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Wall Hanging

  • 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

  • Wall Hangings That Will Bring Out The Interior Decorator In You

    We've all done it. We've seen the fancy fiber art wall hangings that are typically in niche home decor stores, or luxurious art galleries, and take it off the rack, ready to give it a new home. But then you feel the cold stab of betrayal as you flip the price tag and see that the wall art you loved so much, costs a lot more than you would like to spend. Et Tu, department store markups?

    That's why we had Sharon Silverman come in to save the day with her awesome guest blog, and show you that you can teach those department stores who's boss! You can learn to craft beautiful crochet wall hangings that won't break your bank, and will make you look like you vacation in Cabo every third Wednesday.

    Take it away, Sharon!

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    I love browsing in furniture stores, don’t you? It’s so much fun to see the vignettes they have set up for home, office, and outdoors. Being a fiber artist, I always pay particular attention to the accessories. What kinds of rugs and afghans are popular? How about the pillows? What type of art is on the walls?

    There are plenty of furniture stores to explore in and around the newly expanded King of Prussia Mall, just 35 minutes from my home in Pennsylvania: Arhaus, Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, and more. Recently, I started to notice a common theme in their textiles: lots of fabric and yarn wall-hangings, including some that took me right back to the macramé days of my youth! Seeing those put a smile on my face, but the price tags didn’t. Hundreds of dollars for pieces that I knew I could make myself for a fraction of the cost—and so could you.

    That was the beginning of the idea for Wall Hangings.

    Wall Hangings Wall Hangings

    Once I got the go-ahead from Leisure Arts, I started coming up with designs. I wanted to incorporate flourishes like tassels, pom-poms, and fringe in some of the designs. Exuberant Embellishments uses a variety of yarn weights and textures from Lion Brand Yarn: LB Collection Wool, Romance, Color Clouds, Vanna’s Glamour, and Glitterspun. 

    My Wall Hangings

    Wall Hangings Exuberant Embellishments

    The neutral colors of the piece let the textures and finishes of the yarn stand out. Even though I am usually a fan of lightweight yarn, I really love the chunkiness of the fringe and some of the larger stitches.

    Winding Links also incorporates pom-poms and tassels, but this time in a consistent yarn weight. I used Red Heart Super Saver in brown (Coffee) and Aqua (Aruba Sea), but you could choose any two contrasting colors that complement your décor. 

    Wall Hangings Winding Links

    Winding Links is made in segments and then hung on a dowel. I-cords are used to hang the segments at various heights and to connect them to each other. If you haven’t mastered crocheted I-cord, this is a good chance to practice. After a few tries and misfires, I discovered that I love making it!

    The choice of stitch patterns creates the texture in Fur & Loops. Lion Brand Cotton Bamboo is worked in the loop stitch for the persimmon section, and the fur stitch for the hyacinth section. Looks challenging, right? Don’t tell anyone, but the fur stitch and loop stitch are easy variations on single crochet. They are actually the same stitch, but for fur stitch the loops are cut to make them shaggy.

    Wall Hangings Fur and Loops

     

    The natural world inspired several of my designs. Spiral Stems uses a sturdy twig as the hanger for the individually crocheted spirals in greens and greys from Patons Décor.

    Wall Hangings Spiral Stems

     Some of the spirals are long and skinny, some are shorter and thicker, just like the variations found in plants and trees.

    Wall Hangings Spiral Stems Close Up

    When I worked on a yarn installation at Hagley Museum and Library, the original site of the DuPont powder works in Wilmington, Delaware, I used a lot of crocheted roses to adorn the iron gates.

    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor Detail

    I was reminded of them when I worked on the Wall Hangings designs. They’re fun to make, cheerful to look at, and bring a great pop of color to a room! I used various shades of pink and yellow, as well as green leaves, for Rose Arbor. The flowers are Red Heart Super Saver, and the leaves are Lily Sugar ‘n Cream.

    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor
    Wall Hangings Rose Arbor Close Up

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The monochromatic panels in Windy Sails gives that project a classic look, updated with coiled I-cord decorations at the bottom. Panels use different stitch patterns to create interest. Dowels at the top and bottom keep things neat.

    Wall Hangings Windy Sails

    Leisure Arts holds onto the finished projects, but I liked Curves & Lines so much that I made one for my dining room and another one for my son’s apartment. (I did his in blues with some black and white thrown in, and made the fringe in an arc shape to mimic the trajectory of a rocket after launch. When you’re the mother of a rocket scientist, you get some unusual requests!) All of the projects use Patons Lace. I picked a straight dowel to go across and extend beyond a quilting hoop because that arrangement kind of reminds me of Saturn.

    Wall Hangings Curves and Lines
    Wall Hangings Curves and Lines Alternative

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I try never to miss an opportunity to add beads to my work, and this leaflet was no exception. Beaded Tapestry uses a variety of beads in earth tones on a background of blue Lily Sugar ‘n Cream to create a pattern that’s just abstract enough to make you wonder what it is. A bird? A fox? Just shapes? You decide.

