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  • Aran Scarf | 50 Fabulous Knit Aran Stitches

    Hey Crafters!
    I finally finished my aran scarf. I used one of the patterns in "50 Fabulous Knit Aran Stitches."

    This what the eBook will look like when you download it.

    scrolling through the PDF to find the perfect stitch

    This is The Yarn I UsedThis is me knitting the scarf.

    Here is a close-up of the back of the cables.

    The finished scarf posing with yarn and coffee.

    A photo from the fall-themed photo shoot I did with the scarf for Instagram

    Me showing some of the scarves' flaws.

    This is my first cabled project so there are a few mistakes. Parts of the scarf are knit tightly, and other parts are knit very loosely. I also had lots of issues dropping stitches. But I love it!

    Me wearing the scarf.

    Thanks for reading!

    Stay Crafty!


  • 15 Knits That Will Make You Crave Fall Weather

    ...and how YOU can make them for yourself.
    For most people, cool weather just means kids going back to school and needing to get out your winter clothes. As a knitter, cold weather means people wearing the beautiful knits you have been working on all year.

    Here are 10 patterns that make the wait for fall even more unbearable. They are accompanied by Leisure Arts' instructional material that will help you master the technique most prominent in the pattern. Enjoy!


    What a gorgeous and unique technique. Leisure Arts' has a book published by Marly Bird I Can't Believe I'm Entrelac Knitting that can teach you, even if you only know the basics of knitting. 
    Ravelry: Rosemary Drysdale
    Ravelry: Sandi Prosser 

    Fair Isle 

    Mary Jane Mucklestone

    You might be avoiding learning this because it looks complicated. Here are a few gorgeous patterns to help you decide. Leisure Arts' I Can't Believe I'm Fair Isle Knitting book makes learning, and personalizing fair isle knitting easy. See Jen's post about I Can't Believe I'm Fair Isle Knitting

    West Coast Knitter
    Tumblr: Rosa Loves

    Chain Knitting

    I'm thinking this is a somewhat-new technique because I didn't find as much on it as I did the other techniques. I see it all the time, it's just not tagged as a technique yet. A beautiful technique you can master with  I Can't Believe I'm Chain Knitting by Lisa Gentry (designer of our Celebrity Slouchy Beanies patterns). 


    I am making the Felted Clutch from Take the Fear Out of Cables right now, and it wasn't hard to learn. This technique looks so awesome that it took me awhile to narrow down the pictures I wanted to use for this post. Feel free to browse around Pinterest and see for yourself! If you like the "I Can't Believe I'm..." books, Leisure Arts also has one for cables. Check out I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Cables!

    Chic Knits
    Ravelry: Georgie Hallam
    Ravelry: Cirilia Rose


    Although I usually see lace that's been crocheted, lace knitting has definitely taken over its share of Pinterest. Leisure Arts just put up Beginner's Guide to Lace Knitting on our website! Also, we offer I Can't Believe I'm Lace Knitting. Before writing this blog post I did not realize how many "I Can't Believe I'm..." books we have. Leisure Arts wants you to be as impressed with your work as we are! 

    Ravelry: Jenny Johnson Johnen
    Craftsy: Rita Maassen


    My favorite part of cold weather. They are so cute and soft. I am already planning on picking up this skill before the temperature drops. You can, too, with our I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Mittens book! Leisure Arts also has a wonderful Texting Mitts (fingerless mitts) book, but this year I want mittens. Who's with me? 

     We Heart It
    We Heart It 


        Ravelry: Lifeline Pattern
    Ravelry: Vivian Aubrey
     My mitten WIP from Instagram
    Instagram: LeisureArts

    In the Round

    There nothing like a chunky cowl in the cold weather. It's my secret to staying warm. Last year I had a crochet cowl. This year I'm knitting the Tempting Texture cowl (in the round) from Knit Cowls by Lisa Gentry. I'm guessing many of you know how to knit in the round, but for those of you who are avoiding it, have no fear! The book Beginner's Guide to Knitting in the Round was recently put up on the website. Jen interviewed the designer Kristin Omdahl!

