There’s No Place Like a Handcrafted Home

There’s No Place Like a Handcrafted Home

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Spending some extra time at home can give you a new perspective on your living space: on its look and feel, what you do and don’t like about it … and what you might want to change. There are so many home décor options out there, it’s admittedly a little dizzying. Being willing to use your own creativity and hooks, needle, or loom can help you narrow your choices to the most personal of styles. The handcrafted home is unique.

Before you can create, however, you need to decide what kind of look you’re going for—and there’s nothing that affects the overall feel of a room as much as color. Luckily for all the crochet fans out there, TSB has a selection to share that might help you narrow things down.

Do brilliant, vivid colors fill you with energy? Do you find yourself longing for rich, lively hues everywhere you turn? Collections like COLORFUL CROCHET are bursting with designs for making your home brighter and more beautiful. From pillows to coasters, potholders to throws, even delightful and adaptable coathanger covers—it’s never been simpler to turn any room in your home into a celebration of all things colorful.

Or you might groove on something more classic—do you love dynamic contrasts, except you want a different kind of pop? Look no further than CROCHET IN BLACK & WHITE: this compelling two-color combo is impossible to turn down, with patterns that range from stylish in their simplicity to fun and funky, running the gamut from rugs and lampshades to table runners and wall hangings, and so much more. These versatile, striking home accessories prove without a doubt that keeping your color selection simple and straightforward doesn’t mean sacrificing an ounce of creativity—or fun.

And of course home is a place for sanctuary, too: for calm and comfort, and the kind of peace you can only find when you’re relaxing in your own space. If that sounds like your ideal, you might be in the mood for chic, refined neutrals … which are something of a specialty for Scandinavian crochet expert Tove Fevang. Her latest, CLASSIC CROCHET THE MODERN WAY, features gorgeous home décor designs in soft, soothing colors—the perfect complement to some of her best-loved patterns from the aptly-themed CROCHET FOR THE KITCHEN. With balanced, natural shades, make your home the ultimate refuge from the stresses and strains of life.

No matter what style suits you, there are endless opportunities for you to give your home a personal, handmade touch—and make it somewhere you love to be!

Which of these general categories would you put yourself into, and how do you like to show that off in your space? Let us know! We love to see your handcrafted home projects.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of quality equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

Feel the Love for Mother’s Day

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In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to make an effort to appreciate our friends and loved ones, to lift our spirits and remind ourselves how much we care about each other—and Mother’s Day is a perfect opportunity to let the moms in our lives know how thankful we are for their presence. Even when circumstances pose a bit of a challenge!

For those of us lucky enough to share a household with our mothers on their special day, the possibilities are just about endless. Helping out around the house with everyday tasks is an easy way to make it clear we’re grateful for the person who does them the most often—and give Mom a welcome break at the same time. Baking a favorite dessert is another classic option for a little homemade indulgence … or maybe a charming afternoon tea party everyone can enjoy?

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Or perhaps you’re stuck practicing some social distancing. Don’t let that keep you apart! Doing something fun together outdoors is a wonderful way to spend time together, even with 6 feet of personal space apiece—at least as long as the weather’s cooperating. Taking a long, luxurious walk, or going on a “quarantine picnic” (BYOB: bring your own blanket!) gives you a chance to appreciate the beauty of spring together, and enjoy an enriching and heartwarming experience you’ll treasure.

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But not all of us are in a position to spend time with loved ones for Mother’s Day this year, no matter how much we’d like to. Luckily, there are still all kinds of things you can do to show Mom some extra love! Shower a mom within visiting distance with a little something special—a handmade springtime wreath to leave on the front door, even when you can’t share space in person, or a delightful present for the porch or garden. And no matter how near or far away we are, the most important thing we can do is let Mom know we’re thinking of her. Whether it’s a phone call, a video chat, a text, or a card, send some love a mother’s way, and remind her to take a little time for herself this year and have a relaxing, refreshing, rejuvenating Mother’s Day.

