New Poll: Which Pattern Format Do You Usually Work From?

Which Pattern Format Do You Usually Work From? (Choose All That Apply)

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Thanks so much for any insights you care to provide in this poll on the topic of pattern formats. Your comments are welcome!


If you have the time and inclination to comment further, we’d also love to know WHY you prefer the pattern format(s) you use most.


As for me, I work from both digital and physical patterns — but I really prefer physical patterns.


I enjoy physical patterns because I suspect that working on anything at all on my laptop could be the cause of eyestrain (my eyesight isn’t that great) and because I don’t enjoy trying to figure out how to rotate charts on my laptop (when that is necessary — it isn’t always — usually just when the charts are printed sideways in the book due to space constraints).


I also really enjoy physical books — holding them, looking at them and turning their pages.


AND I also prefer physical patterns because I suffer from “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome. If a pattern is right there on my bookshelf, hanging around, I remember that I wanted to knit or crochet a project from it. If it is saved somewhere on my hard drive, I am prone to forgetting it is there.


Now it’s your turn. Which pattern formats do you prefer? WHY? I’m looking forward to seeing your answers and your comments!

Knit or Crochet a Shawl for Fall

You can use fall colors to knit or crochet yourself a splendid shawl using any of these (mostly free) shawl and wrap patterns. There are some lovely knit and crochet shawl instructions available for you to use. Check ’em out!


Beaded Crescent Shawl Knitting Pattern by Anniken Ellis; This Knitting Pattern Is Included in Vogue Knitting Shawls & Wraps 2, Published by Sixth & Spring Books. The Shawl Is Knitted in an Interesting Cashmere/Possum/Silk Blend Yarn Called Zealana Air.
Beaded Crescent Shawl Knitting Pattern by Anniken Ellis; This Knitting Pattern Is Included in Vogue Knitting Shawls & Wraps 2, Published by Sixth & Spring Books. The Shawl Is Knitted in an Interesting Cashmere/Possum/Silk Blend Yarn Called Zealana Air.

If you’d rather work from a pattern book, you have lots of options for that as well. Check out the following books to find spectacular shawl patterns:

Other Fall Knitting and Crochet Projects:

Halloween Projects and Ideas Get Ideas and Patterns for Knitting and Crocheting Bunches of Fun Halloween Projects

At the moment, it seems to me like Halloween is far in the distant future. In my neighborhood, the weather is now a little cooler than it was last month — but that doesn’t mean it’s chilly here, by any means. The slight temperature drop around here just means that it’s now tolerably hot outside, instead of being unbearably hot.

This Crochet Skull Applique Is Included on Our List of Halloween Patterns. This Is a Free Crochet Pattern Designed by Amy Solovay
This Crochet Skull Applique Is Included on Our List of Halloween Patterns. This Is a Free Crochet Pattern Designed by Amy Solovay.

Weather aside, a look at the calendar reminds me that fall is fast approaching, and that Halloween is less than 2 short months away. Halloween falls on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 this year. For crafters and do-it-yourselfers who celebrate Halloween, the time has come to plan for Halloween projects, Halloween parties, and handmade Halloween costumes.

With that in mind, I’ve begun collecting patterns for, and links to, knitted and crocheted Halloween projects and ideas.


27 Skull Patterns to Knit and Crochet — So far, this page of skull and skeleton patterns is one of the most comprehensive pattern hubs on our website. I’ve posted links to every free knitted or crocheted skull pattern I could find on the Internet, and I also posted some links to some pay-for patterns as well. I hope you’ll find this list helpful if you want to make a Halloween project featuring a skull or skeleton motif.


Knit and Crochet Halloween Patterns — This is an assortment of Halloween patterns which includes trick-or-treat bags, candy baskets, skull designs and more.


This list is in its infancy, and I plan to update it with bunches more patterns as I discover them. If you’re a crochet or knitting pattern designer who has recently posted a new Halloween pattern, I invite you to let me know about it by email. I’d love to share bunches more quality patterns with my readers here.

