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  • How to Master a New Craft or Skill

    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ―Mahatma Gandhi

    Have you always to start something new and weren't sure where to start? Whether you want to learn how to crochet, how to knit, how to paint, how to tackle a new stitch, the list below gives you the basics on how to become a pro at your new creative endeavor:

    1. Grab a how-to book with expert instruction to guide you step by step
    2. Gather all the materials you will need. Ex: yarn, needle, paint, pen, etc.
    3. Start small with swatches, samples, small projects, etc. before tackling the harder stuff
    4. Practice your new skill regularly—that will help to make it almost automatic
    5. Sit back and revel in your new creations!

    In the next few paragraphs, we'll explore several of our books that come with easy-to-follow instructions and progressive projects for you to learn how to conquer new stitches, new skills, and entirely new crafts.

    Great Balls of Yarn: Learn Crochet or Expand Your Skills

    If you’re new to crochet or if you want to learn a new crochet skill or two, we've got you hook, yarn and fun with these easy-to-follow books! Learn how to crochet with ease and enjoyment.

    The progressive projects of The Ultimate Crochet Collection for Beginners take you from easy to more difficult with easy-to-follow instructions and patterns. You'll love learning how to crochet with Marly Bird, and the resulting creations are cute AND functional!

    Ultimate Crochet Collection for Beginners #7512

    You'll be hooked on crochet with Learn to Crochet with Custom Hooks! We'll supply you with a hook designed especially for beginners, so it will be extra easy to learn how to crochet any of the adorable accessories for kids or adults.

    Learn to Crochet with Custom Hooks #6381

    This eye-catching stitch will croc your world! The Beginner's Guide to Crocodile Stitch is the perfect "how-to" to add an eye-catching layer of "scales" to your crochet projects. You'll be surprised how easy it is to learn with our step-by-step instructions, photographs, and videos. On a scale (see what we did there?) of 1-10, this book is definitely a 10!

    Beginner's Guide to Crocodile Stitch #6377

    If you adore crocheting and love the look of knits, you won't want to miss out on this hybrid! Award-winning teacher Kim Guzman walks you through the basics with clear photos and friendly instructions in the Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Tunisian Crochet.

    Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Tunisian Crochet #5599

    We wouldn't toy with you—your children, grandchildren, friends' children (we could go on and on), will love these toys! And with Learn to Crochet Toys, you'll be a crocheting wizard before you can say "Bodacious ballerina begs you to begin"!

    Learn to Crochet Toys #6188

    Life's a Stitch: Learning Knitting is Fun and Relaxing, with Beautiful Results

    Don't be at your knit's end learning a new skill. Let our pros guide you through a basketful of knitting projects with ease and joy.

    Designer Marly Bird walks you every step of the way through how to knit multiple projects in the Complete Knit Collection. You'll not only create awesome gifts—or keepers—you'll gain the skills to be a knitting pro. From trendy dishcloths to a beautiful shawl or afghan, this collection has got you covered. 

    Chunky Pillow, Complete Knit Collection for Beginners #7577

    Market Bag, Complete Knit Collection for Beginners #7577

    Learn beautiful mosaic knitting with The Beginner's Guide To Mosaic Knitting. Create complex-looking fabrics with only one color per row, with yarn guru Melissa Leapman guiding you through.

    The Beginner's Guide To Mosaic Knitting #7492

    Come in first lace learning how to create gorgeous purses, doilies, scarfs, and more, with the Beginner's Guide to Lace Knitting.

    Beginner's Guide to Lace Knitting #6351

    Not only will this book teach you everything you need to know to make several styles of hats, it includes a kit with everything you need to knit one complete hat. Get started right away without worrying about the materials. If you've been wanting to learn how to knit hats, Knit Hat Book Plus Kit is for you.

    Craftastic New Hobbies That Are Easy to Learn

    Fun for all levels, Modern Punch Needle takes a modern twist on the traditional needle craft. The step-by-step instructions and 14 progressively harder projects take you from beginner to pro. Once you learn the ins and outs, you'll want to check out this post featuring our newest punch needle kits.

    Modern Punch Needle #7513

    Channel your inner pyromaniac and learn how to leave your mark (on wood, of course) with Modern Woodburning - 9 Skill-Building Projects for Learning Pyography You'll really enjoy blazing this trail!

    Modern Woodburning #7524

    We wouldn't macra-stray you wrong—Get Started In Macramé has 11 gorgeous wall hangings and other projects for beginners to learn how to master this craft from yesteryear. We can also help you out with the supplies you'll need.

