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  • Don'tcha Wanna Ruana? (a report by Ruanasaurus Rex)

    Woah!! Amazing Free Pattern Alert!!


    Ruanasaurus Rex here with an important Free Pattern Alert! I'm always on the hunt for two things... Really tasty forest berries  (I'm one of those yarn dinosaurs that only eats fruits of the forest) and SUPER AWESOME Ruanas! Normally, I only find the berries, but this time... I've scored big on the Ruana pattern. I just had to pass it on to all of you other Ruana-obsessed individuals!

    Holy WOW. Ruanariffic!!

    My good pal Moogly has truly outdone herself with this incredible Ruana pattern! It looks just like ME! And like me, it's simple! No increases or decreases (just like my even tempered mood). This Ruana is constructed from a simple rectangle split into two. This attractive Ruana should fit all sorts of folks, from petites to plus sizes, and even Ruanasaurus sizes! (I wear mine like a scarf, since I'm a big dinosaur, and it looks great). It's warm, but not too heavy, and of course I love the colors (I am the same colors).

    The Perfect Yarn for the Perfect Ruana

    Can I also just rave for a minute about how this is made from Vanna's Style? Such a great yarn choice, Moogly. While I am made out of MUCH more yarn (you should see me, I'm a huge yarn dinosaur), this Seaside Ruana is made from just 6 balls; 3 of Ecru and 3 of Navy.

    That's All For Now!

    Well folks, I'm Ruanasaurus Rex, and this has been a blast. But now it's time for me to go use my embarrassingly tiny forelimbs to awkwardly stitch together more Seaside Ruanas for my pals. Afterwards, I'm going to go hunting for some tasty fruits of the forest! Wish me luck!


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  • Celebrate Relaxation Day With Knitting and Crochet

    Happy Relaxation Day! It may be Monday, but it's still the day for chilling out, hanging in a hammock, and having a mellow time. Since it has been shown that knitting and crochet have many health benefits, including stress reduction, they make a great addition to your relaxing celebrations.

    Anyone who has any experience with either craft knows how meditative it can be to sit and work on something simple, like the kind of project where you don't really need to pay close attention to the stitches because they're repetitive and basic. You can lounge with a drink or movie and work on them while you tune out the world around you.

    It can be great to zone out with an easy pattern, so celebrate Relaxation Day with one of these:

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  • How to Knit Lace: The Basics

    Lace knitting can seem daunting at first, but it's actually not as hard as you might think. You are using the same basic stitches, increases, and decreases as always, just arranged in such a way as to make beautiful patterns.

    The stitches you need to know to make simple, beginner lace are knit, purl, yarn over, k2tog, and ssk. If you need a refresher course on any of those, click on the term and it will take you to our tutorial on each. More advanced lace patterns may use other increases and decreases, but for now, those are enough.

    Left-leaning vs. Right-leaning decreases Left-leaning vs. Right-leaning decreases

    The various lace patterns are created by alternating the yarn overs, which make holes, with the decreases, which create direction in the pattern (ssk leans left while k2tog leans right). If you are working a pattern that is even, like a scarf or blanket, there should be the same number of yarn over increases as decreases. Something like a shawl or hat, or even some sweaters, will likely have an unequal number on some rows to create shaping.

    The key to lace knitting is following the directions exactly. These will be either written out or shown as a chart. Sometimes a pattern will provide both -- in that case you can use whichever you prefer -- but often there will only be one or the other, so you should understand both. Written instructions are exactly what they sound like. The stitch pattern is written out in words, for example:

    k2tog, yo, k1, rep to end

    You will see some variation on "rep to end" a lot. It just means you repeat the stitch pattern over and over until you get to the end of the row (or round). Sometimes, the pattern will only want you to repeat part of a row. When this happens, the repeated part will be marked, usually with brackets, parentheses, or asterisks. It may also tell you to stop a certain number of stitches before the end of the row and do something else. For example:

    k1, k2tog, yo, [k3, k2tog, yo], rep to 2 before end, k2

    Charts take the same information and present it visually. They look like a grid filled with various symbols, usually with a key to tell you what each one means. You read them from bottom to top. When knitting flat, you will go right to left on right side rows and left to right on wrong side rows. In the round you will go right to left for every round.

    The benefit of using written directions is that they're easy to follow, but the drawback is that it can be harder to visualize if you're doing it right. Charts lay everything out so you can see what the piece should look like, and are great if you're a visual learner. But it's easy to lose your place, which is why row counters and stitch markers come in handy. For example:

    Basic Lace - Stitch Fiddle

    The best way to learn a new technique is to just jump in and do it. Below are a few of our easier lace patterns. Good luck!

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