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The Leisure Arts Crochet Blog
  • Top 5 Crafty Instagram Accounts to Follow

    Do you have an Instagram?

    My favorite thing about running the Leisure Arts Instagram account is scrolling through and find amazingly talented knitters and crocheters.

    Here are 5 of my favorite accounts to follow. Check them out!

    This account features quilting designer, Jera, and her quilting buddy Paige (an adorable Corgi!). My favorite part of QuiltingInTheRain is the fabrics she uses. I’ve heard of fabric stashes that can be just as big as yarn stashes, now I understand why. Her quilts are simply delightful.

    This account features stunning knit and crochet photos. But what makes MakesByMe_ unique is the adorable posts about her little ones! Sarah is a mother and a crafter. So many crafters can relate!

    The thing I love most about JammyPudding’s Instagram page are the photos, they are gorgeous! I can’t scroll through this account without craving a cappuccino. Ali cooks, knits, crochets, and sews. This is a perfect account for any crafter to be following –also check out her adorable Etsy shop!

    Kat Goldin is certainly a writer/designer you want to keep up with. She has been featured in several craft publications. And she is an extremely talented photographer. 

    SITSGirlsis a blogger support group for crafty/DIY blogs. Their Instagram posts are mostly DIYs and a few are inspiration quotes.

    Thanks for reading! 

    Follow LeisureArts on Instagram to see daily blog updates and other crafty adventures.

    Stay crafty!

  • WIP Wednesday: Taking a Cotton to this Cowl

    I'm crocheting the cowl pattern from the Textured Set in Hats & Scarves, and I'm taking a cotton to it.

    And I'm using cotton yarn.  I'm really sorry.  I'm so very sorry about everything.  But I had to do it.  I hope you understand.  Moving on!

    I like this Lion Brand Nature's Cotton yarn, and I think 'take a cotton to' is a cute way to say that you like something.  And in this case, it's appropriate.  Nature's Cotton is a soft and fluffy yarn, and it turns out it's a great choice for a cowl.  The cowl's texture comes from alternating single crochet stitches and double crochet stitches, and the rustic fluffiness of the yarn lends even more texture.  It's lovely.

    I love a good soft and squishy cowl, and this brown yarn feels pretty perfect to me right now.   This is a fairly small cowl pattern.  When it's finished it will be worn just like this--no looping around a few extra times.  It's pretty simple and adorable.  I think it will be a great accessory.

    I feel like I should be saying more about this, but that's it!  Sorry!

    I will review a little bit.  I like this cowl pattern.  And I like some other patterns from Hats & Scarves, let me just tell you.  No really, I can tell you!

    I loved making the Cuddly Cowl and wish I knew where my daughter has hidden this because I would LOVE to wear it this fall.

    I really like the cowl pattern from the Toasty Set and I can't wait to give it someone as a gift.  It was a quick project, and I love how huge it is.



    The Modern Chullo is awesome.  I wasn't especially great at my first attempt at crochet colorwork, but this hat is adorable and its intended recipient loves it.  I want to make one for myself because just look at this thing.


    This little booklet is full of winning patterns!  I think I'm going to try out at least one scarf pattern from this book, and I know for sure that I'm going to include this textured cowl as another great pattern when I finish it.  

  • When Crocheters Feel Competitive

    I am still working on the Afghan pattern from Learn to Crochet Circles into Squares.  I've just wanted to, and it's awesome to throw myself into something I enjoy so wholeheartedly.

    To be clear, I've been interested and/or enthused about nearly every Leisure Arts pattern I've worked and written about here.  There are some projects that I've finished and thought, "Well, now that I know what that's like....I never want to try it again."  There are others that I attempted just because I'd never tried them before and I wound up not only liking them, but trying out new things related to the technique/pattern/aesthetic.  And then there are patterns I've worked on where I have to keep working on them and also maybe writing about them, blogging consistency and standards of nonobnoxiousness be darned.

    This afghan project is one such project.

    This tends to happen with just about any square pattern, any book of baby hats, and anything that lets me get crazy with color.  And let's be super obvious for a moment and mention that this blanket has a lovely amount of color.