    Get Started In Macrame #7217

    Paint happy thoughts with Happy Abstracts - Fearless Painting for True Beginners. Stroke-by-stroke how-to photo guides take you through six colorful and abstract projects, sure to be a centerpiece of your home décor.

    Happy Abstracts - Fearless Painting for True Beginners #7412

    The World IS your oyster with Hand Lettering - Great for Weddings & Other Occasions. Your creations can be just as spectacular as you see in stores, or on Pinterest and Instagram. Artist Kathryn Erney will teach you several styles—each building on the last—and before you know it, you’ll have mastered those pen strokes and will be making beautiful pieces!

    Hand Lettering - Great for Weddings & Other Occasions #7326

    So whether you want to learn how to knit, how to crochet, or learn a new craft all together, our experts take you step-by-step through the process. Whether you're a beginner or want to enhance your repertoire, at least one of these books is perfect for you. When you're finished, post your photo/s on social media and be sure to tag us @leisureartsinc or use #leisurearts, so we can all enjoy your journey as well!  

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Jack-O-Lantern Dishcloth

    I love Halloween. It is my favorite holiday. I love all the decorations. I like to drive around and look at everyone else’s decorated yards. I leave my decorations up until the day after Day of the Dead. I was looking for something quick and easy project to do. Something that I can work on in and out of the car this week while waiting in the carpool line at school or while waiting on after school activities. I went through all of my Leisure Art Books and found this cute Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin dishcloth in a book called A Dishcloth a Month.

    I was just finishing tucking in all my ends when my friend asked me if it was a new coaster for our table at the new knit shop. I said I had not planned on it but why not. It is slightly big for a coaster but it is really cute idea for decorating a table. So I am in the process of making a few more for our knit/crochet table. I am even going to crochet some without the Jack-O-Lantern face. You just follow the pattern and as if you had changed your color from orange to black. My favorite part I will only have four ends to run in or tuck in. Whichever way you want say it. You can even use brown for the stem instead of the green. Since it is fall I can keep the ones without faces through Thanksgiving. It’s a win! Win! I hope that you have had as much fun with this Jack-O-Lantern pattern as I have. I used 100% cotton. I am going to check and see if Sugar n Cream has a variegated fall colored yarn for some of my solid pumpkins. I think that would be really cute.

     

     

  • Boot Cuff

    Cool-Weather Family Fashions

    I needed a quick project to take on the go this week. I looked through all my Leisure Arts books and I saw these really cute Boot Cuffs in Cool-Weather Family Fashions. I used a bulky wool yarn. I have no idea what the name of this cream colored yarn is. I hate when my labels fall off. It was a yarn that I had in my stash.

    FullSizeRender (36) Use a place marker on the knit row side. This is the right side.

    Finished Cool Weather Fashions Boot Cuff

    I knitted the Boot Cuffs on size 11 straight needles. I love the pattern that this makes. It is quite a lovey stitch. One row is a rib stitch and the next row is a knit. I’m going to do a scarf or a cowl next with this stitch. If you want to knit this and you don’t like sewing up the sides you of your projects. You could cast on the number of stitches that you need for the size you require onto double point needles. Join in the round making sure not to twist. I know that is what I’m going to do next time I knit these. Remember Christmas is just a little over 3 months away. These would be a quick and easy project for someone who loves to wear boots.

    Boot cuffs as ear warmers Or a boot cuff for a dog cowl or earmuffs. Just kidding!!! I am not that bad!

     

  • Knit Hat

    I have been coloring in my Leisure Arts coloring books off and on all week and my favorite colors right now are neon iridescent colors. When I saw the Toybox Collection yarn called Candy at my local yarn shop called Yarn Kandy the yarn is 100% acrylic. I knew that I had to get it to knit a hat for a friend who runs very early in the morning.

    Beginner Friendly Knitting

    I know that she wears other iridescent clothing when she runs. But I wanted to knit her a hat to keep her ears warm, and something else so that she can be seen when it is still dark. Leisure Arts has neon iridescent colored yarns but it is a bulky yarn. You can use it but you will probably have to cast on less stitches and use a bigger size circular knitting needle.

