diy

New Patterns

Free Leg Warmer Crochet Pattern


15 Comments

free pattern crochet leg warmersThese are chunky stirrup leg warmers for adults. A friend wanted to gift a custom pair to her athletic employee, and the result is stylish but still perfect for yoga class. It made me sad to think this custom pattern wouldn’t see the light of day again, so here it is for you to enjoy! You can make them a long or short as you like, and with or without the stirrup. I’d love to see your work, so tag your Instagram pics with #knitsforlife or tweet them to me @knitsforlife

Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/stirrup-leg-warmers

free pattern crochet leg warmers

 

free pattern crochet leg warmers

free pattern crochet leg warmers

Tutorials

The world’s best yarn storage idea


245 Comments

Update: Check out our new even bigger peg board yarn wall here.

yarn storage

Your yarn storage is a mess because of this conflict:

Yarn companies want you to buy the yarn. You want to use the yarn. The ideal ball of yarn for each goal is different. You will buy a ball of yarn that is soft, squishy, and that looks big for the price. Plus, small-batch hank producers want to invest in less equipment and reduce labor. But, when it comes to using the yarn, you need to find the end, create good tension, and–let’s face it–store it with the ungodly amount of yarn they’ve already suckered you into taking home. You want to use a ball of yarn that has a conspicuous end hanging out of the middle of a compact center-pull ball.

I can never find the yarn end by Natalie Dee

So, while you’d love to be like Vanna White and have a pretty pedestal bowl for your five skeins of yarn, well… seriously? Do you KNOW how much YARN I have, Vanna? Do you KNOW how fast MY cat (who isn’t a designer Bengal cat, but a fluffy rescue cat that’s way cuter than yours!) would POUNCE on that bowl of yours, DESTROYING those pretty skeins?

A Cat is Kicked Out of A Yarn Shop.Yeah, thanks, Vanna, but no. I don’t even know where you’d get a fancy pedestal bowl like that.

Right now you’re using drawers, baskets, and zip-lock bags. All good ideas, but kind of a pain in the ass to access, and starting to fill every crevice you can find. Plus, they’re missing one big thing. If you have a yarn problem, you probably love gorgeous things. Why keep your best treasures in the dark?

Yarn storage idea: Peg board yarn wall

The result: you need to upgrade your yarn storage solution.

But you’re in luck! Google “yarn storage” and take your pick from over 21 million ideas. Uh… OK, you have standards. Let’s refine that and Google “yarn organization”. Good, now you just have 13 million options. Sigh.

OK let’s look at Pinterest. That’s the better way to look for things like this anyway. (type type type, enter). Woah, that looks awesome! Oh my god, I like that one. Ooooo, so pretty. What else is on that board? OMG I have to repin that now. Squee! Oreos baked inside chocolate chip cookies!? Genius! I’m craving cupcakes now. Isn’t it perfect weather for baking? Oh shit, my cat is eating my yarn!

Oh, internet, you’re as mischievously useful as Aladdin’s Genie, aren’t you?

Try another angle. Jill at The Dapper Toad made a list of her needs: “For me, the ideal yarn storage solution has 3 qualities. It must be: easily accessible, out of the way, and nicely displayed. There are countless ways to store yarn that meets 1 or 2 of these ideals, but never all three! It’s the elusive yarn lover’s trifecta!”

She took a page from makers (those people us crafters date and marry), for storage ideas. Yarn, hooks, and needles are our materials and tools. How do makers store materials and tools?

Yarn Storage Peg Board by The Dapper Toad

Now that’s crafty! Jill even put the peg board behind the door, turning and unused space into a useful one.

Yarn Storage Peg Board by The Dapper Toad

Sold! I’m always rearranging my apartment. I have this little nook that wasn’t working as an office, but would work perfectly as a yarn studio. Plus, think of all that closet space I’d get back! I rearranged (again) and enlisted Jill for help. Let me show you what we did.

What you need to make a peg board yarn storage wall

Back to our initial conflict. You have lots of skeins and hanks that are hard to work with and bulky to store. The first thing you need is like a little eight pound six ounce baby Jesus: a yarn winder. This one is a good balance of quality and price.

Cute retro yarn winder

Winding is fast, easy, and fun! I recommend holding the strand as you wind to give it some tension. It will wind better and create a more compact ball. Winding alone reduced my yarn storage by a third: from 15 ANTONIUS IKEA drawers to just 10!

