Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Kids crafting for summer

It may be a lovely summer so far but there will always be wet days or those when the kids are just bored and looking for something to entertain them. What better time to get them started on some crafting and use up your left over yarn with some free patterns and tutorials?

Simple knitting
One of the problems with teaching children to knit is that if you start with a teddy’s scarf or similar it can take a long time to get results. But there are fun projects you can achieve with just a few rows such as the finger monster from UK Hand Knitting which only needs oddments of yarn and some bits and pieces to decorate it. Plus it doesn’t matter if the finished creature has holes or is uneven, it is a monster after all.   

Finger knitting
If picking up the needles doesn’t appeal, try finger knitting which is a great way of getting kids interested in yarn crafting and delivers quick results. It requires no equipment beyond a few balls of leftover yarn. You get great effects using two balls together and children love deciding on the colour combinations. To keep interest going. have finger knitting races to see who can make a strip to stretch across a room first. You can find video instructions on finger knitting here.

From friendship bracelets to kumihimo, braiding left over yarn is an easy option to get started with and you can make a simple braiding disc from cardboard – click for video instructions from Kidspiration.
Braiding like this is very portable and so can be useful for dull moments when travelling.

Thanks to the invention of pompom makers you don’t necessarily need to cut up you cornflake packets for pompom rings, but the attraction of winding wool to create these fluffy balls continues. Of course the risk is you then end up with a stack of them gathering dust. To avoid this, plan to string the pompoms together to create a garland to decorate a bedroom or better yet make a pompom rug as shown here by the Make and Do Crew.

Do share your kids’ crafting tips with us.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Plan your holiday knitting and crochet

As the summer holidays approach keen knitters and crocheters often find themselves with some serious decisions to make.
First off, is how many projects to pack for a holiday. When we asked about your holiday knitting on Facebook and Twitter, lots of you told us that your big fear is running out of yarn or projects while away. Then there is the issue of the right project for the circumstances – you may want something different for traveling to sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine.
It is definitely worth making a plan. Ask yourself how much time you will have for knitting and crochet. How many projects will you really have times for? Do you want something simple or complicated?
Once you have decided on what projects you should take – make a knitting packing list. Hopefully you will avoid the panic of searching for the right hooks and needles three hours before an early morning start. Although it is unlikely to stop most of us adding one more emergency skein to our bags at the last minute.

If your holiday packing looks like this you may want to check out our tips

Asking around for holiday knitting and crochet tips, we have collected the following useful advice:

  • Take works-in-progress. That way you won’t be seeking out wifi hotspots in the hope of downloading a new pattern. It also means you will have the yarn and needles already sorted out.
  • Choose small projects like socks (your first sock could be a holiday challenge) or lightweight projects such as shawls or lacy scarves.
  • Pack a notions pouch with essentials such as yarn cutter, tape measure, stitchmarkers, scrap yarn and safety pins.
  • Make sure your project bags keep your yarn from escaping as you use it - neither train floors nor sandy shores are yarn friendly.
  • Take three projects – easy, medium and hard so you have plenty to keep you going and plenty of choice depending on what your day is likely to bring. A complicated lace project may only be suitable for a shady veranda whereas you might pop a crochet hook and some yarn for yarn squares in your bag when heading out on a trip.
  • If you are knitting socks while traveling, using circulars rather than double pointed needles will avoid the risk of having to chase an escaped needles down at train or plane.
  • If you are using interchangeable needles and carrying them in your hand baggage, you can protect them from multiple bag packing and unpacking by replacing them on your project with cable stoppers and carrying the needles in a pen slot or notions bag. 
  • Knitting needles and crochet hooks are generally not banned from airports and planes but you may come across individual airlines where you will be asked not to knit or airports where security staff aren’t sure. If you are worried about taking needles through airports choose acrylic and wooden needles, and circular needles over DPNs or straights. Also don’t choose a project that will be irreparably damaged by having the needles removed.
And don’t forget there may be a lovely yarn shop or two at your destination. It may be worth doing some research in advance in case you do need more supplies or simply to find a lovely yarnie souvenir.
Do tell us your top holiday knitting and crochet tips.