Monday, January 31, 2011

A Little Valentine's Day Cuteness

CameraFun - 2011-01-30 19.22.38

I came across the super-cute, uber-easy Love Hearts pattern on PlanetJune and COULD. NOT. RESIST.  I made a bunch of the small heart version of her pattern for my DD's Valentine's Day class party.  As per school policy, all treats have to be nutritional, healthy snacks, pre-packaged with nutritional info printed on the package, and pre-approved with the school nurse 1 week prior to the party. So many of us parents are turning to bringing in treat bags with pencils, erasers, stickers, and other non-food 'goodies.'  So I thought I'd crochet a little heart ornie for each kid in her class, her teacher, and the 3 room moms.


CameraFun - 2011-01-30 20.46.25

I have crocheted 5 in pink.  (This is just cotton I had sitting around.  I decided that I would not make them from wool because I have no idea if any of the kids have a wool allergy.  I figured cotton was pretty safe.  Of course I will check with the school nurse to be sure.)  I will crochet 5 in red, 5 in red & white swirl, and 5 in white.  DD & I are also thinking of making more after the hearts for her party are completed and then making a garland or hanging them off of a teeny tree for our own Valentine's decor.  This was the first crochet pattern that I'd ever used magic circle.  And as you can see, not all of my hearts close up completely.  I think that's just a matter of practice on my part.  If you like PlanetJune's pattern, please consider donating - not only will you get the PDF copy of the pattern, but you help a deserving designer.

Get hookin'!



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Thursday, January 27, 2011

March Madness Sponsors

I'm hoping to have a craft giveaway in March and am looking for craft companies/shops to sponsor by providing prize items.  Your company/shop will be promoted during the giveaway and I will link all of your applicable social media sites.

Here are a few of the prize categories I'd like to obtain prizes in:

  1. Yarn, roving, or fabric
  2. Needles & Notions: I would love to have knitting needles, crochet hooks, and applicable notions: st markers, pins, Wool Wash, tape measure, cable needles, et cetera donated
  3. Misc. Fiber Arts: Wool Rug Hooking, Tatting, Locker Hooker, hand sewing, needlepoint, embroidery items donated
  4. Crafts: digital or paper scrap items, felt, paints, embellishments, Mod Podge and pretty much anything that has anything to do with crafting and/or fiber arts
  5. Patterns or books
Whether you are a larger retail company, an Etsy Shop Owner, or small business - please consider donating for this giveaway.  The giveaway and your business will be promoted on Twitter, Facebook, The PR Place, Mom Bloggers Club, and Social Moms.  It's a good way to get your business out there or to promote a new product.

Check out which sponsors are already on board:

Interested?  Contact me for details!  Click on the "Contact" tab in the upper right hand corner of my blog to email me!


Giveaway will be active for 2 wks, during which time it will be heavily promoted.  To participate, email me a picture of the item(s) you wish to donate along with a description & approximate retail value and all applicable social media links.  All winners will be chosen by random number generator.  When the winner is selected, I will email you with their information and you will mail their prize directly to them.  



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Product Review: Kollage Square Knitting Needles



Product: Kollage Square Circular Knitting Needles
Manufacturer: Kollage Yarns
Available Sizes: US Sizes 0 - 10, 9" - 40" / 2.0mm - 6.0mm, 22.86cm - 101.6cm
Approx. Retail Price: $13 - $16/pair USD

I am one of those knitters who is constantly trying new yarns, tools, and notions.  I am in an almost continous quest for items that make knitting even more of a pleasure.  So when I saw the SQUARE knitting needles by Kollage, I immediately inquired about them.  Well the generous people over at Kollage sent me 3 pair of their Kollage Square Knitting Needles, both SOFT & FIRM K-Kables and some yarn for review!  I've had these babies for a week now and have played with them non-stop.  I've knit swatches, fingerless mitts, and even Valentine's Hearts.