    I had originally started this to use up some scrap yarn, and this was a fabulous scrap yarn project.  But I messed that plan up a bit this weekend.  I knew I would need more brown yarn, and some dark green yarn for the green circles.  But I needed teal and aqua yarn for my sixth color combination, and I didn't have either of those colors in my stash.  I had planned to crochet more blue circles, but then it hit me.  I wanted to enter this in the state fair.  The judges would not like the extra blue.  If this were a gift, a rational person might accept this as a designing quirk or graciously assume that I had stash issues.  But a judge?  A judge would know I had deviated from the pattern in some way and s/he would not approve.  And then I might not get a ribbon.  And that is not something I think I can handle.  Not for this.

    So I spent an extra $6 on some Red Heart and made some more circles.  You can almost never get peace of mind for so cheap! They're lovely, and I know I'll use up this yarn in no time.

    I crocheted up all of my circles in all of my colors before going to my knitting group's potluck this weekend.  That was on a Saturday afternoon and it felt great.  I had all of my colors!  Everything was set!  I took my circles and my brown yarn to a friend's house and I got right to work.  Okay, I got right to work after a lot of cheese-based dishes and three desserts and several shouting conversations about....whatever it is we wind up shouting about when we get together.  And then I crocheted nearly 30 squares around those circles.


    I was methodical, and slightly obsessed.  And I think that's okay.  I'm really enjoying this pattern. I'm really excited to enter an afghan into the state fair.  I'm really excited about being excited about a project.

    And I'm really excited that I only have 6 more squares to make. 

    If my excitement can carry me through the seaming process, then this will all be perfect.

  • More Happy Scrappy Afghan Adventures!

    I picked up my happy scrappy afghan project again.  I haven't done a whole lot with the Afghan pattern from Learn to Crochet Circles into Squares, but I really like what I've done so far. 

    And you may have noticed that some of these circles have been crocheted into squares!  I decided to go with brown because I'm really into brown afghans right now. 


    I think it's a great contrast to the bright circles, and I have quite a bit of brown yarn in my stash.  I think I'll be running back to the yarn store for more, but that's fine.  I needed some dark green for my green circles anyway.

    And.  I didn't realize that there are some circles that are more of a teal with aqua!  The shopping list for this pattern was so long that I completely missed both the word "teal" and the word "aqua"!  I promise I would have paid closer attention if I was buying yarn, but I was using up scraps and I'd already decided to swap out lilac with purple for light yellow with mustard.  The teal/aqua combo look so similar to the light blue/darker blue circles in the picture!  I'm debating with myself about buying more yarn, making double the number of blue circles, or just making an extra circle of each color. 

    I'm also thinking a lot about why in the world I decided I needed to use an H hook for an afghan when the pattern calls for an I hook.  Even if my stitches got a bit stretchy, this would still be a heavy and warm blanket.  If I had to guess, it's because I couldn't find my I hook when I began working on this.  I lose my I hook more than I used to lose my H hook.  I guess I'll need to go out and buy two spare I hooks so that the original will turn up--that's what mostly solved my Missing H Hook Problem.  Anyway, the last two rows feel a bit cramped but the gauge is mostly okay.  The squares are nearly the recommended 7" across (my gauge tends to run a bit large) and I'm sure they'll stretch a bit after seaming and washing. 

    I don't know who this blanket is for, and I'm working on it because I need to finish up some WIPs.  The number of projects I have lying around is starting to make me feel a little antsy, and the only way to feel better is clear some of them out.  It feels a little odd to jump on this project instead of any of the baby projects I should be working on, but I love these colors so much!  And I think this afghan may go in the state fair this fall.  My knitting group decided that we would dominate the yarnwork categories of our state fair this year.  And yes, the word "dominate" was used repeatedly.

     I've been 'assigned' the crochet categories.  I'm actually pretty excited about it.  I always mean to submit something to the state fair, and then I don't.  Something about my friends declaring that we're going to win everything (we're not. But it's nice to have goals) is a good motivator.  Besides, I've done this before.  I was 17 and it was the youth division, but I still won a ribbon!  I entered a lap afghan of my own design using--what else?--granny squares.  Thinking about the state fair is even more motivating than this former 4Her would like to admit.   I know there's a tendency in craft blogging to be all 'oh, little ol' me?' or to at least act like a rational and gracious adult but seriously, if I don't win a rosette....well, I don't know what I'll do but I know I won't handle it well.  I want to dominate.