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And it would be remiss of us not to mention—if a mother you know and love happens to be a crafter, or wants to give it a try, a digital gift certificate from TSB is an endlessly flexible treat that’ll let her pick and choose whichever titles catch her eye … and we’ll be holding a special Mother’s Day sale this weekend, 20% off Sunday into Monday, which makes it the perfect time to order!

CLICK HERE to visit us now.

Happy Mother’s Day from the TSB staff.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of quality equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont. 

Handmade Stay-Home Style for Your Pets

LoveMeKnitforMe-trafalgarbooksEven under less-than-ideal circumstances, spending some extra time at home can be a wonderful opportunity to develop closer connections, look after each other, and find comfort together. And that doesn’t just apply to the human members of the household! Our four-legged best friends make tough times more bearable—and it’s a pleasure to be able to give them a gift every now and then in return.

Celebrated Scandinavian knitting superstars Arne Nerjordet and Carlos Zachrison have given their dog Freja cameos in several of their books since she was a puppy, and they love making things for her. Their latest release ARNE & CARLOS FAVORITE DESIGNS collects the “best of the best”: 70 of their favorite techniques and patterns, drawn together from 15 years and 7 books’ worth of creative inspiration, plus 15 all-new projects, to create a uniquely beautiful sourcebook that has something for everyone …

… including Freja! The dog sweater pattern Arne and Carlos developed for Freja, featuring a ribbed turtleneck and classic Norwegian “crosses” and “rings,” plus rounds of charming crosshatched hearts, is presented in two sizes: one to fit the 13-pound Freja, and a larger version designed to fit her mother. (CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR FREE PATTERN, plus get Arne and Carlos’s tips for checking the sizing against your dog, and adjusting yarn weight to suit dogs who are even larger.)

And of course there’s no better book for dog lovers who knit than DOGS ON SWEATERS, from expert knitters and longtime dog enthusiasts Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne. This book includes patterns for sweaters with dogs from 18 popular breeds, including Labradors, Beagles, Dalmatians, Pugs, Golden Retrievers, and more, for children and adults—plus instructions for customizing the “nearest fit” to depict your favorite rare breed or lovable mutt instead.

But a book about dogs on sweaters wouldn’t be complete without some dogs in sweaters! And Muir and Osborne took the time to work up a lovely fitted dog coat in five sizes, from Chihuahua to German Shepherd (so to speak)—which is also available for FREE from TSB! (CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR FREE PATTERN.)

Are you a cat person or a dog person—and is your beloved pet the type to put up with a snuggly coat or cowl, or not? Post your answer and tag us on Facebook (#TSBcrafts) or on Instagram (@trafalgarsquarecraftbooks), and you’ll be entered to win a FREE copy of your choice of either of these two titles. (As long as you’re within the US and over 18, that is.)

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Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

Knit Your Way Around the World

Knit Your Way Around the World

For the moment, travel in person is out of the picture for most of us. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t endless opportunities to go on a journey of another kind with your keyboard—and your knitting needles! Now more than ever, the internet has opened up whole new possibilities for visiting faraway places, keeping in touch with those around us, and exploring history, art, and culture: a trove of inspiration for crafts and creativity.

 

Explore Medieval Churches

Digital tours aren’t just for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With a single search online, you can turn up fabulous video and 3D exploratory tours of sights like medieval Norwegian stave churches:

 

And classic Swedish church art:

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Click image to take the virtual tour.

 

Both feature the same striking beauty, fantastical colors, and intricate patterning behind our pattern book MEDIEVAL-INSPIRED KNITS, which transforms centuries-old Scandinavian art into eyecatching, wearable garments.

 

Browse Digitized Museum Collections

The DigitaltMuseum is dedicated to preserving and displaying Norwegian and Swedish art and historical objects, collected from the catalogs of dozens of Scandinavian museums—and its comprehensive photographs served as one of the many resources employed to identify and reconstruct historical design motifs for our bestselling book SELBU MITTENS, the ultimate guide to these famous handcrafted accessories from the Norwegian village of Selbu.