$16,000 Secrets for Knitting and Crocheting With Color

In 1997, I paid more than $16,000 for the classes that resulted in my degree in textile design. That was actually a bargain compared to what many other students pay for a design school education — especially these days. I was able to earn that degree in only 9 months since I already had a Bachelor’s degree and didn’t need to take any of the foundational courses like Art 101. Hmmm. Well, considering it was only 9 months worth of classes, maybe it wasn’t a bargain at all. That’s debatable. $16,000 is a lot of money to spend on classes, no matter how you slice it. But as to whether or not it was worth it, that particular debate isn’t the topic of today’s blog post.

Why I’m telling you all this: Today, more than 20 years later, I’m still a textile designer. And today I’m going to share with you a couple of the most important takeaways from my design school education on the topic of color. If you aren’t inclined to pay whatever the going rate is for a design school degree, now you’ll at least have access to several of the most important things I learned after having paid my $16,000. Here are 3 of my $16,000 secrets for knitting and crocheting with color:

Secret #1: Flower Centers Should Visually Pop Out From the Flower Petals

I see a lot of knitters and crocheters making a big mistake when they choose the colors for their floral projects. They pick colors that match each other too closely for the flower centers and flower petals. This works FANTASTIC when you’re choosing a skirt and a blouse to wear — but it makes for boring flowers.


Instead, choose a color for your flower center that’s much bolder than the color you use for your flower petals.

Which Flower Colorway Is More Interesting? While the BUTTON on the left is undoubtedly more interesting than the button on the right, it is the wrong choice for this particular flower. Why? Because there is no contrast between the color of that button and the color of the nearest flower petals. The button on the right, although it is kind of boring, is a much better choice -- because the color of the button pops out from the color of the nearest flower petals. What would be even better: A Czech glass button like the one on the left, but in a deeper color like the button on the right. If I could find one like that, it would be the best choice of all.
Which Flower Colorway Is More Interesting? While the BUTTON on the left is undoubtedly more interesting than the button on the right, it is the wrong choice for this particular flower. Why? Because there is no contrast between the color of that button and the color of the nearest flower petals. The button on the right, although it is kind of boring, is a much better choice — because the color of the button pops out from the color of the nearest flower petals. What would be even better: A Czech glass button like the one on the left, but in a deeper color like the button on the right. If I could find one like that, it would be the best choice of all.
Which Flower Colorway Is More Interesting? Again, the flower on the right has much more color contrast, which makes it the more interesting choice -- despite the fact that the baubles on the left are actually the more interesting of the pair.  Since they're too similar in color to the flower petals, the interesting details get lost. They'd be better used in a different-colored flower, where their intricate details would stand out more.
Which Flower Colorway Is More Interesting? Again, the flower on the right has much more color contrast, which makes it the more interesting choice — despite the fact that the baubles on the left are actually the more interesting of the pair. Since they’re too similar in color to the flower petals, the interesting details get lost. They’d be better used in a different-colored flower, where their intricate details would stand out more.

Secret #2: You Can Make Any 2 Colors Match Each Other

I didn’t actually learn this secret in design school. I learned it on the job shortly afterward. (One of my design school classmates helped me get the job). I was working as a textile print colorist. As the newest member of the team, I was typically assigned to work on the weirdest, oddest projects for the company’s least important clients. What fun!


Except, it did turn out to be fun. I learned a TON in the process. And, through trial and error, I figured out that you can make any 2 colors match each other. It was necessary for me to learn this, because I was forced to work with my clients’ color palettes — and they came up with some bizarre color palettes.


So here’s the secret: In any computer program that has a gradient function, you take color #1 and color #2, and you plop them into a blank document. Then you create a gradient between the 2 colors. Then you use the color picker to choose the most interesting-looking color that’s somewhere in between the 2 shades you’re trying to coordinate. Use all 3 of these colors in your finished design. Usually, you’ll want to use the gradient color or one of the other 2 colors as the main color, and then you’ll use the other 2 colors as accents.


