YarnCraft Episode 112 :: 10 Top Yarncrafting Lessons & Tips

13 Mar

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On this episode of YarnCraft, Liz & Zontee, along with listeners like you and other Lion Brand staffers share their top lessons-learned & tips for yarncrafters. From keeping your tools organized to checking your dye lots to knowing when to stay away from the pets, find out what are the lessons we wish we knew when we started out.

Patterns discussed include:

Click here for the blog post on directional decreases mentioned on this episode.

Next, on Stash This: Ideas for Your Crafting Life,  Liz & Zontee share their top picks for favorite stitch dictionaries and motif books. Books discussed included:

We’re spring cleaning, which means that YOU have a chance to win a copy of Knitting for Peace. For a chance to win, just leave a comment on this blog post about charity yarncrafting (what you’ve made, to whom you’ve given, why, etc.). Be sure to include your email address in the appropriate box, so that we can reach you if you win! Comments must be left by 11:59:59 EDT on March 22 to qualify.

On our next episode, we’ll be talking about spring cleaning your crafting space and closet. Do you have any particular spring cleaning rituals, yarncrafting or otherwise? Share your thoughts with us!  Leave a message on the blog or email us at yarncraft [at] lionbrand [dot] com! You can also call in and leave a message at 774-452-YARN–that’s 774-452-9276.

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Theme music is “Boy with a Coin” by Iron and Wine, from the PodSafe Music Network.

Show Notes:
00:12 Intro & welcome
01:09 What’s on Liz & Zontee’s hooks & needles?
05:22 Liz & Zontee’s top yarncrafting “life lessons” & tips
14:43 Lion Brand staff lessons & tips
Giveaway information
19:47 Stash This: Ideas for Your Crafting Life
29:06 Thanks to our listeners & colleagues

  • http://www.facebook.com/JennSherman Jennifer Sherman

    It was fun listening while I cleaned my messy room in search of my sewing machine pedal.  I hid it from my kids and now I can’t find it.  I did come across some resources though and thought I would pass them on:
    201 Crochet motifs, blocks, projects and ideas ~ by Melody Griffiths
    150 Crochet Trims ~ Susan Smith

    Thanks again ladies for an entertaining podcast!

  • Yarnitect

    New yarn crafters love to make items for charity. This month I’m introducing a friend to a local group that crochets/knits for a food/clothing pantry for the needy and homeless. We are following the same pattern at the meetings and will donate our hats to this charity. 

  • Dee_bee

    Last year at Xmas time, I knit a scarf and hat for the grandfather of a shelter family my workplace adopted for the holiday. I’ve also knit and crochet ted lapghans and comfort shawls for homebound elderly.

  • DeeAnna Swanson

    I’m so impressed with your Tree of Life baby blanket pattern. Wow! I hope to be able to make it someday. I’m still too new to knitting right now though. :-D

  • DeeAnna Swanson

    As for charity yarncrafting, on Friday this week, I will be teaching 3 of my friends how to crochet. We’ll be making baby blankets for the Okinawa branch of the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society. This time last year I taught 4 different friends how to crochet. We made 20 blankets for the Snuggles Project and the blankets went to shelter dogs and cats. :-D

  • Cinderga

    Another great episode–thanks! My current charity crafting project is knitted socks for kids. I’ll be sending it to Wool-Aid (a group on Ravelry), which supports various charities that help people (mostly children) in the coldest areas in the world. I’m using LB Fishermen’s Wool that I dyed using powdered drink mix. I’m having fun knitting with the colorful yarn. I hope the bright colors will brighten a child’s day while helping keep him/her warm.

  • Sally Hendricks-Bauer

    I have knit chemo caps, premie hats, premie barriel robes, snuggles for animals.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve almost finished a teddy bear for the Mother Bear Project, which is “a non-profit organization dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations by giving the gift of a hand-knit or crocheted bear.” They’ve sent over 70,000 bears so far. He came out really cute. I just have to pick up the stitches for his arms, sew him up, and stuff him.

  • Elisa

    I knit things for charity every month.  I love to use up my leftover yarns and make baby toys for one of my local hospitals.  They have a package of goodies for every newborn and like to include something handmade in each one.  (Denver Health Newborns in Need.)  The toys give me a good chance to try color combos that I wouldn’t always think of.  It’s a good deed and color theory study in one. 