     Barksdale Blessing
    Barksdale Blessings
    Lara's Cowl

    Thanks for reading! I hope you were inspired to learn something new.

    Stay crafty!



  • Cast-onitis: Best Thing Ever or Worst Thing Ever?

    I bought this yarn last weekend.

    It's Malabrigo Rios.  200ish yards of 100% merino in some of the lovliest fall colors imaginable.  I am in love.  I think this is the real thing.

    There are a few more baby projects I want to take care of, but with all the baby showers out of the way for a while, I'm starting to focus more on holiday crafting.  Or anything and everything I've been thinking about trying out, but haven't gotten around to lately.  Or maybe, and stop me if this starts to sound too crazy, something for myself. 

    Yes.  I really want to make (probably knit) a hat or a cowl for myself out of this gorgeous, soft, autumnal, glorious, yarn. 

    I've been looking through my Ravelry queue and flipping through pattern books, and you know what's really grabbing me?  The Tonal Twist Hat from Hats & More.

    Just look at it!  Or try to.  There wasn't a picture on the website, but this is what my camera's capable of at 9 o'clock at night.

    But even with a bit of a glare, I know you can catch the twists and cables and even the columns that show off nice changes in color.  I really like how this hat is slouchy without being sloppy.  It's intricate without being fussy.

    And it's quite smiply gorgeous. 

    Just like my yarn.

    I don't remember the last time I successfully made a hat for an adult--I try to avoid that sort of thing during the summer.  But we're nearly finished with October and I think this cooler weather is here to stay.  What better way to celebrate by casting on a dozen or so wonderful wooly projects and wearing a pretty fall-looking hat?!

    I don't think I suffer from cast-onitis at all.  In fact, I think I enjoy it.

  • Learn to Knit: Oh, Say Can You C4F?

    I've been knitting cables lately--a whole hat's worth, in fact.

    I'm pretty sure I've talked about cabling before, but I'm going to talk about it again because I think it's pretty.  And because knitting cables is surprisingly easy and I want to spread the word! 

    Essentially, a cable is what happens when you sneak your right-hand needle around some of the waiting stitches on your left-hand needle and knit them before you knit the 2 or 3 stitches at the front of the line.  Everything gets all twisted--but in a good way!--and then you have a beautiful, deceptively fancy-looking cable in the midst of your lovely knitted creation.

    The hat I'm making is the Cables Beanie from Knit Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps, and I was fully planning on embedding this video about how to knit the cable 4 front (C4F in knitting patterns) that is called for in this pattern.  But YouTube and I seem to be going through some things, by which I mean we're edging past that strained part of our relationship and moving right into all-out arch enemies territory.
    But! I was able to upload this slightly older video from Leisure Arts for the book I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Cables.  I loved the DVD I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Cables, Bobbles, and Lace; and, if we're going to be honest (which I usually am.  Sorry?), I would probably go ahead and say I love the whole "I can't believe....." line of books and DVDs even if I wasn't being paid to say nice things about Leisure Arts on the Internet.  I actually learned how to work my yarnovers for lacework properly from that DVD, and wasn't surprised to find out that this video has some great information about knitting cables.  
    This is a bit longer than most tutorials, but you can learn about different cable needles--and even how to knit cables without a cable needle!
    Recognize Sarah Green's voice?  She's the hands and voice from the videos!  
    She's a real person!  I'm easily tickled by things.  Sorry.  I think I meant it that time.
    But I like learning new things, and I thought that was a pretty nice, quick tutorial on a technique that is exceptionally beautiful and not that tricky.  I promise! 
    Hey, you can trust me because I'm honest.  And because I'm able to knit cables. 

    That should be all the proof you need that cables are completely doable.

  • Cabled Handwarmers from Expand Your Knitting Skills

    Let's talk about the book Expand Your Knitting Skills some more.  Why?  Because I want to.  I've been knitting patterns out of this books and I like them.  I think it's important to expand your knitting skills.  And because this book came out just last year, which means if you get all excited about this post you should be able to find a copy at your craft store.  If you're not able, though, you can buy it here. (It's an ebook you can download!  Near-instant gratification and you don't have to put on pants!)