    I really don't think I'll finish this up this weekend (the wild thought did jump through my head earlier in the week when I was fantasizing about the weekend), but I hope to crochet at least half of the squares I need for this.  This is going to be a beautiful afghan!

  • I Crocheted the Shells Beanie and I Want to Wear it for the Entire Winter!

    It is August and I have crocheted a slouchy hat with bulky weight yarn.

    I don't even mind.  The Shells Beanie from Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps is quick and easy and adorable and perfect for my sister's birthday present.  The chunky yarn made this warm and squishy project fly by like a dream.  I loved working the shells up with a big ol' J hook, and this took up just one skein of Wool-Ease Chunky (153 yards).

    And I have to confess: I skipped one row of shells because I was worried about running out of yarn.  This wound up saving the day, and the hat body is still plenty slouchy.  This is, I have decided, just the right amount of slouch.  You know what I mean.  Some hats barely have more room than a skullcap, and some hats look like they belong on elves!  This little hat has enough slouch to it to look casual and roomy, but not so much that it looks sloppy or that the wearer will have to worry about it being pulled of her head because of its own weight.

    Like I mentioned before, crocheting this hat was a little like making a granny square for a head.  And I love that idea far more than I should.  But it's so pretty and I love crocheting shells so much and this is truly a pretty little design.  The holes between between the shells let this bulky hat breathe a bit, but this crocheted fabric is thick enough to keep someone warm.  But stylishly warm!  This hat pattern feels so perfect, I bet its perfection can be proven by science!  Or math because, you know, of row counts and stuff.  I don't know. I was an English major!   But I'm also a crocheting hat-wearer and I  know that this is a great hat.

    Also, I think it kind of looks like a flower.  It reminds me of giant purple zinnias.  I love zinnias.  Just about any pattern that makes me think of flowers is a good pattern.  It's pretty without being too precious.  It's also going on my sister's head in just a short while and I'm going to miss it!  I really think I'm going to have to make another one for myself.  I don't think I'll use the same colorway, but there are plenty of other yarns out there to make me think of zinnias. 

    I'm just going to wait until it's no longer August to make one for myself.

  • Weekly Dishcloth: Crocheting a Very Dignified Dishcloth

    I have a lot of weird reactions to dishcloth patterns, and I catch myself attributing lots of characteristics to the things I make.  Dishcloth #84 from Big Book of Dishcloths struck me as dignified and old fashioned.  

    I'm not entirely sure why, but 'old fashioned' and 'dignified' kept going through my head while I was crocheting this.  It looks like the kind of quilt design you'd see painted on the side of barn.  Do you have those in your area?  I never seem to see them in Arkansas. When I drove through the Midwest to go to a wedding in Iowa a few years ago, I saw lots of barns with quilt-style patterns painted on several barns.  They were lovely!  I don't know why anyone would do that, but it seems like a nice tradition.

    Maybe 'traditional' is what I'm thinking of with this design. Maybe it reminds me of the kind of afghan someone would make as a wedding gift.  Maybe it's a kind of tile you'd see in an older house.  Maybe I'm just easily impressed by dishcloth patterns.

    Okay, no 'maybe' at all on that last one.  I love dishcloths.  They're tiny works of art.  With #84, I think my favorite element was the cluster stitches at different points in this square. 


    Working them in the centers of the rows and then the corners was a little like crocheting the granny square pattern from Complete Guide to Symbol Crochet.

    But while the granny square seemed striking and playful, this dishcloth feels a little staid with its single color.  The only way it could be more serious is if I had used off-white yarn.  Red almost feels frivolous.  As it is, I'm looking at the dishcloth and feeling bad that I have taken our winter coats to the dry cleaners.  I probably haven't memorized enough Bible versus.  It has been weeks since I gave anyone a jar of homemade jelly.

    I also forgot to take a picture earlier in the day, so I had to run out and take pictures on my balcony in order to get enough natural light and now you AND the dishcloth know I don't plan far enough in advance.

