It’s that time of year when kids are getting home from summer camp–but not yet going back to school. If you’re looking for activities to do with your kids, either at home or on vacation, here are some of my favorite craft projects.
In addition to being fun and easy, they are also awesome for using up small quantities of yarn (or to play with new Bonbons multi-packs)!
Are you on Pinterest? Because we are! In a previous post on our blog, “Introducing Pinterest, a Great Resource for Crafters“, Jess introduced you to Pinterest and discused some great benefits for joining the picture sharing social media site. Since we pin many images on our boards that come from the Internet, I thought it would be fun to share some of the popular pins on our boards. We tend to pin cute and inspiring images, storage ideas, yarn crafting tutorials and ideas, and lots more.
If you click on the link under the image, you’ll be taken to the direct source of the image, and underneath that link, you’ll be able to view the board where the link was pinned. We actually have a total of 22 boards on our Pinterest page, so don’t hesistate to look around – maybe you’ll find a project of yours that we’ve pinned!
Baby Cowboy Boots by Gina
(Four Leaf Clover) – pattern from Ravelry.
Board: Handmade Baby
Pinterest user Ada(: recently pinned this nifty project on wrapping headphone cords with embroidery floss, and Apartment Therapy wrote a wonderful tutorial on making it. I love simple, clever projects like this one and knew I wanted to try it on my headphones right away! When the first packs of our new Bonbons yarn arrived, I fell in love with the sparkling colors and got started. I took step-by-step pictures as I used two colors to cover my headphones, and I’ve also included written instructions to help you re-create this project at home. One of the great things about using Bonbons instead of embroidery floss was that I didn’t have to wind the yarn onto a bobbin first, the tiny Bonbons skeins were already the perfect size to craft with.
Here’s the step-by-step story of how I made my sparkling, tangle-free headphones:
July 4th is a great time of celebration where we recognize the Independence of the United States from Great Britain in 1776. Now, we’ve all come to appreciate this holiday as a great day to turn on the grill, hit the picnic tables, and spend quality time with loved ones. And who can forget the fireworks!
Since there are so many BBQs and parties happening this day, I thought it’d be fun to share some easy projects for festive red, white, and blue decor to add to your celebration. Wow your guests with DIY yarn craft projects that requires no crochet hooks or knitting needles. Get the family involved as well, this is a great project for the kids who will be out of school!
Dyeing your yarn is a great project for the warmer months of the year, and can blossom into a hobby that you’ll enjoy year round! When you want to try dyeing your own yarn, here are a few tips that will help you choose the yarn, dye and tools you’ll need to have a successful project:
What tools to use? The first step in dyeing is assembling the right materials. Make your you have a non-reactive pot to heat the dyebath in (try steel or enamel pots), tongs to move the yarn, and protective covering/clothing in case of spills. If you’re working with kitchen-safe dyes, then you can use the pots you cook with, but in general it’s a good idea to have a separate set for dyeing.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m still a beginner yarn crafter, as I just learned how to knit last summer. Since I’m not as experienced as others, I’m always thankful when I find tips or new techniques to improve my knitting experience as a whole. Lion Brand just released an e-book entitled Secret Stash: Helpful Tips For Yarn Lovers, which is a compilation of tips submitted by users like you, ranging in topics from organization, how to teach others to knit/crochet, easy ways work with multiple yarns at once, and a lot more. As a little sneak peek, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tips with you!
I think this one is my favorite:
“I knit up gauge swatches for the yarns in my stash and staple them to index cards on a spiral ring.
I write the yarn name, color name, care instructions, needle size and gauge on each card. That way, the next time I use that yarn, I don’t have to swatch again. It also works well as a color wheel for choosing shades for a new project”
-Collen M. Palmer
Making Easter basket grass yourself is a great idea; it’s a simple, fun activity you can do with kids, and helps get everyone into the holiday spirit with egg-hunt anticipation.
Making your own out of yarn secured inside the basket also means you’ll have a lush, great-looking basket and no more plastic grass all over your house or yard. This easy tutorial will show you how to create a festive Easter basket in any color.
What you’ll need:
In a recent essay in our newsletter, The Weekly Stitch, Michelle Edwards, author of A Knitter’s Home Companion, discusses project sustainability. Michelle writes,
“Sustainability is about working a project from the first to last stitch, sewing it up, and weaving in loose ends. Blocking it, if needed.”
Her essay discusses the importance of managing your projects, and considering the different factors that help you decide what the purpose of your project is (who is it for, time allotment, yarn needed, etc).
For example, when you see that luxurious, super soft, richly colored skein of yarn, ask yourself: Do you just have to have it? Can it work into a project you have in mind?
Michelle shares her tips with us to help become more efficient yarncrafters. Maybe after you read her story you’ll start tackling some of those WIPs (Work In Progess) that are laying around in storage!
What do you do to ensure that your project is sustainable? Share some of your tips and thoughts with us int he comments.
Did you know that March is both National Crochet Month and National Craft Month? It’s such an exciting month, and there are so many different ways to celebrate. Our favorite way, of course, is to give back to others through teaching. If you’d like to teach a friend, relative, or complete stranger how to crochet or knit, we have many resources to support you. You can find helpful instructions, illustrations, and videos at learntocrochet.lionbrand.com and learntoknit.lionbrand.com.
We also have lots of blog posts to support your teaching. Here are some of our favorite posts.
As you’re teaching friends, remember to check out the two great sweepstakes sponsored by our friends at Knitty Daily. Click here to find out how you can win some amazing books and DVDs. I hope you celebrate the rest of the month with tons of crafting, crocheting, and knitting!
|When your work with your hands as much as knitters and crocheters do it’s important to remember not to strain or overwork your body.
Knitting and crochet should be hobbies that help you relax and relieve stress. There are several ways to reduce stress on your hands and body, and these simple tips will help you avoid injury and treat existing symptoms.*
|Pay attention to how you are sitting.
Sit down as though you were about to begin crafting. Is your back supported? Is there enough light to see well, and enough room to move your elbows and arms freely as you work? You may be straining your hands to try and compensate for one of these other issues. Examine the places you craft for simple fixes you can make to add light, support and space.
|Remember to take breaks while you craft.
While it can be tempting to power through a few more rows when you are tired, listen to your body and put your project on pause. Breaks should vary the motion of what you are doing; try doing small, rewarding activities during your break like taking a short walk, watering houseplants or playing with a family pet.
|Massage and stretch your hands.
This is a wonderful (and relaxing) way to rejuvenate your fingers, wrists and palms. Try different methods and go easy on yourself; only rub or stretch your hands to a point that feels comfortable. There are some great hand stretch suggestions on LiveStrong.org (click here).
|Choose ergonomic tools.
If you’ve only ever tried straight knitting needles or metal crochet hooks, it might be time to try something new. Many knitters prefer using circular needles when possible because of the bounce-back of the cord that connects them, and crocheters are raving about this ergonomic crochet hook set that fits in the palm of your hand.
|Wear stress relief gloves.
Wearing these stress relief gloves allows the muscles of your hand to relax while you work. These gloves have been specially designed with crafters in mind, so they are completely fingerless and stand up to long-term use.
There are many ways to improve your crafting life and alleviate stress on your body while you work. How have you made your crafting more comfortable? Share your tips to help others in the comments section below.
*If you are experiencing recurring or intense pain, please follow the recommendations of your physician for treatment.