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Click image to visit the DigitaltMuseum.

The Danish National Museum has also made an enthusiastic effort to share its collections with the world, and that includes photographs documenting traditional clothing in Denmark and the Faroe Islands: the gorgeous textured motifs and colorwork patterns that were the inspiration for TRADITIONAL DANISH SWEATERS and FAROE ISLAND KNITS, putting astoundingly beautiful time-honored designs at your fingertips.

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Click the image to visit the Danish National Museum.

 

We’re Tight-Knit

In these uncertain times, despite all the social distancing and self-isolation we’ve committed ourselves to, there’s a special beauty underlying the international interlace inspiration for VIKING KNITS & ANCIENT ORNAMENTS, from Elsebeth Lavold (author of the bestselling VIKING PATTERNS FOR KNITTING)—her extensive survey of global textiles, carvings, and manuscripts of all kinds led her to, as she puts it, “a very comforting conclusion: that the human race is really a tight-knit community, which more things tying us together than separating us.”

 

Make the time to stay connected to the world around you, and let us know where you’d like to be headed on your next knitting journey.

You can find any of the books mentioned here at the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE to explore our store now.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of quality equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

Stay-Home Stashbusting Crochet

Stay-Home Stashbusting Crochet

The siren song of a few brand-new skeins of yarn (or more than a few…) can be hard to resist. But as long as we’re all stuck steering clear of our favorite LYS for the sake of social distancing, that makes it the perfect time to dive back into our stashes and rediscover all the hidden treasures we haven’t quite managed to use up.

Learning how to crochet can make any stashbusting expedition a little easier: quick, fun crochet projects that use lots of different colors are everywhere. Potholders, dishtowels, amigurumi; crocheted flowers, crocheted hearts—or any other shape you like, strung together on a joining line of chain stitch for the world’s most charming handmade bunting. Turn the handful of leftover hanks you never thought you’d manage to use into delightful decorations or handy household accessories in a snap!

Some crochet patterns are specifically designed to be accessorized with all kinds of extra tidbits, perfect for those leftover ends a little too long to throw away but a little too short for most projects.

COLORFUL CROCHET features layered, flat, and spiraling crochet flowers, hearts, and butterflies that are easy to attach to hats, cowls, or mittens, or even the toes of slippers—or, of course, make a few dozen flowers in whatever colors you’ve got, joined together into a one-of-a-kind shawl.

Or maybe dishtowels and pillows are more your style? Try a striking striped pattern from CRAZY FOR CROCHET, adapted to whatever color selection you’ve got on hand; just make the stripes thicker for the yarns you’ve got more of, and thinner for the ones that are almost gone. (And if you’ve got a lot of variations in weight to worry about, try disguising the difference by holding a lighter yarn doubled, or working bobbles or popcorns that will change the texture anyway.)

But of course the most straightforward go-to choices of all for smaller amounts of yarn are crochet designs for babies. Baby patterns work up so quickly, and the more colors you’ve got, the better, brighter, and more interesting they’ll look! A collection like CROCHETED GIFTS FOR BABY is full of adorable toys, accessories, and other odds and ends that can easily be crocheted with stripes, spots, and zigzags—or multicolored eyes, legs, or tails, depending on the toy.

It’s always such a fantastic feeling to be able to put a long-stashed yarn to good use, and small, colorful crochet patterns make it easier than ever. And don’t hold back: what’s the oldest yarn you’ve got tucked away, and what have you been thinking about using it for? Tell us! Or share on your social page and tag us (for good measure).

COLORFUL CROCHET, CRAZY FOR CROCHET, and CROCHETED GIFTS FOR BABY are all available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

AND in April, order from us and we’ll send you a bonus book as a thank you for supporting small business in a time of need.