    Sometimes, when you're ready to start doing new knitting things, it's hard to know where to start.  If I remember correctly from that time I flipped through Knitting for Dummies, even the most simple-seeming books can start throwing out crazy terms and scary techniques.

    In retrospect, it probably wasn't that scary.  But if felt like it.  Plus, that book was pretty hefty!  I scare easy!

    With that humiliating personal anecdote out of the way, let me say that  Expand Your Knitting Skills, is a slender little pattern book with clear and simple instructions for patterns written with a less experienced knitter in mind.  I think they're challenging and attractive enough for any knitter to be interested in, but there are handy explanations and instructions at the beginning of patterns and at the back of the book for people looking to learn some new techniques.

    Take it from the woman who got scared of Knitting for Dummies one time: this book is safe and these patterns are pretty.

    To prove my point:

    I made cabled hand warmers!  I know hand warmers are a bit of a knitting cliche, but everyone does them for a reason.  They're pretty and warm and simple.  And these provide a nice little cabling practice!

    I started these on a Thursday night, I think.  I finished the knitting on a Saturday afternoon.  I stitched them together yesterday (no working in the round, if that's something you don't feel ready for yet), and now they're sitting in my gift stash.

    The pattern used up nearly a full skein of Cascade 220, which is 220 yards.  I bought the yarn at my sister's request a couple of years ago.  She wanted a hat from it for Christmas, so I tried to make about 3 different patterns.  I failed each time and each attempt got more ridiculously bad.  I gave up after a while and decided that yarn did not need to be in that garment for that person.  You gotta listen to what the yarn tells you.  But it was fun pulling it out of 'time out' and using it up for this gift.

    I don't know who it's for yet, though.

     But I do have to admit that I enjoy modeling them myself....

  • My First Cabled Hat

    I finished my first cabled hat this weekend!

    This is the smug face of someone who has made a beautiful toboggan and is now very, very warm:

    As I wrote last week, I had some troubles. Or, more accurately, my head did.  I liked the pattern, but didn't think my mods all the way through, and things just got awkward.

    [No pictures of that because it was embarrassing and gross.]

    But this time was different!  This time I had a plan!  I was going to be patient and focused and make my modifications without doing something dumb like accidentally deviating from the number of stitches called for.  I might have accidentally made that mistake on patterns in the past.

    [Definitely no pictures of that.]

     First, I knitted a brim nearly three times as long as the pattern called for.

    And then I repeated the crown rows before moving on the shaping.


    The result?  Warm ears!  My eyebrows are not showing!

    Um, I'm sorry about my face.

    It doesn't quite look like the pattern in the book, but I still got my cables.

    That hat model seems to doubt the greatness of my hat, but whatever Hat Model Lady. Whatever.

    The hat fits well, I used up some stash yarn I've been wanting to use on myself for two years, and I feel really awesome about having worked cables in the round.  (There's no reason why cables knitted in the round should be any different than cables knitted flat, but I was a little worried.)

    I'm not sure if you're tired of hearing me talk about the book Expand Your Knitting Skills, but I hope you aren't.  And I hope you're not tired of hearing me talk about cables, because I want to talk some more about them as well.  Because there's a pattern in there for some cabled handwarmers and I have a friend with a birthday coming up soon and since she doesn't read this, I'm probably going to want to tell you all about it.

    I can promise there will be fewer pictures of my face in that post. 

    But you will be seeing my hands.

    I'm very sorry.

    But I do like talking about the patterns in Expand Your Knitting Skills!  Even if you consider yourself an expert knitter, you'll still enjoy the designs.  And if you don't consider yourself an expert knitter, then maybe you'll feel like it after trying a few patterns.

    In closing, I apologize in advance for showing you my hands.  Winter is pretty rough on me.


  • Learn to Knook: Back Cables Left-Handed

    See those cabled gift card holders up there?  I made 'em.  I feel good about it.  They looked even better with the cards in them, and they probably would have looked fantastic if I was better at button placement and had some appropriately colored thread for the buttons.  But it was a nice little project and a more personal touch for a gift card.  The pattern can be found here, and it features front and back cables.