CameraFun - 2011-01-27 11.59.39

Kollage Square Circular Knitting Needles - SOFT

Now I know what you're going to say: SQUARE knitting needles?  Seems counterintuitive, doesn't it?  I'll admit, I wasn't quite sure that these needles would deliver on their promise of being "designed to be ergonomically suited to your hands, decreasing stress and strain for those who love to knit."  But after giving them a rigorous test drive, I can say they absolutely deliver on their promise!  I'm a very tight knitter and my hands fatigue quite easily when I knit.  So I put these puppies to the test.  I knit a pair of fingerless mitts, one after the other all afternoon until I'd completed the pair.  No fatigue!  They were surprisingly comfortable in my hands.  They even helped to correct my "death-grip" knitting tension.  (NO JOKE.  I have actually bent needles, I'm such a tight knitter.  Anyone who knits with me is nodding their heads and smiling.)



CameraFun - 2011-01-27 11.59.08

Kollage Square Circular Knitting Needles - FIRM

So what do I like about these needles?  The needle material is very nice and slick - also great for tight knitters.  I love that the stitches glide easily over the needles.   They are made of a lightweight aluminum which allows for comfortable and quick knitting.  The cables on the circular needles are what REALLY made me a believer though!  The amazing K-Kable material on the SOFT circulars were ideal for magic loop knitting.  I absolutely fell in love with the ease in which the cables could be twisted all around.  Unfortunately, not all knitters fell in love with the very pliable cables. - So Kollage came out with a FIRM circular cable material.  It holds it's shape and the stitches on the circ with more stability.  I gather this would be great for knitters who enjoy afghan or sweater knitting.  In either case, I found the cables to be quite enjoyable.  Though I must admit, I prefer the SOFT K-Kables.

The only criticism/suggestions I have regarding these needles are:

1.) The join between the needle and the cable isn't completely tapered.  So sometimes, the stitches will need to be moved up onto the needle with a little help.  (This is not to say that the join comes apart or snags the stitches - as it does not in anyway.)  


2.) I'd like to see a lace tip for the smaller sizes.  

Overall, I really enjoyed these circular needles.  I found these needles to be far superior to most of the knitting needles I have in my own collection.  Their construction is well thought out and purposeful - obviously the passion of a knitter wanting quality tools.  The K-Cable delivers on it's promise not to "kink, kurl, or knot."
The lightweight needles combined with the amazing K-Kable technology and the square design creates a pleasurable and fluent knitting experience.  They truly are easy on your hands while creating uniform stitches.  I highly suggest you pick up a pair and try them yourselves!  As to SOFT vs. FIRM - that's just personal preference.  If you are not sure which would be best for you, find a local Kollage Dealer and ask to give each pair a test drive in the yarn shop.  You will be happy you did!  And you'll discover what I did: it's hip to be square!

Stay tuned for more Kollage Yarn reviews coming in the next week!!  

Connect with Kollage Yarns:
Disclosure: Kollage Yarns sent KnitPurlGurl 3 pair of Kollage Square Circular Knitting Needles and 2 skeins of yarn free for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for this review.  All opinions expressed in the above blog post are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Kollage Yarns.




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Monday, January 24, 2011

Hoot!

Hoot

Today I decided to knit some fingerless mitts!  These are Owl Mitts by Sandra Satre.  I knit them up with my Kollage Square Knitting Needles, US Size 9, 40" (magic loop).  Please excuse these crummy pics.  The one above makes my mitts look wonky.  :(  But I had my webcam on top of my head to try to get a shot of both mitts.  LOL!


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This pic I took with my left hand (I'm right handed.) on my cell phone.. ;p  My photography skills leave much to be desired!  I knit these up in about 3 hrs with less than 1 skein of Lion Brand Yarn Wool-Ease in Oxford Grey.  It was a fun, fabulous little knit!  I highly recommend it!



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Sunday, January 23, 2011

What the Dickens

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I decided to crochet a quick little pair of fingerless mitts during the AFC Championship Game.  I crocheted What the Dickens Fingerless Mitts by Inkberryblue.  (Thank you to Inkberryblue for putting up with my questions about her pattern.) These are crocheted using just under 1 skein of Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK in Sweet Pink.  Because I used a DK wt yarn, I modified the mitts by ch 32 instead of 24 (giving me 8 shells instead of 6).






