwork shawl tutorial youtube thumb

    Lion Brand Yarn has a plethora of free crochet patterns on their site, and one of the best ones for beginning crocheters is the Openwork Shawl! It uses simple stitches combined with a gorgeous yarn to stunning effect. Of course, it's great for experienced crocheters as well - a pattern that is relaxing to crochet with a beautiful one skein result!

    To begin, you'll want to grab the Openwork Shawl pattern here on Lion Brand Yarn, as well as the materials listed: one ball of Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball, a US-J, 6.0mm hook, and a yarn needle and scissors - though you won't need the needle and scissors until the very end. Then, you can follow along with the photo tutorial below... or go all the way to the end for the video tutorial!

    Openwork Shawl Tutorial - Photo 1

    Step 1: Like most crochet patterns, you begin with a slip knot! This is implied, not spelled out in most written patterns.

    Openwork Shawl Tutorial - Photo 2

    Step 2: Chain 67. Remember that the loop on your hook is NOT included in this count!

    Openwork Shawl Tutorial - Photo 3

    Step 3: Double crochet into the 5th chain from the hook. You can go into whichever part of the chain you prefer for this, but do your best to be consistent as you work back across the chain.

    Openwork Shawl Tutorial - Photo 4

    Step 4: Then we begin the way we'll continue all the way across - chain 1, then skipping the next chain, double crochet in the next chain after that. Then chain 1, skip the next chain, and double crochet in the next chain... over and over again, until you end up with a double crochet in the very last chain.

    Openwork Shawl Tutorial - Photo 5

    Step 5: To being Row 2, you chain 4. This chain 4 will "count as" a double crochet stitch and a chain 1. Sound familiar?

    Openwork Shawl Tutorial - Photo 6

    Step 6: Next, you skip over the chain 1 in Row 1 below, and double crochet in the next double crochet. Do your best to go under both loops of the stitch.

    Openwork Shawl Tutorial - Photo 7

    Step 7: From here, it's just the same - chain 1, skip the next chain, double crochet in the next double crochet... repeating all the way to the end of Row 2! The very last stitch of Row 2 will go in the top of the chain 3 that represented the first dc of Row 1. So, skip the chain closest to the last Row 1 double crochet, and put you last Row 2 double crochet in the chain right after that.

    Openwork Shawl Tutorial - Photo 8

    NOTE! To keep track and make sure your shawl will have even sides, don't forget to count your stitches! Including the chain 3 that counts as a double crochet, you should have 33 double crochets in each row. 

    Openwork Shawl Tutorial - Photo 9

    Step 8: Repeat what you did for Row 2 to make Row 3 and beyond (steps 5-7). Keep going until you don't have enough yarn left to make a whole nother row. Here's where we use the scissors and needle - cut off the excess remaining yarn, leaving about 6 inches after the last stitch. Pull this end through the last loop on the hook to secure it, and weave in the ends with the yarn needle! You can see a demo of this - as well as the rest of the shawl - in the video below!

    And that's all there is to making the Openwork Shawl from Lion Brand Yarn! I hope this tutorial has helped you feel ready to tackle this lovely free crochet pattern!

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