Mark Your Calendars for NatCroMo 2019!

Now that the big holiday rush is over, you might think it’s all calm til summer – but don’t forget about NatCroMo! NatCroMo is National Crochet Month, and it’s been celebrated every March since 2000 as decreed by the Crochet Guild of America “to promote the art of crochet and engage enthusiasts and master crocheters alike!” Here are some great ways to get ready to celebrate NatCroMo2019!

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Of course, all you really need to celebrate National Crochet Month is some gorgeous yarn, a hook, and a desire to crochet! But there are some NatCroMo events happening online and in person, you may want to get on your calendar now!

The Crochet Guild of America Crochet Along – The CGOA will be celebrating National Crochet Month with a
Crochet-Along exclusively for members. Andee Graves, CGOA board vice president, has designed a fun neck warmer called the Buttoned Up Neck Cozy that is perfect for all skill levels and just about any medium weight yarn. Board members have worked up five samples of the design in different yarns to showcase how easy it is to get a completely different look just by changing the yarn. The CAL will be hosted on crochet.org. Log into the website, on the left side of the home page under My Profile click on GROUPS and you’ll find the 2019 National Crochet Month CAL to join. We’re looking forward to a fun month with lots of sharing and posting of masterpieces!

CGOA NatCroMo 2019

Marly Bird’s Tournament of Stitches – The Tournament of Stitches is a mystery make-along and a great way for us to come together as a community and make something that is the same but different. Sound confusing? I hope not. This is a special four-week make-along hosted in the Marly Minion’s group. The make-along starts on March 6th and will go until the end of the month. Each week you will get a new section of the pattern. At the end of the four weeks, you will have a beautiful crochet (or knit – even though it’s NatCroMo, she’s got the knitters covered too!) shawl. Please head to the Marly Bird blog on March 1st for all of the details about this year’s event.

Marly Bird's Tournament of Stitches

2019 International Crochet Month Designer Showcase – Hosted by Marie Segares of Underground Crafter, she writes “Every day during March 2019, a Crochet Guild of America member will be highlighted. The purpose of the designer showcase is to celebrate our mutual love of crochet, raise awareness of the Crochet Guild of America, and bring new audiences to each participating designer.” I can’t wait to see all the NatCroMo goodies – there will be one from Moogly as well, made with Red Heart Yarn of course!

#HookedOnYarn2019 Instagram Challenge – “An Instagram challenge is basically a series of topics, prompts, or ideas for people to post about on Instagram. There is a different topic for each day, and many of them are intentionally a little vague. It’s always fun to see how different people interpret the prompts!” This one is hosted by Marly Bird, Underground Crafter, and Stitches ‘n’ Scraps – and it’s a fun way to spread the love of crochet on Instagram!

#HookedOnYarn2019 Instagram NatCroMo Challenge

Fiber Flux NatCroMo Beginner Series –  Jennifer Dickerson is hosting a learn to crochet event, where she will be sharing a beginner friendly pattern every Monday during the month of March – all using Red Heart Yarns! It’s for people who have never crocheted, people want to brush up on their skills, or anyone who’s just looking for some fun and easy projects! There will be a written pattern plus full video tutorial for each design, and the first post is coming March 1st. There might just be a yarn giveaway too!

NatCroMo Beginner Crochet Series on Fiber Flux - 2019

 

And finally, Kathryn Vercillo put together a fantastic list of 25 Ways to Celebrate National Crochet Month – from learning something new to crocheting for charity, so check that out for more great ideas for NatCroMo 2019!

RedHeart-NationalCrochetMonthBlog

However you choose to celebrate National Crochet Month, make it a happy one, and don’t forget to spread the word about NatCroMo and the joys of crochet!

Mark Your Calendars for NatCroMo 2019!

Interview with a Yarn Lover: Marly Bird

Crocheters, knitters, crafters – we have a few things in common. I think one of the main things are health and wellness benefits we get from engaging in our favorite hobbies. The other thing – a deep and abiding love of yarn!

Recently, I got the chance to chat with one of the most famous yarn lovers around these parts – Red Heart National Spokesperson Marly Bird! We talked about yarn of course, but we also talked a bit about how helpful and therapeutic it can be!

Marly Bird, National Spokesperson for Red Heart Yarn

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Crafting an Organized Holiday Season

When Halloween decorations are still in the stores, it’s hard to start thinking about the gift-giving holidays – “too early” is what most say! But if you like to make handmade gifts, then it’s time to start planning – and in some cases making! Here are some tips, timelines, and free patterns to help you prep for the holidays this year!

