Knitting Warm Mittens for Winter

If you're interested in knitting warm mittens for winter, check out this new  book called Winter Knits From Scandinavia by Jenny Alderbrant, published by Trafalgar Square Books.
If you’re interested in knitting warm mittens for winter, check out this new book called Winter Knits From Scandinavia by Jenny Alderbrant, published by Trafalgar Square Books.

It’s December! Winter is fast approaching. The first official day of winter isn’t until later this month — Saturday, December 21, 2019, to be exact. I don’t know about you, but in my neighborhood, it feels like winter is already here.

Those of us who live in the colder regions are already starting to bundle up in warm mittens, scarves, hats and sweaters. For me, knitting some new mittens is high on the priority list.

You too? If you’re thinking of knitting some new mittens right now, I have bunches of pattern suggestions you might want to consider.

For starters, Trafalgar Square Books has a lovely new knitting pattern book available that features knitted accessories including mittens, socks, hats and a cowl — but the majority of the patterns are for knitting mittens. The book is called Winter Knits From Scandinavia.. The patterns included in this collection are all beautiful, sophisticated, eye-catching designs that have broad appeal.

Maja's Swedish Mittens, a knitting pattern book by Maja Karlsson, published by Trafalgar Square Books
Maja’s Swedish Mittens, a knitting pattern book by Maja Karlsson, published by Trafalgar Square Books

Maja’s Swedish Mittens is another charming option for a mitten pattern book you might enjoy. This particular book features only patterns for making mittens and fingerless gloves — no socks, cowls, sweaters or other types of patterns are included. If you want to make mittens that convert to fingerless gloves, there’s an extremely useful and practical pattern included you can use for that purpose.

One more option to consider is Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Mittens. This delightful book features mitten patterns that have amazing “personality” — lots of unique animal designs and remarkable design themes. Definitely take a look at this book if you enjoy raking in the compliments, because people are likely to be staring at your hands and asking where you got your fabulous mittens when you wear any of the projects you make from this book.

If mittens aren’t what you feel like knitting right now, no worries. We have bunches of other project ideas you might enjoy. You’re invited to check out this list of winter knitting and crochet patterns to find ideas for making just about any type of project you might want to get started on knitting or crocheting this winter. Happy crafting!

About the Author: Amy Solovay is a freelance writer with a background in textile design. She has been crocheting and crafting since childhood, and knitting since she was a teenager. Her work also appears at, and Amy sends out a free knitting and crochet newsletter so interested crafters can easily keep up with her new patterns and tutorials. If you’re already an Instagram user, Amy also invites you to follow her on Instagram.

What Do You Want for Christmas This Year?

I’m in the process of updating my Christmas gift guide for 2019. It’s harder than I expected it to be. There are sooooo many worthwhile yarns, tools, patterns, books, organizers and other gifts available that trying to choose the best ones is mind boggling. I’ve made an effort to narrow it down to the items that I think would have the broadest appeal to the largest numbers of my readers, but I am sure I must have missed some great suggestions.

It occurs to me that it’s been awhile since I asked y’all what you want for Christmas. Want to share your wish list? I’m particularly interested in knowing which yarns you’re wishing for this year. I look forward to your comments!

One of My Top Gift Suggestions From Last Year’s Christmas Gift Guide

Knitting for the Fun of It! Book by Frida Ponten, Published by Trafalgar Square Books. The book cover, pictured here, shows several of the colorful knitting projects you'll learn how to make using the patterns and instructions included. Click the photo to shop for this book at Amazon.
Knitting for the Fun of It! by Frida Ponten, Published by Trafalgar Square Books. The book cover, pictured here, shows several of the colorful knitting projects you’ll learn how to make using the patterns and instructions included. Click the photo to shop for this book at Amazon.

