Knitting Heaven and Earth - a book review

I recently finished reading Knitting Heaven and Earth by Susan Gordon Lyon. It is aptly subtitled Healing the Heart with Craft. Susan Gordon Lyon also wrote The Knitting Sutra.

In this book, the author writes about how her knitting helped her deal with different experiences in life. She especially likes to knit lacy shawls, which she says are often how she feels herself - porous and full of holes.

A heart-breaking romance, the death of her father, and a breast cancer diagnosis leave her in a fragile emotional state. Through it all, Ms. Lyon finds strength and comfort in her yarn and knitting.

The majority of the first part of the book is about her crazy relationship with her on-again-off-again boyfriend. She starts the relationship knitting a lovely blue shawl (emotional roller coaster), then goes to a white shawl (wedding thoughts??), then ends with a black shawl grief). Ms. Lyons describes her relationship with this man as being a lot like knitting - you have to hold on with just the proper amount of tension - yarn and men! She also learns that with men, like with knitting, "the patterns don't lie" - you get what you see - you aren't changing the man.

Later in the book, Ms. Lyons writes about being diagnosed with breast cancer and how that changed her life and her knitting. She joins a support group and takes her knitting with her. She learned to knit outside the box, to look at her knitting and not at the pattern as she went.

In Knitting Heaven and Earth , Ms. Lyons also writes about her father being ill and in hospice. She reminds us that knitting is perfect for those times when there is nothing to do but wait - times of life transitions.

To sum it up - a quote from Knitting Heaven and Earth -

"It (knitting) has kept me inspired and happy. Though it hasn't been good for my pocketbook, it has been good for my spirit, soothing to my troubled mind. It has grounded me in times of happiness and consoled me through times of illness, sorrow, and loss.
Knitting has given my soul a way to fly free. I owe to the humble practice of knitting more than I can ever say."

I'm all about sustainable practices, and because I most likely won't read this book again, I'd like to pass it on to a fellow yarn crafter. To WIN this book - leave a comment below on the blog and on the Little Monkey's Shop Facebook page post about this book review, and sign up for my newsletter at Little Monkeys Designs, if you haven't already. A winner will be picked at random in one week.

Ruth Pullover for American Girl Dolls

I have three daughters - so we have more American Girl Dolls in our house than I care to admit! But - they do get played with quite a bit.
After crocheting my youngest daughter several ponchos, she thought her doll needed one too. What a great opportunity to create a new poncho pullover crochet pattern!
The Ruth Pullover is a beautiful short sleeve pullover that fits an American Girl Doll or any other 18″ doll.
A pullover for your American Girl Doll is a must for the change of seasons! Make it in a color to match her favorite outfit.

This doll crochet pattern creates a stylish pullover in a gorgeous array of stitch patterns. The back is longer than the front – a touch of modern trend!

Little girls, and big girls love to dress matching their dolls!  This Ruth Pullover crochet pattern will soon be available in little girls - women sizes. 

Sign up for my newsletter at Little Monkey's Designs to be notified of new pattern releases, sales, and more.

You can also follow along on the Little Monkey Shop Facebook page or on Instagram @LtlMonkeyShop.

Hurry Up Spring Scarf

Today I'm guest posting with Sedruola on Yarn Obsession. We're sharing a yarn review of Mountain Meadow Wool Mill worsted merino yarn and a FREE crochet pattern for my new Hurry Up Spring Scarf.

With an open weave stitch, this scarf is perfect for transitioning into spring.

Crochet the scarf with your favorite color worsted weight yarn, in your favorite length, and wear it any way you want!

The Hurry Up Spring scarf is a perfect crochet pattern for you to work up this weekend!

Visit Yarn Obsession to grab the FREE pattern. Then come back and comment your thoughts on the pattern and what you would like to see me design next!

Chunky Vest to fit everyone

I've had this chunky vest on my hook for a while. Once I sat down and gave it some attention, it worked up in a very short time! This vest is perfect beginners pattern, but fun for the more experienced crocheter as well.

The Chunky Vest crochet pattern is written for Toddler, Child and Adult sizes. Instructions are given on how to adjust the size to fit any size.

 I used Mountain Meadow Wool Mill's Sheridan chunky or bulky weight yarn in Navy to create these vests. You'll also need a button or two and a N hook.

