yarn

Yarnbombs

Help yarn bomb San Mateo


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Calling all silly people!

If you’ve never yarn bombed before, this is a perfect way to start! And if you’re a pro, it’s a great chance do something epic because we have permission to yarn bomb almost anything! When the local Public Works department saw an article about my pay phone yarn bomb, they invited me to help beautify the city on clean up day with more yarn bombs. Now I’m inviting you to yarn bomb with me, either in person or by mail. (more…)

New Patterns

WWJD: an Easter project Jesus would do


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Cats wreak genocide on baby birds

Earlier this year a new study found that we’d been underestimating by billions the number of birds and small mammals our cute little kitties ravenously kill every year. Oh noes! Bad bad kitties! Fortunately, the country is also full of wildlife rescue centers. These are the places where sensitive nature-lovers like you and me deliver injured birds and other animals in the hopes that they’ll be nurtured back to health and released back into the wild. (more…)

New Patterns

Free Leg Warmer Crochet Pattern


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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


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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.

New Products, News, Yarnbombs

A whirlwind first quarter for 2013


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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

New Patterns, New Products

New Ear Warmers, Knitting Patterns, a Sale and a Giveway!


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Back in the fall I declared this winter the season for wearing cuter headbands. Banish the big flowers made by grandma! Be gone, sorority-esque cliches! Now, with much trumpeting and fanfare, I pull back the red curtain and unveil to you two new lines of cute chunky knit headbands. Plus, get your scroll on: 20% off all new headbands and enter to win one for Christmas!

Chunky Cable Knit Ear Warmer Headbands

Winter cannot force us to ditch the summer braid! Braids are toute la rage all year round, now that you can wear them on a squishy, chunky ear warmer. Plus, they’re made with a blend of warm wool and easy-care acrylic so you can even throw them in your laundry! $35 at knitsforlife.etsy.com

Convertible Turban Headband and Cowl

Step off the curb like a silver screen starlet with an über-chic turban look. Already flying off the shelves, I’m gifting this perfectly cozy, stretchy accessory all Christmas and Hanukkah long. $35 at knitsforlife.etsy.com

Some one-of-a-kind pieces came out of the design process too. Here are a few of my favorites. Find more in the shop under the Eco Accessories tab.

XOXO Hugs and Kisses Ear Warmer Headband
XOXO Hugs and Kisses Ear Warmer Headband. $29 knitsforlife.etsy.com
Silver and Cocoa Powder Brown Cable Knit Ear Warmer Headband
Sparkly Silver and Cocoa Powder Brown Cable Knit Ear Warmer Headband. $29 knitsforlife.etsy.com

Knit your own

OK, smarty pants, so you know how to knit, huh? Great, you can make these for all your friends!

The knitting pattern for the braided cable knit ear warmer is free at transientexpression.com. Note that if you use super bulky yarn like I did, you only need 8 repeats of the pattern.

The knitting pattern for the convertible turban headband and cowl is $3 on Ravelry or at knitsforlife.etsy.com.

Coupons and giveaway

From now until Christmas, save 20% on my new ear warmer headbands in the Etsy shop with code XMAS2012. I ship items the same or next day in cute, hand-stamped gift wrap with no price on it so you can gift it directly in the mailing package. I also include a free vetiver-scented buckwheat sachet your recipient can pop in the microwave and use as a pocket hand warmer. They’ll be warm cuddly from head to toe!
The coupon goes “poof!” on Christmas eve and on Christmas morning I’ll announce the winner of a free ear warmer!  You get one headband from the cable knit line or the turban line in your favorite color shipped to your door for free. To enter:

1. Tweet “Save 20% on these über-chic hand knit ear warmers from now until Xmas: http://wp.me/p1sxl3-gN”

2. Share Knits for Life’s Facebook announcement on your feed. You must go to Knits for Life’s page and click “share” on the story already posted there. Sharing a link to this blog post on your page doesn’t count. My page: https://www.facebook.com/knitsforlife

3. Leave a comment below letting me know you’re in!

Don’t forget to order by December 17 in time to ship for Christmas.

Happy happy winter!

xxxo,

Lorna

Tutorials

IKEA hack: Hand stamped brown paper packages


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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 Patterns

New Free Crochet Pattern: Perfect Acorns


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Teresa at Outdoor Alphabet: Help! We need a gigantic acorn and some little ones to match our new logo.

Lorna at Knits for Life: I’ll design it on the double!

Dozens of hours and a lot of OCD later, this not-so-little acorn is prompting predictions of 8-foot squirrels on Twitter.

Giant Custom Crochet Acorn
At first stuff: 18 inch acorn ready to be sewn up and shoved into shape.

The little ones sent me on a hunt for the perfect acorn shape.

Crochet acorn ornaments
My hunt for the perfect acorn

Six acorns later, the fruits of these labors deserve to be shared as a free crochet pattern. I’ve also been wanting to design a cut-out pattern that’s easy to read. Opportunity knocks!

Free crochet pattern amigurumi acorn
Cut-out and pull-through pattern.
acorn ornament free crochet pattern
Did I mention it’s a free pattern?