    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry
    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry Close Up

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The fringe below is adorned with beads of various colors at different heights to finish off this long, graceful hanging in style.

    Wall Hangings Beaded Tapestry Detail

    It was a pleasure working with Leisure Arts on Wall Hangings. Along with doing the editing and photography, they staged the pieces in a variety of attractive settings.

    I encourage crocheters to make wall art using these patterns, rather than paying inflated prices for finished products. The projects are rated Easy, but even experienced crocheters will find them interesting to make—and may even learn some new techniques and stitch patterns along the way. Wall hangings make great gifts, too: one size fits all! 

    As for my professional background, I am the author of 16 crochet books and a private line of patterns. I’m a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America and a design member of The National NeedleArts Association. I was a featured guest on HGTV’s fiber arts program, “Uncommon Threads,” and have been interviewed on numerous radio podcasts. My crochet work includes large-scale museum installations, indoors and out. I am a crochet instructor for Annie’s Online Classes.

    I’m inspired by everything from the beauty of nature to the stunning creations of architects and furniture-makers. And, of course, by yarn! 

    Please join me on Facebook and Pinterest at Sharon Silverman Crochet; on Ravelry, YouTube, Etsy, and Instagram at CrochetSharon; and on my website, www.SharonSilverman.com.

    Happy crocheting!

    Sharon Silverman Sharon Silverman

     

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    Are you ready to make your own Wall Hanging? What are you waiting for! Go get Sharon's book, and show off your newly learned crochet skills.

    Happy Crafting!

    -Leisure Arts Team

  • Pom-Pom Halloween

     

    The uses and appearances of pom-poms have expanded from winter gear and sports’ embellishments to include year-round home decor. See how simple pom-poms can become part of your Halloween-themed decorations.

    Pom-poms were frequently only seen on winter accessories, or worn by a team’s cheer squad. It's wonderful that the uses for and appearances of these puffy mounds of yarn have been greatly expanded! Beautiful household items are crafted with pom-poms such as wall hangings and wreaths!

    Halloween is coming in a few weeks and I wanted to get ready with some pom-pom décor. Getting a lot of ideas from Pinterest was easy. Look at this cute mantle garland and another version for one's vertical porch decor; both are awesome! Using these two Pins as my guidelines, I began making pom-poms with an end result in mind.

    Since I had many pom-poms to make in varying sizes, I took the advice of one of our designers and purchased Clover Pom-Pom Makers. To reinsure that you're using your pom-pom maker correctly, watch a video in less than five minutes.  I gathered several yarn weights with different textures. One of my favorites for this project was Red Heart's Reflective yarn. The reflective yarn has a thin gray strip that reflects the light; reflective does not mean glow-in-the-dark.

    Before: Parts to make Halloween characters. Small pom-poms (1.625") and pipe cleaners cut in half. Before: Parts to make Halloween characters. Small pom-poms (1.625") and pipe cleaners cut in half.

    Of course, my Halloween pom-poms were going to include a pumpkin, a spider, and a ghost. First would be the pumpkin. This would be fairly easy to accomplish: one pom-pom with a curled pipe cleaner as its stem.

    My second figure was the spider. Again the main part was the pom-pom as the spider body. Then, I added six pipe cleaner legs. I even challenged myself to make a red spot to indicate a Black Widow spider. I followed color pattern suggestions as found on the back of the Clover Extra Large Pom-Pom Maker's packaging.

    Added a little more drama to the spider character; here's a Black Widow! Added a little more drama to the spider character; here's a Black Widow!

    The last Halloween figure I needed to make was a ghost. This appeared more challenging than I thought. My final decision was to make a pom-pom for the ghost's head and attach it to the loose yarn strands to represent its body. I made three ghosts; each received an added yarn embellishment giving each one its own personality.

    After: Halloween characters include a spider, ghost and pumpkin. After: Halloween characters include a spider, ghost and pumpkin.

    I was ready to display my characters at home and office so I needed both a wall/door decoration, as well as, tabletop decor ideas. I wanted to incorporate extra color into my display and the perfect complement was Leisure Arts' Jute Twine (item 48526)I chose to use three of the six colors.

    Planning my display; love the colored jute! Planning my display; love the colored jute!

    My colleague found the perfect fallen branch from his hickory tree. Upon its arrival in the office, it quickly became a character itself and given the name, "Old Hickory". The branch had so much character with its craggy texture, knuckled sections and lichen patterns, I didn't want to cover all of it.

    Halloween pom-pom characters suspended from "Old Hickory" as door decor. Halloween pom-pom characters suspended from "Old Hickory" as door decor.

    Here are my extra pom-poms used for some added character for one of the most-anticipated days to celebrate around the office.

    Other Halloween decor using pom-poms in two sizes. Other Halloween decor using pom-poms in two sizes.

    I hope you enjoy making pom-poms and  decorating for Halloween; happy haunting!

    Martha

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