Sunday, December 1, 2013

New Knitting and Crochet Books

This is a most amazing book! When I picked up Knitting in Circles by Nicky Epstein, I was thinking socks. This is WAY better! The book is structured like an encyclopedia of sample patterns. The circles start with plainer stitches and go on up to Fair Isle and intarsia. To my taste, the prettiest ones were plain circles with i-cord in Celtic-like patterns. You must check out this book if you like to knit.

Knitting Architecture by Tanis Gray is full of new styles to knit with patterns and charts. I am no knitter, but these patterns were very tempting to try. Included are sweaters and shawls, bags and hats, dresses and - of course - socks.

Another Tanis Gray book, Cozy Knits: 50 Fast and Easy Projects from Top Designers, has patterns mostly for hats, scarves, mittens, and fingerless gloves. The designs are pretty and would make excellent gifts with the added benefit of being small enough to work up quickly.

And now for the crochet fanatics among us.

Doris Chan has a new book called Crochet Lace Innovations: 20 Dazzling Designs in Broomstick, Hairpin, Tunisian, and Exploded Lace. The techniques are different than the usual crochet pattern. When you get bored from doing the same thing, you might want to try out a different type of crochet. The designs in this book are more openwork and decorative. My coworkers and I thought the patterns were absolutely gorgeous. If only I had more time...

The Big Book of Crochet Afghans by Annie's Crochet has the usual ripples and motifs. Some are scrap afghans and some are more planned. There was one truly unique pattern which had beige blocks with a crocheted Oreo cookie in the middle of each one. If you know a cookie fresser, you should pick up this book and crochet this tempting afghan.

Crochet Pink: 26 Patterns to Crochet for Comfort, Gratitude, and Charity by Janet Rehfeldt shows every pattern done in shades of pink. The projects are all small enough to do in a reasonably short time and would be a blessing to anyone you gave them to. Shawls, scarves, hats, fingerless mittens, slippers, and face cloths are among the designs in the book.

We have many new options. Please come in and check them out.

Happy crafting this holiday season.

Kathi Linz

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Decorations

The Thanksgiving holiday snuck up on me even though it's at the same time as usual.

In any case, it's high time to turn out a couple of decorations for the table or the entry way.

Image of Fall Wreath

For the knitters, Lion Brand yarn suggests this for a door or wall decoration.

Image of Thanksgiving Gourds

If you crochet, wouldn't these gourds be cute in this bowl?

Image of Harvest Bowl

Red Heart Yarn offers these patterns to dress up your Thanksgiving Day celebration:

Tom Turkey

Pilgrim Pair

I don't think you will finish this one by Thursday, But maybe you will be inspired for next year.

Turkey Talk Throw

Have a happy Thanksgiving, travel safely, and we'll see you in the next holiday season.

Kathi Linz

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fingerless Mitts, Gloves, Wristlets...or Whatever You Call Them

One of the most popular posts I've ever written has to do with fingerless mitts.

I spent my entire life thinking of them as being the standard costume of poor, starving writers. Now I finally found out that the reason they are doing so well today is because people need their fingers free to text! I don't know how I could have missed that for so long. lol

Free patterns abound in cyberspace. If you look on, you will be able to see photos of the patterns. Some of those are free and some are paid.

Another excellent resource is

I scanned down the list and there has to be at least a hundred patterns. The last time I checked, all of these patterns were free for anyone to use. The sister site for crocheters (and with just as many patterns) is has many patterns. I don't find it especially easy to navigate, but that might just be me.

The sister site for that one is

If you are interested in making up some of these for Christmas gifts, you'll find the basic ones take no time at all and not too much yarn. Unless you decide to work in the round, all you have to do is work up a square and sew the sides together, leaving a small opening for the thumb. They should be a smidgen smaller than you think they should be because the stitches will relax a bit with use - and also the patterns are often designed to stretch.

Happy crafting and Happy Thanksgiving,

Kathi Linz

Warm Up America

If you have some small balls of left-over yarn and you don't have any special plans for them, may I make a suggestion?

Warm Up, America is a charity that sends out afghans, caps and friendship shawls to people in need. If you would like to make the smaller items, Warm Up, America will distribute them. If you just have enough yarn to knit or crochet a piece 7" by 9", you can send those to WUA and they will have volunteers sew the pieces together into afghans and baby blankets.