Pictured here is Knitting for the Fun of It! which is one of my all-time favorite knitting books. Last year, this book was high at the top of the list of my suggestions for the best Christmas gifts for knitters enthusiasts. I decided to remove it from the gift guide this year, because many of you already purchased it for your friends last year. But, for those of you who are new to my blog and newsletter, this book remains an excellent gift idea — and it’s also a good choice for knitters who enjoy knitting gifts for others. There are numerous patterns for knitting small, quick, “giftable” projects included in the book, like wrist warmers and fingerless gloves. The book also includes instructions for dyeing yarn — and what knitter wouldn’t want to receive hand-dyed yarn as a gift, if you are adventurous enough to want to try that this holiday season?

This book is high up on my list of must-have gifts because the patterns in the book are stylish, sophisticated and SUPER EASY! Not all the patterns are easy ones, but there are enough easy patterns that you can feel confident in buying this book for a beginning knitter; she’ll find plenty of projects worth making.

Although there are several solid-colored knitting projects included in the book, most of these patterns are bold and colorful without going over the edge. They’re exactly the items you want to grab when your outfit looks unremarkable. A few examples include a colorful chevron scarf; embroidered wrist warmers; a pair of colorful striped socks; eye-catching patterned mittens; and others. The book will even teach you how to dye your own yarns.

Learn More About This Book:

So tell me, lovelies, which yarns are you dying to add to your stash this year? Do you have any recommendations for new pattern books that you’ve recently been working with and LOVING enough to suggest them as great gifts for other knitters and crocheters? Thanks in advance for any insights you’d care to share.

Make Christmas Napkin Rings With These Free Crochet Patterns

If there’s ever a time that you want to set a pretty table, it’s Christmas dinner. The table sets the mood for the entire meal; you want it to look amazing for your loved ones, not to mention for the family photos (especially if you’ll be posting them online.)

There are many possible ways to pretty up your table, and many different elements that could enhance you table settings and make them spectacular.

Christmas Place Setting With Beaded Napkin Ring, Crochet Placemat and Beautiful Crocheted Edgings
Christmas Place Setting With Beaded Napkin Ring, Crochet Placemat and Beautiful Crocheted Edgings

Of course, if you have a set of fine china or holiday dishes, it’s the ideal time to get them out and put them to use. Christmas is also the ideal occasion for using a pretty tablecloth or table runner. If you own a beautiful vase, it would be lovely to fill it with flowers and create a unique centerpiece.

And once you’ve done all that, you’d feel pretty silly putting paper towels on the table to use as napkins, wouldn’t you? Of course you would.

This realization could lead you down a whole new rabbit hole: How do you fold the napkins and keep them in place?

The answer, of course, is that you’ll want to use napkin rings to do that.

For you DIY types who like to make creative pretties to dress up your home decor, I invite you to consider the following free patterns for crafting your own napkin rings:

If you like the idea of making napkin rings, but the ones pictured above aren’t quite what you have in mind for your table, you’re invited to check out this list of 16 ways to make napkin rings. The list includes bunches more ideas, some of which involve craft techniques other than knitting or crocheting.

More Ideas for Christmas Table Settings

I wish you a joyous holiday season this year, filled with peace, love, light, creativity and blessings.

Getting Your Craft Supplies Organized and Put Away in Time for the Holiday Rush

It’s now December of 2019. Thanksgiving is behind us, and the holiday season is now in full swing. December 25 will be here before you know it. Are you ready?

If you entertained family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, you might have already done massive amounts of cleaning and housekeeping to prepare.

Or maybe you didn’t have to.

Or maybe you did have to, but the amount of cleaning you did wasn’t enough to completely eradicate all chaos at your place. I’ve definitely been there myself.

Back when we were “landlubbers”, Mike and I always used to host Thanksgiving at our place, and it was a mad scramble to get ready for having everyone over. I confess that there were many times in the past when I cleaned the main living areas like a madwoman, but shoved bunches of disorganized clutter into boxes in closets, under beds and out in the garage. Once I even stuffed a bag of miscellaneous craft supplies in the clothes dryer. Then I didn’t remember it was there, and a few days later, Mike accidentally dried it along with some socks and underwear he had washed.