When you’re knitting or crocheting, there’s one obvious step missing here: You need to translate these colors to yarn colors. The key is to work with a yarn that has a massive color palette. Cascade 220 is the yarn I recommend. Red Heart Super Saver is also an option, although I don’t personally recommend crocheting with acrylic. You might not be able to find exact matches in these yarns for the colors you’ve selected, but their color palettes are large and significant enough that you’ll most likely be able to find workable options.

I bet you’d like to see some examples of this, wouldn’t you? OK. I don’t have any ready at the moment, but I’ll work on putting them together for you soon. You’re invited to subscribe to my newsletter, if you don’t already, to keep up with my upcoming posts and projects.

Secret #3: When You Create a Color Palette for a New Design Collection, ALWAYS Consider Including a Green.

This is a tip that will likely prove to be more helpful to knit and crochet pattern designers who create complete collections rather than single designs — but if you do happen to create collections, I hope this tip will help you.


Green is one of the most important accent colors to consider including in a color palette — and this holds true for both fashion and home furnishings. For starters, it’s hard to create appealing floral designs without green — and many of the top selling textile designs in both fashion and home decor are florals.


Even if you aren’t working on a floral, if a colorway you’re designing somehow seems wrong, injecting a small amount of green into the design can often improve it.


Along with that tip is another important one: Not all greens are created equal. A pale celery green usually beats a vivid emerald green — although right now, vivid emerald green is totally on-trend, so use it to your heart’s content if it’s a color that appeals to you and otherwise works well in your designs.

(Temporarily FREE) Color Theory Classes

Creativelive is my favorite website — and they have some upcoming color theory classes scheduled to stream for free. These are classes you would ordinarily have to pay a bundle for; so if you’re interested in watching them, it’s worth it to RSVP for the classes and note them on your calendar so you can tune in when the free broadcast is available. I haven’t actually watched these particular classes yet. I’ve RSVP’ed for the free broadcasts and I do hope to catch them when they air.

My Favorite Books About Knitting and Crocheting With Color

Crochet Kaleidoscope by Sandra Eng


Crochet Kaleidoscope, a Book of Crochet Motif Patterns. Find a Variety of Lovely, Colorful Crochet Motif Patterns by Sandra Eng. Interweave Press Is the Publisher of This Crochet Pattern Book.
Crochet Kaleidoscope, a Book of Crochet Motif Patterns. Find a Variety of Lovely, Colorful Crochet Motif Patterns by Sandra Eng. Interweave Press Is the Publisher of This Crochet Pattern Book.

Crochet Kaleidoscope is almost like 2 books in one; it’s part color theory manual and part crochet pattern book. I own other books on the topic of crochet motif patterns, but this one is my new favorite; it has inspired me to crochet bunches of projects, and there are dozens more patterns from the book I still want to try. You can see photos of some of the projects I made in my book review of Crochet Kaleidoscope.

Where to Buy Crochet Kaleidoscope:

The Alterknit Stitch Dictionary by Andrea Rangel

If you don’t know how to do Fair Isle knitting / stranded colorwork knitting, this book will not only teach you how to do it; the book will also give you some fun and useful colorwork patterns to try as well as some instructions for outstanding finished projects to work on.

Where to Buy The Alterknit Stitch Dictionary:

Knit Yourself In by Cecilie Kaurin and Linn Bryhn Jacobsen

This colorful book is super-duper creative. Read it if you want to learn how to design your own colorful knitted panels; or you can also knit the SPECTACULAR examples shown in the book exactly as is. The authors explore lots of fun themes and motifs — floral designs, animal patterns, rock and roll themes, and others. This is one of the most inspiring knitting books I own. It includes designs for the whole family — ladies, gentlemen and children — and includes a broad range of projects including sweaters, socks and more.