Here's a list of places to which they donate:
  • Women's shelters
  • Nursing homes
  • Children's hospitals
  • Hospitals and hospices
  • Daycare centers
  • Veterans' homes
  • Churches
  • AIDS facilities
  • Homeless shelters
  • American Red Cross chapters
Patterns are provided for both knit and crochet items in case you need ideas and/or instructions.


Thanks for sharing your craft abilities with others in this season. I'm guessing some of WUA's donations will go to the communities affected by the tornadoes.

Happy crafting,

Kathi Linz

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Knitted Intarsia

This pattern is a little more advanced than some I've posted before, but I really think it's beautiful.

Image of Blazing Blocks Afghan

The free pattern is here:
It seems like this could be a planned pattern or a stashbuster.

If you make one of these, I would love to see a picture of it.

Happy crafting,

Kathi Linz

Broomstick Lace

Broomstick Lace Baby Blanket

I can't exactly call broomstick lace a "hybrid" craft, but you do need both a knitting needle (only one) and a crochet hook.

You'll use a size 50 knitting needle to make loops and then you remove the loops a few at a time - usually 5 loops - and hold them together. Next you crochet the same number of single crochet into the the top of the loops. So if you remove 5 loops from the knitting needle at a time, you will crochet 5 sc into the top of those loops. You work five loops off of the needle at a time until you finish all of the loops.

Next you will use the crochet hook to go through each single crochet and pull up a loop and slip it over the needle until you have one loop for each sc. Do taht process over and over and you will end up with a scarf, a shawl, a throw, or and afghan, depending on how wide you make your rows and how many rows you work.

About as clear as mud?  Check out the link to the free tutorial from Red Heart Yarn above. They explain it better than I do. There is even a link through their website to a video tutorial. If you are a visual person, as I am, you will be able to watch how the stitch is done.

Happy crafting,

Kathi Linz

Single Crochet, Chain

We had frost this morning. It made me want to crawl back under the covers and stay snug.

This is one of my favorite patterns for a nice, warm afghan.

Image of Striped Two-Color Crocheted Afghan

This pattern is very simple and very versatile. You can make it in any size you wish.

I've used it several times to make round afghans - also in various sizes.

Made in 1974

Made in 2013

And a small one for a doll blanket.
The pattern from Lion Brand yarn explains the basics of this stitch. It's a simple single crochet, chain. When you turn and go back, the single crochet goes around the chain of the row below.
To make the pie wedges, you make a chain half the length of the finished circle. Sc, ch to the end. Ch 1. Turn. Sc, ch back to the beginning always working the sc in the cha space below. Ch 3. Turn.
As you work the pattern stitch to the end again, stop one pattern before the end. Ch 1. Turn. Go back and repeat. The rows will get shorter on one end each time until you can't complete a sc, ch pattern. Finish off the color, weave in the end.
The next color will work along the stepped edge using the same sc, ch stitch. Start by working from the wide end all the way to the point and then repeat making every row going to the point shorter as before.
There are 14 colors in the circle. A large afghan uses 4 oz. per color. A small one can be made from left-over yarn, but you'll still need a fair amount - say, 2 oz. per color.
The edge is also worked in sc, ch, with a few increases in each round to keep the afghan flat.
If you want to make this an afghan, sew the last color to the foundation chain of the first color before going around the edge. You can also make this into a cape simply by not sew the beginning and ending edges together. If you work each color around the edge, you should also work the inside edges which you did not sew together. The rounds bunch up somewhat as you work the center of the circle. This gives you something of a collar when you wrap it around yourself.
My favorite way to use this on a cold night is to fold the afghan in half and wear it over my shoulders when I let the dog out or to admire the stars on a clear crisp night. The double layer keeps me toasty on even the coldest nights. Well...until you get pretty well below zero.
Happy crafting,
Kathi Linz

Friday, September 13, 2013

Another Yarn Craft

On Thursday the 12th, the ladies in the knit and crochet group asked me about mesh weaving. I explained some of the things I've learned, but didn't have time to do a proper job. There was even a mention of working on mesh weaving for a 4-H project.

Since I couldn't tell them everything I've learned about this yarn craft in the few minutes I was able to spend with them, I'm posting this link to a blog with instructions:

Happy crafting,


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Just in Time for Halloween

Image of item

We have a new knitting book on its way to the New Book shelves

Knit Your Own Zombie: Over 1,000 Combinations to Rip 'n' Reassemble for Horrifying Results by Fiona Goble.