Peg board and hooks are cheap and sold at most hardware stores. Boards come in 2×4-foot sections: combine or tailor cut them to your space. For each board, be sure to pick up a set of the spacers and screws that hold the peg board away from the wall a little, where the hooks poke through and anchor. They’re usually with the hooks, not the boards. Hooks come in all shapes and sizes: I recommend two- and four-inch straight hooks. Check the combo packs to get the best deal.

Once you screw in your wall and wind your yarn, the fun part starts! I spent hours meticulously color-matching my enormous stash. It was interesting to discover what colors I have and wonder whether that means I don’t use them or like to buy them.

Yarn Storage Idea Peg BoardSo many peg board attachments exist, that you’ll start rethinking all your storage systems. I created rails by laying dowels across peg board hooks and hung some IKEA storage cups from them. I also hung some IKEA cloth baskets. You can even lay your long knitting needles across peg board hooks.

Yarn storage idea: Peg board yarn wallWith a cozy chair and a good lamp nearby, you can even knit or crochet off the wall!

Yarn storage idea: Peg board yarn wall

Installing my yarn wall only took an afternoon and was super gratifying. I can’t stop taking pictures with it. Knitting and crocheting in my little nook is so invigorating now. Everything is instantly accessible and a cinch to put away. When people come over they’re in awe. Personally, I’m in awe of all my empty closet space!

Yarn storage idea: Peg board yarn wall

What yarn storage ideas do you currently use? I’d love to see and swap ideas! Tag your Instagram pics with #knitsforlife to show me or tweet them to me @knitsforlife.

Yarn storage idea: Peg board yarn wall

All this knitting and crocheting in my new studio nook has been productive. Coming up I’m posting a free leg warmer pattern for those of you still weathering out the cold, and for the lucky ones enjoying spring, a geometric crochet bracelet photo tutorial (in neon colors!) using embroidery floss. Catch them by adding me to your Feedly or Bloglovin’ RSS feed, or following me on Facebook.

Peg Board Yarn Storage Idea

Peg Board Yarn Storage Idea

Until next time!

xxxo,

Lorna

All image sources above are linked to the image.

News

Crochet Face Fun


1 Comment

 

This week I modeled The Dapper Toad’s handiwork, based on Howie Woo’s Anti-Facial Recognition system. What fun we had lolling around Downtown! Jill at The Dapper Toad made them for the kids at summer camp, where she teaches knitting and crochet. I think it it would be a blast to make a stop-motion video with it. What story line would you like to see in crochet?

Do check out Jill’s silly photoessay. And if you’re not a fan of Howie Woo, snap too it–he’s the bomb-diggity!

woowork11Crochet Face by The Dapper Toad Crochet Face by The Dapper Toad Crochet Face by The Dapper Toad Crochet Face by The Dapper Toad Crochet Face by The Dapper Toad Crochet Face by The Dapper Toad Crochet Face by The Dapper Toad Crochet Face by The Dapper Toad Crochet Face by The Dapper Toad Crochet Face by The Dapper Toad Crochet Face by The Dapper Toad

 

New Products, News, Yarnbombs

A whirlwind first quarter for 2013


5 Comments

So much has been happening lately that I’m excited to tell you about!

I went on vacation to Manchester, England and left a yarnbomb at my favorite tea + cake shop. Anyone catch the Little Britain reference?

Yarnbomb at Teacup Manchester

The people at Purl City Yarns in the Northern Quarter were absolutely lovely and had some nice English heritage yarns.

Purl City Yarns Manchester

The clerk was wearing Berroco’s Beatnik sweater, which is now on my knitting list!

Beatnick pattern by Norah Gaughan

Next up was the city of lights, Paris–on Valentine’s Day, no less. Did you know about the growing trend to click a padlock onto the Pont des Arts? The bridges overflow with lovers’ tokens.

Pont des Arts

Of course I had to leave one in yarnbomb style–on Valentine’s Day evening with sparklers while the Eiffel Tower twinkled on the hour. Très romantique! (Obviously photography was not my focus at such a moment.)

PontDesArtsPadlock2

One day in Paris I took a walking tour of some yarn shops and discovered a few beautiful ones: Le Bon Marché, L’OisiveThé, and a cute shop in a Marais courtyard.

Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche

L'Oisve Thé, Paris

Paris yarn shop

Upon my reluctant return, I finished my iPhone yarnbomb and made the front page of my local paper! My sister over at The Dapper Toad made some wonderful photographs.

Pay-Phone-Before-and-after

Knits for Life in the San Mateo Daily Journal

I realized I’ve never seen a yarnbomb in my city. Have you? Since I see them every day in The Yarnbomb Daily I forget how rare they are.

In Manchester I discovered a stellar string artist so tried my hand at it in my local park. I’m planning to do a big one on my wall next.

Knits for Life string art Knits for Life string art

Guests are the only way my house gets clean, and this month I had two. Yarn organization plan, activate! I went from a pretty good storage plan to an amazing one! Grab a yarn winder and some pegboard and DIYODS (do it your own damn self). You can even knit or crochet from the skeins on the wall. I call it knitting like a boss.

Knits for Life yarn stash

Knits for Life yarn wall

All play and no work makes… well, no money! I wrapped up two unique custom projects that turned out just swimmingly: a fangirl hat based on the cheetah movie Duma and a replica of a vintage Christmas stocking. The stocking pattern dates all the way back to 1935. How cool to help keep a family tradition alive–and they want 4 more!

Custom Crochet Beanie Personalized Knitted Christmas Stocking

And speaking of products, chain scarves and lacey laptop sleeves are getting popular lately. I’m designing new products for spring, but it seems these will stay alive–in popping, new colors.

Knits for Life chain scarf Knits for Life chain scarf Knits for Life chain scarfKnits for Life chain scarf Knits for Life chain scarfFashion Laptop Sleeve

Phew, what a year so far!

xoxo

Lorna

Tutorials

IKEA hack: Hand stamped brown paper packages


4 Comments

Last year I gave you DIY Christmas gift wrap ideas using a little botanical cheer. Those plain, brown paper packages are my favorite backdrop for dressing up prezzies any time of year. It’s crazy-versatile!

So what more can you do with that bargain kraft paper from IKEA? Indulge your trendy collection of hand carved stamps! If you don’t have any stamps, even better. Now you have a great occasion to try out a new craft. It’s a little tricky, but with the right tools from any good art store, you can have tons of fun. I made this little ball of yarn stamp on my second try!

hand stamped wrapping paper idea
diy hand stamped wrapping paper My sister’s birthday called for some crafty, hand stamped wrapping with a knitting theme.

My sister’s birthday presents certainly called for this yarn theme. Check out her new knitting swag: a handy, retro wool winder and an electronic stitch counter. She loved them, of course!

Cute retro yarn winder
Give your yarn stash a makeover with a wool winder.
Digital stitch counter ring
A digital stitch counter ring is my new must-have for knitting and crochet!
New Products, News

Yarn Bombed Furniture at STUDIO Gallery in SF


13 Comments

I am pleased to show you two more yarn bombed chairs in yellow and brown to go with the white one I made a few weeks ago. Made from reclaimed IKEA furniture and covered in crocheted recycled yarn, they exude my eco-friendly hand made style. All three are on display at STUDIO Gallery in San Francisco until May 27th with the San Francisco Etsy Street Team gallery show.

Yours truly,

Lorna at Knits for Life

Tutorials

Why Pinterest Beats Google Images


6 Comments

In 1906, strolling around the local livestock fair, a man comes upon the crowd at a weight-guessing attraction. An ox stands on a scale as people guess its weight on scraps of paper. I avoided feeling like the ox in this game every summer at our local amusement park at all costs – including the best hot pink stuffed animals. Being livestock, this ox was just chillin’ and eventually the closest guess won a bag of hot peanuts, but our observer noticed another funny thing. Most of the guesses were off. Wildly off. Like, “haven’t these country bumpkins ever seen an ox before?” off. But he was one of those charming old-timey polymaths, so he had an idea. After the crowd shuffled off, he approached the man in charge and inquired whether he might have the scraps of paper guesses. This is one of history’s best data collection moments, by the way.

Long story short, our man, Francis Galton, ran the numbers and found that the average guess was one measly pound away from the ox’s weight. In fact, the average was much closer to the animal’s weight than the single best guess. Somehow, the unruly mob, who couldn’t be trusted with democracy, much less you life in a bar fight, could be trusted to know something no single member of the mob knew. This is also one of history’s best WTF moments, by the way.

