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Winner + Crafting Resolutions for 2018

Happy New Year! We're excited to dive into another year of sharing tips, tricks and techniques with our readers. In our last post, we asked to hear everyone's crafting resolutions, and we got some fabulous responses!

Here are some of the most frequently-mentioned resolutions from our informal reader poll:

We're planning to share lots of blog posts in 2018 which focus on these goals to help you keep your crafty resolutions!

Giveaway Winner
Congratulations to acerani, who won our Leafy Yarn Bowl giveaway with this response:

A sweater! I'm timid about knitting clothes - it's long and challenging, so I hope it turns out wearable!

We will contact our winner via Ravelry to arrange for the delivery of the prize.

Thanks for joining us!




What Are Your Crafting Resolutions for 2018?

As 2017 winds down, it's a great time to take stock of your accomplishments for the past 12 months while also making plans for the year ahead. Perhaps you made some resolutions at the start of 2017; were you successful in all of them, or did a few escape your to-do list? Sometimes your priorities change as the year progresses, but you may decide to revisit those forgotten resolutions, or perhaps make new ones, as the calendar begins anew. We know that many knitters and crocheters embark on yearly challenges related to the craft - for instance, by pledging to knit a pair of socks each month, or going "cold sheep" and only knitting or crocheting from one's stash for an entire year.
Even if you don't make an official pledge for 2018, that there is always something new to learn about knitting, crocheting and crafting in general! We look forward to sharing lots of inspiration and tutorials with you in 2018, and we'd love to hear your suggestions for tutorials and other features you'd like to see.

Do you have any special challenges, techniques or projects you hope to tackle in 2018? Tell us about them in the comments for your chance to win a Leafy Yarn Holder from our 2017-18 Collection! Be sure to also include your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win. We will randomly select one lucky blog reader to announce as our winner on our first blog post of 2018.

From all of us a Knitter's Pride, have a safe and happy holiday season. See you in 2018!

Free Patterns: Recipe for Relaxation Knit & Crochet Mason Jar Cozy + Free Printable Gift Tags

The holiday season is in full swing! Today, we have two free patterns for a quick gift you can whip up in just a few hours. These mason jar cozies are a fun and festive way to package a thoughtful gift, and mason jars can hold so many things: colorful candies, hot chocolate or baking ingredients, or relaxing bath salts (we share our favorite recipe below!). Whether you knit or crochet, we've got you covered with this simple pattern using a bulky weight yarn. Enjoy!


Recipe for Relaxation: Relaxing Bath Salts
Depending on the size of your jar, you will need to double, triple, or quadruple this base recipe. You'll need 1/2 c. Epsom salts (found at most grocery or drug stores), 1/2 c. baking soda, and 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Some popular choices include lavender (relaxing), rose absolute (relieves anxiety), bergamot (uplifting), eucalyptus (great for cold & flu season), or tangerine (calming). Mix everything together in a clean bowl and transfer to your mason jar.

Crochet Mason Jar Cozy

Supplies: 

Gauge: 11 stitches and 16 rounds = 4" in single crochet

Finished Dimensions: To fit 3" circumference jar (see pattern notes for how to adjust for other sizes); 3.5" height

Abbreviations: 
sc - single crochet
dc - double crochet
rnd(s) - round(s)

To Make Cozy:

Begin with a magic ring - sc 6 stitches. Use removable stitch marker to mark the beginning of each round as you work; you will be working in a continuous spiral unless otherwise noted. 

Increase Rnd 1: sc twice in each stitch. 12 stitches. 
Increase Rnd 2: *sc 1 stitch, sc twice in next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. 18 stitches.
Increase Rnd 3: *sc 2 stitches, sc twice in next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. 24 stitches.
Increase Rnd 4: *sc 3 stitches, sc twice in next stitch, repeat from * to end of round. 30 stitches.

Note: You can adjust final circumference by working fewer increase rounds (for a smaller jar) or working additional increase rounds (for a larger jar). For a larger cozy, simply add 1 more sc stitch between increases. 

Work turning rnd: sc all stitches through the back loop only. When you reach the end of the round, slip stitch in the first stitch at the beginning of that round. Chain 1 stitch.

For next 2 rnds, sc all stitches. When you reach the end of the second round, slip stitch in the first stitch at the beginning of that round. Chain 3 stitches.

Next rnd: Skip first stitch of rnd, *DC in next stitch, skip next stitch and chain 1, repeat from * to end of rnd. When you reach the end of the round, slip stitch in the first stitch at the beginning of that round to close. Chain 1 stitch.

Single crochet all stitches until you reach desired height (sample shown measures 3.5 inches from turning rnd). When you reach the end of the final round, slip stitch in the first stitch at the beginning of that round. Break yarn and pull through loop to secure. Weave in ends. 

Knit Mason Jar Cozy

Supplies: 

Gauge: 16 stitches and 18 rounds = 4" in stockinette stitch

Finished Dimensions: To fit 3" circumference jar (see pattern notes for how to adjust for other sizes); 4" height

Abbreviations: 
k - knit
kf&b - knit into front and back on 1 stitch (1 stitch increased)
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together (1 stitch decreased)
p - purl
yo - yarn over

To Make Cozy:

Cast on 6 stitches. Use removable stitch marker to mark the beginning of each round as you work; you will be working in a continuous spiral. 

