Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves Giveaway

51d841RRU+L._AC_SR98,95_Book: Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves: 24 Extraordinary Designs for Cowls, Kerchiefs, Infinity Loops & More

Author: Pam Powers

Publisher: Stackpole Books

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

Sometimes you need a project that will be quick, giving  you nearly immediate satisfaction, and just look stunning. Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves is full of such patterns.

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

This isn’t just another scarf book. The patterns showcase interesting design elements and constructions. These are real statement pieces that can make an outfit.

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

I love that the author includes written instructions and charts- it’s the best of both worlds. The book is full of helpful diagrams and pictures for finishing as well. It even has step by step photos for techniques such as a 3-needle bind-off and working short rows.

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

Thanks to Stackpole Books, you have a chance to win your own copy of Dress-to-Impress. Just leave a comment here by Wednesday, January 28th (11:59pm ET) telling me what you like about scarves, cowls, and/or ascots. Open to US residents only.


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2014 Year in Review

Looking back at 2014….

1 Crochet-a-long for Autumn Leaves Shawlette.

autumn leaves shawl crochet pattern

More than 20 prizes and giveaways.

caroline scarf crochet pattern yarn kit

10 new patterns in the Poetry in Yarn pattern line.


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Day 7 Giveaway: Tunisian!

Day 7 and we’re giving away TWO Tunisian crochet books:

One lucky winner will get signed copies of Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet: Learn How with 13 Projects and Tunisian Crochet Encore: New Stitches, New Techniques, New Patterns

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Day 6 Giveaway – Diagonally Crochet Pattern

Win a pdf copy of the Diagonally crocheted scarf and shawl pattern.

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Day 5 Giveaway – ChiaoGoo Blue Flower Knitting Needles

knitting needles chiaogooChiaoGoo Limited Edition Blue Flower Knitting Needles – Size 10 (6mm)

Quick! You’ve only got 24hrs to enter!

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Double Crochet Giveaway Day!

There won’t be a Saturday giveaway so today we’re going to have two prizes, one each for two different winners!

Prize 1: A signed copy of Susan Lowman’s Jewelry to Crochet (Annie’s Crochet) crochet pattern book.51JmSAo7XjL__AA160_


Prize 2: Spry Twist Mitts and Ear Warmer PDF Crochet Pattern

photo copyright Vivian Aubrey photography

photo copyright Vivian Aubrey photography

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I Won & You Can Too – Knitter’s Tool Tin

When Sarah Wilson, aka The Sexy Knitter, had a photo caption contest, my submission won. Now the photo + caption is gracing the cover of one of her December exclusive tool tins.

knitter's tool tin alpaca

Photo courtesy of The Sexy Knitter

Sarah was kind enough to send me a tool tin as a prize. The tool tin is full of all the little goodies you need when you go out with your knitting. All items are approved by the FAA for U.S. air travel and include the following: White metal tin, stitch holder measuring 2 1/2 in/6.25 cm long, cable needle, double ended crochet hook, measuring tape, 5 handmade, folded paper star stitch markers, miniature scissors, and 3 needles stored on a magnetic strip in the lid – large eyed blunt needle, large eyed sharp needle, and sewing needle.

The double ended hook recently was a real life saver. I was working on a knitting project when I decided that those columns of knit stitches would look much better as seed stitch. It meant letting a stitch drop down 50 rows and fixing it back up. With the double ended hook it went very quickly – much faster than ripping out the whole scarf.

Double ended hook to the knitting rescue!

Double ended hook to the knitting rescue!

So how can you win too? Today is Day 2 of the 8 Days of Giveaways and thanks to Sarah you can enter to win your own tool tin in the Ishbel design. But you better act quick! Giveaway closes at 11:59pm ET tonight!

What’s even better?! Sarah has provided an exclusive coupon code! Use coupon code HappyHannukah from now till Dec. 24th in her etsy shop for free domestic shipping on orders over $10!

Enter the giveaway to win this style of tool tin!

Enter the giveaway to win this style of tool tin!

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8 Days of Giveaways!

It’s Chanukah! And whether you celebrate Chanukah or not, you’re invited to participate in Poetry in Yarn’s 8 Days of Giveaways!

chanukah menorah

How does it work? There will be a giveaway every day from Weds., Dec. 17th through Weds., Dec 24th. I’ll be giving away awesome knit and crochet tools, notions, and accessories. Each giveaway is open for only 24hrs, so act quickly for your chance to win.

As an Orthodox Jew, I don’t use electronics on the Sabbath (Saturday), so there will be a DOUBLE GIVEAWAY on Friday with 2 different prizes for 2 different winners.

Ready? Set? Let’s GO!

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How my traditional crafting is breaking traditional gender roles

I knit, crochet, sew, and embroider. Most people would categorize these crafts as traditional, domestic, and feminine, and your general assumption (no matter how enlightened you are) is probably going to be that someone engaging in these projects is female. When I advertised knitting classes for kids lately, a couple of people asked me if boys were allowed to attend. No one thought to ask me if it was for girls; that was a given. Major industry studies on consumer trends in needlearts make sure to cover the demographics of age and regional location, but don’t even bother with gender. It’s just assumed that they’re women.

