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Crafts

No More Baby Colors! ;-)

As a quilter and knitter, I am always interested to see what the “Vogue” fashion colors for each season are going to be. I don’t buy clothing every time something “new and in vogue” comes out (heck, the last time I bought clothes at all it was a bag of socks!) but seeing what I can expect to see in the quilt shop is always interesting.

I had heard that it was going to be all baby pink and baby blue (gag) but when the report actually came out? They are rich and sumptuous. Very nice. I look forward to seeing what shows up in my local quilting and knitting shops!

TOP 10 FALL 2016 FASHION COLORS

Pantone has gone in a new direction for their Fall 2016 fashion color report. We reported in the Holiday 2015 KnitNews that the pastel-shaded 2016 colors of the year might make an unusual choice for fall fashion. Pantone seems to agree: Rather than incorporate these colors into their Fall 2016 lineup, they have instead chosen a palette of ten deeper shades. The selection features six all-new colors, including denim blue Riverside, which WWD reports was the most popular color used in Fall 2016 fashion collections.

READ PANTONE’S FALL 2016 FASHION COLOR REPORT >

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Review: How to Knit Socks That Fit by Donna Druchunas #KnittingSocks #SocksThatFit #Crafts

Remember when you were a kid, and your socks were always falling down around your ankles, then slipping down so far they bunched up around your feet in your shoes? I do. Yuck. Even when I got older, finding socks that I actually liked was, well, interesting. Sports socks had good elastic in the top and cushy bottoms, but coming in black, white and gray was so boring. Cute socks, with wild patterns, cartoon characters, and bright colours (my favorites!) wear out in no time flat, as they are made with thin, easy worn-through yarns. All of this is why I first started knitting socks.

Jitterbug -- Hand dyed  Superwash Merino/Nylon (80/20) Fingering weight, Sock yarn 100g, 400 yards -- Color:  Radioactive RainbowSock yarn is so much fun! Colorful, often stretchy, always lovely to knit with, what is called sock yarn is a finer weight yarn than worsted, and makes absolutely luscious socks that are a treat for your feet. Of course, you don’t have to stop with sock yarn. I have knitted for my feet from heavy yarns to make slippers and even boots! Knit the boots up, felt them, add a leather sole, and you can wear them all winter. High top, low top, it doesn’t matter. You knit, you enjoy!

Of course, making socks isn’t cheap – good quality sock yarn can run upwards of $30.00 per skein, and require two skeins to make a pair. No, I don’t invest that much – I like bamboo and merino that runs me less than $5.00 per skein, but one day I might go crazy and go for the really good stuff, like yak or bison. Who knows? I would just have to remember that those socks are for laying around reading and knitting and not walking out in the yard (yes, it’s a habit. . . )

But the old problem of knitting socks that truly FIT is still the question. When I first started knitting socks, I had the same problem as with purchased socks. Ankles too tight or too loose. Tops as well. Feet too large or too tight. So, how do you do it right every time?

This Storey BASICS Title is a wonderful way to start your sock knitting journey. Donna Druchunas holds your hand and leads you through everything from the beginning. What fibers are good for socks and what fibers will drive you made and turn out a bad product. Why the “twist” is important in your yarn, and how to decide what weight yarn to choose. She then continues to what type and size needles you need for your particular socks and why the material the needles are made of is important. Then you get to the good part. How to fit the sock to your foot so they turn out comfortably every time. Then there is whether you want to knit “top down” (knitting the cuff, then the foot) or “toe up” (starting with the toes). She explains the differences that each knitting style makes in the overall construction and fit of the socks, and why a beginner might want to start with a cuff down style. My personal preferences? The yarn depends upon what I want my final product to be, of course. But I use circular wooden or acrylic needles and the toe up method for a couple of reasons. One, I lost a double pointed needle on a bus trip in Scotland and had to put away my knitting – bummer. The double points are pretty scary for a newbie, as you are working with five needles at a time. I like the circulars so that my work is continuous and I am not working with those fiddly double points! I work toe up because, let’s face it – I get distracted. By starting with the toe and paying attention to my toe, instep and heel, I can then let my mind wander and ‘play’ with how I complete the tops. Cables? Simple knit two purl two? I can make up my mind when I get there – and then just knit until I am out of yarn. And by knitting two socks at once on my circular needles I don’t suffer the dreaded “One Sock Syndrome!” Besides, you can even spin your own sock yarn!

Hand dyed Merino Wool Roving, Combed Top -- Radioactive Rainbow -- 100% Merino spinning fiber, Felting Fiber, Felting woolThe directions for making socks are simple, well-illustrated, and allow you to start your sock knitting journey with a very basic sock – something that I still knit for everyday use – even if I do knit them in wild, hand painted colours! Starting here you can grow your sock making skills before you branch out into the wonderful world of colour and texture that makes up the world of sock yarn and patterns.

 

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. This is a really great book for the absolute newbie, but I also found neat little tricks and tips for my own sock knitting. Recommended.