Make a List & Check It Twice

Who are you creating for this year? While it can be tempting to aim for a 100% handmade holiday, the cold hard fact is that not everyone appreciates handmade gifts, and your time and talents are precious!

Make sure you are crocheting and knitting for those who will honor your time and talents. And make sure you know about any allergies – not everyone can handle all natural fibers!

GIFT IDEA: Care Package Throw by Moogly – This crochet blanket pattern works up in just hours with Red Heart With Love – which makes it easy care and non-allergenic too!

Care Package Throw by Moogly

Create a Countdown Calendar

Whether you’re a paper person or a digital devotee, it’s time to break open your calendar and start thinking about how much time you have to devote to making your gifts this year. While Christmas might be “months away,” it really breaks down to only a few weeks!

Depending on the length of your list and the amount of free time you have to devote to making, you will want to make sure you have enough time to make each project, without turning your own holiday into a stressful rush.

Try printing out a few free online calendar pages and planning out a deadline for each project to keep yourself on track – and to make sure you’re being realistic too!

GIFT IDEA: Dragon Wing Cowl by Jessie At Home – Knitting for the holidays doesn’t have to take forever – try a beautiful one skein accessory like this pattern featuring just one ball of Red Heart Sparkle Soft!

Dragon Wing Cowl by Jessie At Home

Plan Your Projects & Get Organized

After you’ve got your gift list made, it’s time to think about supplies! Do you have the yarn you need to make the projects on your list? Have you bookmarked or printed out the patterns you want to make?

One thing that can be very helpful, when you have a lot of projects lined up, is to make yourself a bunch of “kits.” Using project bags, bins, plastic baggies, sections of the spare bed – whatever works for you! – put the yarn, supplies, and pattern for each project in its own pile or container.

This has 3 great benefits – you’ll see exactly what you still need to purchase or gather together, so you can organize your shopping list, and you’ll also see exactly how big a “job” you are setting yourself up for – and if that schedule is realistic!

And finally, when you’re ready to get started with each project, you’ll have everything you need right there – grab and go!

GIFT IDEA: Hygge Stripe Socks by Marly Bird – Knit socks are a classic gift for a reason – and these beginner house socks include video tutorials, as well as Chic Sheep by Marly Bird yarn!

Hygge Stripe Socks by Marly Bird

Get Making

All the planning in the world won’t help if you don’t start crocheting in time! But the race to the holiday can take its toll on your muscles – be sure to stop, stretch, and relax on nights you’re yarning. Nothing will slow you down more than an injury!

In addition to the muscle strain, holiday prep can affect our mental health as well. Be sure to take deep breathes during those stretches, and remember that handmade takes time.

If you find yourself stressing out about gift projects, go back to your schedule or calendar and see if you can mix up the order a bit – try alternating between complicated patterns and simple patterns that can be made while you relax and watch your favorite holiday movies!

GIFT IDEA: Cozy Time Fringe Throw by Salena Baca for Red Heart – Relax with a cup of cocoa (or maybe some mulled wine?) and this ultra easy, relaxing, and supremely comfy throw made with Red Heart Hygge!

Cozy Time Fringe Throw by Salena Baca for Red Heart

Have a Backup Plan

Sometimes, despite our best intentions and efforts, the handmade gift just isn’t going to get made in time. It’s happened to just about every crafter!

So what will you do? You have lots of options – from gifting an “IOU,” to making something smaller/faster, to setting the project aside for next year and purchasing something for this year instead.

After all, part of the value of handmade is that it takes time – something we all run short of sometimes. So it doesn’t hurt to always have a few “quick gift” patterns in your back pocket for emergencies – and then we’ll start earlier next year, right?

GIFT IDEA: Hanging Gift Card Holder by Moogly – This super quick pattern is perfect for last-minute gift emergencies – or when you need to make a bunch of quick gifts in bulk – with just 25 yards of Red Heart Scrubby Smoothie!

Hanging Gift Card Holder - Moogly

Good luck all – and Happy Holidays!

Tips for Crafting an Organized Holiday Season

Make the Most of Your Outdoor Space with Crochet!

It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy – and outdoors! As we hose off the lawn chairs and shake out the camping equipment, don’t forget to add those special soft touches that make your outdoor living space an extension of your home. Here are 10 free crochet patterns featuring Red Heart Yarns that will help you make the most of your outdoor space!

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