Where to Buy Knit Yourself In:

So there you have it: Those are my $16,000 secrets for knitting and crocheting with color, along with a list of some of my favorite color resources. I hope you find this information helpful when you choose colors for your knitting and crochet projects in the future.

Knitting and Crochet in May: A Limerick

Small Crochet Flowers With Popcorn Stitch Petals
These pretty flower motifs make fantastic little projects for crocheting in the month of May — or any time.

The glorious month of May
Is a wonderful time to crochet.
You can make jewelry and flowers
and granny squares for hours
and lovely presents for Mother’s Day.

May is also a great time to sit
outside in the sunshine and knit.
Grab your needles and yarn,
your wire and your plarn,
and work on your projects a bit.

Free Online Sock Knitting Class With Vickie Howell on November 9, 2017 Learn How to Knit Socks

Sock Knitting Class With Vickie Howell: Knit Maker 201: Knit Socks
Sock Knitting Class With Vickie Howell: Knit Maker 201: Knit Socks

Would you like to learn how to knit socks? If so, perhaps you’ll be excited to learn about a free broadcast of Vickie Howell’s class called Knit Maker 201: Knit Socks at Creativelive. The free broadcast of this sock knitting class will take place on November 9-10, 2017. My understanding of the situation is that, if you want access to the free broadcast, you’ll have to RSVP for the class before it starts to air on November 9th. Tip: After you click through to the course description page, look up at the top right-hand side of your monitor for the black button that says “RSVP”. (There’s also a blue button that says “Buy” if you prefer to just buy the class and watch it immediately.)


I RSVP’ed for the class and am looking forward to it. 🙂 I hope you’ll have a chance to check it out, too.


This isn’t usually a free class; the regular class price is $29. So getting in on the free broadcast is actually a really good deal. If for some reason you miss the free broadcast, or any part of it, you’ll be able to access the class at its regular price any time afterwards.

Creativelive offers bunches of excellent classes on a variety of topics — knitting, crochet, sewing, photography, business and more. You can click here to see what other classes are airing soon at CreativeLive.

Learn More About Sock Knitting:

Supplies You’ll Need for Sock Knitting

To knit socks, you’ll need sock yarn and appropriate knitting needles. Most people knit socks using sets of double-pointed sock knitting needles. I’m pretty sure it’s also possible to knit socks using a circular knitting needle that has an ultra-short cord length — if you can find a needle that’s the right size.

Where to Find Spectacular Sock Knitting Patterns

Denise Samson included 4 excellent sock patterns in her book called The Cable Knitter’s Guide published by Trafalgar Square Books. The sock patterns are as follows:

  • Cozy Slippers — These are gorgeous cabled slipper socks that look like they’d be worth the effort — they are that pretty. If you knit gifts for loved ones, the slippers would be an extra-special gift.
  • Socks With Reversible Cables — These slouchy socks have cabled cuffs that you can pull up or fold down. The cables look the same on either side, so there’s no need to worry about hiding a “wrong” side.
  • Knit Socks With Reversible Cables from the Book The Cable Knitter's Guide by Denise Samson, Published by Trafalgar Square Books
    Knit Socks With Reversible Cables from the Book The Cable Knitter’s Guide by Denise Samson, Published by Trafalgar Square Books
  • Maj’s Ankle Socks — These elegant lace ankle socks feature a lovely cabled design.
  • Lace and Cable Knit Ankle Socks from the Book The Cable Knitter’s Guide by Denise Samson, Published by Trafalgar Square Books
  • Tormrod’s Stockings — These intricate cabled knee socks are guy-friendly; the author designed them for her significant other to wear on his camping trips and ski trips.

The socks aren’t the only fantastic patterns in the book; this book is actually sort of like a cable stitch dictionary that also offers you finished patterns for trying out the cables. There are also excellent patterns for blankets, sweaters and bunches more accessories.