 

Review: Stitch It Simple by Beth Sheard #SimpleSewing #Crafts

The holidays are coming. I know, hard to believe, isn’t it? Time goes so fast! But there is still time to make gifts for the young, and young-at-heart, in your life. Stitch it Simple is a great little book with perfect ideas for handmade gifts.

Let’s face it – anyone can go out and buy a gift. However, there isn’t really any ‘heart’ in those sorts of gifts. Why not make something yourself, something special for the people in your life?

There are many projects to choose from, and all are super easy. Add decoration to customize a Hobby Lobby purchased lampshade. Add a simple tree applique to a canvas tote bag and fill it with favorite food items or other things your recipient might like. The designs don’t have to be incredibly difficult. I find that coloring books from Dover Publishing are a tremendous source for simple designs. The birds and flowers books are very simple lines and lovely illustrations. You can sew up bunting, pillows, a butterfly mobile and soft stuffed letters for a new baby nursery. You can even make a simple quilt for the crib from squares of fabrics and letters to match the alphabet theme. Cut out squares of fabric, use the letter­­­­­ templates provided and copy them onto freezer paper. Iron the freezer paper onto fabric and cut them out. Sew them by hand or by machine onto each square. Sew the squares together, add backing and binding and sew it all together simply, either by hand or by playing with all those cool stitch patterns on your machine. Voila! A whole new baby nursery for pennies!

If you have ever wanted to sew but were afraid to try, this is the perfect little book to allow you to create wonderful items for very little money. You can grow your confidence with all these quick, simple little lovelies. It is going on my “OMG I need a gift quick!” shelf.

I received Stitch it Simple from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. This is a great book, and a great gift, for the beginning sewer. It is available right now on Netgalley.com.

 

Review: Pure Soapmaking by Anne-Marie Faiola #Soapmaking #HobbyBooks

Publisher’s Description

The pure luxury of soaps made with coconut butter, almond oil, aloe vera, oatmeal, and green tea is one of life’s little pleasures. And with the help of author Anne-Marie Faiola, it’s easy to make luscious, all-natural soaps right in your own kitchen. This collection of 32 recipes ranges from simple Castile bars to intricate swirls, embeds, and marbled and layered looks. Begin with a combination of skin-nourishing oils and then add blueberry puree, dandelion-infused water, almond milk, coffee grounds, mango and avocado butters, black tea, or other delicious ingredients — and then scent your soap with pure essential oils. Step-by-step photography guides you through every stage of cold-process soapmaking.

Image result for beautiful handmade soapsReview

My first thought? Pretty!!!! The photos and the soaps themselves are absolutely lovely. My second thought? Yummy!!! These soap recipes sound delicious. Rose and Champagne Peaks. Coconut Milk Sideways Swirl. Dark Ale Loofa Bars. Coffee Swirls Layered Cubes.

A feast for the senses, for sure. What is better than hopping in a hot shower and enjoying lovely scents from soaps you made yourself that leaves your skin feeling silky smooth? But how do you make soap yourself that won’t dry your skin, and how do you choose the right ingredients? As we become more and more knowledgeable about the effect our actions have on the world’s ecology, how do we choose products that are sustainable and don’t destroy the environment, like cutting out palm oil, the harvest of which causes deforestation and loss of habitat for some of the most wonderful, and most endangered, species in the world? Not to mention cutting GMO products out of your life.

Soapmaking doesn’t require a painter’s eye or a sculptor’s hand, but it can still turn out as beautifully as a sculpture and a painting all rolled into one. It is also a ‘science project’ in a way, as you learn cold-process (no outside heat source used) soap making. Anne-Marie Faiola takes you through the science of the process – why and how soap is soap – through the curing process that turns the base formula ((triglicerides (fatty acids) + sodium hydroxide = Soap + Glycerin)) plus various natural oils, herbs spices, etc. into luscious handmade soap. She is also very thorough when it comes to safety instructions – you are, after all, using lye in the process.

From choosing ingredients and molds to cleaning up, Faiola takes you through the steps meticulously to ascertain that you have the most fun, and work in complete safety.

When I was asked to review this book for the publisher, I spent some time looking over other soap making books at the library and I have to say – this one is better. Not only is it absolutely lovely to look at, and the recipes are luscious for your senses, the level of detail is better than the other books I have looked over. I have never made soap before, but I would feel quite comfortable starting out with this book. For an experienced soapmaker, the recipes are new, fresh, and use all natural ingredients. Faiola also spends a lot of time describing different oils and why you would use one over the other, as well as why you would or would not want to make certain mixes. Wine soaps, coffee and tea, lavender, my mouth waters at the idea of enjoying these fragrances in soap I made myself! Faiola even gives you tips on designing color palettes for your soaps based on whether you use green tea or black, chardonnay or merlot!

The book is coming out on February 9, 2016. I am putting it on my wish list to get a paper copy. Some books you simply have to hold, touch . . . and be able to lay out by your mixing bowls, of course.

I received Pure Soapmaking from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

 

 

 

 

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