    I need to give this dishcloth as a gift very, very soon.  It will be a very earnest gift.  I don't know if I know anyone with a kitchen serious enough for this dignified country lady of a dishcloth.  But I'm sure I can find someone who enjoys a nice traditional-looking pattern with an interesting design.  Because this is a perfect example of that very thing. 

    And probably an excellent cleaner to boot.

  • 4 Reasons This Needs to Be Your Next Crochet Project

     I finished my first afghan!

    Finished Rainbow Set Afghan


    And I LOVED it! I am already thinking of when I can make it again and I highly recommend this for your next crochet project.

    I know I’m writing a blog for the company that publishes this pattern. But read this whole post and then see what you think about it.
    This Baby Afghan pattern from the Rainbow Set is immensely popular. However, we have always been puzzled by what makes this 70’s pattern sell like crazy.
    So, I made it, and now I understand. So now I have—with confidence—4 reasons on why it’s worth your time and yarn.
    • 1. Because You Love Crochet 

    You know that feeling you get when you finally have time to sit down and crochet. You’ve just poured yourself a hot cup of your favorite tea (or coffee) and there is nothing else that needs to be worried about right now. Absolute heaven. You love crochet.

                 I remember seeing an e-card saying, “If I wanted a sweater that fits, I would have bought it”. It’s silly, but so true! We enjoy our craft so much that it isn’t the end result that is alluring, it’s the process. This pattern has everything: Simple DC, complicated DC, Granny Squares, HDC, SC, slip knots… everything that makes crochet wonderful.
    2. Because The Yarn: If you love crochet. Then you probably love yarn, too. You appreciate when yarn is put to good use (which is why some crafters don't like yarn-bombing). This pattern is simple, but beautiful. There are so many different color combinations that would look just stunning in this afghan (see for yourself on Ravelry)! The ripples in the pattern show off every color. You can use that yarn that you love but don’t want to waste it on a project that won’t do it justice.
    3. Because You Need a Gift… or will eventually: Since this is a baby afghan, its likely purpose would be as a gift.—Unless you end up keeping it, no judgment here!—It’s something that could turn into a child’s blanket-of-choice, or special “blankie”. 
                It’s also great if you have specific colors in mind. If, for example, you are making it for a baby shower and want to match the “theme” of the baby’s room, this is perfect! They are so nice to make, why not make several for future gifts? From what I hear, this is the kind of pattern that you make several times. We all have those projects lingering around the house. The right gifting opportunity just hasn’t presented itself yet.

    4. Because of the Creative Release: 
    Last weekend I wrote about creativity. It’s so great to have an opportunity to find and use your creative ideas! This pattern is a great opportunity because there are so many options! How ever will you decide? (check it out).
    Thanks for reading! If you have made this pattern I would love to see it! Post it on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media site with the hash tag #LeisureLife. 
    Stay Crafty!



  • Weekly Dishcloth: Crocheting the Offset Knot Stitch Dishcloth. Properly.

    I crocheted the Offset Knot Stitch Dishcloth pattern from Crochet Textures for Home and Baby!

    For real this time.

    The pattern calls for Lion Brand Nature's Choice cotton yarn, which is a little bit fluffier than your average worsted weight yarn.  The last time I made this dishcloth, I only had my standard Sugar n' Cream yarn on hand so I made this with a G hook.

    But I have some Nature's Choice in my stash, and I thought it would be interesting to try this again.  I loved it the first time around, and I figured another try would be fun.  And it was!

    I used a J hook and a little more than half of a skein of Nature's Choice in Walnut. That yarn is so incredibly soft.  And the dishcloth is so big and thick and poofy!

    But I don't know if this is actually a good dishcloth.  I've never tried cleaning up with anything made from this yarn before, but it seems a bit too.... fibery.  Does that make sense?  It seems like it would be like trying to scrub something with a cotton ball.  I know the yarn is much stronger than that, but it seems like it's just too soft for using as a dishcloth and I worry about little yarn fragments going all over the place.