     

     

    Finished Knit Hat CircleCircular Knitting a Hat

    My knitted hat pattern isn’t a written pattern. It could be written some place. I just haven’t seen it. Leisure Arts has a hat similar to the hat that I have knitted called Beginner-Friendly Knitting by Rita Weiss.  I just played with it until I got it right. I casted on 88 stitches on size 8 circular knitting needles, the first time I casted on 96 and it was way too big. I noticed this after I was 6 inches in and I had to rip it all out and start again. Joined in the round make sure not to twist. Going to start a rib stitch which is K2, P2 for an inch to inch and a half, but don’t forget your place marker to show were you joined. Then knit in the round until the hat is 6 inches. Decrease knit 6 knit 2 together all the way around to were your place marker is. When you start decreasing you are going to needle double point knitting needles. Knit the next row. Continue decreasing until you have 11 stitches left. I know that the photo has a hole I stopped at 22 stitches because my friend who this was for asked to. She wanted it so that hat could have a little ventilation. When you are done cut a 6 inch tail and with a darning needle weave the end through all the stitches on your double point. I always go around twice just to be safe. Tuck in your ends and you have a hat.

    Finished Knit Hat

    I hate to say it but Christmas is going to be here in a blink of an eye. School starts in a few days. Everyone needs a warm hat. Great for Christmas, birthday, or a just because I was thinking about you.

  • Hand Mitts

    One of my favorite storybooks as a small child was the Three Little Kittens that lost their mittens. Well I found my mittens. But something is missing. It is missing the fingertips and thumb coverings. I like finger less mittens because you can still use your fingers for texting; I even knit and crochet with my finger less mittens. I found this quick and easy pattern in a Leisure Arts book called Cool-Weather Family Fashions the pattern is called Hand Mitts.

    IMG_8156

    I used size 11 straight knitting needles and I know that the pattern calls for chunky yarn but the only chunky yarn that I had in my yarn stash is a ½ alpaca and ½wool. I know that the pattern calls for two different colors but I just used the one.  It took an hour to knit one finger less mitten and that included stitching up the side. Now I am ready for cooler weather. Finger less mittens are great ideas for gifts.

  • Favorite Sock Pattern

    This is my favorite sock pattern. I have knitted many socks with this pattern and other patterns. This is just a simple tube sock. Much easier than other sock patterns because it doesn’t have a heel flap or gusset to knit and no Kitchener stitch on the toes. I didn’t get this from a Leisure Arts book. But here is a good starter book by Leisure Arts that is very helpful How to Knit Socks: Three Methods Made Easy by Edie Eckman.

    Patons Kroy Sock Yarn Patons Kroy Sock Yarn

    I used Patons Kroy sock yarn for the finished pair of socks it’s a wool and nylon blend yarn. The other photo is another pair of socks is a self-stripping yarn wool yarn by Feederbrook Farms that I discovered at the new yarn shop in Little Rock called Yarn Kandy. Also Leisure Arts has a few sock yarns that you can order from their sight. A Lion Brand yarn called Sock Ease a wool and nylon blend yarn.

    Feederbrook Farms

    Feederbrook Farms

    I used size 5 double point knitting needles. I casted on 48 stitches, joined it in the round did the rib stitch which is knit 2, purl 2. I put a place marker to show where I joined it in the round this way I know where to start when I start my decrease. I continued with the rib stitch for 1 inch to 1½ inches. The knit in the round stockinette stitch til the sock is 14 to 15 inches. When you are ready to decrease knit 6, knit 2 together the next round knit. Decrease one row and knit the next. Do this until you have 8 stitches. Cut a good size tail 6 to 8 inches. With a darning needle weave it through all 8 stitches and bind off. I like to go around the stitches twice this makes it a little stronger. Have fun knitting. I know I do. Socks make a great Christmas gift.

  • Granny Square Headband

    A few weeks ago one of my kids that I nanny for asked me to make them a headband. I asked her what kind of headband and she shrugged her shoulder and said “I don’t know!” So I thought about it and when looking through a crochet book by Leisure Arts called Quick Itty Bitties. I saw this crochet Granny Square Hat. I thought how cute would that be as a headband instead of a hat.

    Granny Square Headband

    I found this cotton yarn Crème de le Crème while on vacation last week in Southport, NC called Angelwings Needle Arts. So I used 5 colors 4 different colors for the granny squares each square has three colors. I know that the pattern calls for more than 4 colors. The 5th color is a light gray I used light gray to crochet the squares together and did a single crochet across the top and the bottom. She can wear this headband now or when it gets cold to keep her ears warm. I like knitting or crocheting with cotton because breaths. This project was quick and easy. It only took a couple hours.

