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The Leisure Arts Crochet Blog
  • Crocheted Baby Sweaters

    The weather in Little Rock has been a little cooler lately—80s and 90s instead 100+, and that reminds me that sweater weather will be here before we know it. I love sweater weather…and especially sweaters on babies—too cute!

    Cute, sweet, adorable, precious, all those classic baby adjectives, certainly describe the two newest baby sweater books from Leisure Arts—Surprise Crochet and Playtime Jackets!

    In Surprise Crochet Sweaters for Baby, designer Darla Sims has recreated Elizabeth Zimmermann’s classic knitted Baby Surprise Jacket in crochet with lots of variations. Each of her patterns is worked in one easy piece then folded and stitched together to form a sweater in sizes 6-, 12-, and 24-months. Take a peek:

    Basic Sweater

    Hooded Sweater

    Ruffled Sweater

    Bobbled Sweater

    Picot Sweater

    Ribbed Collar Sweater

    V-Neck Sweater

    Basic Buttoned Sweater

    Playtime Jackets by Holly Fields offers up four toddler jackets and one little vest—in sizes 12-, 18-, and 24-months, all with motifs added! Look at how cute:

    Monkeying Around Jacket

    Breakfast on the Farm Vest

    Fairy Tale Forest Jacket

    Ice Cream Jacket

    Bead Toy Jacket

  • Start Your Christmas Crocheting!

    Crocheters! Let’s kick off Christmas in July with some creative Christmas crochet inspiration!

    Want to crochet Christmas ornaments?

    Create 12 different ornaments in 3 different sizes with Ornaments to Crochet 3 Ways by Anne Halliday. Just choose from worsted weight yarn, sport weight yarn, or cotton thread to crochet your ornaments. Patterns include an angel, stocking, toy soldier, skate, Santa, gingerbread man, wreath, snowman, ski hat, sweater, bell, and candy cane.

    Are you all about thread ornaments? You’ll love our Big Book of Thread Ornaments featuring snowflakes, angels, bells, ball covers, photo frames, and more.

    Want to crochet stockings for everyone you know? Crocheted Christmas Stockings by Grace Kaplan features 15 festive crocheted stockings for you to sink your hook into.

    Afghan Fans! If you start now, you might have time to crochet up a couple of Christmas afghans (or more). Let me inspire you with a few of our designs:

    From our little book-sized Grannies Gone Wild—Christmas Granny by designer Kim Guzman can get you started on the road to Christmas creativity even in the midst of summer heat! The individual squares are great take-alongs for your vacation trips. (The book also includes 5 more afghans and wraps for more year-round crocheting.)

    Crochet up a Christmas Bouquet afghan from Floral Touches by Rena V. Stevens. Once again, these pretty motifs make perfect go-anywhere projects during the summer months, and the other four projects in the book are excellent for adding a floral touch to your décor anytime.

    Looking for a pretty blankie for baby’s first Christmas? Check out the December project in A Year of Baby Afghans, Book 4. This sweet wrap from designer Ginger Thomas will make a delightful Christmas keepsake (plus the book features 11 more adorable designs for baby to keep your hands busy).

    Or treat baby to the fun of peppermints at Christmas with Sandy Rideout’s December afghan in A Year of Baby Afghans, Book 5 (along with 11 other baby afghan patterns that are ideal for continuous baby snuggling)!

    Happy Christmas Crocheting in July!

  • Teach the Kids to Knit & Crochet!

    Have you got some bored youngsters hanging around with nothing to do this summer? Take a look at our Learn to Knit and Learn to Crochet Kits. They‘re just perfect for kids (especially girls) ages 8 and up! Each kit includes everything needed to complete the pictured project—knitting needles or crochet hook, yarn, pattern, pom-pom/tassel maker, instructions, yarn needle, and two bonus patterns. Check out your choices:

    Learn to Knit: Hat Kit

    Learn to Knit: Scarf Kit

    Learn to Knit: Dog Scarf Kit

    Learn to Crochet: Baby Hat Kit

    Learn to Crochet: Scarf Kit

    Learn to Crochet: Purse Kit

    Wish these kits had been around when my kids were little and still liked being in the same room with me!

  • Day 4 Pet Week—Crochet, Sew, & Paint

    Leisure Arts Graphic Artist Becca’s furry friends are the special hosts of our virtual Take Your Pet to Work Week—Day 4!

    Meet ChaCha (a.k.a. Love Sponge)! She’s a German Shepard mix.

    And here’s Boone (a.k.a. Velcro Dog). This big guy, a Lab/Rottweiler mix that weighs in at 130 lbs, has just recently come to live at Becca’s house. Boone even has his own Facebook page that’s open to all dog lovers at:!

    Bet both are well-loved, pampered pooches!

    Want to pamper your pets with creativity? Check out these great pet-themed crochet, sewing, and painting books from Leisure Arts!