Cleaning up after my cleanup was a confusing, stressful and chaotic situation. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

I have some organization strategies and tips to share after getting a major handle on my own formerly out-of-control crafting chaos. I’m hopeful that maybe my experiences could help some of you get organized too.

Here are the steps I recommend taking:

  1. Go through all your craft supplies and sell, donate, give away or trash anything you’re not going to use.
  2. For the stuff you’re keeping, decide on a storage and organization system with two crucial characteristics: everything you store needs to be easy for you to see and everything you’re storing also needs to be easily accessible. Otherwise, it’s out of sight, out of mind; and anything that’s out of mind, you might as well have sold it or given it away in step one above. For example, you should automatically reject any system that requires you to store your craft supplies in cardboard boxes stacked deep underneath of other cardboard boxes in an inaccessible area such as the attic, because such a system pretty much guarantees you will never use the supplies you have stored there. If you can’t see them and can’t reach them, you’re likely to forget about them before they ever get used.
  3. Once you’ve decided on a system, implement it and use it. After every crafting session, be sure to put your supplies away in their proper places so you can easily locate them next time you want to work on your project(s).
  4. It’s also helpful to designate a spot to keep your projects in progress; I’m now using an ArtBin Yarn Drum for this purpose.

In my experience, clear organizers or translucent organizers work best; they allow you to see everything you have stashed without opening each organizer. This will save you tons of time when you look for your supplies.

It can also save you bunches of money. How many times have you accidentally purchased a duplicate of something, perhaps a duplicate crochet hook or set of knitting needles, because you couldn’t find the one you already own? Getting organized will allow you to both save money and be much more productive than you would be otherwise.

Here are links to product reviews of several of my favorite craft organizers:

Craft Organizers by ArtBin
Craft Organizers by ArtBin

  • ArtBin Hook & Needle Nook, Item#: 6930AB — This hard plastic storage case is exactly what you need for organizing traditional crochet hooks and steel crochet hooks. It can also be ideal for organizing Tunisian crochet hooks and knitting needles that are 12 inches long or shorter.
  • ArtBin Solutions Storage Cabinet, Item#: 6994AB — If you do bead crochet, bead knitting, wire crochet or wire knitting, this is an outstanding organizer for keeping track of your beads, findings, tools, and wire. It also works well for organizing embroidery floss and other sorts of craft supplies
  • ArtBin Super Satchel 1-Compartment, Item#: 6955AB — This is a fantastic multi-purpose craft organizer that’ll help you organize just about any type of art or craft supply you might need to find a place for.
  • ArtBin Mini Sidekick, Item#: 6815AG — This versatile hard plastic caddy is ideal for storing scrap yarn, balls of crochet thread, and a variety of other craft supplies.
  • ArtBin Thread Storage Tray — If your toddler or kitten has ever run off with a spool of your thread, leaving a tangled mess in his wake, you’ll definitely appreciate having a solution for wall-mounting your thread collection out of his reach. Even if that’s never happened to you, you’re likely to agree it’s much more pleasant having your thread all organized and easily accessible in one handy spot.

These are all products I own and use, and I recommend them.

There are a few additional items in my craft storage and organization system that might surprise you, because they involve some clever re-purposing of boating gear that sailors and yachties use to keep their vessels shipshape — but once you see the logic in the system, I think perhaps some of you will want to give it a try. I invite you to check out my ideas for how to organize yarn. If you live in a small space, this is definitely must-know information.

I’m in the process of compiling a complete guide to organizing craft supplies, including suggestions for the best organizers to use for a variety of purposes. If this is an area you need help with, I invite you to subscribe to my free knitting and crochet newsletter in order to be alerted when new articles in the series become available; it also assures you of receiving alerts when new free patterns, stitch tutorials, product reviews and other new articles of interest to knitters and crocheters become available.