    Granny Square Headband

  • Birthday Earrings or Charms for Wine Glasses

    I just remembered that I have a friend’s birthday dinner Sunday evening. I was looking at the Hoop Earrings in Leisure Arts book called Easy DIY Jewelry Book 2. I decided that I would make her some charms for her wine glasses. She can use them on her glasses or wear them as earrings.

    FullSizeRender (2)

    For this project I used needle nose pliers, wire cutters, 4 hoop earrings with an eye, several silver spacers, 4 headpins, 16 small glass beads, and 8 slightly bigger glass beads. I used two bigger beads on the headpins with a spacer in between and one on top and wrap and making a little hoop to be able to slide onto the earring. So after I made my bobbin I took a small glass bead and placed it onto the hoop then a spacer, then another small glass bead, the bobbin and repeated what I put on before the bobbin I did this to all four. Because my bobbins on this project are all different she might not want to wear them as earrings. After all the beads, spacers, and bobbins are all on I then closed the earring by putting the post through the eye of the earring and bent the end of the earring. This will keep the earring from coming off and everything falling off. I only bent one so you could tell the difference.

    IMG_8040 (1)

  • Fourth of July Bracelet

    I cannot believe that it is July and in just two days it will be Independence Day. This year is just flying by so quickly. Any who! I realized I do not own anything patriotic. So I wanted to make something that I could wear on my wrist. I used some of my beads that I got at the antique mall. I had some old red, white, and blue buttons that I thought would be prefect for this project. I didn’t use a book for this I just winged it. I think that it turned out well. Here are a couple of books that I love and inspire me by Leisure Arts Easy DIY Jewelry Book 2 and DIY Jewelry Pendants. I bought some 19 gauge wire this morning at my local hardware store that has been around since before I was born. I just love going to hardware stores. I went to get a key made and came out with a new key and a couple different gauge wires. The one thing about using regular wire is that after you use it or wear it, it oxidizes and starts to lose its shine.

    IMG_7815

    The tools that I used are needle nose pliers, and wire cutters. The supplies were 6 buttons two red, two white, and two blue. I used toggle, clasp, and a few jump rings. I cute a good 5-7 inch length for both sides of the button to wrap and make an eye to join the next button or eye for the jump ring. I know that I usually use head pins but I thought I would see what the wire would look like. I like the wire. Make sure that you feel around on the end of the wire so that it doesn’t have a sharp end, or a tiny bit of an end that can get snagged on say your shorts and cannot move your arm and have to ask a stranger at the grocery store if she could unsnag you. Yes!! Yes!! This actually happened a couple weeks ago.

    IMG_7812

  • Getting Gauge

    When you are knitting, it is really important to get the correct gauge that the pattern calls for especially if you are knitting some sort of garment. I have a friend who once knitted a dress for someone and followed the pattern to every letter and it was 3 sizes too big. I have other friends that have knitted sweaters that were too small, too short in the waist or sleeves, or the pieces didn’t fit. So you want to do a gauge swatch and get your ruler out to measure your stitches. You want to know how many stitches you get within an inch.

    I used these Sailboat washcloths to show the difference in what I am talking about. I got the pattern for this adorable Sailboat out of a Leisure Arts book called Baby Washcloths to Knit by Melissa Bergland Burnham. I know with washcloths you don’t necessary need to worry about a gauge swatch. That said, the sailboat on the left is much smaller than the one on the right. I used two different yarns. The sailboat on the left was knitted in 100% Egyptian Cotton and the one on the left in regular Lily’s Sugar n’ Cream USA 100% Cotton. Both are cotton but totally different sizes of yarn. The sailboats were also knitted on different sized needles. The washcloth on the left was knitted using size 6 needles, and the one on the right was knitted using size 8. Why two different sized needles? I used the needles that the yarn specified. If I had used a size 8 with the Egyptian cotton, then it would have been really loose and you would not have been able to make out the pattern as well.  If I had knitted the Lily’s Cotton with size 6 needles, the washcloth would be really hard to have knit up because it would have been very tight.

    Left Sailboat knitted in Egyptian Cotton and Sailboat on the right Regular Cotton Left Sailboat knitted in Egyptian Cotton and Sailboat on the right Regular Cotton

    Good Luck on your gauges. I feel your pain when you have to do a gauge swatch. I do not like doing them either. I like them like I like tucking in all my ends in at the end of projects.

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