Archive for June, 2013

Yarn Crafts For Kids

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Summer is so much more than just spending time at amusement parks, splashing at the waterpark, or building sandcastles at the beach.  There are plenty of rain-drenched afternoons and hotter-than-a-frying-pan days when the kids just want to stay close to home, hang out with friends and enjoy quieter activities like sitting around the table making crafts.  That’s when a yarn stash will come in handy, all those tangled bits and bobs which seem to have taken on a life of their own, will now have a crafty purpose.  Kids love to work with their hands, exploring texture, colour, and expressing their creativity.

Be ready for those moments when the inevitable ‘I’m bored’ expressions let loose, by turning your backyard into a summer craft zone, complete with a picnic table and oodles of colourful yarn, white glue, a bag of balloons, wooden sticks, and paper plates.  You will see miles of smiles with these eight simple yarn craft ideas-

 

Wall Art

Wall Art

Unique artwork doesn’t necessarily require a paintbrush.  Kids will have a riot of fun combining vibrant colours for this bull’s eye design made entirely with leftover yarns.

Supplies:  Chunky weight yarn, craft glue, heavy paper plate, scissors, foam brush.

To make:  Brush the inside of a paper plate with white glue.  Begin at the centre point of the plate, wind yarn closely in a circle, press down firmly to adhere, continue in a circular fashion, keeping strands of yarn close together to cover the plate completely.  Change colours as desired.    

 

Corking

Corking

Corking, also known as spool knitting, is a great way to introduce young children to the mechanics of knitting.  The original version consisted of a wooden spool with tiny nails hammered into the rim, but why not encourage the kids to make this crafty gizmo, its easy-to-handle and fun to personalize in their own creative way.

Supplies:  Cardboard tube, scissors, 5-8 wooden craft sticks, duct tape in various colours, variegated worsted weight yarn.

To make:  Tape 5-8 wooden craft sticks around a cardboard tube as shown above.  Cast on with a slip knot placed over first stick, then wrap yarn in a clockwise circle around each stick in sequence.  To begin corking place yarn in front of first stick slightly above existing loop, hold taut, then slide lower loop up and over yarn, repeat across each stick.

 

Mini Balls of Yarn

Mini Balls of Yarn

Nurture your child’s inner Picasso allowing them free reign when it comes to their imagination.  A great way to build dexterity in tiny hands, this framed project will help deplete your yarn stash while creating mini works of art.

Supplies:  An assortment of colourful yarn, shadow box, scissors

To make:  Tightly wind small balls of yarn in an array of colours, fill in a shadow box frame in a pleasing arrangement.

 

Finger Knitting

Finger Knitting

Finger knitting uses all five fingers of one hand to produce a long tubular piece, providing hours of entertainment and the final result can be worn as a cosy scarf.

Supplies:  Chunky weight yarn, scissors.

To make:  Watch video here

 

Decorative Pillow

Decorative Pillow

Once they get the hang of finger knitting, there are endless project ideas from bracelets to floor rugs, and for the young interior designer who can handle a needle and thread, this plain pillow can be creatively transformed with a favorite word or name.

Supplies:  Multi-coloured yarn, sewing thread, needle, a pre-made pillow, scissors, fabric marker, pins.

To make:  With a fabric marker lightly trace a word onto front of pillow.  Pin knitted cord along outlined area, sew with a running stitch into position.  Make four tassels for corners.     

 

Knitted Bookmarks

Knitted Bookmarks

Older children who have grasped the basics of knitting may be ready for this bookmark project, small and portable, ideally suited to keep their hands busy on a long road trip, or to make as a gift for a new summer friend.

Supplies:  Remnants of dk weight yarn in both a primary and neutral shade, scissors, darning needle, 3.50 mm knitting needles.

To make:  Free Pattern on Ravelry.com 

 

Ojo De Dios

Ojo de Dios

Ojo de Dios or God’s Eyes have long been a childhood favorite, and especially popular at summer camps on arts and craft days.  For centuries, young people in the mountains of New Mexico have made Ojos de Dios as part of their spiritual rituals.

