We all have knit and crochet projects that remind us of a time and a place where we were making that particular project–some happy, some not, but each one is a story that we recall each time we look at that project. If you’re not already familiar with it, Pattern Journal is our monthly newsletter where we share (fiction) tales of the secret lives of patterns.
This month, writer and blogger Selma Moss-Ward joins us to tell the latest story of a pattern. Selma is a freelance writer who combines her love of writing and of knitting in columns, stories, and blog posts. Selma is also an active classical musician, and the caretaker of five wonderful pets. She lives with them and her husband in Rhode Island.
Click here to sign up for this newsletter and receive it on Monday.
In the meantime, Selma shares these photos with us from a recent trip:
My sister lives across the street from this beautiful park in the Echo Park section of LA, and when I visit her I walk with her and her dogs (two dobermans) every morning. We were in a section of the park where there’s a teaching garden/arboretum for children, and I suddenly saw this flower that someone attached to a tree.
Franklin Habit returns to share his unique and humorous take on the life of a yarncrafter.
Things that are sure to happen every January: white sales, credit card bills, and some perky knitter chirping, “Ooooooooooooh, I love these cold, snowy days! Nothing’s better than sitting inside, cozily knitting by the fireplace!”
This always brings forth a chorus of happy agreement from other perky knitters, calling to one another like cuckoos across the Schwarzwald: “Ooooooooooooh! Yes, yes! Snowy! Fireplace! Knitting! Love!”
I think spending a snowy day knitting by the fireplace sounds groovy. Perhaps, in my next life, I’ll get to try it.
I’m not sure where these people live. In my imagination, it’s farmhouses on hilltops in Vermont, or perhaps a cabins nestled in the pristine forests of Wisconsin. I also imagine independent incomes, household help, and heated garages–so that any trek into the blistering cold is purely voluntary. The perky winter knitter need only flounce outdoors to skate merrily around the pond; or playfully fling snowballs at her handsome, rugged husband until he playfully carries her back inside and playfully serves her a hot toddy–probably holding the cup to her lips so she can keep on cozily knitting by the fireplace.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, it is snowing sideways and we are out of milk. Much as I would like to sit inside, cozily knitting by the fireplace, I have to go to the grocery store. Five city blocks away. On foot. I could have milk delivered, yes; but that would drive the cost of the gallon up to $35.68 plus tip, and daddy isn’t made out of money.
Did you know that March is National Craft Month and National Crochet Month?!
For those of you who want to share your love of these crafts, grab these fun badges for your blog, your Ravelry account, your Facebook page, etc. Simply right-click (Ctrl+click on Macs) the image and save to your computer, or copy/paste the HTML code below to use on your blog or website.
<a href="http://blog.lionbrand.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://blog.lionbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/craft_badge.jpg"></a>
<a href="http://blog.lionbrand.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://blog.lionbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/crochet_badge.jpg"></a>
Finally, we hope you’ll take a little time this month to enjoy these beloved activities, as well as to share them with someone in your life. For tips on teaching someone to knit or crochet, see these blog posts:
For inspiring project ideas and tips on learning, see:
Happy crafting & crocheting!*
*Knitters, we love you too–maybe we should start a petition to create an official “National Knitting Month”…
Has crafting ever brought you out of a tough time? Often, the meditative and creative aspects of yarn crafts can be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to coping with grief, depression, or that funk you just haven’t been able to emerge from. Though knitting and crochet are often looked at as lighthearted, serene crafts, the emergence of many crafting social groups over the last several years speaks to the release of both the craft and the social component that frequently comes along with it. A new book highlights the healing that can come from crochet.
Crochet Saved My Life chronicles the journey of a college freshman coping with the usual suspects–new school, new state, new friends–as well as the far less familiar, including the surprise diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor. Author Kathryn Vercillo describes how she found release from her anxiety and stress in the therapeutic nature of each repetitive stitch.
More than telling her own story, which includes the profound motion of dropping a knife from her wrist and picking up yarn instead, Vercillo also shares the stories of other men and women who have found solace in crochet and knitting, as well as the effects these crafts have on those with various mental and physical conditions, including anxiety, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.
To learn more about the book, click here.
So many of us have found comfort in the stitches of knitting and crochet. Have these yarn crafts gotten you through difficult times in your life? Share your experiences below.
A few weeks ago, I was riding the subway on my way home, and I was working on my office, post-holiday gift-exchange project (pictured right with its recipient, Michelle). Hunched over my project, I crocheted the fabric lining into its cable knit shell. As I reached the end of my round, I reached into my bag, and lo—
No toolbox to be found. Which meant no scissors.
Just then, I looked up and I began to notice my fellow passengers. (Often, when I’m crocheting or knitting on the subway, I don’t look up much at all.) Across the subway car from me, was a fellow yarncrafter, knitting a yellow creation on DPNs. My heart fluttered with joy.
“Excuse me,” I hesitated. She didn’t look up at first.
