We suggest getting the big projects done first
If you plan to give handmade gifts for the holidays, it's time to plan ahead (those of you who started in January know this :). Giving handmade gifts is joyful, but working on a deadline sucks the fun out of it, right? We like to work on big gifts first, like blankets or sweaters. Get started on those first and save the quick and easy ones for later.
Why not try a sampler blanket, where you work up a square in different stitches, like Norah Gaughan's Vintage Afghan (pictured at right - knit, free on Berroco.com or in-store), which gives you a great chance to practice cabling. The other advantage of a sampler blanket is that the individual squares are small, making working on them in the summer heat less of an issue!
We also like what we've seen so far of Holly Beemer's Summer Stitch Sampler Knit-a-long (knit, free on atyarnslength.com). This KAL is still ongoing, with the first 6 clues available on the At Yarns Length website or through their Facebook Group.
Crocheters can work up Sandra Paul's Nature's Walk Blanket (pictured at left - free on the Cherry Heart Blog - be sure to read her note on downloads if you have trouble with Ravelry) or Ren M's Afghan Sampler 2015 (free on The Inspired Wren Blog).
Want to make a custom blanket? We recommend that you use a stitch dictionary, like Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns or 500 Crochet Stitches: the Ultimate Crochet Stitch Bible and work up a variety of squares. Once you finish them, you attach and add a border. If you want to try something funky, you can make the squares in a variety of sizes and then piece them together. The random sizes makes for an interesting way to use up scrap yarn, too!
Be well, be safe, be kind!
-Caryn & the Yarnivore crew
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