Supplies:  Wooden craft sticks or two twigs of similar length, yarn remnants, scissors.

To make:  Begin by tying two sticks together at the central crossing point with a length of yarn, continue to wrap the yarn around each stick clockwise and tie on new yarn lengths as needed.

 

Yarn Balloons

Yarn Balloons

Kids will have a ball decorating a bedroom or treehouse with these brightly-coloured yarn balloons, so simple to make and the grown ups might just end up borrowing a few to dress up a backyard party.

Supplies:  Fun colourful worsted weight yarn, a bowl, scissors, white craft glue, balloons, string for hanging.

To make:  Begin by blowing up each balloon to a medium size, water down white glue and place in a bowl, slide brightly coloured yarn though the wet glue and wrap around balloon until densely covered.  Hang to dry on a string overnight, and then pop each balloon.

Knitting With Nettle

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Gardeners may look at this weed and think it looks innocent enough, but a quick pull from the soil without gloves on, and you have been stung by a hidden venom, an unforgettable experience, as a mighty tingling sensation quickly spreads through your entire hand.  What you may not know about this well-armored plant is that its fibrous stem has a hollow core, ideal for trapping air, providing a layer of natural insulation, and while it may be news to most of us, nettle fibre has been spun and woven into fabrics for more than two thousand years.  When cotton made its appearance in the sixteenth century, not only did it dominate the market as the easiest plant fibre to harvest, it all but pushed nettle out of the limelight.  It wasn’t until cotton supplies dwindled during wartime that nettle fibre became a suitable replacement, and was used in the production of soldier uniforms and parachutes.

Today, in the search for more eco-friendly fibres, nettle is quickly becoming a green choice for the knitting industry, it is a hardy plant which requires no pesticides and is produced with the use of water instead of oil by-products.

 

Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle

The stinging nettle plant grows worldwide, and doesn’t require a hot climate.  It reaches anywhere from two to four feet in height, spreading easily by seed and an underground network of roots.  The leaves are jagged and the fibre is acquired from inside the ribbed hollow stem.

 

Raw Nettle Fibre

Raw Nettle Fibre

The outer coating is stripped away, and the hidden fibres are exposed to sunlight, this dehydration method works doubly to eliminate the venom and prepare the strands for the next step.  Large ponds are used to soak the fibres for about ten days, after which time, they are rinsed with clear water, and processed in a similar manner to linen.  Nettle blends well with cotton, wool, alpaca, and bamboo fibres.

 

Woven Stitch Cowl

Woven Stitch Cowl

Two NEW additions coming soon to Diamond Yarn’s FALL line-up from Universal Yarn are spun with nettle and a blend of organic wool.  This Woven Stitch Cowl is knit with two balls of Nettle Lana Expressions, a chainette style yarn with exquisite shading.  Honeyspun (shown above).  Look for the FREE pattern here.

 

Nettle Lana Expressions

Nettle Lana Expressions

Cool Knits For Men

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

It can be an acrobatic balancing act when it comes to knitting for men and those of you who have gone though this experience more than once, well, lets just assume you are rolling your eyes by now.  Imagine presenting a few sweater patterns to the man in your life, hubby, boyfriend, father, brother or son and asking which one would he like you to knit for him.  The comments can range from, “oh, I like them all…..but I’ll let you decide” to “well……. I like that one but the neck is too small, and the sleeves are too baggy and I don’t really like the colour or the design down the front”  It can be a frustrating endeavor, trying to find the right combination of relaxed comfort, and a fashionable look that falls somewhere between GQ panache and granddad’s favorite cardigan yet not too feminine and still able to show off the beauty of the yarn.

Cool Knits For Men from Katia’s Sport Collection

 

Linen Button Neck Pullover

Linen Button Neck Pullover

This Henley-style pullover from Katia gets its name from a popular collarless uniform worn by rowing teams in Henley-On-Thames, England.  Knit in summer’s best blend of breathable fibre, cotton and linen, in a wide rib design with sizing from small to extra large.  Available in ten natural tones, including greige, slate, and khaki (shown above).

