Holiday Gifting: Laurel Hill has the solution

knit-birds-tree-425If you are a knitter or crocheter, or if you love someone who is, you will know that you can never have too much when it comes to the tools of the craft. At www.LaurelHillOnline.com, your one-stop fiber arts tools online shop, you will discover the perfect gift for someone near and dear to you, or treat yourself to a set of heirloom quality tools to be passed on and cherished. Laurel Hill has been known for more than a decade for the exotic woods of Ebony, Nam Oc, and Trai that comprise a variety set. All crochet sets include a beautiful multicolored fabric case to protect the following size hooks: D, E, F, G, 7, H, I, J, K, L, M.

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Crochet hooks handcrafted from beautiful ebony

Seeking the perfect stocking stuffer? Whether you select beautiful handcrafted knitting needles, a practical stitch counter, or cedar sachets to protect your beautiful creations, Laurel Hill has thousands of accessories to choose from. Even the yarn crafter who has “everything” will be surprised and delighted with something brand new that shows how much you care and appreciate her (or his) passion.

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An amazing selection, reasonable prices, and the ease of ordering online make Laurel Hill your go-to for holiday shopping. Simply visit www.LaurelHillOnline.com for a wonderful, user friendly, shopping experience.

And from all of us at Laurel Hill, we wish you Happy Holidays, a Happy, Healthy New Year, and a 2017 filled with Happy Yarn Crafting!

 

 

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Embracing the holiday spirit

Over the years, our team at Laurel Hill has cultivated a culture of philanthropy, donating to many charities and participating in non-profit events. But one organization in particular has touched our hearts and motivated our spirits: Laurel Hill’s charity of choice Knots of Love. With the holidays approaching, we are inspired to do even more to help Knots of Love help others. We want to encourage our Laurel Hill community to knit or crochet with a giving heart. As Knots of Love founder Christine Fabiani says, “Cancer does not take a holiday.”

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What is Knots of Love? Under Christine’s leadership, the organization donates caps to men and women, including veterans, undergoing chemotherapy, burn victims, brain surgery patients, head trauma patients, and individuals with Alopecia. They also donate tiny blankets to fragile new lives in incubators.

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Taught to crochet by her grandmother when she was six, Christine began making scarves and afghans to give to friends and family. It was her son Geoffrey who encouraged Christine to make caps. A friend who was a cancer survivor told Christine that she wished she had had a cozy cap to don after a day’s wearing of her wig, and the inspiration for heartwarming, head-warming Chemo Caps was planted.

Christine felt so good making caps for cancer patients, she thought other yarn crafters might like to make them too. Knots of Love was born in 2007 “out of a desire to brighten the lives of people in need, in a loving and caring way.”

Since then Christine and her team have sent more than 300,000 caps to cancer centers, oncologist’s offices, and infusion centers across the nation. Christine and the organization have garnered many humanitarian awards as a result of their efforts.

How can you help this holiday season? We’re so glad you asked!

*Buy a Knots of Love kit (http://www.laurelhillonline.com/knots-of-love-kits/) and create a warm expression of comfort for someone who needs it;

*Donate funds directly to Knots of Love, 98 percent goes directly to the charity, with only two percent for administration fees;     https://knotsoflove.givingfuel.com/donations     

*Purchase a beautiful Knots of Love jewelry piece from Sears  http://www.knotsoflove.org/shop      and six percent is donated to Knots of Love.

Due to the sensitivities of those helped by Knots of Love, please use only yarns recommended on the Knots of Love website. We are honored that Laurel Hill is Knots of Love’s preferred supplier of crochet and knitting tools because of our comfortable, handmade products at reasonable prices.

Christine says, “Made from exotic woods, Laurel Hill crochet hooks are so wonderful -once you use one you won’t want to use anything else. The wood helps keep warmth in my hands hopefully warding off arthritis in years to come. Laurel Hill takes great pride in providing sustainable products to their customers.”