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Since I have very short hands, I completed rounds 2-13 exactly as written in the pattern.  I did modify the last round.  Instead of crab stitch, I sc all the way around.  Then I added a 15th round (because the finger opening was still a little too loose) and did 2sc, sc2tog all the way around and then fastened off.  These pics are unblocked.  (I'll block 'em tomorrow.) I think they turned out great!  And they'll look great with my olive coat!



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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Welcome Home, Babies





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As you are all aware, I'm on a quest to cross things off my #craftybucketlist!  I've been slowly gathering supplies to learn the crafts I am excited about in the coming year!

Left --> Right:
As you can see, I'm getting all ready for some crafty goodness this year!!!  I purchased modest materials since I am new to these crafts.  The Singer was a HUGE steal.  JoAnns has it for $399 and I got it from Woot Sellouts for $149!  (Well, hubby got it for me!!  He's so sweet!)  I cannot wait to get started.  I still need some fabric for my rug hooking and my quilting.  And I haven't decided on a tatting shuttle yet.  But I finally got cotton for the Bobbin Lace and I can't wait to give it a whirl!

What are YOU crossing off of your #craftybucketlist in 2011?  Pop on over HERE to see what the #craftybucketlist schedule is!!

Remember, if you are a shop or company who'd like to be involved with the #craftybucketlist 2011 project by sponsoring materials and/or tutorials, feel free to contact me via the CONTACT tab in the upper right hand corner of my blog!


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Monday, January 17, 2011

Product Review: Signature Needle Arts Circular Knitting Needles






As you all are undoubtedly aware, I am one of those knitters who is picky about her tools.  Since I always have 10+ WIPs going at any one time, it's obvious that I knit for the pure enjoyment of knitting.  Knitting is all about the connection I feel with the materials I am using and the creative process in general.  So when I heard that Signature Needle Arts was changing the cable on their circular needles and introducing US Sizes 3 & 4 to their collection of circs, I practically BEGGED them to let me test drive a couple of pair.

Well, the fabulous peeps over at Signature sent me two pair for review!  They sent me a US Size 4, 32", 5" length pair of needles with Stiletto Profile and a US Size 6, 32", 6" length pair of needles with Stiletto Profile.  I received them a couple of days ago and I have been playing with them ever since!

Signature Needles are constructed from aircraft quality, nickel-free, aluminum.  Each point is precision turned and hand polished.  The 3rd generation of circular needles from Signature Needles provides a new cable material crafted to meet the needs of smaller needle sizes.  The cables were so smooth and a pleasure to work with, that Signature decided to outfit their entire line of circular needles with the new cable material! The new needles have extremely smooth cables that are exceptionally pliable, allowing for easy manipulation of the needles.  Each pair of needles is completely customizable.  Not only can you choose the needle size and length of cable (available in US sizes 3,4,5,6, &7, 20" - 47"), but you can also choose between three needle lengths, 4", 5", or 6" and two point profiles: Stiletto or Middy.

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Can YOUR circular needles do this? Check out the super pliable cable!

I couldn't get enough of these knitting needles.  I noticed when knitting lace swatches that the stitches just glided off the needles.  The cable joins were extremely smooth.  The cables rotate without notice to provide effortless fluidity throughout the knitting process.  The cable material is in a word, AMAZING.  I primarily use circular needles for my knitting.  So I tested the needles in the round, knitting flat, and in the round using magic loop.  The cable material is a dream come true for anyone who enjoys magic loop knitting. Coming out of the package, they are already relaxed and flexible.  The needles themselves are incredibly lightweight and sleek.  Between the featherweight feel of the needles, the flexible cable material, and the rotation of the cable within a completely smooth join, I've never had a more pleasurable knitting experience.  These are truly luxurious, precision instruments.

So what will the luxury of completely customizable, precision knitting instruments cost you?  Well unfortunately, it's not cheap.  A pair of these sexy circs will set you back $40/pair.  And I venture to say that since these are considered luxury tools, they are likely not for the beginner knitter or a knitter who has not decided if aluminum needles are for them.  As much as I delighted in knitting with these fantastic needles, I know that I will purchase these one pair at a time as it is cost-prohibitive to do otherwise.  The good news?  These are high quality needles that will be with you for a long time.  So while you may be in sticker shock initially, you will get hours upon hours of pleasurable and precise knitting out of them.