    I still like this, though.  I can either give this to one of my sisters, because they don't actually use the dishcloths I give them--although they do like them and display them with pride--or I can deem this a hot pad.  Even before I started making this, I thought it might be a hot pad.  Which is kind of great, actually.

    I like hot pads, and this seems like a really good one.  The knots give this a lot of height and, of course, texture.  This is incredibly textured!  I would hope that a book called Crochet Texture for Home and Baby would have some very textured crochet patterns, and this is a mighty fine one. 

    Even if I don't know what I'll do with this week's dishcloth project, I'm happy with it.  I love this simple pattern.  I'd never worked with this yarn before and that was lovely.  I have to admit that I do like a good hot pad.  And every now and then it feels good to work a pattern just the way I'm supposed to.  Weird, but good.

    I hope you have a good weekend and plenty of good luck with your crafting!

  • To Crochet a Little Clutch

    I finished crocheting the Embellished Clutch from Totes & Bags!  You may have noticed that it's not embellished. 

    All in good time.  After I finished crocheting the second side and seamed the two pieces together, I was in no mood for more seaming.  So I skipped making the little flowers that were intended to embellish the Embellished Clutch.  For now, anyway.  I think I'll find something to fancy this up a bit. 

    I like this little bag a lot!  It calls for an H hook and two strands of super fine yarn held together.  I used some Kroy sock yarn and used up the skeins.  I just had a tiny bit left after crocheting and stitching the sides together.  It was perfect!  Sock yarn is super durable, and will wash well while putting up with plenty of 'life' things.  Which is great because I already checked to see if this is a little clutch I can actually carry in my real life and it looks like I can!

    I bet I could even fit some tissues and gum in there!  Fantastic!

    A cotton yarn might make this a more practical project, though.  I was just using what I had to check out the pattern for the body of this bag.  And I have to say that I like this bag a lot.  It's sturdy because of the two strands of yarn.  It's simple because it's single crochet stitches.  And it's big enough to hold my essentials, but small enough that these little straps will hold it without the whole thing doing that gaping/collapsing thing that can happen with bags sometimes.  You just chain some stitches, skip some stitches, and go on about your merry crocheting way for a few more rows.

    This was a pleasant little project, and now it's a lovely little clutch.  I'm looking forward to figuring out what embellishments to add to it very soon.  I couldn't leave something this cute unadorned for long!

  • WIP Wednesday: Crocheting a Bright and Bulky Dream Hat

    I'm crocheting the Shells Beanie from Crochet Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps!  It's a bright and bulky dream project.  Even if it does look a little like a hot pad from the 1970s right now.

    Which is a fine way to look, I must say.

    I'm using a J hook and a skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Jiffy that I hopes lasts me to the end of this hat.  It's a nice, squishy project with rows and rows of shells.  I love shells.  This is so close to feeling like I'm crocheting a large circular granny square hat that I smile every time I think about it. 


    I'm halfway through the body now, and I think I can finish this up over the weekend.  I'm not sure if this is going to go straight to my gift stash, or if I'll give this to my sister for her birthday next week.  But someone's going to love it, that's for sure!  It's been a while since I've crocheted a pattern from Crochet Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps, and I'm not sure why.  These patterns are lovely!  Cooler weather is just a couple of months away, and I want to make a few more patterns from this book before fall!  I love a good slouchy hat, and this hat in particular is just too dadgummed cute for me to not make it.  Hats are a great summer project. 


    Even though this summer has been beautifully not-terrible, I still have a hard time focusing on big cold-weather projects.  I bought the yarn for a sweater a month ago and haven't knitted anything other than a gauge swatch.  My plans for blankets?  Just plans.  All my lofty goals of baby booties and hats?  We don't have to talk about it!  It's summertime and the living's easy!  We're riding high on piles of zucchini and squash and flip flops and long, sunshiny days!  Cold weather crafting is the farthest thing from my mind.  But I know I'll need some warm hats and scarves in my gift stash soon enough. 


    This great bulky weight project is going to crochet up quickly and cutely.  I'm so happy my spellcheck didn't flag "cutely."  I like that word.  And I like this hat pattern. I can't wait to see it all worked up!

    Happy crafting!  And good luck with all of your works-in-progress!

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