    I'm not sure why I thought back cables would be very different from front cables, but there you go. I read the pattern and panicked a little because I'd only practiced with front cables, but then I tried it and was almost disappointed because, oh, your held stitches are in the back.  The right side has front cables and the left side has back cables.  It's just another way to make a cable, and to make your stitches move in a different direction.  If you've already figured out front cables, then you can probably manage back cables.

    But since there's no need to struggle, here's a video to show you! 

    Video can also be watched here.

    I tell you what, any task seems so much more manageable after you watch someone else do something a few times.  The first time around, I always go between "I think I understand" and "I don't think I'll ever be able to do that."  The second time, I'm able to pay closer attention.  The third time, it mostly makes sense.  Some time after the fourth viewing, I feel like the demonstration might be something I could actually try out myself.  This applies to knitting, baby wearing, crocheting, Knooking, yoga, baby swaddling, sink repair, and anything else that isn't a hair tutorial (certain up-dos are never going to happen for me).

    I don't know that back cables will require that much preparation and video-viewing from you.  I'm assuming you'll have an easier time with it than I do, and I wouldn't call it difficult.  It's a fun little technique that makes the prettiest design.  I'm blatantly biased, but I think you should try it out after watching the video.  Maybe watch it twice.

    Happy Knooking!

    Postscript: I realize this post is full of really country-sounding expressions.  I can't think of a better way to phrase things when I'm tired.  Or, as it sounds when I'm saying, "tahred."  It's just a day for Arkansas blogging.  Sorry about that.

  • Learn to Knook: Back Cables

    More cables!  The only difference between front cables and back cables is that your held stitches are held in the front of your work for front cables, and guess where those held stitches go for back cables?  Yep.

    Simply scooting your cord to the back of your work isn't that tricky (unless you're not paying attention and just finished working a front cable.  Ahem), but it's worth going over in a video.  And so some nice person at Leisure Arts did!

    Ta da!

    Video can also be found here.

    As you can see, carefully removing the cord after a cable row probably takes more time than figuring out the cable itself!  And even that's not so bad.  It's a relatively small amount of work to have such a nice pattern in your knitting.  Knooking.  Whatever.  Since Knooking results in a knitted fabric, I think it counts as knitting.

    And cabled fabric is the prettiest fabric, I think.  I know this is probably due to the fact that I just learned how to work cables, but it really is pretty!  I like to read a blog called Knitting Confessions, and no one has ever said anything unkind about cables.  In fact, I also used to read a blog called something like Unpopular Knitting Opinions (I'm pretty sure the administrator just quit posting after people kept getting up in arms over all the unpopular knitting opinions. It's sad that people would get so weird about loom knitting), and no one had anything bad to say about cables there, either!  I know that's not proof that the whole world likes cables, but it's got to mean something when people have a chance to anonymously snark about something on the Internet and don't.

    And how could you?  You can't.  For Pete's sake, remember when that scary knitted full body suit picture was floating around the Internet a few weeks ago?  Just in case your eyeballs haven't been cursed with this horrifying work of art, here you go:


    Everyone had to admit it was really well made.  Some of the people I know who shared this on Facebook even said they wished someone would make this for them.  They inevitably tried to drop hints around crocheters, so it didn't work, but hey. 

    Side note: I love when people ask for knitted items with no offer of compensation or undying gratitude--from crocheters!  Or vice versa.  I just laugh and laugh, probably because I'm mean.

    But I don't have a single snarky thing to say about cables.

    Because they're the best.

    Try them out. Come on.

    You'll love them.

    Just not on a full body suit for a giant adult.


  • Do You Selfish Knit/Crochet? I Hope So.

    Now that holiday knitting is out of my way, and I hope it's been successfully completed and out of your life for another year as well, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what I should do next.

    Just kidding!

    Now I'm ready to start up the projects I couldn't touch while I was doing all of my holiday knitting.  There are things I want to make for myself, things I want to just try out, and.....things I need to get started on for gifts. 

