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  • Cozy Up in Crochet Boots with Flip-Flop Soles

    There's nothing quite so comfy as a soft pair of boots. They can go out, but also double as slippers around the house, and keep you warm and toasty when there's a chill in the air. They are the very embodiment of hygge, and now you can make your own pair with flip-flop soles.

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    Jess over at Make and Do Crew has already established herself as the queen of crocheted footwear. This unique set of designs has already gone viral on more than one occasion,  and her newest pattern, the Breckenridge Boots, is another fantastic addition to the family.

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    To make the Breckenridge Boots, you will use a pair of flip-flops for the sole. Crochet the foot and shaft in Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick© Bonus Bundle. The trim is made from Homespun®, so it has a great texture to emulate the sheepskin of Ugg boots. You also need a small amount of Vanna's Choice® to match your flip-flop soles for attaching them to the body of the boot.

    Working with Flip-Flop Soles

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    You start off the boots by removing the flip-flop straps, then poking holes around the sole to attach the foot. This is done by crocheting around with the Vanna's Choice®. Then you switch to the Thick & Quick®. Jess provides detailed instructions in the pattern. If you want to wear the boots outside, you can glue the plastic plugs from the straps in place after the boots are finished. If you will be using this solely (pun intended) as slippers, that particular step is optional.

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    Crocheting into holes on flip-flops is likely a new technique for you, unless you've made one of Jess's previous patterns. However, if you use the image above as a visual cue, it's not as hard as it might seem. If you're worried about messing up, buy more than one pair of flip-flops. They aren't too expensive. Jess also recommends buying your sandals a size smaller than you normally would, to help with the fit of the boots. You should also be crocheting at an extremely tight gauge during the foot portion, so keep an eye on tension as you go.

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    Crocheting the Boot

    You'll work the foot in the round, using a slip stitch to join them. The shaft of the boot is done in a couple of pieces. The side seams are where the white "sheepskin" trim will go. You'll sew the buttons on the outside of each boot.

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    Once the feet and shafts are complete, move onto the trim and finishing. Jess covers this in detail in the pattern as well. While the effect of Homespun makes it look like these boots are fully lined with fur, they are actually just trimmed. You get the look without the dangers of your feet overheating. You will also attach the buttons, make loops, and, if you wish to, glue the plugs in place within the soles.

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    Once you finish, it's time to curl up and get cozy. Put on some comfy leggings and a tee or sweatshirt and sit on the couch on a chilly day. Netflix, tea, pets, and a window overlooking a snowstorm are all optional, but highly recommended.

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  • How to Crochet the Sweet Baby Afghan!

    by Tamara Kelly, www.mooglyblog.com

    Even the simplest stitch patterns pop with the use of self-striping yarns! And Lion Brand's Ice Cream® and the granny stripe stitch make the perfect pair. This stitch is the basis for the Sweet Baby Afghan, and this is how you make it!

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    The Sweet Baby Afghan in Lion Brand Ice Cream® is a free crochet pattern found right here in the Lion Brand pattern finder. Print out the pattern, and gather your supplies - we'll need a US-H, 5.00 mm crochet hook and 3 balls of Lion Brand Ice Cream® in your favorite colorway. The original pattern calls for Strawberry, but I used Blueberry for this tutorial.

    This pattern starts with a chain of 115 - you can use stitch markers to help you keep count as you go. The pattern uses a stitch multiple of 3 +1, so for this tutorial I'm making a tiny swatch starting with just 16 chains. For a full-size baby blanket, you'll just be repeating the stitches between the ends of each row more times. To begin Row 1, make a double crochet in the 4th chain from the hook. The 3 chains you skipped will count as the first double crochet of this row. So here, we have 2 "double crochets."

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    Then, begin the repeat that will take you across most of the rest of the row - skip the next 2 chains, then work 3 double crochets in the chain after that. Then skip 2, then 3 double crochets in the next. Repeat on across until there are just 3 chains left.