It really doesn’t matter if you implement my craft storage and organization system or one you devise on your own; what matters is that you get organized to your own satisfaction. If you plan to entertain your family and friends for the holidays this year, you want your crafting to be a source of pride, rather than having out-of-control-crafting clutter and chaos that becomes a source of embarrassment.

I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays this year!



Related Resources:

Christmas Blankets to Crochet

There are bunches of reasons you might want to crochet a Christmas blanket. Perhaps a blanket would make the ideal gift for one of your friends; or perhaps you’d like one for making your own home cozier and more festive during the holiday season. If you’d like to crochet a Christmas blanket for Christmas 2019, perhaps you’ll be interested in the following patterns:

Christmas Tree Blanket With Checkerboards

Crochet Christmas Blanket -- Free Pattern
Crochet Christmas Blanket — Free Pattern

To make this blanket, you crochet squares in 3 different patterns; one is a square with a Christmas tree motif, and the other 2 are checkerboards. Then you sew the squares together and add an edging. You can check out the free crochet blanket pattern HERE. There’s also a free pattern available for a matching Christmas pillow.

Peppermint Pinwheels Crochet Blanket Pattern

The Peppermint Pinwheels Afghan by Carole G. Wilder, published in Crochet Afghan Revival by Leisure Arts.
The Peppermint Pinwheels Afghan by Carole G. Wilder, published in Crochet Afghan Revival by Leisure Arts.

This festive blanket is an intermediate-level crochet pattern. To make this project, you’ll ideally want to use red and white worsted weight yarn plus a size H / 5.0 mm crochet hook. If you crochet to the correct gauge and follow the pattern instructions, the end result will be a blanket measuring approximately 56 inches (142 cm) x 56 inches (142 cm).

Would you like to make an afghan just like this one? Grab the pattern at either of the following links:

Design Your Own Christmas Blanket

Want to customize your own Christmas afghan? If so, there are several other resources you should know about.

Design Your Own Christmas Blanket using this Puff Stitch Christmas tree square
Design Your Own Christmas Blanket using this Puff Stitch Christmas tree square

This oversized Christmas tree square could be used for designing your own Christmas blanket, or for any other similar Christmas projects you might happen to have in mind. This is a free crochet pattern, so please don’t hesitate to use it if you can think of something you’d like to make with it. And check out this page of Christmas patterns, because we’ve made bunches of other free Christmas designs available in addition to this one. It’s our Christmas gift to you — enjoy! (The page also includes links to some of our favorite pay-for Christmas books and patterns, plus links to our favorite free patterns made available by other designers, in addition to the free designs we’ve made available).

Crochet Stitch Dictionaries for Designing Your Own Christmas Blankets:

Most crochet stitch dictionaries aren’t specifically Christmas books, but you can use them for designing whatever Christmas projects you like — including blankets. If you enjoy designing your own blankets and other projects, the following are some wonderful stitch dictionaries you might want to consider adding to your crochet book stash:

500+ Crochet Stitches With CD — Booklet + CD Bundle:

If you have a need for massive quantities of different crochet stitches to work with,this bundle is the all-time, absolute BEST VALUE I know of. The bundle includes a CD-rom with 7 different PDF-formatted crochet stitch dictionaries, PLUS a beginner’s guide to crochet in paperback format. These books are mostly stitch dictionaries, but a couple of them also include stitch sampler blanket patterns. The paperback book also includes 2 lovely, appealing blanket patterns. So you actually get a nice mix of stitches, PLUS you also get a few blanket patterns, too. Plus you also get a beginner’s guide to crochet.

Various authors wrote the PDF e-books, which means that you get access to crochet stitches in a whole bunch of different styles. The books’ authors include some of the crochet’s most noteworthy “celebrities” — like Darla Sims and the late Jean Leinhauser, who has been acknowledged as one of the Great Matriarchs of needlework publishing.