This is so new, it's still in cataloging, but I've been notified that it is in the building.

Here are the topics in the book:

Your workbox -- Yarns and other stuff you need -- The guts of the matter -- Shape shifting -- Joining -- The finishing line -- Reanimating your zombies -- Classic zombie -- Frankenstein's monster -- Zombie cop -- Zombie mashup : village idiot -- Zombie fatale -- Dracula -- Zombie mashup : mother of the bride -- Zombie chef -- Zombie mashup : biker chick zombie -- Zombie grave digger -- Zombie rock star -- Zombie mashup : yoga zombie -- The mummy.

Come and check it out.

Happy crafting,

Kathi Linz

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The New Tunisian Crochet: Contemporary Designs from Time-Honored Traditions by Dora Ohrenstein

The New Tunisian Crochet: Contemporary Designs from Time-Honored Traditions by Dora Ohrenstein seems to be the most thorough book I've ever seen on Tunisian crochet. Most of the ones I've seen have the basic instructions plus how to work various special stitches.

This book includes double-ended hooks as well as combining Tunisian crochet stitches with regular crochet stitches. The patterns look interesting and the combination stitches make the work more interesting.

Check it out if you have any interest in Tunisian crochet or its variants.

Kathi Linz

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Knitted Baby Blankets

Since the last couple of posts have leaned towards crocheters, here's one for the knitters.

Lately, I've had  requests for baby blankets and thought perhaps I might not be the only one.

Image of Stripey Diagonal Baby Blankie

This blanket is done in garter stitch on the diagonal. I've seen almost everyone int he group working on one of these as a dish cloth. All you have to do is make it a little larger to surround a small child.

If you are on the go and would prefer to make a blanket in smaller increments, you could try basically the same pattern like this:

Image of Half Square Triangle Blanket

This one is in basketweave - a pretty pattern I've seen many of our ladies work on.

Image of Basketweave Baby Throw

For something simple, quick, and pretty, the patterns should fill your gift-giving needs.

Happy crafting,


Raking in the New Books

Now in the New Book section, we have Crochet-opedia: The Only Crochet Reference You'll Ever Need by Julia Oparka. It does, in fact, have every procedure I could think of using including buttonholes, loop stitches, toys, and sweaters without skipping the usual motifs and pattern stitches.

Knitters, do not despair. I know of at least three or four good books that should hit the shelves soon.

In case you would like to take a break from pattern books, here are a couple of crafts books that might pique your interest.

How to Start a Creative Business: The Jargon-Free Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs by Doug Richard is also in the New Book section for the next couple of months as is Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids: 175 Projects for Kids of All Ages to Create, Build, Design, Explore, and Share.

Come in and check them out.

Happy crafting,


Monday, August 19, 2013

More New Crochet Books

We have The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amigurumi by June Gilbank. This is a very cool book by the writer of PlanetJune craft blog.

The information in this book includes how to work basic amigurumi shapes, how to plan your own pattern for an amigurumi creature, how to joint the arms and legs, about eyes, hair, clothes, etc. and it has a few patterns including the most adorable hamster pattern ever.

What's your pleasure - popcorn and bobbles, ripples, mitered boxes, octagons, hexagons, sea shells, flowers?  They're all in here and many more. 100 Colorful Granny Squares to Crochet: Dozens of Mix and Match Combos and Fabulous Projects by Leonie Morgan is in the new book section for the next couple of months.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Crochet Book at the Library

We have a new crochet book called Crochet at Home: 25 Clever Projects for Colorful Living edited by Brett Bara.

There are pieces that are useful and pieces that are pure decoration. There's something for almost any taste in this collection. 

My favorite are these matryoshka dolls that actually open up to nest inside each other.


Happy crafting,

Kathi Linz

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Yarn Joke

This cartoon was found wandering around facebook. My thanks to whoever made it up and to the ones who passed it around.

Happy crafting,

Kathi Linz

Yarn Bombing in Pittsburgh


I caught this on the news this morning. 1800 knitters covered the Andy Warhol Bridge in Pittsburgh with 3000 feet of blanket-sized knitting. Engineers were even called in to see if the weight of the yarn would affect the bridge. It won't. The blankets are being left up until September 6.