    I love the six crocheted blanket and toy sets for dogs and cats from Cuddles to Crochet for Pets by Carolyn Christmas:

    Unbearably Cute with blanket and bear toy

    Me & My Buddy with blanket and weenie dog toy

    Goodies & Grannies with blanket, cupcake, frosted doughnut, and ice cream cone toys

    Mousecapades with blanket and mouse toy

    Seafood Surprise with blanket, fish, and starfish toys

    For Birdwatchers Only with blanket & bluebird toy

    Do you like to sew and pamper your dog? Combine the two with Canine Couturetop dog fashions for all occasions by Linda Gillum/Kooler Design Studio. Take a look at just a few of the 16 adorable doggie outfits:

    Pajama Party (warm flannel for bedtime snuggles)

    Wild Animal (made with faux fur)

    Highland Fling (for a little Scottish flair)

    Superdog (ready for adventure)

    Need some art work to decorate the dog or cat house (or the kid’s room)? Pick up a copy of Debra Jordan Bryan’s Pups and Purr-sonalities to Paint. How about painting some cool kitty or doggie canvases?

    Aren’t they cute? Just like your own favorite bundle of fur?

  • Summer Fashions to Crochet

    It’s only June, and it’s already melting point hot in Little Rock. We’ve been running in the upper 90s ever since the tornados went away. To me, that translates into light and airy layers of clothing. What better way to create those layers than with crochet? Check out some of my favorite Leisure Arts crocheted fashion patterns:

    From Pretty Summer Fashion by Kathryn Clark, I’m loving this little Hooded Vest. Over a tank top, it’s adorable. My daughters would be fighting over who got to wear it first…and the book also includes a Ripple Top, a Pineapple Skirt, and a Sleeveless Top—all in thread crochet!

    This lacy little Blue Tank Top from Kathleen Zins’ Easygoing Fashions would take you from dressy to casual and back again!

    How about this Pretty With Lace Camisole as an addition to your summer wardrobe? It’s from Crochet Tops by Kathryn Clark in wonderfully cool thread crochet.

    This boatneck top from Crochet It. Love It. Wear It! was inspired by designer Drew Emborsky’s summers in his hometown of Saugatuck, Michigan. It features hidden cables around the waist to create a flattering fit on any figure.

    Speaking of figures, full ones in particular, I really like the summery feel of the fashions in Marlaina Bird and Jill Wright’s Curvy Crochet—featuring designs in sizes Large to 4X. Love the idea of this airy Peasant Top over a great lightweight dress for the hot weather months.

    For the lovely skinny girls out there, you need to take a look at Summer Fashions by Kristina Dannels. These delicate, form-fitting fashions in thread are perfect for poolside or evening wear.

    If you’re really brave, give Kristina Dannels’ Sexy SwimWear to Crochet a try. These barely-there designs will certainly make you stand out from the overheated spandex crowd!

  • Knit & Crochet Walmart Exclusives!

    Heads up, Knitters & Crocheters! Just wanted to let you know that Leisure Arts has released (just in time for World Wide Knit in Public Day) 7 perfectly portable little books full of patterns, and you can only find them at your local Walmart!

    The titles include: Slouchy Beanies (9 knit & crochet designs), Learn to Knit (step-by-step how-tos + easy projects), Learn to Crochet (step-by-step how-tos + easy projects), Dishcloths (12 crochet designs), Prayer Shawls (11 crochet shawls for adult & child), Afghans (8 crochet blankets), and Baby Wraps (8 crochet blankets).

    I really like these books. Their lightweight, rounded corner format feels good in my hands, and their 6-1/4" x 7-1/4" size fits nicely in a project bag. Plus, they reference yarns that you can easily find on the shelves of any Walmart yarn department!

    So celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day and run on down to Walmart, grab a couple or all seven and some yarn, find yourself a nice shade tree, park bench, or coffee shop, and share your knit and crochet creativity with the world!

  • Patriotic Quilt, Cross Stitch, & Crochet Inspiration

    Looking to indulge in a little patriotic-themed creativity in preparation for or in celebration of Flag Day, July 4th, a new July baby, or your favorite soldier? Well, of course, I’ve got design suggestions:

    Take Quilted Pride in Your Country!

    I love this America The Beautiful wall hanging to quilt from Seasons & Reasons to Celebrate by Tracy MacKay! From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans—all in fabric!

    Designer Debbie Mumm’s Homecomings book has a whole patriotic quilty/crafty section called Independence Day Celebrations. It features a Liberty Lap Quilt, Sand Candles, Americana Wall Quilt, Nine-Patch Pillow, Lone Star Pillows, Americana Door Banner, Patriotic Flowerpot, and a Star Spangled Pillow. (And as a special bonus, check out our free instant download version of Debbie’s Nine-Patch Pillow pattern from Homecomings!)