Increase Rnd 1: kf&b 12 stitches. 
Increase Rnd 2: *k1, kf&b, repeat from * to end of round. 18 stitches.
Increase Rnd 3: *k2, kf&b, repeat from * to end of round. 24 stitches.
Increase Rnd 4: *k3, kf&b, repeat from * to end of round. 30 stitches.
Increase Rnd 5: *k4, kf&b, repeat from * to end of round. 36 stitches.

Note: You can adjust final circumference by working fewer increase rounds (for a smaller jar) or working additional increase rounds (for a larger jar). For a larger cozy, simply add 1 more knit stitch between increases. 

Work turning rnd: p all stitches. 

Work 3 rnds in stockinette stitch (k all stitches).

Eyelet rnd: *yo, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.

Work in stockinette stitch (k all stitches) until you are approximately 1/2" from desired height from turning rnd (sample shown measures 3.5 inches from turning rnd).

P 1 rnd.
K 1 rnd.
P 1 rnd. 

Bind off all stitches knitwise. Break yarn and pull through loop to secure. Weave in ends.


Since it's the season of giving, we have two more bonuses for you this month!





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Crochet Provisional Cast-On 2 Ways

First, congratulations to caffeine72,  our winner for this month's blog giveaway. We will contact you to arrange for the delivery of your prize!

From time to time, you'll come across a knitting pattern requiring a provisional cast on. This is very common for infinity cowls which are worked flat and then seamed together, for example. By grafting the live stitches from both ends together, the knitter is able to create a nearly invisible join rather than seaming the cast-on and bound-off edges, which often produces a bulky or visible seam. This technique can also be used in other projects, such as sideways-knit hats, toe-up socks, or unique sweater constructions. Today, we'll show you two ways to create an easy-to-remove provisional cast on using the crochet cast-on method.


Supplies
You'll need your working yarn and knitting needles, some scrap yarn (enough for your provisional cast-on), and a crochet hook that is similar in size or slightly larger than the knitting needles you'll be using.

Method #1: Picking Up Stitches from a Chain

Step 1: With waste yarn, make a slip knot and slide onto your crochet hook.


Step 2: Wrap the working end of your yarn around the hook from front to back (as shown below) and pull this loop through the slip knot to create your first chain stitch.


Step 3: Continue wrapping the yarn around the hook from front to back and pulling the loop through the stitch on the hook to create chain stitches. You will need to chain the number of stitches needed for your cast on PLUS a few extras (about 5-10 additional chain stitches will work). Cut yarn and pull through the final loop to secure.

Step 4: You will now be using your working yarn to pick up stitches from the chain you've created. The top of your chain will look similar to a bound off edge; you will need to flip the chain over - the bumps on the bottom of the chain (where the yellow arrows are pointing in the image below) are where you will inserting your needle to pick up each stitch.

With your working yarn and needle and beginning at the slip knot that started the chain, insert needle from front to back, wrap the yarn around the needle as you would do when picking up stitches from a knit fabric, and pull the loop through the chain stitch bump to create a stitch on your knitting needle. Leave this stitch on the needle and repeat the process until you have picked up the required number of stitches.


Step 5: You can now begin knitting with your working yarn (either in the round or flat) to follow your pattern instructions. When it is time to unzip the provisional cast-on, you will begin at the extra stitches at the end of the chain (if you were wondering, the extra stitches make it easier for you to find later on!). Simply take the yarn end and pull it the opposite way through the final loop - you should now be able to quickly and easily "unzip" the provisional yarn, allowing you to move these live stitches onto a knitting needle to be worked according the pattern instructions.


Method #2: On-Needle Method

Step 1: With waste yarn, make a slip knot and slide onto your crochet hook (see image for Step 1 above).

Step 2: Arrange your knitting needle and crochet hook in your left hand as pictured below (they should be parallel).

Step 3: Secure the stitch on the crochet hook while you wrap the working yarn around the back of the knitting needle, bringing it over the needle and to the front of the crochet hook.



Step 4: Pull the working yarn through the stitch on the crochet hook.


Step 5: Repeat Steps 3 & 4 until you have 1 stitch less than the total number of desired stitches on your needle.

Step 6: Transfer the stitch that is on your crochet hook to the knitting needle.

Step 7: You can now begin knitting with your working yarn (either in the round or flat) to follow your pattern instructions. When it is time to unzip the provisional cast-on, you will need to begin at the end with the slip knot to begin unraveling your provisional cast-on. This is sometimes a little tricky to get started, but if you think of it as though you were trying to untangle a knot, that can be helpful!


Bonus: This method can also be used as a regular cast-on method, using only your working yarn. Although it is not as stretchy as some cast-on methods, it requires less yarn than some methods, and it also more closely resembles the bound-off edge.