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    To finish the first row, skip the next 2 chains, and then work 2 double crochets in the last chain. For the baby blanket, you should see a set of 2 double crochets on each end of the row, with 36 groups of 3 double crochets in between. (On my swatch, it's just 3 groups of 3 between the ends.) Turn to go back for the next row...

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    Time for Row 2! To begin this row, you chain 3, which again counts as the first double crochet of the row. From here on out, we're going to be working groups of 3 double crochets in between the other double crochet groups. So we skip over all the double crochet stitches, and work 3 double crochets in between each group of the row below. Then, finish up with one double crochet in the top of the chain 3 at the end of the row - this mirrors the chain 3 we started Row 2 with. And we turn to go back for the next row...

    Row 3 begins with a chain 3 (counts as a double crochet), followed be a double crochet in the top of the first stitch - so it's like 2 double crochets in the first stitch. Then, we go back to the plan from before - work a 3 double crochet group between each double crochet group of the row before.

    Finish up Row 3 with 2 double crochets in the last stitch - the top of the chain 3. So again, we have a mirror of the beginning of the row - a set of 2 double crochets on each end.

    And that's the basis for the rest of the blanket! Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until the blanket is about 33 inches long, or however long you want it to be!

    Once you've got the length where you want it, then it's time to make the Border rounds. To make the first round of the border, just chain 1 and single crochet all the way around your blanket. When working across the top of the blanket, just single crochet in each stitch, and work 2 single crochets in the side of each row. When it comes to turning corners: work 3 single crochets in the "corner" stitches (aka, the first and last stitch of the last row, and the first and last stitch of the foundation row).

    Once you've gotten all the way around the blanket, just join, then chain 1 and go all the way around again twice more - working one single crochet in each stitch, with 3 single crochets in each corner. Simple as can be!

    Need to see it in action? Here are tutorial videos where I demo this pattern, step by step!

    I hope this inspires you to make your own Sweet Baby Afghan! The Lion Brand Ice Cream® really makes this stitch pattern shine, and the finished blanket is wonderfully soft and easy care - and fun to crochet too! Thanks for watching and reading!

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  • Meet the Blogger: Mama In A Stitch

    Here at Lion Brand we love the yarncraft blogging community. Picking a favorite from the bloggers we work with would be like asking a parent to pick their favorite child -- it's just not possible. They all bring us beautiful patterns, interesting content, and unique perspectives on knitting and crochet. That's why we've decided to help you get to know the amazing people we work with, starting with Jess Potasz of Mama In A Stitch.

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    Mama In A Stitch

    This is a perfect time to introduce you to Jess, since Mama In A Stitch just celebrated two years of blogging. She says in her anniversary post that she started blogging as a way to keep track of her creative pursuits after transitioning to life as a stay-at-home-mom. It evolved from a personal log of crafts and mom life into what we know today.

    After her patterns started to take off, MIAS was on the yarniverse radar. Since her start in January 2015, Jessica's unique patterns and beautiful photography have made her a crafting staple. It doesn't hurt that she has the vistas of Colorado to serve as a backdrop! She has also been featured in several different knitting and crochet publications, including many mentions right here on the Lion Brand Notebook.

    Kits and Patterns

    We started selling kits from her patterns, and many of them have been incredibly popular on our site! Her Light Frost Easy Blanket Sweater (pictured above) is one of our top crochet kits right now. She also designed the Big Beginner Shawl Scarf (knit), which another fan favorite. Her pattern designs combine sophistication and coziness in a way that makes them an absolute delight to both make and wear.

    One of the Heroes

    Last year, we worked with several bloggers for the Yarn Heroes series, where we helped promote various charitable causes. Jess designed a blanket for Project Linus as part of the campaign. The blanket is thick, soft, and washable. It could also double as a pet blanket (shelters need donations too!) if you left off the pom poms.

    After two years, Mama In A Stitch has become one of the yarniverse's favorite bloggers, and Jess is showing no signs of slowing down. We can't wait to see what she has in store!

    For more profiles of our favorite bloggers, keep an eye on the Notebook.

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