My Sock Knitting Saga

I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit socks. When I was a teenager, I invested the money in buying a lovely set of bamboo double-pointed needles; but I couldn’t figure out how to use them despite having looked at several books and magazine articles on the topic of sock knitting. I made an honest effort to learn how to knit socks, but without someone to show me the finer points, it wasn’t long before I lost interest. There were too many other amazing projects to work on. I decided to invest my efforts in knitting sweaters and hats, and I never actually returned to sock knitting.


Until now…


When I was traveling in Europe a few years ago, I bought a circular knitting needle that I think (hope) will work for knitting socks. I’m thinking it will be preferable to dealing with bunches of individual double-pointed needles. Having never successfully knit socks with any type of knitting needles, the jury is out on whether I will be able to do this. We’ll see!

I’ll be pulling my circular and double-pointed knitting needles out of the closet and tuning in to Vickie Howell’s sock knitting class on November 9th to see if I can finally learn how to knit socks. Here’s hoping I’ll have more success this time around than I have in the past — and here’s hoping you’ll join me and learn how to knit socks, too!

Sewing Lessons for Knitting and Crochet Enthusiasts

It’s helpful for knitters and crocheters to understand basic sewing techniques. Perhaps you’ve crocheted a bunch of granny squares, and you want to stitch them together to create a blanket. Maybe you’ve knitted a beautiful tote bag, but it isn’t as practical as you’d like because you don’t know how to sew a lining for it. There’ll likely be times you need to know how to ease a knitted sleeve into your latest sweater or stitch the side seams in a baby hat you’re crocheting — and sewing skills are helpful to have when these tasks arise.

Free Video Sewing Classes for Everyone

This month, Creative Live is offering some of their sewing classes for free. You’d ordinarily have to pay a bundle for all these classes — so if you’d be interested in learning some new sewing techniques you’ll want to head over there and sign up ASAP.

Crochetterie: A Beginner-Friendly Craft Book That Teaches You Both Crochet and Sewing Techniques

When it comes to combining sewing and crochet projects, Molla Mills is an expert. Molla stitches up designer-quality crochet bags with leather details, fabric linings and other distinctive details. If you’d like to learn her secrets for how to do this, you’ll want to check out her brand new book called Crochetterie: Cool Contemporary Crochet for the Creatively Minded:

Free Sewing Tutorials for Knitters and Crocheters

You can learn how to sew fabric strips together to make rag balls. The rag balls are excellent substitutes for yarn; use them to crochet rugs, purses and tote bags, placemats, trivets and more.
You can learn how to sew fabric strips together to make rag balls. The rag balls are excellent substitutes for yarn; use them to crochet rugs, purses and tote bags, placemats, trivets and more.

If you want to finish your knitting or crochet projects flawlessly, here are some free sewing instructions you can use for that purpose.

  • Free Lining Tutorial — Learn how to sew a lining for a crocheted or knitted pouch or bag.
  • Free Whip Stitch Sewing Tutorial — Whip stitch is one of my favorite methods for joining granny squares and sewing seams on crocheted pieces. Here’s a step-by-step whip stitch tutorial with photos.
  • Side Seams Sewing Tutorial — This tutorial shows you how to sew the side seams on a pair of simple crocheted fingerless gloves. You can use the same basic method on other projects like hats and sweaters too.
  • How to Make a Rag Ball — Learn how to sew fabric strips together to create rag balls you can use instead of yarn for fabric crochet and fabric knitting.