Overall, I think this is a pretty incredible offer. If you need a new stitch dictionary, you should definitely consider grabbing this bundle before the folks at Annie’s come to their senses and raise the price on it.

Learn More About This Bundle:

50 Stitches for Afghans:

50 Stitches for Afghans, a crochet stitch dictionary by Darla Sims, published by Annie's Crochet
50 Stitches for Afghans, a crochet stitch dictionary by Darla Sims, published by Annie’s Crochet

One of my favorite crochet pattern designers, Darla Sims, wrote this beautiful book giving you 50 different stitches that are all suitable to use for crocheting afghans and blankets. None of them specifically intended to be Christmas patterns (although, to my eyes, the 24th stitch pattern in the book looks a lot like Christmas trees; if you were to crochet rows 3 and 4 in pine green yarn, and the other rows in white yarn, I think it would look like rows of evergreens in the snow.) Anyway…while they aren’t specifically Christmas patterns, they’d be totally usable for designing Christmas blankets. Simply use Christmas-friendly colors for crocheting them, and combine them with Christmas-friendly motifs from other sources if you want to create a more overtly Christmas-friendly design.

Learn More About This Book:

We hope these ideas are inspiring to you, and that you’ll be able to find or design exactly the right pattern for the Christmas blanket of your dreams. Happy crocheting, and Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate this holiday.

Crocheted and Knitted Mittens Make Fantastic Christmas Gifts

Do you enjoy making Christmas gifts for your loved ones? If so, you still have some time between now and Christmas to finish some wonderful handmade gifts for them.

There are zillions of possibilities for nice things you could make for your family and friends. But if you live in an area where December is a cold month, mittens make lovely, practical gifts that the recipient will be able to use right away.

The Following Books Offer You Fantastic, Gift-Worthy Mitten Patterns to Knit and Crochet:

Maja’s Swedish Mittens

Maja's Swedish Mittens, a knitting pattern book by Maja Karlsson, published by Trafalgar Square Books
Maja’s Swedish Mittens, a knitting pattern book by Maja Karlsson, published by Trafalgar Square Books

Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Mittens

Jorid Linvik's Big Book of Knitted Mittens: 45 Distinctive Scandinavian Knitting Patterns
Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Mittens: 45 Distinctive Scandinavian Knitting Patterns

Winter Knits From Scandinavia

Winter Knits From Scandinavia by Jenny Alderbrant, published by Trafalgar Square Books.
Winter Knits From Scandinavia by Jenny Alderbrant, published by Trafalgar Square Books.

Hats, Scarves & Mittens for the Family

Crochet Hats, Scarves & Mittens for the Family, published by Annie's Crochet
Crochet Hats, Scarves & Mittens for the Family, published by Annie’s Crochet

These books would all be excellent choices if you want to crochet or knit mittens for your inner circle for Christmas 2019 — or any time.

Here’s wishing you and yours a blessed holiday season this year.

See Also: Christmas Crochet and Knitting; Christmas Crafts

Crochet a Ladies’ Scarf for Christmas

Crochet a Ladies' Scarf for Christmas
Crochet a Ladies’ Scarf for Christmas

Want to crochet a ladies’ scarf for Christmas? If so, you have zillions of possible choices — but the one pictured here is a particularly lovely choice. It’s totally gift worthy. And if you celebrate Christmas, this cheerful scarf could be a fantastic addition to your own wardrobe, too.

For those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas — and even for those of you who do — a quick color change would transform this scarf into an everyday design you could wear any time. You might prefer to crochet it in colors that match a favorite outfit, or a favorite sports team’s colors. There are many possibilities. I crocheted a couple of other versions in different holiday-themed colors.

The free crochet pattern is available here on our website, along with many other similar and not-so-similar patterns that might also be of interest. I invite you to browse through our pattern library to find a variety of different options for future crochet projects you’ll enjoy.

Thanks so much for your visit to today!