Watch for more news about Christine and the wonderful volunteers at Knots of Love. We are proud to be connected with this compassionate organization and look forward to getting more involved in 2016!

Happy Yarn Crafting!

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, New Resolutions

Sarah E. White writes about great resolutions for anyone who enjoys knitting or wants to learn how in her article “Resolutions for Knitters.”

1.Finish what you started (or don’t)

This year, take stock of all the projects you haven’t finished. Some of them probably only need minor work to finish them such as weaving in ends, blocking your knitting or simply doing some knitting up.

Make these sorts of projects a priority and see how many of them you can complete before the end of January.

Other pieces might take much more work to finish. Consider each one individually and decide if it is something you really want to finish. If you abandoned the project part way through because you hated the yarn or the pattern, that’s not a project you are ever going to want to finish. Bite the bullet and unravel your work. If you like the yarn but hated the project, try a different pattern. Donate the yarn if it was the problem.

If you have unfinished projects that you still want to finish, make an effort to complete them, if possible, before you start any new projects. If you started the project for an occasion that has since passed, find a place to donate the finished item.

2.Use the Yarn in Your Stash


A huge guilty pleasure of knitters is buying yarn without any idea of how or if we might one day use it. This year, make an effort to go through your stash and really evaluate each thing you’ve purchased:

Do you love it?
Do you have an idea for a project you could make with it?
Do you have enough of it to complete that project?
Is the yarn in good condition?

If you don’t love the yarn, donate it to someone who can use it (or sell it on eBay). If you love it but don’t know how to use it, check out our free knitting patterns section for some inspiration. You might find a small project you could complete with a tiny quantity of yarn, or come up with a way to work the yarn into a project that uses many different kinds of yarn.

If the yarn is damaged, there’s nothing for it but to get rid of it and make room for something else in your stash.

Once you’ve cleaned out your stash and come up with projects for some of the yarns you are keeping, resolve to make those projects. Either set a goal of one project from the stash every month or vow not to buy any new yarn until you’ve completed a certain number of projects from the yarn you already have.

3. Start Making Swatches

Most knitters don’t like to take the time to knit gauge swatches, yet we all probably have a story involving a project that we should have swatched.

My first pair of socks, for instance, ended up more like slippers because I was sure I could just knit with the size of needles that was recommended in the pattern. They were such small needles, I figured there was no way my knitting wouldn’t end up small. I still wear those socks, but often they’re put on over other socks!

This year, let’s all resolve to try to make more gauge swatches when we embark on difficult or extremely fitted patterns. Notice I didn’t say you have to make a gauge swatch for every project, or even that you have to keep them, I just said try to make them on the difficult or big projects you don’t want to have to knit twice.

Making resolutions, whether about knitting or anything else, shouldn’t be about absolutes. Don’t say “I’ll never eat ice cream again” or “I’ll always make gauge swatches and knit from my stash.” With that kind of attitude if you mess up once your resolution is gone. Instead, make a day to day, project to project effort.

4. Learn New Tricks

Every knitter, no matter how skilled, probably has something he or she hasn’t tried before. Make this the year you learn that skill you’ve always wanted to try.

Whether its felting or cables, colorwork or circular knitting, be willing to move out of your comfort zone this year and try something new. You’ll learn great things about yarn, about knitting, and about yourself. Even if it’s a disaster, it probably won’t be one you regret.

5. Make More Time for Knitting

It’s likely most of us would like to be able to spend more time knitting each day or each week than we currently do. You could resolve to do more knitting in front of the television or to turn off the TV one night a week so you can get more knitting done.

You might also want to join a knitting group so you have a regular time for knitting worked into your schedule. You might be more likely to take part if you know people are expecting you.