Fast forward a century and we are using crowdsourcing every day. Sometimes it’s just another word for statistics, the field Galton helped birth. Sometimes it’s just another word for voting, and the result is no great WTF moment. We can use the crowd to answer questions in different ways. Anyone who researches their blog’s SEO knows that Google’s algorithm for search results uses certain data points from your blog more than others. And this is why I think Pinterest is better for images of interesting stuff. An image explodes across pin boards based on one data point: someone found it interesting enough to repin it. In 2010 when I started pinning, this didn’t happen much. Now, when I see an image in my Pinterest feed, someone either pinned it from the web, or – more likely – re-pinned it from another board. This means that the images I see are filtered through at least two iterations of interest, and usually way more. Interest sells, people. This is powerful stuff.

This is why I increasingly search Pinterest for trends, styles, and techniques to use in my art and products. Google images is good when I need a perfect amigurumi blue bird, but Pinterest is best when I’m looking for some cool amigurumi to make for my friend’s kid’s birthday party. Pinterest finds a more interesting result because of crowdsourcing. It hits the ox on the head. (Whoops! Poor ox.) The same applies to product development, inspiration, illustrating blog posts, or whatever iron you have in the fire right now.

Below the images are the best boards to follow for fiber art and other fun stuff. Show me your favorites with links in the comments.

If you’re not on Pinterest yet, leave a comment and I’ll send you an invitation.

Yours truly,

Lorna at Knits for Life

ImageImage

Image

Free Crochet Patterns and My Crochet Designs by Anne Marie’s Crochet Blog

Camp Crafts by Jill Watt of The Dapper Toad

Knitting Apps and other fiber art boards by knitomatic

CROCHET and My Projects by According to Matt

Techniques I Love and San Francisco Etsy Team Spotted by Lisa Spinella of Tickle and Smash

Scarf inspiration and Patronen en kleuren (Patterns and colors) by Mia Vandenbossche

Fun with fiber and textiles and DIY by Lorna Watt at Knits for Life

One’s Tea Cozies by Loani Prior, the Tea Cosy Queen

Eco boards by Team Eco Etsy

Sustainable Lingerie by Oceana’s Canvas

Clothes to Wear by Andrea of The Paper Sparrow

Fun boards by The Men of Etsy

Eccentric beauty and Imagination by Cody James

New Products, News

Yarnbomb Your Own Furniture


33 Comments

Some graffiti artists use paint, some use stickers. We crafty types use yarn. If you haven’t heard of yarn bombing or knitted graffiti yet, get yer google on! If you have, maybe you – like me – see the world a little differently than most; a taunting swirl of shapes and structures challenging you to wrap them in bright, snuggly yarn. Ok ok, yes – I surrender! Let’s cover everything in textures and energy! Goodbye to plain statues and trees that don’t hug you back. Hello newborn graffiti artist.

And then the walls inside my apartment began to talk. Psst! Why bomb the bike rack down the street? You’ll only see it when you go for a walk. You could enjoy your graffiti every day in your own home.

Egads, I’m hooked, as the crocheters say. Five skeins of 100% recycled yarn and one reclaimed Ikea chair later, here’s my prettily “upholstered” chair. (Here’s a pic of it in progress.) It will soon be for sale online and in a local gallery, but I have three more pawing at me with their little legs – almost as inconveniently as the Sesame Street U laid in to Smokey Robinson. Wish me luck!

3/7/12 update: The yellow and brown chairs are done too! Come see them here: https://knitsforlife.com/2012/05/07/yarn-bombed-furniture-at-studio-gallery-in-sf/

New Patterns, New Products

Something to Knit Your Man


1 Comment

In a dark little café pub near the Black Forest in Germany, I came to love hot drinks served in ceramic white pint glasses. Reliving those gemütliche college days every time I sip tea, Earl Grey, hot is easy with IKEA’s lovely and affordable POKAL tumblers.

Slurping the first sip of a hot drink is one of life’s little pleasures, but hard to do without a mug handle. After perfecting a custom cozy, I wanted to make one for my sweetheart for Valentine’s Day that wouldn’t embarrass him at work. A touch of geekery and voilà: I love you in Morse code.

Get the pattern in the shop for just $1.99 here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/92404903

Or get the knitted item for just $15 here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/92404005

What do you sip your tea in?