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  • A Vicarious Trip to London

    My boss, Leisure Arts Editor-in-Chief, Susan Sullivan, just returned from the London Book Fair (and she’s already back on the road again!). While she’s gone, I thought I’d share some of her London adventures with you in four separate vignettes (4 blog entries) over the course of today, so we can all travel vicariously together.

    Here’s Susan 1st Travel Report—I Knit London Saturday, April 9

    Before I left for London, I connected via email with one of the owners of I Knit London, a great yarn shop just south of the Waterloo tube station. Gerard was not familiar with Leisure Arts (how could that be?). I made my way there with a heavy tote bag of knit and crochet books. I found my way to the shop and had a good meeting with Gerard. The next weekend they were having a fundraiser at the shop, so I donated the books. The shop was filled with great yarns and a very healthy library of pattern books. I asked Gerard if he thought his customers picked out a pattern and then their yarn or were inspired by a beautiful yarn and looked for a pattern. He shared that he thought both situations were equally common.

    Here is Gerard with Pan.

    And a couple of the shop.

    What a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon in London!

    (Check back before lunch for another chapter in A Vicarious Trip to London!)

  • World Penguin Day

    Today’s World Penguin Day! This special day coincides with the annual northward migration of penguins which happens each year sometime around April 25th. I like penguins, so in recognition of their day, let’s indulge our creativity while celebrating these elegant, tuxedoed creatures.

    Here’s my favorite penguin. He’s ceramic and about 2-1/4" tall with a lovely (smooth and nice to touch) turquoisy glaze. Wish I knew what pottery made him. I think he’s pretty vintage…(Any pottery authorities out there?)

    Have you hugged a penguin today? You can, you know…Just crochet one up for yourself or your favorite someone with Vanna’s Choice Easy Crochet Critters or the Ultimate Guide to Thread Crochet.

    Along with a cute little amigurumi penguin crocheted with yarn, Vanna’s Choice Easy Crochet Critters includes 9 other absolutely darling animals: elephant, hippo, monkey, giraffe, alligator, lion, seal, walrus, and a snowy owl.

    Expand your crochet horizons! If you can crochet with yarn but haven’t tried thread crochet yet, you need the Ultimate Guide to Thread Crochet. Besides having a pattern for a tiny stuffed penguin named Little Birdie (designed by Amy Gaines), this book has everything you need to know to learn to crochet with thread like a pro.

    And, of course, we’ve got pics from the Earth Day visit to the Little Rock Zoo’s new penguin exhibit:

    Happy World Penguin Day!

  • The Missing Mug

    I just had to share…

    Yesterday, Rob, our Leisure Arts computer guru, wandered the halls, searching for his often-misplaced Star Trek coffee mug.

    It turned up this morning—encased in a jello mold.

  • Tour of Ireland Blog Hop

    Attention Quilters!

    Join us on March 17, as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a one day Blog Hop featuring Pat Sloan’s Tour Ireland book.

    In the meantime, order your copy today! It’s on sale!

    See you Thursday!
  • Unnatural Nature Update…What’s Next?

    I’ve learned how to react to ice and snow…I simply don’t leave the house…

    I’ve dealt with flooding. My family lives out in the middle of nowhere beyond the realms of civilization (my children’s description), and sometimes after torrential rains, the roads flood and driving to work becomes sort of a navigating-the-maze-like challenge.

    I’m used to the idea of tornadoes. I grew up very much aware that we lived right in the middle of Arkansas’ tornado alley, so tornadoes are nothing new. I’ve seen tornadoes drop down out of the clouds. The Love-Of-My-Life and I stood in a restaurant parking lot a couple of years ago and watched a tornado jump Interstate 30, hit a car dealership, and keep on going.

    But earthquakes!!! Really??? I experienced my first one just last Sunday night. I’m sitting at the dining table, waiting for the dryer to stop, all by myself at 11:00 at night, minding my own business, while the rest of the world slept, when I realized the dining table was vibrating. My chair was vibrating. The mason jars on the table were clinking together…and, first, I questioned my sanity. Then, I thought—unbalanced washing machine, but the washer wasn’t running, and, besides, we don’t have that evil washing machine or even the house it lived in anymore. While all this was going on, it also sounded as if a helicopter was about to land on the roof, and, at that point, all in a matter of seconds, it finally dawned on me—this is an earthquake.