Overall, I do believe these needles to be worth every penny.  I know most women give their husbands wallet cards with their lingerie sizes, but I've already created a Signature Needle Arts card with the needle sizes, lengths, and point profiles listed that I would like to receive as gifts. {Giggle}  I will personally purchase these circulars in the future. They were an utter delight to knit with and I look forward to the many, many projects I will knit with them.


The brand new Signature Needle Arts Circular Needles are available Tuesday, January 18, 2011!!!

To connect with Signature Needle Arts-
Signature Needle Arts is committed to creating and selling products made entirely in the USA!

Disclosure: Signature Needle Arts provided KnitPurlGurl with two pair of Signature Circular Needles free for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the product review. All opinions expressed in the above post are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Signature Needle Arts. Top photo courtesy of Signature Needle Arts.


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Friday, January 14, 2011

Crafting with the Kids: Valentine's Day Garland




My DD & I decided that we would cut out and embellish cardstock hearts to create a homemade Valentine's Day garland.  I had to practice my blanket stitch technique a bit on a scrap.  Here's a good tip: fold the cardstock hearts in half (if you cut them with paper folded, this will be a snap!), take the tapestry needle you plan on sewing with and evenly space holes, punching through both sides.  (I didn't do that on my practice heart and you can see how uneven the sides are.)  This will make both sides nice and even and you'll have to put forth HALF the effort.


DD is also practicing her hand sewing.  She cut this heart out herself; punched her own holes with her tapestry needle; and then stitched using running stitch around the heart.


She was so proud of her heart.  She decided that the heart needs button embellishments.  I think I'll let her glue her buttons on with glue dots.  I may sew some on with twine for a rustic effect.


DD decided to take some scrap cardstock and paint it for a custom color.  In her case she prefers a more swirled, variegated look!  I told her to get creative and have fun with it!

Now that we're all done with the practicing.. the plan is to nab some Valentine's Day inspired cardstock from Michael's or JoAnn's.  I have oodles of scrap yarn in lace and fingering weights which will be perfect for this project.  I also have a ton of buttons.  I think we'll make oodles of these and string them together with a crochet chain or twine to make our garland.  My DD is 5 - so this is a simple project that she can really dig in and create with me!!


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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

eBook Review: Learn to Knit Toe-Up Socks, One or Two-at-a-Time by Liat Gat





eBook Title: Learn to Knit Toe-Up Socks, One or Two-at-a-Time
Author: Liat Gat of KNITFreedom
Format: PDF/Video/Handout,  26pp/15 videos
Price: $14.97

Okay, socksters - I have an awesome review (I'm trying to bring back the word 'awesome' - pass it along) for you today!  Sockstress, designer, and knitting teacher extraordinaire, Liat Gat, of KNITFreedom has done it again!  She has created an eBook that will knock your socks off!  In Learn to Knit Toe-Up Socks, One or Two-at-a-Time, Gat takes you from mapping out how you will knit your socks, to Judy's Magic Cast-On, to knitting the increases, knitting the foot, measuring, knitting & turning the heel (which includes a demonstration on knitting backwards), to knitting the gusset, knitting the leg, knitting the rib cuff, creating a stretchy BO, and finally blocking your socks.  Her talent really shows through in this eBook!

Gat provides a handout/pattern along with a video for EVERY inch of your sock knitting.  That's right!  You will literally cast on, knit, bind off, and block 2 socks by the conclusion of her eBook!  She has created an entire sock class within the confines of an eBook.. and successfully, I might add!  Not only does she break down each step, but she provides troubleshooting along the way to make the sock knitting process fast, fun, and easy.  Gat is a huge fan of finding and providing tips and tricks for making your knitting fast and easy.  Not only does she accomplish this by demonstration but also by demystifying each step so that you come out with a recipe for sock knitting, rather than be a slave to a pattern.  Understanding the basics of sock knitting and why each step is performed a certain way DOES really help you to create finished objects quickly and with ease.