  • Deb

    My Temple has a knitting group and we all knit afghans for a local children’s hospital a few years ago. We’ve been trying to generate interest in some new charity projects, so I’d love to win “Knitting for Peace” so that we can be inspired!
    I have also knit chemo caps on my own and want to do more of that as well.

  • Lori in TX

    I have been knitting helmet liners for the troops in Afghanastan, but the local yarn shop has stopped this project, and I’m looking for another charity to knit for.  I would love a copy of the book you mentioned that lists charities and projects.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mbwilson2 Mary Beth Wilson

    I worked with a group making personal hygiene items (such as washcloths with a loop in one corner so they could be hung from nails to dry) for people in the refugee camps in Haiti following the earthquake.  We also sent clothing and other items, and our packages were taken over by a church group that was taking food, clean water, and medical supplies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1516027506 Stacey Giblin Anderson

    Every year my church

  • Scarfemup

    For the past several years, I sent knit scarves for the Special Olympics (using that “other” yarn) and also scarves for the Seamen’s Church and a red scarf for Adopted Teens (of college age).  I’ve also provided items for my granddaughters’ co-op nursery school auction (Providence, RI).

  • L green

    My favorite evening activity is to sit down with my yarn and crochet hook and make baby afghans for Project Linus.  Because I get so many colors of yarns, I often use a “log cabin” pattern and a moss stitch.

  • Brownstone4

    My church has a ministry for the Homeless.  We call it the Street Ministry because once each month our young members go out on the streets of Atlanta and hand out warm clothes, blankets and sleeping bags.  Although Atlanta usually has very mild winters, the nights are still cold until late spring and warm clothing is essential.  Last fall, I gathered all of my scrap yarn and odds & ends to make hats and scarfs.  I usually use bulky weight yarns and large needles to make the items quickly.  I even started using my knitting machine to turn them out even faster.   I sometimes get some crazy color combinations and lots of mixed textures but so far, I haven’t gotten any complaints.  Every month, I get requests for more hats so its a great way for me to try new stitches, techniques and beef up my skills. 

  • Wjsoulati

    i ‘yarn’ with a small group (20) and we make lafghans for Hospice of Dayton. Our group is called Blankets of Love. We’ve been yarning together since 2006 and have made over 8000 blankets. We use large needles (35) and hooks (s) and many strands of yarn. We are all yarn hounds checking thrift stores, yard sales and friends when we have the time.

  • Ernie

    I am starting a crochet, then knit, beginners projects at the independent living facility where I live. The first project will be crocheted dish rags. Once everyone is comfortable I will let them pick a simple knitting project. My initial idea is wrist warmers. Everyone is nervous about the cast-on. I will be showing them the 2-needle cast-on as I think it’s the easiest. Any other ideas for my scaredy cats?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tammy.renee.scott Tammy Renee Scott

    I have recently been making scarves for the Special Olympics. I think this is a very wonderful organization and provides a great service. My next charity I am making baby blankets for is the Linus Project. I like making something that I know will be used and appreciated.

  • Cynthia

    I have made hat and afghans for the Ronald McDonald house and for preemies in hospitals. I make afghans for animal shelters and rescue organizations. 