    In the grand scope of things, I don't have to do much for holiday knitting.  My side of the family draws names, and my husband's family doesn't expect a lot of handmade things from me (God bless those lovely people!).  But the knitting and Knooking I did do this Christmas kept me pretty well occupied .  And I do like to make things for family and close friends on their birthdays.  I've got a few months of free time, but I know it won't last long.  Because there's another group to craft for: The Babies.

    I really am starting to think of those kids in capital letters.  The Babies.

    Several months ago, some friends announced they were pregnant and I was, of course, very happy for them and thought about some bootees and a hat or two.  Then another set of friends announced they were pregnant--with twins.  Then I found out I was getting another friend at the end of this summer.  And another.

    And I've been stalking a good college friend's Facebook page because I have my suspicions.

    And I have cousins.  In the South, having any number of cousins means you'll probably get yourself some baby cousins at any given time.  It's science.

    Brace yourselves.  The Babies are coming.

    But before they do and totally dominate my year, I've got a few things I'd like to try out first.

    For myself.

    Watch out!  Okay, fine, I realize there are people out there who make things for themselves all the time and it's not this radical act like some people make it out to be.  (But the fact that the mere act is usually called "Selfish Knitting" [or crocheting] is pretty telling.)  But I do tend to make things for other people, and I've been looking forward to January because it's turning into the the time of year where I get to work on projects I queued up for once I finished making things for everyone else.

    First on my list is the Starter Cable Hat from Expand Your Knitting Skills.  I have the yarn and I have the needles and I have a cable hook. Plus, it's freezing and I want some bulky weight yarn around my ears.  I may even cast on tonight because that's just how I rock out on New Year's Eve.

    Next on my list is the Three Cabled Handwarmers, also from Expand Your Knitting Skills.  They're so cute, and not knit in the round!  Yes, I'm going to buckle down with mittens some time very soon, but for now I would like to have warm hands and free fingers because my office gets a bit chilly.  Plus, these are very cute.

    See?  Super cute.

    Next, is a sweater for myself.  I don't think I'm going to finish it any time soon (The Babies will see to that), but I'm looking forward to casting on.  I'm not sure of the pattern, but I have 4 skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash in gray that are ready and waiting for me. 

    I can't wait!

    Do you have projects you reward yourself with when you finish something for someone else?  Or are you one of those people who luxuriates in a giant pile of granny squares all year long, cackling to yourself "Mine!  Allllllll miiiiiiiine!"?  If you are, can I party with you?  

    *Both photos were completely stolen from the Ravelry project pages for the book. 

  • Learn to Knook: Front Cables Left-Handed

    Good morning!  Are you safe?  Are you warm? Do you have power?

    Arkansas is still a bit of a mess and I'm at home. I'm writing this post later in the morning than I normally would, and I'm doing it while watching my daughter play with my phone.  She's covered in gingerbread and I'm trying not to think about what's happening to my keyboard because it's entertaining her far more thoroughly than my BBC drama on DVD is.  I don't know why toddlers can't appreciate Masterpiece Mystery.

    But enough about me.  If you're a left-handed person at home on this blustery day, ready to learn how to Knook some front cables, then here you go:

    Oh cables.  You're so pretty.  I like cables on the Knook because there's not an extra needle and none of the stitches can get away from you.  I was knitting a few cabled things last week and I'd be so focused on the cable needle that I wouldn't even notice that the stitches on one of my main needles had slipped right off.  I was surprised every single time. It was a little pitiful.  But I've liked what I did on the Knook so far.

    That's yesterday's picture because I haven't done much more than that.  I just like it when posts have pictures.  Speaking of which, here's another completed dishcloth.

    It's the Sunny pattern from Dishcloths Made with the Knook.  I used a H/8 Knook and Sugarn' Cream cotton yarn in Sage Green.  I liked that pattern a lot.  Either I'm finding patterns I like more, or I'm finally getting the hang of using a Knook.  It's probably a combination of the two, but I'm happy either way. 

    I hope you're also having fun trying out more Knook things.

    Happy Knooking!

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