“I’m sorry to interrupt—do you have a pair of scissors? I can’t find mine.”
She looked up, a little surprised. Then she smiled, “I don’t have scissors, but I do have this.” She reached into her bag and passed me a yarn cutter pendant.
“Perfection.” I cut my yarn and wove in the end. My gift project was finished.
Do you have an interesting story of an encounter while knitting or crocheting in public? Ever run into someone making the same project or surprise a non-yarncrafter with your zeal? We’re looking for funny, heartwarming, or just surprising stories to share here on the blog! Fill in the survey below or click here to access it.
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Are you in the San Francisco Bay Area? Come visit Lion Brand this coming weekend at Stitches West–the largest knit & crochet show in America! It’s a yarn expo put on by our friends at XRX, and Lion Brand is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s shows!
There will be classes, a marketplace, fashion shows, events, free lectures and demos, and much more. Want to see some highlights from past shows? Check out these blog posts:
At Lion Brand’s booth, you’ll find select yarns including brand new products AND our exclusive LB Collection–all on sale especially at the show. Plus we’ll have pattern booklets, stickers, and other goodies for FREE. Stop on by!
As a sponsor, we’re also pleased to offer you 50% off market admission with this coupon (click to open it in a new window):
Editor’s Note: It’s that time of month! Knit-wit Franklin Habit joins us for his regular column.
At odd moments throughout her otherwise pleasant life, my mother has been confronted by the sight of me, her only son, with my pants on backwards; with my fingers stuck together by glue; trapped in the bathroom by an aggressive cat; frantically hunting for a pair of glasses I was holding in one hand; and standing sheepishly under a dripping splotch of tomato soup that had spoiled the pristine white of a newly-painted kitchen ceiling.
Every time, she has turned to my father and issued the same official statement: “He gets this from your side.”
My father, the diplomat, has never countered with examples of what I get from her side; but the list is long and certainly includes my propensity for flying into fits of rage when thwarted by inanimate objects—including my knitting. If you could break yarn by hurling it against a wall, this room would be neck-deep in shattered bits of sweater.
Happily, that isn’t the greater part of my inheritance.
If creativity, like male pattern baldness, runs in families, it was inevitable that I’d wind up creative. (And bald.)
Earlier this month, our 2012 Vanna’s Choice Contest winner–”Gramma” Nancy Nielsen–and her family flew out to Anaheim, California to meet Vanna White as part of her prize. She showed off her incredible one-of-a-kind baby hat and bootie sets, including the winning elephant set, to Vanna and members of Lion Brand’s staff. She also shared the story of how she got started creating these “Gramminal” sets.
Nancy told me that her daughter, as the wife of a naval officer, was in charge of social happenings among the families of the crews, including celebrating births. Finding that they were having quite a few births a year, she asked her mom to help her come up with a more affordable option for baby gifts, and that’s how Nancy started creating her one-of-a-kind sets otherwise known as “Gramminals.”
Listen to my interview with Nancy here:
(This excerpt is from our next episode of YarnCraft–our podcast, an online radio show. Check out the entire episode on Tuesday, Feb. 5.)
While there, Nancy also drew from 100 envelopes for a chance to win a grand prize of $100,000. Unfortunately, she didn’t win the $100,000, but she did have a great trip with her family, filled with memories and fun!
Want to enter this year’s contest, a story sweepstakes? Click here to learn more! Enter by February 15th.
(Please note that there are NOT yet patterns for Nancy’s projects, but we’re hoping to make some available in the future. In the meantime, click here to check out animal hat patterns on LionBrand.com–in fact, Nancy mentions in the interview that she got started with Lion Brand’s patterns.)
Super Bowl XLVII is this coming Sunday, have you gotten your craft supplies ready? A great way to support your favorite team is by sporting accessories or clothing with the team’s colors; it’s even better when the item is handmade.
There are 3 days left to make an item to show your team pride on Sunday, but you still have some time! All you need is a super bulky yarn like Hometown USA, or, a small project with a worsted weight yarn like Vanna’s Choice. Besides, if you don’t get to finish it in time, you can always use it for the next football season (or wear the item on Monday!). You can knit or crochet something as easy as a cozy for your canned beverages, or a simple hat or scarf to show your team spirit.
I thought it would be fun to share a few easy patterns that could be completed in time for the game, and colors in Hometown USA and Vanna’s Choice that match the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens colors – check them out below!
4 easy knit & crochet patterns to show your pride:
Crochet School Colors Hat
and Scarf Set
Knit Hat and Scarf Set
Knit Geaux Tigers Hat
Crochet Can Cozy
Today I want to share a great DIY craft with you by Randi from the blog Dukes and Duchesses; a bright, sparkly white wreath inspired by the beauty that comes with snow and winter.
Click here for more pictures and instructions to make the wreath!
We’ve seen a lot of different creative wreaths lately, made in various styles; have you been inspired to make a yarn wreath? Share with us in the comments!