We hope you found this tutorial helpful for your next project - and if you like this post, be sure to share it on Pinterest!

Free Holiday Planning Printables from Knitter's Pride

The holidays will be here before you know it, and now is the perfect time to get all of your plans in place, allowing you to celebrate the season stress-free! We've created two free printables to help you keep track of your handmade gifts and other essential holiday tasks, from wrapping gifts to making cookies (and there's plenty of space to add in your own to-do's, too).

Make your list and check it twice, then relax and enjoy the season knowing that everything is taken care of!

Click here to sign up for our newsletter and you'll receive both of these PDF's as our free gift to you! If you already subscribe, we've already sent them your way - simply check your inbox for a download link.

Giveaway Time!

If you're knitting or crocheting holiday gifts this year (or even if you aren't!), what's keeping you entertained as you work? Do you listen to podcasts, "Netflix and knit," or keep up with your favorite YouTube channels? Let us know in the comments for your chance to win a set of Knitter's Pride Knit Blockers. One lucky person will be randomly selected as our winner to announce here on our blog on Friday, November 24.


If you haven't yet watched The Knit Show with Vickie Howell, we highly recommend checking it out! Knitter's Pride is proud to sponsor 9 of the 10 episodes, each of which has an interesting theme (such as big knits, color, or amigurumi), lots of fun guests, and free patterns, too! Click here to check it out.

Last but not least, congratulations to Valerie A, who won last month's giveaway - we will contact you to arrange for the delivery of your prize!

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Better Buttonholes for Knitted Garments

Do you avoid making worked-in buttonholes by knitting only pullovers or zip-up cardigans? Buttonholes give many knitters pause, as they are a feature usually located on the front a garment: you want them to look their best and be done well. In this post, we aim to provide you with the information you need to build a better buttonhole!

Small Eyelet Buttonholes

Knitted buttonholes are best kept as small as possible as a knitted fabric will stretch to allow the button to pass through. There is no one formula to follow, so you can be flexible in your choice, keeping in mind the garment style, yarn used, and the size of the button.


Traditionally used on baby garments, the small eyelet buttonhole is appropriate anytime a small button is used. The eyelet makes a round opening so a button somewhat larger than the opening is required to stay in place. The technique involves a combination of a paired yarnover and decrease (for example, yo, ssk), similar to what you use in lace and mesh patterns.


If you need a slightly bigger buttonhole, try working a double yarnover by wrapping the yarn around the needle twice, and working an additional decrease to compensate (for example, k2tog, double yo, ssk). When you come to this double yarnover on the next working row, you will work k1, p1 (or p1, k1) into those stitches.


If you still need a much larger buttonhole, Ysolda Teague has an interesting technique she calls the One Row Buttonhole, which is an excellent choice to use when an eyelet buttonhole is not appropriate.

Reinforcing a Buttonhole



If a buttonhole is going to be subjected to hard wear, the yarn used for the garment is softly spun, or if the fabric is worked at a loose tension, the smart choice is the reinforce the buttonhole. Reinforcing the buttonhole will also stabilize the opening to avoid stretching out with wear. On occasion, a sewn finish can be used to camouflage an imperfect buttonhole, to correct one that is too large or stretched, or to add a decorative touch. Using the same yarn used for the garment will help the edge blend in.



The choice of stitch to reinforce a buttonhole is up to the knitter or crocheter. Shown above left is the buttonhole swatch before any reinforcement was completed. The buttonholes in the center are reinforced with (from top to bottom) an overcast stitch in a contrasting yarn, overcast stitch in with a ply of the yarn used,  buttonhole stitch with a ply of the yarn used to knit the swatch, and the buttonhole stitch worked with a contrasting color. The top right photo shows a close up on the first two methods, the bottom right photo shows the second two methods.


Purchasing your buttons at the start of the project will help guide your choice of buttonhole to make! Before you cast on your project, take your swatch (you did make that swatch, right?) to the shop so you can see how the buttons look with your fabric.


Giveaway


One lucky blog reader will win a large Joy Hand Block Printed Fabric Bag. To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us what you’re knitting or crocheting this fall. Be sure to also mention your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win. We’ll randomly select one lucky winner to announce on our next blog post on Friday, November 10. Good luck!

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2017 Holiday Gift Set Reveal: The Golden Light

We're pleased to introduce this year's limited edition gift set, which is arriving at a Knitter's Pride retailer near you this month! The Golden Light captures the warmth of the holiday season with this elegant set designed for merry making.

The Golden Light is a masterpiece in its own, pairing warm colors with matte gold connectors.  Each set contains 9 pairs of interchangeable needle tips in US sizes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5 & 11; 4 color-coded cords in lengths of 24” (1 - green), 32” (2 - orange), & 40” (1 - red); and a set of cord connectors. Accessories are packed in a coordinated fabric pouch, and we have also included a color coordinated shawl pin adorned with a fine crystal as a free gift!
Make sure to add it to your wish list this holiday season!

Winner
Congratulations to lostinayarn, the winner of our giveaway for an Aspire Pattern Keeper! We will contact you shortly to arrange the delivery of your prize.

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