CLICK HERE to shop now.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

Here Comes the Sun: Things Look Up with Lace Knitting

Here Comes the Sun: Things Look Up with Lace Knitting

LaceKnitting-RAW Bokmerke 1-trafalgarbooksThese days it really helps that the days are getting longer, sunnier, and warmer, and the world around us is slowly waking up. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of turning your face into the sun after a long chilly winter—this one especially. This spring in particular many of us find ourselves at loose ends, having to make the best of unexpectedly empty schedules and keep ourselves occupied with something—anything—more productive, fulfilling, and engaging than checking the news every ten minutes …

Cooking, baking, sewing, knitting—these are the kinds of activities that have appeal when we’re stuck at home and tired of technology. And openwork knitting is a wonderful way to welcome the spring. Lace stitches come in infinite flavors, including happy seasonal patterns like buds, flowers, and leaves. Light, silky yarns and breezy lace garments are as comfortable to work as they will be to wear, and filled with all the promise of a fresh start and a new day…something we all look forward to this year.

LaceKnitting-RAW Blaa genser 2-trafalgarbooksLACE KNITTING by Denise Samson (the knit designer who also wrote the popular PONCHOS TO KNIT and THE CABLE KNITTER’S GUIDE) is the resource recommended by TSB Craft Editor Kim Cook for those looking to explore openwork techniques with their knitting needles. Featuring a fascinating introduction to the history of lace knitting and the fundamentals of choosing tools and materials, readers are then treated to a beautifully rich “stitch dictionary”: 40 individual lace patterns, from the deceptively simple to the beautifully intricate, presented with clear, easy-to-read charts, and swatches photographed in full color and high quality, so you can see exactly how each stitch represented on the chart looks when it’s worked for real. In addition, there are 30 designs for garments, accessories, and furnishings.

We’d love to hear how you are being creative these days and the projects you’re embarking on this spring! Stay in touch, and stay well.

LACE KNITTING is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of fine equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

Kids at Home? It’s a Great Time to Sew!

Kids at Home? It’s a Great Time to Sew!

Kids Learn to Stitch_Big Bad Bug-4We’re all in the midst of weeks of homeschooling and disruption to our kids usual schedules. In an effort to find positive opportunities in the challenges we’re facing, perhaps now is a chance to introduce new skills that might not have found time in students’ busy schedules before.

TSB Craft Editor Kim Cook recommends the book KIDS LEARN TO STITCH by Lucinda Guy as a great starter guide for youngsters who want to create with their hands. Charmingly illustrated by artist François Hall, KIDS LEARN TO STITCH enlists the help of the two original animal characters, Pip and Peg, to teach children how to use a sewing needle and thread to make simple, practical, and decorative projects.

We’re happy to offer this FREE DOWNLOAD of the pages for learning Straight Stitches, to share with your kids.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE STRAIGHT STITCHES LESSON

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Do your children prefer to work from the blog? Here is an excerpt for your convenience:

STRAIGHT STITCHES
Now you are ready to make your first stitches—straight stitches!
 
Straight stitches can be short or long.
 
Short straight stitches are called seed stitches and they can be made close together or scattered about—just like seeds!
 
Long straight stitches are called running stitches and they can be made running one after the other in lines, or wherever you want them.
 
Kids Learn to Stitch_Straight Stitch-3Seed Stitch
1 Hold the felt in one hand and the needle and thread in the other. Push the needle up into the felt from underneath.
 
The knot is at the back of the felt—and the needle is at the front.
 
 
2 Carefully pull the needle and thread all the way through the felt until the knot at the end stops you from pulling it any further.

 
3 Now push the needle and thread down into the felt, close to the hole it came up through.
 
Carefully pull the needle and thread all the way through the felt until you can’t pull it any further.
 
 
4 You have made your first seed stitch. The needle and thread are at the back of the felt again and you are ready to make more stitches!

 
Running Stitch
A running stitch is made in just the same way as a seed stitch, but you make a longer stitch by pushing the needle back into the felt further away from the hole it came up through.
 
Once you have made one running stitch, you can make lots more!

Kids Learn to Stitch

KIDS LEARN TO STITCH is available from the TSB online bookstore, where all craft books are 20% off plus FREE SHIPPING through April 1.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

Trafalgar Square Books, publisher of quality equestrian and craft books, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.