The neck can be worn turned up or rolled down, depending on the style you want.

This vest is a mix of fun, easy stitches. Change out your yarn colors and buttons to work for girls or boys. Add a little style to your little one while keeping them comfortable and warm! 

This cozy vest is awesome for layering on those cold days. Wear it to the office, school, or running errands. 

The Chunky Vest pattern can be purchased at Little Monkey's Designs.

Lamb's Ear Cardigan in 12, 18, and 24 months

Lamb's Ear baby cardigan by Little Monkeys Design

Appalachian Baby Design yarn company has asked me to take their most popular knit pattern - the Lamb's Ear Cardigan - and rework it into a crochet pattern. Not being a proficient knitter, it was a little difficult, but I think I succeeded!

Lamb's Ear baby cardigan by Little Monkeys Design

The Lamb's Ear Cardigan crochet pattern by Little Monkey's Designs - in 12, 18, and 24 month sizes. It will fit a wide range of sizes - perfect for baby's first spring cardigan.

Lamb's Ear baby cardigan by Little Monkeys Design

Here the cardigan is modeled by Willow, a 2 year old. The lamb's ear hood even looks cute just hanging down from the back.

Lamb's Ear baby cardigan by Little Monkeys Design

The sleeves and outer edges of the cardigan and hood have a decorative edge. Leave the cuffs down or roll them up to fit a wider range of sizes.

Lamb's Ear baby cardigan by Little Monkeys Design

With the use of the sewing technique of gathering, the lamb ears get some character!

Lamb's Ear baby cardigan by Little Monkeys Design

Here Lawson, an almost 12 month old models the Lamb's Ear Cardigan. He was everywhere, so we just photo shot where he went! (He was fast!) But this way we were able to get a great view of the back of the cardigan with the hood on. So cute!

Lamb's Ear baby cardigan by Little Monkeys Design

The Lamb's Ear Cardigan crochet pattern is written using Appalachian Baby Design Organic Cotton sport weight yarn and a E hook. You'll also need 4 buttons and a yarn needle.

Lamb's Ear baby cardigan by Little Monkeys Design

Did I tell you this was my first crochet cardigan pattern to design? I like the results, and it wasn't near as hard as I thought it would be! Each section of the cardigan is worked separately and then sewn together, except for the sleeves which are worked directly on the cardigan. 

Lamb's Ear baby cardigan by Little Monkeys Design

I encourage you to give it a try. You'll need some crochet experience, but after that, this is a great crochet pattern for your first cardigan. Start today and you'll have it finished in time for Easter. 

Comment below to let me know your thoughts on the cardigan and what you'd like me to put on my design list for this year.

Night in Paris Cowl

Before the cold weather gives way to Spring (YAY!), I thought I'd play around with some chunky yarn.
 The Night in Paris cowl pattern uses chunky weight yarn so it works up quickly. You can make it in just a few hours!

 This chunky cowl is perfect for throwing around your neck when going to work or to the kid’s soccer practice! Crocheted in a colorful yarn, it can add some pizzaz to a simple outfit without a lot of work!

  I used Mountain Meadow Wool merino wool yarn Sheridan in Night for the pictured cowl. There are a lot of other color options in the Sheridan chunky weight yarn line from Mountain Meadow Wool Mill to choose from - or use up some of that chunky yarn in your project basket!

Need a quick, easy, and fun project for this weekend? Visit Little Monkey's Designs to purchase the Night in Paris Chunky Cowl crochet pattern, grab some chunky yarn and a size N hook and you're all set!

I'd love for you to post pictures of items you've crocheted from Little Monkey's Designs patterns. You can post them on the Little Monkey Shop Facebook page or tag them with #LittleMonkeysDesigns on Instagram.

A new hat - Dori's Diamond hat with Earflaps and a Pom-Pom

My friend Dori over at The Red Feedsack asked me to make her a hat to wear when she went out to check on her cows. Several Momma cows are birthing this time of year, so she has to check on them several times a day - including early in the morning - and they have 100 acres - so it takes a while!

Dori is a very fun, personable lady, so I wanted to create a hat that would fit her personality well.
I knew I wanted to use the diamond stitch and add a pom-pom. 