I was so impressed with this eBook!  As many of you know, my sock knitting leaves a lot to be desired.  I mean, my socks are gorgeous.  I have great tension.  I LURVE me some magic loop.  And of course, I use some purdy yarn.  BUT - I literally have 4 or 5 FIRST socks of each pair.  I get one knit, then my ADD kicks in or perhaps the monotony and voila!  No second sock.  What we in the knitting world call, "Second Sock Syndrome."  I was convinced that I would never knit another sock and that I was doomed to frame all of my FIRST socks, hang them as art, and be done with sock knitting forever.  ;p  But after reading this eBook and following the videos, I am ITCHING to make a pair of socks.  Who'd have thunk it?

So if Liat Gat can turn ME into an inspired sock knitter, she can definitely do it for you!  Never knit a sock before?!  NO WORRIES.  This eBook is SO packed with easy to follow instruction and video tutorials that you will be able to whip out a pair in no time!  And at a price tag of  < $15, I dare say the instruction will be MUCH cheaper than your sock yarn.  ;p

Already knit 2 socks at a time?  Then pop on over to KNITFreedom to browse her other classes, patterns, and videos!

Disclosure: KnitPurlGurl received a free copy of Learn to Knit Toe-Up Socks, One or Two-at-a-Time for review.  All opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Liat Gat or KNITFreedom.



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App Review: Knitting Daily for iOS

Title: Knitting Daily App
Format: iOS (iPhone/iPod Touch)
Price: FREE

For those who read my blog with some regularity, you already know that there are two things (beside my amazing family) that make me giddy: technology and yarn!  I am a gadget geek!  AND I take my gadgets and my yarn everywhere I go (much to the dismay and humiliation of my teenager).  So when the fab peeps over at Interweave announced their Knitting Daily app for iOS (iPhone/iPod Touch), I was one happy camper knitter.


So how's this app gonna rock your socks (total knitting reference here - snort, giggle, snort )?  It features the same information-packed content as it's website!  But with the app, you can take it to go!  Pop your iPhone or iPod Touch in your knitting bag and you're armed with a library of articles, video tutorials, a glossary, and patterns!  (Let's not forget the patterns!) 



Have an iPad?  No worries.  iPad users can download this app and view it in small format or enlarged (2x2) size.


Being able to to take Knitting Daily on the go is just another innovation in multi-media from the fiber publishing giant, Interweave.  As I've mentioned previously, Interweave is working to find more and more ways to bring content to it's ever-expanding mobile, tech-savvy audience.  And this is a LEAP in the right direction.  Allowing their Knitting Daily community to have the features of it's website at the tips of their fingers and the pockets of their purses, Interweave has done a terrific job at bridging the gap between fiber enthusiasts and today's on-the-go knitter.  And for you social media lovers (you know who you are), there is even an option to share favorite items on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.  Cuz if you're like me, excitement over all things fiber knows no bounds (and is typically tweeted about).  ;p

I love this app!  I have it on my iPod Touch.  Sadly, no Android OS format.  (YET!  - Interweave, you know you wanna!)  So pop on over to the App Store and nab this fab little app.  You'll be glad you did! :)

Disclosure: KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for this review.  All opinions in the post are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Interweave Press or it's affiliates.  Screen shots courtesy of Interweave Press.





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Friday, January 7, 2011

Mad Lib - Love Story Remix (yarn)



I went to Mad Libs Online and decided to create a Mad Lib (Romance category) with all nouns, verbs, and adjectives that were yarn/knitting related.  Here's what the completed story ended up being.  Unfortunately, the Mad Lib messes up at the end because they asked for a different part of speech than they used.. but it's STILL fun!  :) 


We were both young when I first saw you. 
I close my eyes and the flashback starts: 
I'm standing there on a yarn swift in summer air. 

See the skein, see the party, the ball gowns. 
See you make your way through the crowd 
and say hello; 

Little did I know 
That you were Malabrigo; you were throwing knitting needles, 
And my daddy said, 'Stay away from Juliet.' 
And I was crying on the ball winder, 
begging you, 'Please, don't go.'' 

And I said, 
'Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone. 
I'll be waiting; all there's left to do is run. 
You'll be the swatch and I'll be the gauge 
It's a love story - baby just say 'Yes.'' 