Need further proof that knit and crochet are still considered effeminate? A Yahoo search for “what percent of crocheters are men” turned up a cringe worthy first page of search results including articles on the percentage of gay men in America and a Wikipedia article on the demographics of sexual orientation. Seriously, Yahoo? Ug. Stereotypes are alive and well in America.

Many people know at least one male crocheter or knitter- one knitting student gets help from her father who learned when he was little, and the Rabbi who performed my baby naming is an avid crocheter. Despite the male stitchers we know though, that does tend to be more the exception than the rule. And, for what it’s worth, this stereotype is at least lightly rooted in fact. A majority of needlearts consumers are female.*

As a female engaging in these crafts, I’m feeding into traditional gender roles. I’m a woman who does womanly things. I’ve seen at least one post from someone stitching in public who was chided for “setting feminism back 100 years”. What I’ve discovered however, is that by doing traditional crafting, I’m actually breaking down traditional gender roles for at least one important male- my son.

My little man learns to sew.

My little man learns to sew.

My house is full of yarn and fabric and all the notions needed for these crafts. Watching me stitch has inspired my son to do so also. He’s asked me to teach him to crochet and knit. He’s great at a chain stitch. With the proliferation of fabric coming into the house, he’s started some basic sewing, and is begging me for fabric and sewing supplies of his own. (That’s going to be his Chanukah present. Shhhh. It’s a surprise.)

I’d be lying if I said he hasn’t picked up on the gender bias in crafting. He asked me once, in his plaintive little voice, if it was true that yarn was for boys too. “Yes,” I replied, my heart breaking a little, “of course it is.” I wanted to warn him. I wanted to tell him that yarn is for everyone but that there are some hard headed people out there who don’t understand that. They might make fun of him. I wanted to prepare him for the gender politics that surround traditional crafts. But he’s too little to understand the complexity of the situation, so I didn’t. Instead I’ll just continue to help him to craft. He’ll learn from me, not that stitching is for women, but that stitching is something we can do together as part of quality time in a loving family. That’s a stereotype I’d be fine with.

*What’s a majority? 2 hours this morning on at least seven major industry websites fails to find me the numbers. Ravelry currently has over 70% female members, while The Knitting Guild of America is at 99%

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Perfect Travel Knitting + Kate Atherley Q&A

We went to visit relatives for Thanksgiving. 16 hrs in the car each way. While I stocked up on dvds and audiobooks for the kids, I knew I would need a knitting project to help keep my sanity. After hunting around, I came upon the Rickenbacker Shawl pattern by Kate Atherley. Perfect!

© Lauren Ogilvie

© Lauren Ogilvie

I used a sport weight yarn I had on hand instead of fingering, and upped the needle size. It was the perfect travel knitting. Since I’m a combination knitter, I used a slightly different right-leaning decrease that twisted the stitches. All in all I’m very pleased.

My finished shawl

My finished shawl

I’ve also decided that a Rickenbacker should be a new unit of measure. How long was your trip? 1 Rickenbacker long.

I enjoyed it so much, that I asked designer Kate Atherley if she’d be up for a short interview.  As the Managing Technical Editor for Knitty.com as well as tech editing for Annie Modesitt, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Laura Nelkin, Interweave magazines, Cooperative Press and Potter Craft, Kate has edited literally thousands of patterns for designers, yarn companies and publishers. She also teaches knitting regularly across North America and is also the author of Beyond Knit and Purl, Knit Accessories: Essential and Variations, and a regular contributor to knitting books and magazines, including Interweave’s Sockupied.

What’s your favorite travel knitting project?

I always have a sock project and a medium-challenging shawl project. The shawl project is for when I need entertaining – on long flights, for example — and the sock project is for times when I can’t necessarily pay full attention but I want to keep my hands busy – while waiting at the baggage carousel, for example.

This pattern was my first time using the lifted increase. Do you have a favorite increase or decrease?

Fave increase the backwards loop make 1 – I call it M1Z as I was reminded about it by reading one of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s books. I love it because it’s easy and entirely neutral – doesn’t have a particular right or left lean, or a particular allegiance to knit or purl. Suitable for most situations, and you don’t have to remember M1R & M1L. I used the Lifted increase in this shawl as I liked how it looked, but M1Z works just as well!

How do you balance your design and tech editing work?

It can be challenging, I’ll be honest. Tech editing I do in the daylight, and designing I do after dark. Mostly!

As a tech editor, what’s your biggest pet peeve? (Mine is when designers leave out stitch counts.)

This question makes me laugh… in fact, it was a similar question that kicked me off on a six month odyssey to write a book! There are a few things that frustrate me as an editor, but to some extent that’s not material: I can usually figure out what’s going on! My biggest frustration is patterns that are written so poorly that knitters can’t figure them out.

Tell us a little about the new book you have coming out.

It’s a guide to writing knitting patterns, aimed at both experienced designers and those just starting out. It became clear to me that the skillset needed to be a good pattern writer isn’t one that’s naturally paired with the skillset needed to be a knit designer. My hope is to help designers help knitters by producing better, clearer, easier-to-knit from patterns, with a higher chance of successful outcome. It’s available  from www.kateatherley.com, for $25.

Check out Kate’s new book (I know I will) or cast on a Rickenbacker of your very own!

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