Free Crochet Pattern for a Hanukkah Wine Bottle Cozy

Free Crochet Pattern for a Hanukkah Wine Bottle Cozy
Free Crochet Pattern for a Hanukkah Wine Bottle Cozy

Hanukkah is coming up soon; this year’s Hanukkah celebration begins on the evening of Sunday, December 22, 2019.

If you celebrate Hanukkah, and you plan to have wine as part of your celebration, it might be nice to have a wine bottle cozy handy — especially if you will need to transport the wine to the home of a friend or loved one.

Pictured here: the wine bottle cozy embellished with an embroidered menorah patch. If you’d rather embellish it in a different way, I’ve provided several other ideas for you to check out on the pattern page:

This bottle cozy fits a bottle of Manischewitz kosher wine, as pictured; but that isn’t your only option for filling it. It also fits some of the square hard liquor bottles, like Jim Beam whiskey bottles and Jose Cuervo tequila bottles. There may be others; those are just a couple I happened to test when I was at the store. It also fits a fancy vintage crystal decanter I got at a flea market.

I think this is a fun and interesting project to work on, and, if appropriately filled, it makes a great hostess gift. I hope you’ll enjoy the free pattern.

To all our Jewish friends and subscribers, we wish you a blessed Hanukkah! Hope you’ll have a wonderful holiday.

A Festive Flower Motif to Crochet for Christmas or Any Time Get the Free Crochet Flower Pattern and Tutorial Right Here on Our Website

A Festive Flower Motif to Crochet for Christmas or Any Time
A Festive Flower Motif to Crochet for Christmas or Any Time — Red Wool Crocheted Flower With Ribbon Bow – Click this Photo to See the Free Crochet Pattern for this Crocheted Flower

I’ve crocheted this flower what seems like zillions of different times now, and each time I’ve enjoyed finding different ways to embellish it. One of my favorite ideas so far is this simple and pretty ribbon bow, which I attached to the front of the flower with sewing thread and a few discreet stitches.

I crocheted this flower in red wool yarn; I’m thinking a red wool flower makes a nice embellishment for a lot of different projects, and would have multiple uses during the upcoming holidays. When December rolls around, it could be used for Christmas items, and then when February comes it could also double as a Valentine accent too.

crocheted flower with ribbon, free crochet patterns, crocheting flowers, free craft ideas, tutorial

Crocheting Bracelets Using Wire

Bracelets are reasonably quick projects to crochet, and I love them because they allow for so much easy experimentation — with materials, colors, textures and forms.

Wire Lace Cuff Bracelet -- Free Wire Crochet Pattern

I find that wire crochet bracelets are particularly interesting to experiment with. There are so many different ways you can make them. The wire, being stiff, can be sculpted in different ways if you like; and when you crochet with it, a sort of magic happens. It’s almost like creating a delightful fusion of lace and metalwork; the two disparate crafts intertwine and become one. Add beads to the mix, and the results are even more spectacular.

Pictured here are a couple of wire crochet bracelets that I’ve posted online, along with free patterns in case you’d like to crochet some similar pieces. The bracelet shown above is a wire cuff bracelet crocheted in Christmas colors. I adore its lacy look.

The bracelet shown at lower right is one of my latest beaded wire crochet projects. This design is crafted using wire, red coral beads, jasper stone beads, and glass beads. If you don’t already know how to make one of these, no worries, you can learn how to do it — for free! The free bracelet pattern is available right here on our website for you to use.

DIY Southwestern Turquoise and Red Coral Wire Crochet Bracelet Pattern

I’m showing you these particular bracelets because I think they are both nice designs for Christmas, which is coming up soon; it’ll be here before you know it. If you’d like to make yourself some pretty holiday baubles, these would be lovely to whip up for wearing to any upcoming holiday parties or gatherings. If these designs aren’t quite what you have in mind, our list of free jewelry patterns offers even more options. I hope you’ll enjoy browsing through them.

You may also want to take a peek at our wire crochet patterns, which include both jewelry and other projects.

See Also:

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