Do you lose your place as much as I do when you knit or crochet? It’s the pits! This cute idea shows one line of instructions at a time, with the finished item and the abbreviations right there. No more picking up and dropping my pencil, no more flipping through pdf pages on my e-reader. It’s wonderful! I hope you’ll find it useful. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

Crochet Acorn Ornaments

Free Crochet acorn pattern

Crochet Acorn Toys

Free crochet acorn pattern

xxxo,

Lorna

New Products

What’s hot: chair socks


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What’s selling: custom table socks

Do you peek at Etsy shops’ sales more often than their stock? Guilty! Who wants to see the leftovers? Not me!

My custom table socks in recycled yarn are hot! This time, before they flew out the door and in the mail, I snapped some photos. Why has the furniture sock trend popped up on Etsy and Pinterest? Scroll past the pics, where I tell you.

Custom Table Socks Recycled Yarn by Knits for Life
4-Pack of custom eco table socks by Knits for Life, $25.
    4-Pack of Custom Table Socks, in 100% New Recycled Yarn, by Knits for Life, $25.
Crocheted with European 100% new recycled yarn, by Berroco Yarns.
    4-Pack of Custom Table Socks, in 100% New Recycled Yarn, by Knits for Life, $25.
Ready to go with a coupon-loaded Moo card in a recycled, hand-stamped envelope.
Eco Friendly Crochet Decor by Knits for Life square
Retro tube sock table socks rock my world, and my fiber art studio.
Eco Friendly Home Decor by Knits for Life
Eco yarns are widely available now. Use them!

Why are they popular?

  • Closed-bottom socks protect bare floors. DD ordered a long, skinny pair for when she slides her new Table-Mate tray and laptop over to the couch. Now she wants socks in every color!
  • Yarn bombing isn’t just an outdoor phenomenon. Outdoor yarn bombs get shabby, but indoor bombs on clocks, chairs, and vases stay awesome. Plus you get to enjoy them all the time. My yarn bombed chairs feature in the upcoming issue of Graffiti Beach magazine.
  • Retro + surprising + eco = hot! From crochet to tube socks, what’s old is hot again. But please, let’s forgo granny squares and macrame. Reinvent played out trends, add some ethics, and you win.

Pin what’s selling

Remember, Pinterest rivals Facebook and Twitter in sites that get you traffic.

So, keep an eye to what’s selling when you pin. What’s selling = what people search for on Pinterest = your pins come up in searches. Embroidered Vans that epitomize needlepoint? Pin it! Personalized hand made needle felted necklaces for $19? Pin it! Custom table socks in recycled yarn? Pin it!

Don’t forget the description box. Search can give you a hand, but only if you hold out yours. Fill the description box with the terms that are selling.

Pin what’s selling, get followers, increase visibility of all your other pins. Got it? Good!

Now pin your favorite table sock image above and tell me what you’ve been selling lately in a comment. You can also follow my Pinterest board of furniture socks.

xxxo

Lorna at Knits for Life

News

Become a Rowan Yarns Ambassador


There’s no better way to seduce a sexy farm-hand than by wearing a romantic sweater designed by Rowan and knit with their wool. (As you wiiiiiiish!!)

Rowan Yarns Ambassador

If you love yarn, you know Rowan Yarns stand for luxurious fibers and modern designs. Now you can stand for sexy yarn too! Rowan Yarns is soliciting applications for their Rowan Ambassador program, where you can be a Rowanette (Rowanet for the boys). How about getting advance yarns and an invitation to the mill?

Dear readers, do you want me to post about Rowan Yarns? If you think I should be a Rowanette, leave a comment describing what you would want me to knit with their yarns. You know I’m passionate about crochet, but I love knitting too!

Here’s the solicitation. (http://www.knitrowan.com/industry-news/article/become-a-rowanette-rowanet-for-the-boys/801437975)

Rowan are looking for 20 Rowan ambassadors around the world to champion the Luxury knitting brand.  Are you passionate about Rowan? Do you want to be part of the team? Do you want to be one of the first to see and feel Rowan’s new yarns?

What is a Rowanette (Rowanet)?

• Someone who is truly passionate about knitting with Rowan

• Someone who is articulate and is social media savvy

• Someone who is very creative

• Someone who is loyal

• Someone who has some spare time to dedicate to Rowan

If you can prove you are one of Rowan’s biggest fans, and would like to become a Rowanette (Rowanet); then let us know! We’re looking for someone who can help support the Rowan brand and review yarns, publications and participate on our Facebook page. In return for your time and creativity, you would have enhanced privileges above any consumer.

What Rowan can offer you:

• A yarn pack and colour card sent to you for each season’s launch

• Access to The Brand Manager to give your direct feedback – via specific email address

• Invitations to online meetings and discussions

• An invitation to visit the Rowan Mill

• Yarn to knit your own garment

• Early preview of collections

Still interested?

Send in an image of you wearing your latest Rowan knit and 100 words on why you would be a perfect Rowanette/Rowanet to our mail@knitrowan.com

Deadline for all entries to be in is 28th September 2012.

We’ll be selecting a shortlist of candidates, and successful people will be contacted during September and sent through a more detailed brief. Keep an eye on http://www.knitrowan.com and our Facebook page for further information.

We hope to hear from you soon!

The Rowan Team