Happy crafting.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Knit Your Own Moustache

I've had a heads-up on the arrival of this book in our library. It is being cataloged as I write this and will be on the New Books shelf soon.

Image of item

Knit your own moustache : create 20 knit and crochet disguises / Vicky Eames, a.k.a. wife of Brian.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Too Early for Halloween?

We have arrived at the end of July, so why am I talking about Halloween?  It seems like, with the start of school, Labor Day weekend and shutting down the garden for the season, that August and September fly by. All of a sudden we're closing in on Oktoberfest and - bang - it's Halloween!

So - planning ahead for the mad rush of the season - here are a couple of ideas to work on while the days get shorter and cooler.

Image of Monster Magnet  Image of Ghost Magnet  Frankenstein  Ghost

Costume ideas
Image of Crochet Beard  Image of Toddler Owl Hat Beard Owl hat

Capelet of Invisibility
Image of Capelet Of Invisibility

It might even help to keep you warmer if the night is chilly.

Image of  Cat Headband and Wrist Warmers

Cat paws and ears

And an amigurumi spider
Image of Amigurumi Spider Ornament

None of this looks too demanding. You might be able to fit a few Halloween things into the busy schedule of the next couple of months. Don't let it sneak up on you.

Happy crafting.

Kathi Linz

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Two New Knit Books

Jackson County Public Library has picked up two new knitting books. They are both about knitting for little ones.

Itty-Bitty Nursery by Susan B. Anderson has knitting for both wearables and toys. You can find pattern s in here for a knitted tea set, a teddy bear, a bunny rattle, and a mobile as well as hats, booties, and blankets.

Just Like Me Knits by Brandy Fortune is a knitting book with a twist. This book has patterns for sweaters, dresses, vests, and hoodies in two sizes so that children can wear clothes that match with their dolls.

These books are in the New section for the next couple of months. I will also take them down to the next knit and crochet meeting for our ladies to look at.

Happy crafting,

Kathi Linz

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Plarn and tarn are eco-friendly ways to make yarn-like material.

Plarn is yarn made from plastic - usually grocery or garbage bags or the plastic they slip around newspapers to keep them from getting wet. Please see my older blog posts to find links for plarn projects.

Tarn is made from old t-shirts although you could make something similar from other items, like umbrella material, jeans, old sheets, etc.

Tarn is great to work with because t-shirt material can be cut without shredding and is soft when running through your fingers. It's strong enough to weave into a hammock - although it might be a little stretchy for a weight-bearing project. It is very versatile, being useful for knitting, crocheting, or weaving. It can be cut in narrow strips for smaller hooks and needles or thicker for larger hooks and needles. A throw rug could be made thick and cooshy while a bath mat could be worked from thinner strips to dry out more easily.

I don't have permission to copy anyone's photos for this post. For information on how-to and free patterns, please check (Noreen Crone-Findlay is an authority on the yarn arts),,,, and many other websites and blogs. You an always type "tarn instructions" or "tarn patterns" into Images of your favorite browser and find tons of interesting ideas. Click on the ones you like and your browser will pop you into the website with the pattern you are curious about.

The sister project with this type of material is weaving, since tarn is thick enough to make into woven rugs quickly and easily. I once found a tutorial showing how to weave a round rug using a hula hoop as a frame. I've found that I can make a small throw rug by weaving between two legs of a card table. (Turn the card table on its side and use the top two legs.)

I found a picture of me weaving for a special event at the library.

Another technique for making rag rugs is shown at This video demonstrates a twined weaving technique.

If you are really ambitious, you could use tarn to braid a rug. The old way of braiding had you ironing all of the edges to the inside of the strip so they wouldn't fray. Tarn doesn't fray, making this project a whole lot easier.

So dig out those old t-shirts and a pair of scissors and have fun.

Happy crafting,

Kathi Linz

Monday, July 8, 2013

60 Quick Baby Blankets by Cascade Yarns

The library has a new knit book with 60 patterns for baby blankets. Honestly, this one makes me wish I were a better knitter. I love the look of these blankets!

The book is called 60 Quick Baby Blankets: Cute & Cuddly Knits in 220 Superwash and 128 Superwash from Cascade Yarns

For the next couple of months, this book will be in the new book section. After that, you can find it back in the knitting section.

Happy crafting,