Crochet, Knitting and Other Creative Classes at My New Favorite Website

I have a new favorite website. I love this site for bunches of reasons:

  • They make a huge variety of interesting video-based creative classes available on topics that interest me — crafts, photography, business and much more.
  • They let you view bunches of different video classes for free with no strings attached. If you enjoy the class enough to want to watch it again, you have the opportunity to pay for access to the class — but they don’t pressure you to do so. I think this business model is win-win for everyone.
  • The videos don’t have annoying ads on them the way Youtube videos often do.
  • Their instructors have a talent for making complex topics interesting and easier to understand.
  • This site has many famous class instructors on board. To give some examples, if you need a beginner’s class for knitting or crochet, you could take a class from Vickie Howell through this website. Anne Geddes has photography classes available through this website.
  • The videos I’ve seen so far have all been high-quality and worth watching.
  • I like hearing from the people at this site. They send interesting emails that I often open and read. Their blog is filled with helpful posts, and I’ve learned quite a bit from reading their posts and watching their classes.
  • They offer frequent sales and discounts on their paid classes. Their class prices vary greatly, but tend to be reasonable to start with — so their sale prices typically represent an outstanding value.

Want to check out this site? Here are some links you might find helpful:

Special Finishing Touches: Fringes, Trims and Edgings

Exquisite finishing touches can make a big difference in distinguishing handcrafted items from their machine-made counterparts.

Fringe is a particularly luxurious finishing touch. It utilizes a great deal of material, and it takes time to maintain it well, so it isn’t for everyone — but if you are able to deal with those challenges, the results can be stunning.

There are a variety of ways to make fringe. If you’d like to finish off a knitting project, crochet project or other craft project using fringe, check out these free fringe patterns, instructions and tutorials, posted at freecrafts.info. You’ll find bunches of different ideas to inspire you, including knit and crochet fringe plus fringes made in other craft techniques — suede fringe, beaded fringe and more.

Dress Up These Knitting or Crochet Projects With Fringe:

  • Scarves: Instead of weaving in your loose ends, incorporate them into knotted tassels or fringe. It’s a time-saver, plus it’s an eye-catching finishing touch.
  • Throws, Blankets and Afghans: It’s even more of a time-saver when you finish off multicolored blankets and throws using fringe instead of weaving the ends in.
  • Ponchos, Wraps and Shawls: Many knitted and crocheted ponchos just beg to be finished with fringe. Some casual wraps and shawls do, too. The fringe could also go dressy if done carefully; in moderation, beaded fringe is an option for elegant evening shawls. You just have to keep it simple on the beading, since beads are heavy and you don’t want your wrap weighing you down when you’re out on the town.
  • Purses and Bags: Finishing the lower edge of a bag or purse with fringe gives it a whole different look than you’d have without it. This is an especially interesting option for seamed bags, but there are other options as well. You can easily create an area for anchoring fringe to an un-seamed bag by adding a line of surface crochet slip stitch in the spot you want your fringe to be; then you work the fringe into the ridge created by the slip stitches.

Trims, Edgings and Borders

Fringe isn’t for everyone; if you’re seeking a unique way to finish off a knitted or crocheted item, you might wish to find just the right border, edging or trim that will complement it and make it look extra special.


For Blankets and Afghans: Borders and edgings are popular finishing touches for blankets and afghans. For projects like these, you usually want to choose an edging or border that includes instructions for turning a corner. Here are a few suggestions for those:


For Towels, Sheets and Pillowcases: It’s lovely to finish off the lower edges of a towel with a pretty trim or edging. For sheets, I usually only trim one edge. For pillowcases, I usually trim only the outer opening. For these sorts of edgings, I prefer to choose an edging design that does not include a corner. Here are a few suggestions:


These aren’t the only projects that can benefit from edgings. If a project has an edge, you could probably add an edging to it. You could add pretty lace edgings to the lower edges of pants that need lengthening. You could dress up the edges of ankle socks with pretty lace trim. You could even add trim to certain simple open tote bags (ones that don’t close with zippers, so there are upper edges to work with.) I’m sure you know of many other examples where trim would enhance the project significantly.


The pictures above show you just a few of the free trim and edging patterns available online. To see many more possibilities, be sure to visit our page of free knit and crochet edging patterns.


See Also:

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