    It was a 4.7 earthquake—the largest to hit Arkansas in 35 years.

    Here I am at the dining table again. What’s next?

  • Severe Weather Season in Arkansas

    This is the stairwell at Leisure Arts. We become very familiar with it during certain times of the year in Arkansas. It’s where we hide from tornadoes, and where we found ourselves last Thursday afternoon.

    March through June is the official severe weather season, but, being precocious, we, of course, started early this year. Thankfully, nothing serious happened this time, just repeated tornado sirens and too many nervous folks all crowded into too small a space…

    Sort of a stark environment, huh? Needs some artwork, maybe some floor pillows? We’ll have to work on that.

    Hope you’re having a safe Sunday! I think we’ve got more scary weather on the way...

  • The Basketweave Scarf

    While I was stuck at home watching the snow not melting, I started crocheting a new scarf for myself—a Basketweave Scarf. I love the color of the green yarn I’m using, and this richly textured basketweave pattern is so wonderfully easy with it’s repetitive Front Post/Back Post Double Crochet stitches that I’m sure to actually finish this scarf in no time.

    If you’re looking for easy skill level projects to stitch up quickly, I found this pattern plus 9 other hat & scarf designs to crochet in designer Bonnie Barker’s Noggins & Necks from Leisure Arts. These pretty sets are perfect for crocheting in a weekend or less!

  • 20 Years at Leisure!

    We had a party yesterday! We celebrated Janie’s 20th anniversary at Leisure Arts with BBQ and cake.

    Janie has worked her way around the company in those years. From pattern tester to plastic canvas production assistant, to charting plastic canvas and cross stitch, she had a hand in it. Next, she took on scrapbooking, helping out in our Design Department, and coordinating tradeshows. From there, she found a place for her skills in the Art Department. Now, she’s settled in Prepress. And she’s been a most appreciated asset in every position! (Forgive me, Janie, if I’ve left anything out!)

    Congratulations Janie! Thank you for all your hard work over the years.

  • CHA

    Check out our booth!

    A bunch of our Leisure Arts folks traveled to Los Angeles on January 29-Feburary 1 for the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Winter Conference and Trade Show. CHA is where designers, publishers, and manufacturers come together to show off their new and coming soon products to the people who buy them to sell in your favorite craft stores and websites.

    Be sure to browse our website for our newest releases!

  • Debbie Macomber Blossom Street Collection - New Yarn

    Yarn shop owners visited novelist and knitter, Debbie Macomber, at last week’s TNNA show in Colombus, Ohio. (The National Needlework Association is a trade show for retail buyers to come see all the new yarns, fibers and fabrics, new books and more.) There she introduced her new yarn line called Debbie Macomber Blossom Street Collection and signed pattern sheets featuring selected patterns from the first 3 knit and crochet pattern books. All will be available in shops this fall.

    The show booth was abloom with fabulous colors and yarns aptly named after flowers like Rosebud and Wild Meadow. My favorite yarn is Cashmere Fleur De Lys. So soft! My favorite yarn name? Any or all of them; I love all flowers and loved all the yarns too. Debbie was a lot of fun; she’s a bundle of energy and truly enjoys spending time with fellow knitters and yarn shop owners. When she’s traveling, she visits yarn shops and typically leaves with more yarn for her stash. She has a yarn shop too, in Port Orchard, Washington. Can you imagine how fabulous it would be to have an office right above a yarn shop? When you need a break you can just go downstairs to the shop and knit for awhile.

    Retailers are placing their orders now, so be sure and visit your local yarn shop this fall and ask about Debbie’s new yarns from Universal Yarn - Debbie Macomber Blossom Street Collection - and her new knit and crochet pattern books from Leisure Arts. (Yes, of course you will be in your yarn shop many times before fall. We’ll give you another reminder later.)

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