So I sneak out to the yarn shop to see you. 
We keep quiet 'cause we're dead if they knew. 
So close your eyes; escape this dropped stitch for a little while. 
'Cause you were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter, 
And my daddy said 'Stay away from Juliet,' 
But you were everything to me; I was stitching you, 'Please, don't go,'' 

And I said, 
Niebling, take me somewhere we can be alone. 
I'll be waiting; all there's left to do is tink. 
You'll be the prince and I'll be the princess 
It's a love story - baby just say 'Yes.' 

Romeo save me - they're tryin' to tell me how to feel; 
This love is wooly, but it's so real. 
Don't be afraid; we'll make it out of this sweater. 
It's a love story - baby just say 'Yes.'' 

Oh. 

I got tired of knitting, 
Wondering if you were ever comin' around. 
My faith in you was fading 
When I met you on the outskirts of town, 

And I said, 
'Romeo save me - I've been feeling so alone. 
I keep waiting for you but you never come. 
Is this in my scarf? I don't know what to think-' 

He knelt to the ground and pulled out a sock and said, 
'Marry me, EZ - you'll never have to be alone. 
I seamless you and that's all I really know. 
I talked to your dad - go pick out a white shawl; 
It's a love story - baby just say 'Yes.'' 

Oh, oh. 

We were both lacey when I first saw you...



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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Project Tip!

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I am a complete project junkie!  I always have a bazillion projects going between my needles and hooks.  The problem is - as much as I LURVE my coveted Namaste Bags, they cannot hold 12 WIPs between the two of them (or they'd need to be the size of a small car).  BUT, I don't want to just throw my projects on my shelves.  I live in the country.  We have bugs (moths) and dust!  (I think it's a bad sign when you've started naming your dust bunnies.)  So I like to pop my projects in clear plastic bags.  I was using a lot of Ziploc bags, when I realized that unless I BUY the large ones, my bigger projects and all of the supplies I need for that project are not going to fit in the bag.  And since I am frugal (more money for yarn that way), I've started recycling comforter and bedding bags.


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Here's whatcha do.  Everytime you or a family member buys bedding (sheet sets, comforters, or even slipcovers), save the plastic zipper bag.  They make AMAZING project bags.  PLUS - most of them are square on the bottom - so they sit really nicely on a shelf until you're ready to grab your project and go.  (They also sit nicely on the floor to knit or crochet out of.)  Many dept stores ditch these bags after setting up a display.  Ask your local retailer if they'll save them for you.  It's a great way to recycle.  The bags are heavy enough that they won't rip.  So you can use them over and over and over again.



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Crafty Bucket List: Bobbin Lace #4



Today I am highlighting an AMAZING website - Jo Edkins Lace School.  It's a virtual one-stop shop for all things Bobbin Lace.  There are patterns, instructions, pictures of stitches, resource links, you name it - it's all on this web site!  But I didn't find this website alone.  The awesome Bobbin Lace Lovers group on Ravelry had a thread about it!  That's right Ravelry AND Bobbin Lace together!  It's like a dream come true!  :)

So pop on over to Jo Edkins Lace School for everything you could possibly want to learn about Bobbin Lace and then join the awesome lace makers of the Bobbin Lace Lovers group on Ravelry for suggestions, support, tips, and mounds of lace lovin'!

I still haven't received my Bobbin Lace Kit in the mail yet - but Amazon says it has shipped!  I can't wait to try it!  :)

What are you crossing off of your #CraftyBucketList?



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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

eBook Review: Knitting in the Round on Magic Loop by Liat Gat




eBook Title: Knitting in the Round on Magic Loop
Author: Liat Gat of KNITFreedom
Format: PDF/Video, 19pp/9 videos
Price: $12.97


So you all know that I LURVE me some video tutorials.  I'm a see-it-to-learn-it kinda gal.  Well Liat Gat, author of the popular blog, KNITFreedom, has created an amazing series of PDF and video tutorial books. A knitting instructor, Gat found herself frustrated with not being able to show all of her students the angle in which was best to learn the technique.  So one day, she decided she would teach online with video tutorials, so every student could see exactly what she was trying to showing them.  She added a PDF guide and created a multi-media book which both explains the technique while demonstrating it.  Ingenius!