Dori requested ear flaps and teal as the color. I added in some grey to accent the diamond stitch.

Mountain Meadow Wool Mill merino wool yarn in worsted weight is my go-to yarn this Fall and Winter. It is super soft and warm, thick, all natural, and dyed with earth friendly dyes. 

Dori's Diamond Hat is a slouch style hat with ear flaps to keep your checks and ears warm! Braided ties add some more charm to this winter hat.

This crochet hat pattern is written in adult size, but can be made to fit any size. The pattern includes instructions on how to easily alter the size of the finished hat.

Dori's Diamond Hat was such fun to create! I love how it turned out and so did Dori!

Crochet hearts for Valentine's Day cards

This week I went to a card making party/luncheon. We had so much fun!
My supplies are still out, so I thought I'd incorporate some crochet hearts into a few cards for Valentine's Day.

Besides the usual card stock and card making supplies, I used cotton crochet thread and crochet hooks ranging from 2.2-3.5mm (~hooks C-F) to create different size hearts.

Heart Crochet Pattern

Make a magic ring. Inside the magic ring-
Ch 3
3 tr
3 dc
ch 1, tr, ch 1
3 dc
3 tr
ch 2, sl st to ring
Pull ring to close tightly and tie off.

I then created a few Valentine's Day cards and used a glue stick to adhere the crochet hearts to the card.

Stuck for ideas? Pinterest is a great place to start for some ideas. Just look for Valentine's Day cards where you could add a few crochet hearts.

I had a few hearts and scrap paper left over, so I created a bookmark. I love they way the hearts are tied together at the top.

Get out your leftover scrapbook supplies, some crochet thread or yarn, and a few hooks and get creating! Valentine's Day is just around the corner and nothing says " I Love You" quite like handmade - or chocolate!

Featured Blogger

Do you LOVE Pinterest? How about joining us this evening in a Pinterest Link pary? You can follow me on Pinterest as Little Monkey's Designs/angelarplunkett

Scroll to the bottom to see the Featured Blogger!

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Don't just like it! PIN It!

Meet Your Hosts:

Rhondda from Oombawka Design

Follow Rhondda: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Google+

Go PIN wild at the PIN­spiration Link Party!

Be sure to add your Pinterest Link so we can follow you and see what you are pinning too!

Our picks of the week:

Remember to PIN it! 

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  Tuesday PIN-spiration Link Party Amys Picks Simply Collectible Crochet and Articles of a Bad Domestic Goddess
(top) Lily's Sweetheart Crochet Cowl ­ Simply Collectible Crochet
(bottom) Valentine's Day Heart Wreath ­ Ramblings of a (Bad) Domestic Goddess

PIN-spiration Link Party - Rhonddas Picks The Crafty Blog Stalker and Everyday Made Fresh

(top) 25 Non­Candy Valentine Printables ­ The Crafty Blog Stalker
(bottom) Brown Sugar Blondies for Valentine's Day ­ Everyday Made Fresh

Featured Blogger:

Angela - Featured Blogger - Tuesday PIN-spiration Link Party

This week our featured bloggers is Angela Plunkett, Designer & Blogger at the Little Monkey Shop
Hi! I'm Angela Plunkett ­ the blogger and designer from Little Monkey Shop. My grandmother taught me to crochet slippers when I was 8 years old, and I have been crocheting ever since!
I like to work with all natural, eco­friendly fibers that are dyed using earth friendly, non toxic dyes. My crochet patterns are easy enough for beginning crocheters, but interesting enough to entice the more advanced crafter. I offer free patterns on my blog, along with yarn and book reviews, crochet tips, trends and more. I have paid patterns on my website Little Monkey's Designs, Ravelry and Craftsy. Please subscribe to my blog and newsletter, and stay up to date on my new pattern releases. Join me on my journey to becoming a more sustainable crocheter!  
My goal is to create heirloom quality patterns/items that will be past on to future generations.
Featured Blogger - Little Monkey Shop

(top)Pure and Simple Baby Blanket ­ A Simply Beautiful Crochet Project|
(bottom)Crochet Tips to Make You a Better Crocheter

You can find and follow Angela on these social media platforms:
Check out all of the projects that have been featured here plus some of the party favourites on our Tuesday PIN­spiration Pinterest Board: