Carol Alexander is Annie's Executive Editor for crochet and the editor of Crochet World magazine. She also edits the special newsstand issues of Crochet! and Crochet World magazines, and manages the various Annie's e-newsletters.
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February 10, 2016
Winter will soon be over, according to Punxsutawney Phil and that means spring is just around the corner! Our April 2016 issue of Crochet World celebrates spring with beautiful colors and fresh designs. Today, we thought we would give you a sneak peak at just a few of the projects featured in this issue.
Designer Margret Willson knocks it out of the park with her Trellis Tee! Perfect for spring, this top is sure to be flattering on women of all ages and figure types. Wear it now under a jacket and later by itself with a pair of jeans, dressy pants or a skirt.
We were stunned by the beautiful Winner’s Circle project! The Amethyst Lace Wrap by designer Cindy Adams is a real show stopper. Wouldn’t this make a gorgeous shawl for a spring wedding?
In our Crochet Reimagined chapter, we feature new designs inspired by vintage crochet patterns. The cloche hat so popular in the early 1900’s gets an update in our newly inspired English Garden Hat by designer, Sonya Blackstone.
For the home, we love the Tulip Silverware Pocket featuring one of our favorite flowers of the season. What a pretty way to set a springtime holiday table from designer Terry Day!
We love this practical and quick-to-make Pot & Casserole Cozy. This easy design by Kristen Stoltzfus would make a nice hostess or Mother’s Day gift, too.
And, of course, we start our new series of darling patchwork animals with this adorable Patchwork Pig by designer Sheila Leslie. What a fun and cute way to use up your worsted-weight scrap yarn!
The April 2016 issue of Crochet World filled with 23 spring projects to inspire your imagination is currently available digitally. Or look for it at your favorite craft store, bookshop, or Walmart beginning March 1.
February 3, 2016
Some of you may remember the adorable patchwork animal series we featured several years ago in Crochet World magazine. We know it was a huge hit because we received so many letters and pictures of your projects!
If you missed the series, you can download the individual patterns here. Just type Patchwork Puppy (Elephant, Monkey or Bear) in the search box at the top of the home page.
We have exciting news for you! We contacted the original designer, Shelia Leslie, and she agreed to design four new patchwork animals! Beginning with the April 2016 issue of Crochet World we will feature one new addition to the patchwork animal series over the next four issues! You’ll find an adorable pig in the April issue, a darling cow in June, a playful kitty in August and a hard-to-resist pony in October!
We asked Shelia to share more about what inspires her to create such cute designs and a few tips on successfully crocheting stuffed animals.
Crochet World: What inspires you to create such cute animal toys?
Shelia: I am always attracted to bright colors, so usually the starting point is a skein of yarn, especially a new shade. Then, I decide on an animal, and start sketching out ideas. I may be inspired by a toy I have seen in a store, a picture in a kid’s coloring book or on a child’s T shirt.
Crochet World: Can you share a few tips that will help our readers successfully create one your patchwork animals.
Shelia: The two most crucial things are stuffing and facial features. For stuffing, make sure you stuff firmly and use a polyester stuffing (not foam chips). If you are stuffing a large piece, don’t be tempted to grab great big handfuls of stuffing. Use balls of stuffing about half the size of a fist, and pack firmly, cupping the crocheted piece in one hand to shape. For small areas, the eraser end of pencil works well.
For facial features, start with the eyes. Cut circles out of felt, larger than you want the finished eyes to be. Gradually trim the circles in height and width until you get the perfect size. Pin the circles on the animal, adjusting the placement on the head, and the distance between the eyes until you are happy with the look. Use these felt circles as placement guides to embroider the eyes. For nose, again cut a shape from felt, trim size and shape, then pin in place. Cut thin slivers of felt for mouth lines, experimenting with lengths and placement until you find that adorable expression you want. Use pins to mark where you are going to embroider the nose and mouth lines.
For ears, before sewing them on, try pinning them – further apart or closer together, higher or lower on the head until you find the ideal location.
I hope these tips help you to crochet a cute animal friend!
The April issue of Crochet World goes on sale digitally February 9 and will be available at your favorite craft store, bookshop or Walmart on March 1.
January 27, 2016
Cowls! If you crochet, you probably have made at least one! Cowls continue to be popular to make, wear and give as gifts.
Here are some of our favorite reasons to crochet a cowl:
- Cowls are an easy first project for a beginner.
- Cowls are great stash buster projects, with many designs taking just one skein of yarn.
- Cowls are good “in between” projects. When you want a small project that will be done quickly, crochet a cowl!
- Cowls are great projects when you just want to crochet and not think too hard!
- Cowls are a fun way to try out a new stitch. Just make a chain long enough to comfortably go around your neck one or two times, pick up your stitch dictionary and crochet hook and have fun. You can join it in the round, work it flat and sew it together or add buttons. It really is that easy!
Here are some of our favorite cowl patterns to inspire you!
Cowls can add a touch of elegance to an outfit, like the reversible Luxury Lace Cowl from the December 2015 issue of Crochet World.
Or a cowl can keep your neck warm when the weather turns super-cold. The Tapestry Neck Warmer from the December 2015 issue of Crochet World is the perfect choice.
Cowls can add a decorative accent much like this refined neck piece from the October 2015 issue.
Or they can be worn as a hat and scarf to chase away the chilly winds. The Nantucket Cowl can be found in the December 2014 issue of Crochet World.
Cowls can be worn around your shoulders when you find yourself in a cold restaurant. And we think the Sequin-tial Moebius from the February 2015 issue is a perfect choice.
Cowls can button up the back to create a pretty cowboy-scarf look shown here from Great Yarns, Great Styles to Crochet.
Or they button up with several buttons to create different looks. We love the Gradient Flower Cowl featured in the Crochet! magazine newsstand special, From Scraps to Sensational.
We love cowls and think they make great winter projects! So snuggle up with some yarn and your crochet hook and get stitching!
January 20, 2016
It’s a new year and a great time to make your list of new projects for 2016! Today we share with you what’s new on the Annie’s catalog website. You’ll find many wonderful new books, projects, yarns and even classes to inspire!
Try a new pattern!
A Year of Dishcloths Stitch a dishcloth a week for the next year! 52 designs to crochet include textures, stripes, circles, and flowers. We’ve divided our offering into the four seasons and know you’ll find many, many designs that are perfect for your kitchen or gifts for all of your friends and family to enjoy! Designs are made using size 10 crochet cotton thread and worsted-weight cotton yarn.
101 Afghan Stitches Afghans are fun to make, cozy to use and make wonderful gifts! This book is a reference tool you will use for years. The afghans can be crocheted using baby-, sport-, worsted or bulky-weight yarn and in your choice of colors. Stitch patterns have been carefully chosen so they are not too open-weave, not too difficult and not too time consuming. Symbol crochet as well as written instructions are included.
Baskets for All These baskets can be used to create handy storage units, decorations or thoughtful gifts. The 14 different shaped baskets are made using DK, worsted (holding 2 strands together) and super bulky-weight yarns.
In A Weekend: Lap Throws for the Family A dozen original designs in contemporary colors make up this fabulous pattern book. Included are lapghans for everyone in the family. Designs are made using worsted- and chunky-weight yarns.
Take a DVD class at home and learn something new!
Learn to Crochet Easy Hats They’re fast to crochet and fashionable to wear—crocheted hats! Now you can learn how to crochet basic hats with fun and flair. Join expert Rohn Strong as he teaches beginners through experienced crocheters how to crochet basic hats worked flat and then seamed, and easy in-the-round hats worked from the top down. Soon you’ll be crocheting adorable hats for babies and kids, and attractive hats for men and women!
101 Creative Crochet Solutions Do you love learning new twists on old techniques? Do you get a kick out of discovering a new tool or gadget that makes your crocheting faster, easier and more fun? Do you enjoy recycling household items to save money and keep your crocheting stash organized? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are going to love this class!
Crochet instructor and designer Debra Arch is passionate about learning and sharing creative solutions and innovations to make crocheting even more enjoyable and interesting. In this class, Debra explores well over 100 tips, techniques, tools and solutions that will answer your common questions and problems. She’ll share with you her favorite tools, and even provide you with new ways to work several longtime favorite crochet techniques.
Have fun with a new yarn!
DMC Top This There isn’t a yarn collection out there that can top this one! Kids, teens and even adults will become trendsetters with this unique yarn. There’s an adorable animal perched on the top of each ball of yarn, making it a great collection for stitching up fun hats as gifts for loved ones.
Cozy up with a cup of something warm and your crochet and have fun browsing from the comfort of your chair! We’ve added a few projects to our list for the new year too!
January 17, 2016
Chances are if you crochet you have lots of leftover yarn. Here’s a fun colorful way to use up all those scraps and crochet something beautiful too!
I Love Scraps Afghan
Design by Mary Ann Frits
Skill Level: Easy
Size: Approximately 42 x 62 inches, excluding Fringe
Medium (worsted) weight yarn: 33 1/2 oz/2,345 yds/1,005g off-white (A) 32 oz/2,240 yds/960g assorted scrap colors
Size H/8/5mm crochet hook or size needed to obtain gauge
Gauge 11 dc = 3 inches Special Stitches
Special Stitches Shell: In st indicated, work (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc). Long double crochet (long dc): Insert hook in st indicated and draw up lp to height of working row; yo and draw through 2 lps on hook.
Pattern Note To change colors, work until 2 loops of last stitch remain on hook. With new color, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook. Cut old color.
Instructions Row 1 (RS): With A, ch 169; dc in 4th ch from hook (beg 3 sk chs count as a dc) and in each rem ch, changing to any scrap color in last dc, turn. (167 dc) Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as a dc on this and following rows), dc in first dc, ch 2, sk next 5 dc; *in next dc work shell (see Special Stitches); ch 2, sk next 6 dc; rep from * 21 times; in next dc work shell; ch 2, sk next 5 dc, 2 dc in 3rd ch of beg 3 sk chs, changing to A in last dc, turn. (23 shells) Row 3: Ch 1, sc in first dc, ch 1, sk next dc, working over next ch-2 sp, sk next sk dc on 2nd row below, long dc (see Special Stitches) in next 2 sk dc; *ch 2, on working row, sk next 2 dc, sc in next ch-1 sp, ch 2, sk next 2 dc, working over next ch-2 sp, sk next 2 sk dc on 2nd row below, long dc in next 2 sk dc; rep from * 22 times; ch 1, on working row, sk next dc, sc in 3rd ch of turning ch-3, turn. Row 4: Ch 3, dc in next ch-1 sp and in next 2 dc; *2 dc in next ch-2 sp; dc in next sc, 2 dc in next ch-2 sp; dc in next 2 dc; rep from * 22 times; dc in next ch-1 sp and in next sc, changing to new scrap color in last dc, turn. Row 5: Ch 3, dc in first dc, ch 2, sk next 5 dc; *in next dc work shell; ch 2, sk next 6 dc; rep from * 21 times; in next dc work shell; ch 2, sk next 5 dc, 2 dc in 3rd ch of turning ch-3, changing to A in last dc, turn. Rep rows 3–5 until piece measures approximately 62 inches, ending with a row 4. Fasten off and weave in all ends.
Fringe Cut 25-inch strands of A. For each knot of fringe, hold 6 strands tog and fold in half. Draw folded end through first st on 1 short end of afghan. Draw ends through fold and tighten knot. Tie knots evenly spaced across each short end of afghan. Trim ends even.
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