6. Knit More for Yourself

If you’re constantly knitting for gifts and for charity, good for you, but remember to stop every now and then and knit a little something for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

7. Say Thank You

Finally, the greatest New Year’s resolution of them all: take some time to thank the person who taught you how to knit. We all had the pleasure of learning this wonderful craft from someone, often a family member or friend. If that person is still alive and you are still in contact with him or her, send a note (not an e-mail if at all possible) telling them what it has meant to you to be able to knit.

If you want, make them something nice to show them how far you’ve come. They’ll love it.

If the person who taught you is not longer living, pay it forward by teaching someone else to knit or helping them with a knitting skill. We are the ones keeping knitting alive. We owe it to those who came before us to ensure there are knitters after us.

Even if you only choose to set one of these resolutions for yourself, I’m sure you’ll be glad you did. They’ll make you a better knitter, and maybe even a better person. Happy New Year!

You may need a stocking for all those stuffers!

What better way to continue on with the holiday spirit than to start working on a stocking for Christmas for yourself or as a wonderful gift!

Donna Kay combines soft shades of alpaca yarn with three traditional snowflake patterns and silver-lined glass beads to give this Christmas stocking an elegant Victorian look. The beads are strung on the yarn before the knitting commences, then the piece is worked in the round from cuff to toe, except for the heel flap, which is worked back and forth and joined with Kitchener stitch.
Finished Size: About 7 3/4″ (19.5 cm) wide at top, 16″ (40.5 cm) long from top to heel, and 12″” (30.5 cm) long from heel to toe.
Yarn: Jaeger Alpaca (100% alpaca; 201 yd [184 m]/50 g): Stocking shown in #142 Arequipa (off white; MC), 3 balls; #385 ice (pale mint green; CC), 1 ball. Swatch shown in #142 Arequipa with #386 glow (yellow
Yarn weight: #1 – Super Fine
Gauge: 36 sts and 36 rows
Needles: Size 2 (2.5 mm): 16″ (40-cm) circular (cir). Size 0 (2.0 mm): 16″ (40-cm) cir and set of 4 double-pointed (dpn). Adjust needle sizes if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.
Notions: Markers (m); waste yarn; 250 (5-mm) clear beads with silver lining; sewing needle and thread; tapestry needle.
(Originally Published: Interweave Knits, Summer 2002)

Crochet yourself into a kitten

Just in case you’re in the need for a last minute costume or want to get a head start for next year, check out these cute crocheted kitty ears!

Supplies:
1 Skein No. 312 Black.
Crochet Hook: 5.5mm [US I-9].
Yarn needle, plastic headband.

Size:
Ears measure approx 2.5″ high.

Gauge/tension:
14 sts = 4″; 8 rows = 4″ in sc. CHECK YOUR GAUGE. Use any size hook to obtain the gauge.

Instructions:
Ear (Make 4): Ch 8.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across; turn – 7 sc.
Rows 2 and 3: Ch 1, sc in each sc across; turn.
Row 4: Ch 1; draw up a lp in each of next 2 sc, yarn over and draw through all 3 lps on hook – sc2tog made; sc in next 3 sc, sc2tog over last 2 sc; turn – 5 sc.
Row 5: Rep Row 2.
Row 6: Ch 1, sc2tog, sc in next sc, sc2tog; turn – 3 sc.
Row 7: Rep Row 2.
Row 8: Ch 1, draw up a lp in each of next 3 sc, yarn over and draw through all 4 lps on hook. Fasten off.

Finishing: Sew 2 ears together along the 2 shaped sides leaving bottom open. Repeat with other 2 ears. Checking placement, sew bottom of ears to headband. Weave in ends.

Simple Bow Headband

We found this pattern for a very sweet bow headband on the darling blog Cornflower Blue. It’s such a simple project that would make a wonderful gift or add a fun touch to an outfit–and why stop at one? A deep purple, mustard yellow or brown headband is perfect for fall; while red, black or metallic could add some dramatic sparkle to your holiday season! Grab your hook and hop over to Cornflower Blue for the full, free pattern! Also, check out Rachel’s awesome Etsy shop!