Knitting in the Round on Magic Loop is a comprehensive self-guided course disguised as an eBook.  Easy to see demonstrations and clear, concise written instruction take you from beginning (casting on) to finished project in no time.  Gat also anticipates common beginner mistakes and provides several troubleshooting demonstrations.  She's really thought of the technique from an instructor's point of view: the big picture.

So if you've been wanting to learn to knit small diameter projects in the round using only ONE set of circular needles, but have been intimidated, than this book is for you!  When I learned magic loop knitting, there weren't many tutorials out there.  I was fortunate to solicit help from a fellow knitter.  But most of the knitters I knew were still using DPNs.  I knit countless wanna-be socks and bit my lip many a-nights trying to figure out where I went wrong.  Once I learned it, it was simple.  But it was trial and error or beg the one knitter I knew who knit in magic loop to sit with me and explain my mistakes.  You won't have to go through any of that with this eBook.  You'll be whipping up a a tube by the END of the book.

Already know magic loop?  Visit KNITFreedom for countless other tutorials, videos, free patterns and classes!

Disclosure: KnitPurlGurl received a free copy of Knitting in the Round on Magic Loop by Liat Gat for review.  All opinions expressed in the post are that of the blog author and do not necessarily reflect those of Liat Gat (AKA KNITFreedom).




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Crafty Bucket List: Bobbin Lace #3

For today's edition of Bobbin Lace, I'm going to provide you with information on finding your local Lace Guild or Lace Makers group!

So contact your local Lace Makers Guild and start researching.  Many of the guilds have local chapters with classes, demonstrations, and archives on the history of lace in your area!  A friend of mine from knitting group hooked me up with a local guild here in PA.  I can't wait to find out more!



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Monday, January 3, 2011

Crafty Bucket List: Bobbin Lace #2

As we continue on in Bobbin Lace, I have been on a wild goose chase trying to contact Bobbin Lace makers in my area.  Every link was out of date.  Every email was undeliverable.  *Sigh*  BUT - I found something very close.  I stumbled across an article written less than a year ago from a fellow native Ohioan who has also relocated to Pittsburgh!  (Imagine that!)  The article she has written really describes well Bobbin Lace, it's history, and her love of it.

Please check out Amy Gibbons' article, Bobbin Lace Explained.

Today we're going to delve into some fascinating tutorials!  I found 2 very good sets of beginning Bobbin Lace video tutorials on You Tube.  (My job is so hard - I got to watch Bobbin Lace tutorials all day yesterday.  ;p )

This first set of videos is from madejasycafe.  She shares a 2-video tutorial on the very basics of the movements and how to practice Bobbin Lace.  Though a very basic set of videos, it really does help you get a feel for what is happening with your motions without overwhelming you.













The next set of tutorials are very comprehensive, though I found myself having to watch the tutorial where he does the actual bobbin movements (and makes basic stitches) over again (more than once).  But I REALLY think his explanations are very thorough and techniques well demonstrated.  This set of videos is from jouistoddard.
















Be sure to leave them some comment luv!  They both obviously worked hard to create these videos! :)

Tomorrow I'll share even MORE Bobbin Lace resources!  Be sure to get your Twitter on and tweet using the hashtag #CraftyBucketList to talk about your crafty endeavors in 2011!!



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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Crafty Bucket List: Bobbin Lace


The first week of every month I will bring you some info, videos, and perhaps demonstrations of various fiber crafts.  Hopefully by the end of 2011, you'll have learned about 12 crafts!

First up: Bobbin Lace
You can buy a Bobbin Lace Beginner's Kit (From Amazon) and learn with me! (I don't endorse any specific brands.  This is just the one I purchased. I couldn't tell you which products are superior or inferior to others as I am just learning myself!)

Last year, I was performing a Book Review for Harper Collins Books, The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri, (fiction) when I first became aware of Bobbin Lace.  I was immediately intrigued by the concept of Bobbin Lace.  As soon as I finished the book review, I was researching.  Bobbin Lace, like a lot of traditional fiber arts, has long been replaced by machines.  But there are crafters who still honor the tradition and art of bobbin lace with gorgeous hand made pieces.  When I went to one of my knitting groups, I was thrilled to discover that even in a small town in Pennsylvania, artisans still gather to create and share Bobbin Lace.