  • kroshaykel

    First off, Congratulations, Liz!  It is such an exciting time for you!  As a new mom of a 5 (almost 6) month old baby boy, episode 111 really spoke to me.  I’m a long time listener but don’t often post/comment, but this subject being near and dear to my heart inspired me to comment.  Here are some yarny tips/comments from a new mom.
    As a crocheter, I think many of my crafty friends thought I would be going crazy making a bunch of stuff before the baby came.  Thus, I didn’t get many hand crafted (particularly yarn) items.  So, I think your suggestion to ping your crafty friends is a good one.  Especially since I suffered from very bad carpal tunnel issues during my pregnancy which made crocheting uncomfortable and wasn’t able to make all the cute patterns I marked for myself.
    So, what did I get that I use?  CAR SEAT (or STROLLER) BLANKETS!  Oh my, these are great.  Too often, the larger full size (even baby) blankets are a bit cumbersome to deal with.  Particularly with a newborn.  The half size blankets worked great.  Note, even if you are having a summer baby, small lightweight blankets are still useful.  I live in FL and use blankets almost daily because you’ll go somewhere that cranks up the air conditioning and your little one gets cold.  I actually figured out how to crochet over my little one while he was nursing from me which really helped keep my mind engaged during all those hours that I sat with him early on.  Now, at almost 6 months old, the yarn seems to be a distraction for him while he’s nursing so I don’t really get to crochet so much during that time anymore.  Along that line, I’d have to say the knitted nursing cover that I got, although beautiful, wasn’t very practical.  It was a little too open weave for my comfort to use while out.  Not to mention, even with a very tight stitch pattern, tiny fingers can get into the holes between the stitches and that makes it easy for the cover to be pulled this way and that.  I prefer to use a sewn fabric cotton nursing cover.  My little guy gets really warm under those covers anyway, so the cotton fabric is best.
    Which leads me to another comment.  My little man (yes MAN) overheats easily.  Seriously, he’s like a man the way he sweats.  So, I found that natural fibers are best for things I make for him… hats, blankets, sweaters, etc.  They breathe much better than synthetic (acrylic especially) and keep him from overheating.  Also, of note, LIGHT COLORS STAIN.  Gross, but true.  So, it is my preference that I use brighter bolder colors of yarn (and even regular baby clothing) so that they aren’t ruined when something, um, messes.
    Another yarny suggestion is to make items with a lot of stretch.  I found that making hats with fpdc/bpdc would fit well because they stretch and you get a LOT more time out of one item as baby grows.
    My selfish overall goal for making baby items, especially blankets is that mine becomes the favorite.  I think it is the ultimate “thank you” when something you’ve hand crafted becomes the favorite blankie that the child uses to go to sleep and has to go everywhere with that child.  I’m still waiting to see what my little guy is going to like best out of the things I’ve made him… and am excited to finish off a few more projects of things that I think he’ll like as he gets older.  One item that you didn’t mention on the podcast that has been making a big resurgence is sock monkeys.  Our nursery is completely sock monkey themed… we have found sock monkeys of all colors and styles from the traditional tweedy brown/white to orange, green, blue and yellow!
    As for charity projects, I’ve started a group at my company that does various projects.  We’ve donated hundreds of baby caps to local hospitals, cancer caps, caps for troops deployed overseas, lapgans, scarves, prayer shawls… as the group’s leader I encourage the team members to make things that speak to them.  We can always find a charity to give the items to.  Our biggest project to date was to transform a bunch of insider company logo t-shirts into crocheted pet mats because the insider logo had to be destroyed and the shirts couldn’t be donated.  We cut up thousands of t-shirts making hundreds of pet mats!

    Anyway, best wishes to Liz again and please keep up the great work on the podcasts, Liz and Zontee!

  • DeeAnna Swanson

    Love your screen name “kroshaykel”! Thanks for sharing your experiences with handcrafted baby items. I will definitely be able to use the information you provided. I’ve made three crocheted baby blankets with some various colors including white. After reading your post, perhaps I have used too much white. Whooops! I’m not a mom and forget those sorts of details when pairing colors and designing baby blankets. So as you can see, your post will really help me and give me added perspective. :-D Thank you so much!

    Also, it sounds like you all have done some amazing charity projects. I know your group’s donations have helped a lot of people and pets to be more comfortable as well as to feel comforted. When I move back to the states, I am hoping to join a crochet-knitting group as well. I would love to learn and share ideas with experienced handcrafters. :-D

    Thanks so much for all that you do and congratulations on your little man!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=540781054 Ingrid Lembach

    When I learned to knit 4 years ago, the first few projects I finished were scarves for a women’s shelter in Boston. Scarves are a good project but take me forever to knit. Now I’m starting to make hats for Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I found out about the opportunity through Knit for Boston.org, which has a website and a Ravelry group.

  • Wendy

    Thank you for a wonderful podcast.  I really enjoy listening.
    My charity knitting.  I have knit scarves for Operation Gratitude. I have also knit for The Red scarf program.  I have made squares for Warm up America.  I knit for my church bazaar.

  • Blax

    I knit and crochet “cat ghans” for local animal shelters. I like to learn new pattern stitches and create the cat ghans. Cats like lots of texture. And I’ve yet to meet a cat who can resist snuggling in their own catghan!