    Or how about a great Tried & True Birthday Stars Table Runner from the pages of the Best of Fons & Porter Tabletop Quilts?

    Crochet Your Patriotism!

    Celebrate the flag with this Stars and Stripes afghan by Anne Halliday from our Afghan Lover’s Collection. It‘s worked in strips, so it makes a nice take-along project.

    Want a whole pattern book full of patriotic afghan designs? Give American Pride Afghans by Kay Meadors a try.

    Somebody expecting a new baby in July? Here‘s a couple of red, white, and blue baby afghans to crochet:

    This one’s from A Year of Baby Afghans, Book 4, design by Becky Stevens.

    And this one’s from A Year of Baby Afghans, Book 5. It’s another great design by Anne Halliday.

    Celebrate Freedom in Cross Stitch!

    If you’d like a simple cross stitch piece that would work up in no time, check out Freedom from Stamp ’N Stitch Holidays. You just stamp the stars and stripes, cross stitch the word, frame it, and you’re done!

    Rather work on a cross stitch design that’ll take a little more effort? Take a look at Old Glory by Kathy Elrod from The Best of Cross Stitch Basics. Our version was worked on 28 ct fabric with Sampler Threads!

    Feeling inspired and all patriotic yet?

  • Take-It-Along Crochet

    Crocheters, it’s easy to take your creativity into the world with you! (Yes, June 11 is World Wide Knit in Public Day, and, yes, you can crochet in public on that day, too!) All you need is a skein of yarn, a hook, and a book, and I’ve got some great portable project recommendations for you:

    Try a great book like Better Homes and Gardens Crochet On The Go! Along with the usual larger afghan designs (some made from granny squares), it’s filled with a variety of smaller projects that you can work on anywhere—a bookmark, pincushion, facecloths, pillows, baby toys, lots of scarves, a really cute floral headband, and more!

    If granny squares are your thing, take them on the road with you. Here’s a cool book to take along—Grannies Gone Wild (if nothing else, the title will catch spectator attention). It features 6 afghans and wraps to crochet, plus, it’s the perfect portable size for sliding into your project bag.

    Make hats with a copy of Lisa Gentry’s Celebrity Slouchy Beanies to Crochet! You can add dark glasses, wear your hats yourself, and pretend to be a movie star this summer—or save them up and donate them to charity—there’s always a need for your creativity out there!

    You can never have too many dishcloths, so crochet up some more with the 9 patterns in The Crochet Dude’s pattern book—All Washed Up. I love crocheting with cotton yarn, so dishcloths are a favorite project for me, plus I like that I can shove this perfectly-sized book right down in my purse. It’s from our Little Book series, so it fits!

    And here’s a little bonus for my readers—comment on this post sometime between now and Monday, June 13, tell me about the last time you crocheted in public, and you might be a winner of a signed copy of The Crochet Dude—Drew Emborsky’s All Washed Up for your very own.

  • Unforgettable Crochet

    I know I’ve babbled to you about my love of sweaters and vests before, but now I’ve got a book in my hands that’s all about not only great causal or dressy designs that I really like, but they’re also crochet designs, and I think I might be able to actually make them! You’ve got to check out Unforgettable Crochet featuring 6 unique fashion pieces in sizes X-Small to 2X-Large by Lisa Gentry (The Guinness Book of World Records Fastest Crocheter)…

    This is my favorite pattern in the whole book—the Scallop-Edge Vest. It’s marked as skill level easy and is made with light weight yarn, so I could wear it year-round.

    The next one I’m coveting is the Bracelet Length Cardi. (I like tops that cover up my elbows. Never did like my elbows…)

    My skinny oldest daughter is liking this Cutaway Vest.

    Take a look at this beautifully feminine Lacy Cardi. Wouldn’t it have been pretty for Easter? Well, maybe by next year...

    This lovely Chic Motif Cape would have you ready for a romantic dinner/evening on the town. (It would have to be you ‘cause my husband’s idea of a night out is going to the Friday night auction where he might buy me a hotdog…)

    And last but not least, there’s this 3-Way Wrap on the front cover and in the two photos above. It’s a sort of scarf/jacket that can be worn so many ways, it would seem new every time.

    I pretty sure I’m going to have to give the Scallop-Edge Vest a try. Probably in green yarn just like the picture. (I like green.) Wish me luck…

  • Crochet Dude Winners

    We just finalized the winners in the congratulate Drew Emborsky for his Famie Best Pattern Book Award for Crochet It. Love It. Wear It! comment celebration!

    Now our congratulations go out to Crystal in Tennessee and Kim in Georgia ’cause they’re both winners of signed copies of Crochet It. Love It. Wear It! The books are in the mail! Enjoy!

    All our thanks to everyone for letting Drew know how proud we are of him .

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