So what IS Bobbin Lace?  Bobbin Lace is a traditional thread lace created by moving bobbins in a pattern over a pillow to create a lace strip, suitable for or often used as trim work.  It is also known as pillow lace or bone lace because bobbins were often made of bone or ivory in earlier days.

Bobbin lace (16th - 18th centuries) was an inexpensive way to create beautiful lace trim or edgings and earn women a nice income, well above that of sewing or other handmade textile arts.  By the 19th century, some laces fell out of fashion and Bobbin Lace became more of a craft for hobbyists as machine lace became faster and cheaper for mass production.

Bobbin Lace typically uses natural fiber thread, though synthetic fibers are used as well.  It requires bobbins, thread, pins, a bobbin lace pillow, and a pattern, which is typically a cardstock or paper that has been perforated.

All week I will post links, videos, and information about Bobbin Lace.  I, myself, have never attempted Bobbin Lace, so I am thrilled to highlight this craft and I hope to give it a whirl this year!  If you or someone you know creates Bobbin Lace, please contact me via the Contact Tab in the upper right corner of my blog to share your love of Bobbin Lace with my readers!  To whet your appetite I'm including a little video demonstration of Bobbin Lace in this first post.  This video was shared by Itlmiss on YouTube.  Please leave her some comment love!!








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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Crafting Heaven in 2011


When I started to learn to knit, I didn't have the time (working 40+ hrs a week) with a baby and a special needs child plus a traveling husband, to really practice. Oh, and we lived in the middle of nowhere at the time. The only exposure I'd had to fiber arts and traditional crafting arts was whatever I caught here or there on DIY.  I didn't come from a family that passed down any traditional crafts.  And I knew that this was something I desperately wanted in my life.  I knew I had to create.

Fast Foward 5 yrs and my knitting has progressed the most this past year, when I've given myself the gift of time a couple times a week to practice. Then I thought I would like to really get into crochet as well. I ran in to some ppl on the internet who did not like knit and crochet groups to mingle. But in my little knitting groups, it was my experience that some were knitting. Some were crocheting. Some brought in their quilting to show. And it was then that I realized that these fabulous women I meet in person and on the internet don't just knit or crochet. Some sew. Some quilt. Some tatt. Some perform bobbin lace. Some work in hairpin lace. Some enjoy dabbling in wool rug hooking while others prefer locker hook. Some like filet crochet, tunisian crochet. Some enjoy looms. Some like using knitting machines. Some prefer machine embroidery. Some prefer hand embroidery. Some work in Monk's Cloth.

I just think this is the tip of the iceberg here. These are true, fiber crafts - some near extinction, while others fairly new. So stop worrying about if you're a knitter or a crocheter. WHO CARES?! It's the CRAFT. The CREATION. The EXPANDING of our minds and love of art. I'm so eager to learn about all of these fascinating arts & crafts.

SO interested in learning them, that I am looking to promote guest bloggers to talk a bit about or demo a technique of a craft that many of us haven't picked up. Let's search our craft community for these talented ladies & gents and plead with them to introduce their craft(s) to us!  Because all craft is art.  Not every craft is for everyone.  But every craft is just as valid and amazing as any other.  I'm also including a Twitter Movement!  I'm calling it #CraftyBucketList.  So please Tweet, RT, and tell others to use hashtag - #CraftyBucketList when talking about a craft they'd like to learn or try.

If you, or someone you know has a terrific fiber craft they would be interested in demonstrating or being interviewed about, please contact me via the Contact Tab in the upper right of my blog.  If you're a company or publisher who would like to do a giveaway of a related item on my blog, please contact me immediately!

January - Bobbin Lace
February - Tatting & Cro-Tat
March - Wool Rug Hooking
April - Locker Hooking
May - Exploring Knots
June - Craft Sewing/Home Decor Sewing
July - Hand Sewing/Embroidery
Aug - Applique
Sept -Dec: TBD

I look forward to all of your responses as I know my readers will!



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