SMP Craft
14 May

Knit Your Own Flower Bed

Flower Bed_75FloralBlockstoKNIT

I promised a few weeks back that to celebrate spring, I’d be posting some springtime knit and crochet flower patterns to get you excited for this beautiful season. Here is our first flower pattern from 75 Floral Blocks to Knit by Lesley Stanfield.

(click cover to buy)

(click cover to buy)

This pattern is the perfect inspiration for spring, as flowers begin to bloom in vibrant colors around our neighborhoods. I love taking slow strolls around the block and staring into the gardens to see all the different flowers that have sprung from the ground.

This Flower Bed pattern is a repeat pattern that’s usually worked in two colors. But varying the colors through makes a lovely springtime garden scene. A scheme of slip stitches means that only one color is worked at a time.

MATERIALS

Yarn : DK wool in pale gray (A), 4 shades of green (B), and 4 shades of mauve and pink (C)

Equipment:  A pair of knitting needles

METHOD

Specific abbreviation mb make bobble: p3, turn, k3, turn, p3tog, take yarn to back.

Note All slip stitches are slipped purlwise.

INSTRUCTIONS

Using A, cast on 33 sts. 1st and 3rd rows (RS) K. 2nd and 4th rows P.

Change to first shade B. 5th row K. 6th row K5, [wrapping yarn 3 times for each st k3, k7] twice, wrapping yarn 3 times for each st k3, k5.

Change to A. 7th row K1, [slip 1, k3, slip 3 dropping extra wraps, k3] 3 times, slip 1, k1. 8th row P1, [wyif slip 1, p3, wyif slip 3, p3] 3 times, wyif slip 1, p1. 9th row K5, [slip 3, k7] twice, slip 3, k5. 10th row P5, [wyif slip 3, p7] twice, wyif slip 3, p5. 11th row K3, [slip 2, drop next st off needle to front, slip same 2 slip sts back on to left-hand needle, pick up and k dropped st without twisting it, k3, drop next st off needle to front, k2, pick up and k dropped st without twisting it, k3] 3 times.

Change to first shade C. 12th row P1, wyif slip 2, * [(p1, k1, p1) in next st, wyif slip 2] twice, (p1, k1, p1) in next st, wyif slip 3; repeat from * once, [(p1, k1, p1) in next st, wyif slip 2] 3 times, p1. 13th row K1, slip 2, * mb, [slip 2, mb] twice, slip 3; repeat from * once, [mb, slip 2] 3 times, k1.

Change to A. 14th row P, working each bobble st tbl. Repeat 3rd–14th rows 3 times more, substituting shades B and C each time. K1 row, p1 row, k1 row. Bind off knitwise.

10 May

Audiobooks and crafting

Cath Kidston’s Radio Tea Cozy

 

I once had a friend who told me that she could knit and read a book at the same time. I never saw her do it with my own eyes, so I’m doubtful. I can barely manage eating cereal with a spoon in one hand and holding a book in the other. How can someone possibly knit AND read simultaneously? Well, have I got a solution for you…kinda. Audiobooks! Now you can knit to your heart’s content, while an excellent narrator does all the hard work and reads to you. Hooray for multitasking!

BTB

Today, we’re teaming up with Macmillan Audio to give away 3 copies of an audiobook for bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford. Her latest novel Secrets from the Past  follows American photojournalist Serena Stone as she works to uncover long-buried secrets about her family. Much like her famous father, Serena has made a name for herself covering wars in the Middle East. But after years of danger, Serena has grown tired of the lifestyle and decides to turn her attention to writing a biography of her late father. She’s forced out of the safety of her new life, however, when she learns that her former lover Zachary North is hurt overseas. While nursing him back to health, she goes through her father’s papers only to find a shocking secrets which sends her to Libya in order to unravel the mystery surrounding her parents’ lives. Read by Stina Nielsen, the Secrets from the Past audiobook has everything a listening could ask for: deep secrets, romance, betrayal, redemption, and more. The twists and turns will keep you working on projects longer than usual as you get caught up in the narrative and want to hear what happens next.

To enter to win, please leave a comment below telling us whether you can craft and read at the same time. Be honest! I want to know if people are better at multitasking than I am. Also we’d love for you to sign up for our newsletter at the top-right of this page. Please only one comment per person and, sorry, but this contest is for U.S. citizens only. This giveaway will run from May 10 — May 23 and the 3 winners will be chosen at random using random.org on Friday, May 24. Good luck!

2 May

Celia Birtwell at Uniqlo

Ceila Birtwell at Uniqlo

If you’ve stopped in to Uniqlo lately, you’ll have noticed the awesome Celia Birtwell-Uniqlo collaboration! Celia Birtwell is the famed textile designer whose work is instantly-recognizable and timeless. A few years ago, we published a fantastic book that delves in to her work and eventful life. Celia Birtwell, featured candid photographs of the designer and the friends who surrounded her (including artist David Hockney and ex-husband Ossie Clark) plus tons of her colorful and charming drawings and fashion sketches. The book is simply stunning.

cb2

And now you can own your own piece of Celia Birtwell! Uniqlo’s carrying a range of clothing and accessories that are really well-priced. To be perfectly honest, it’s a little overwhelming! I spent about 20 minutes in front of the little totebags bags trying to pick out just the right pattern for moi. I mean look at this:

Where does one begin?

Where does one begin?

Well, don’t worry, I figured it out. After stopping in initially to buy a denim jacket, I ended up picking up these little treats as well:

scarf & bag

A new scarf and bag!

I love the Beasties print on the tote bag. I chose it because there are so many different things to look at. The beasts are an amalgamation of different animals and prints: a spotted horse body with a lion head or a prancing checkered antelope.

If you love Celia Birtwell’s prints as much as we do, I highly recommend checking out our wonderful book to learn about her life, process, and amazing work!

(click on cover to buy)

(click on cover to buy)

 

26 Apr

Bead Crochet Jewelry at the Kinokuniya Bookstore in NYC!

Mother-daughter team Bert Rachel Freed and Dana Elizabeth Freed signing books and demonstrating from their book at the Kinokuniya book store

Mother-daughter team Bert Rachel Freed and Dana Elizabeth Freed signing books and demonstrating from their book at the Kinokuniya book store

 

For those of you who missed it, the Kinokuniya book store in New York City hosted a wonderful event for our talented Bead Crochet Jewelry authors Bert and Dana Freed this past Saturday,  April 20 Bert and Rachel were on hand to sign copies of their book,teach the techniques to create their delightful array of projects, and of course, show off their beautiful handiwork!

Bead Crochet Jewelry projects

It was a great turnout and we hope everyone who was able to attend was inspired by our super talented authors and their gorgeous jewelry designs! Keep checking our blog to see when one of our authors is at a store near you so you can stop by, say hello, and maybe pick up a new skill!

Bead Crochet event

19 Apr

Spring Flowers on Pinterest

34-49 1

Sunflowers from 50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt by Kristin Nicholas

It’s springtime in New York and I couldn’t help but be inspired by the budding flowers outside, so I created a Pinterest page featuring some the beautiful blooms from our books. Oh, you didn’t know that we have a treasure trove of gorgeous floral craft books? Well, now you do. Ever since we published 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet back in March 2009, which was a smash success, we couldn’t stop giving crafters what they were looking for: flowers and flowers and some cute critters galore! Check out the Pinterest to page to see all the different varieties of flowers, blossoms, vines, leaves, and fruits that you can make from our books.

And speaking of making flowers, Creativebug is currently hosting a giveaway for the book 50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt by Kristin Nicholas on their website. Click on the link to enter to win a copy of the book, 3 skeins of Kristin’s Classic Elite Color by Kristin yarn, and a 3-month subscription to Creativebug. Bonus: You can check out a lovely video of Kristin’s farm and animals, plus her beautifully colorful home. Good luck! And keep checking back on our blog for some free floral knitting patterns in the coming weeks to celebrate the season!

Author of the Month

This month we sit down for a Q&A with expert sewing machine embroiderer Liz Keegan, author of The Sewing Machine Embroiderer's Bible. Liz launched, compiled, and edits Flair, the U.K.'s only machine embroidery magazine. She also teaches and lectures about machine embroidery. With expert advice about what to look for when buying a new machine and a troubleshooting section for solving common mistakes and problems, Liz's new book will help you get the most of out of your modern sewing machine.


The Sewing Machine Embroiderer's Bible

Project of the Month

Pencil Case






Happy September! It’s officially that time of the year again. It’s back-to-school week here in New York City and we’re reminiscing about all those ‘first days’ of school. A new year means all new supplies, clothes and accessories. So, our Project of the Month is in honor of those who want something different from their pencil cases. We pulled this Pencil Case pattern from Sweet & Simple Patchwork Gifts by Hisako Arai and Yoko Sanjo because it offers not one but two methods of making the case--one with a zipper and one with a spring clasp!

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