 

Revive Cotton Vest

Revive Cotton Vest

Going casual on summer weekends requires sandals, a denim shirt and a lightly layered vest like this grid pattern design, exceptionally easy to knit with neck and armhole borders worked in as you go.  Knit in Revive, an environmentally friendly recycled cotton mix available in eight chambray shades, from navy to light grey (shown above).

 

Collared Button Up Cardigan

Collared Button Up Cardigan

Change it up when it comes to cardigans, this design has a contemporary look and softens the lines of an ordinary V neckline with a notched collar.  Pour on the colour with a striking shade of azure blue, a flattering choice for blue-eyed guys on your knitting list.  Knit in 100% cotton, with a full size range from small to extra large.

 

Belice Crew Neck Pullover

Belice Crew Neck Pullover

Wandering hues of grey, white and putty in this crew neck pullover are the key palette for casual pairing with warm weather chinos.  Knit in Belice, a lightweight cotton mix from Katia, with ten self-drifting colourways.

 

Guernsey Style Pullover

Guernsey Style Pullover

Inspired by the traditional sweaters knitted by wives of fishermen in Guernsey, one of the Channel Isles, this nautical design features classic ribbed detail across the upper body and set-in sleeves.  Knit in a natural cotton, summer’s coolest choice for knitting.  Navy (shown above).

A Paler Shade

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Flipping through the fashion pages of yesteryear is always a good place to draw inspiration from when creating a knitwear collection, and the design team at Sirdar clearly did just that.  Translating the essence of old Hollywood and the ‘cool glam’ look of screen legend, Grace Kelly, who captivated us with her timeless elegance and fairytale princess style, Sirdar presents their latest compilation, Ella, sixteen designs for women and girls in a lightweight cotton yarn, with a palette of creamy muted tones, sun-kissed with a demure trace of glimmer.

 

Sirdar Book #442

Sirdar Book #442

A peek inside the cover of the all-new Ella Collection, offers just the right grouping of nine pastel pretty shades- Cool Cream, Clementine, Candy Pink, Pearlescent, Summer Storm, Hollywood, Peppermint, Pistache and Very Lily.    

 

Summer Lace Cardigan

Summer Lace Cardigan

A fresh minty shade that’s right on trend for this season, becomes the ideal milieu for this tie-neck cardigan featuring fishtail edging and pointelle stitching, quietly finished off with a simple stocking stitch bodice.  Sized from six years to women’s extra-large, in two versions, one with full-length sleeves and one with cap sleeves.  Pistache (shown above).

 

Openwork Pullover

Openwork Pullover

Cool gunmetal shading sparkles in the sunlight with a hint of metallic in this sophisticated slash neck pullover, knit in an airy mesh stitch, with optional long or short sleeves.  Pearlescent and Summer Storm (shown above).

 

V Front Vest

V Front Vest

Rounded shoulders and textured openwork create the backdrop for this buttery soft palette, in this V front vest, a perfect cover up to wear over a sleeveless top.  Cool Cream (shown above).

 

Ruffle Lace Shawl

Ruffle Lace Shawl

A showpiece with lustrous shimmer, from desk to dinner, this ruffle lace shawl will doll up a simple outfit.  Knit from the top down with a short-row ruffle border, a nice alternative from fringes.  Summer Storm (shown above).

 

Chanel Jacket

Chanel Jacket

Coco Chanel said it so well, “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”  Her iconic collarless jacket designed in the 1920’s has never lost its appeal and continues to inspire a classic silhouette.  This parfait pink version recreates the texture of nubby tweed with two-row contrast striping and a clever slip stitch.  Candy Pink and Pearlescent (shown above). 

 

Peplum Jacket

Peplum Jacket

Fit for a little princess and ranging in size up to a women’s large, this peplum jacket features a flattering flounced edging and a choice of long or cap sleeves.  Hollywood (shown above).

 

Colour Block Pullover

Colour Block Pullover

Cool crisp lines and an interesting lace pattern add a contemporary vibe to this colour  block pullover, knit in three shades of Ella.  Switch up the look to suit your style with a solid shade or add length to the sleeves.  Sirdar has all the options covered.  Cool Cream, Clementine, and Pearlescent (shown above).