J. Lo Just Rocked a Fab Cardigan–Here’s a Free Pattern to Get the Look

J. Lo Just Rocked a Fab Cardigan–Here’s a Free Pattern to Get the Look

InStyle recently shared a photo of J. Lo out and about in a terrific cardigan we just love…

…so we took a look through some of our great knitting pattern books and found one to give to you all!

This gorgeous, long, high-collared “jacket” is from the book FAROE ISLAND KNITS by Svanhild Strøm and Marjun Biskopstø, which highlights designs inspired by the Faroe Islands, a far-flung archipelago lying halfway between Norway and Iceland that has a rich and longstanding knitting tradition.

Ready to get your knitting needles moving? CLICK HERE to visit the book’s page and download your FREE PATTERN!

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

Christmas in August

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The best time of the year can start whenever you want it to—and there are a lot of advantages to a little Christmas spirit in August! There’s nothing quite like personalized, handmade gifts for capturing the sense of closeness the holidays bring with them (and which many of us are missing right now), but part of what makes them special is the time they take to create. Once the Christmas season is in full swing, it can be a challenge to set aside a moment to tackle that project you’ve been meaning to finish or get all those decorations done.

TSB’s classic pattern book 55 CHRISTMAS BALLS TO KNIT from Scandinavian knitting superstars Arne & Carlos is a perennial favorite of fans everywhere, and the versatility and adaptability of the basic Christmas ball pattern yields endless possibilities. Give yourself some breathing room and plenty of time to work, and you’ll be delighted by how readily you master the design and all the motifs. After all, there’s no such thing as too many Christmas balls, when they can be not only hung from a tree, but dangled from wreaths, stacked on windowsills, positioned as centerpieces for table settings … and, of course, given as gifts.

As the name suggests, JORID LINVIK’S BIG BOOK OF CHRISTMAS KNITS is positively bursting with holiday-themed projects of all shapes and sizes: dolls, hats, slippers, mittens, and a sweater or two, plus fun place-settings for the dinner table, adorably miniaturized decorations to fit even the tiniest tree, and even a delightful Christmas pig! Make your own countdown to the day itself with a set of Advent calendar bags—just big enough to hold a perfect little surprise inside them. The more bags you knit…the sooner you can start counting down!

The year-round crocheter has an ideal companion in COLORFUL CROCHET, featuring patterns categorized by the season for which they were designed: spring and summer, fall and winter, and, of course, Christmas! String together a crocheted chain of stars or hearts, or prepare a place for the tree in advance with a round Christmas tree rug. Then, hand-make everything that goes under the tree with help from CROCHET THE PERFECT GIFT.

In uncertain times, when many of us may be feeling particularly far apart from the loved ones we cherish, there’s nothing like the reminder of Christmas to bring us together and remind us that better days lie ahead.

All the book featured in this post are 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.

All the Best Knitting, Crochet, and Weaving Books ON SALE!

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We like to make fireworks…so here we go! Swing by our online bookstore www.TrafalgarBooks.com and buy one of our craft books, and you’ll receive 35% off the rest of your order, PLUS free shipping in the US!

If you haven’t had a chance to pick up our newest knitting, crochet, and weaving titles, this is a great way to bolster your library and make sure you have plenty of crafting ideas for the months ahead…whatever they may hold.

Our newest release:
NORWEGIAN KNITTING DESIGNS–90 YEARS LATER

 

One of our recent bestsellers:
SELBU MITTENS

 

A favorite bestseller in a new format:
55 CHRISTMAS BALLS TO KNIT

 

CLICK HERE to see what else we have to offer…and thank you for supporting a small independent publisher and all our wonderful, talented authors!

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

 

Let’s Hear It for the Boys of Knitting

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These days, the first thing a lot of non-knitters picture when they hear the word “knitting” is someone’s kindly grandmother in a rocking chair, needles clicking away. But that wasn’t always the case! When knitting first arrived in and spread through Europe in the Middle Ages, it fell under the jurisdiction of established guilds for handwork, where professionals—men—were required to study the craft for years to progress from journeyman to master. (Ordinary women learning to knit for themselves and their families, probably thanks in part to leakage of industry secrets, seems to have been something of a labor revolution.) Even after knitting spread all the way to Scandinavia and the Baltic, it was still common for men to engage in all kinds of fibercrafts; shepherds could use long quiet hours in the fields productively, and walking from place to place was time that could be spent knitting!

Today, knitting’s popularity among just about everybody is on the rise, and men who knit are everywhere, including TSB books! Take Arne & Carlos, the fan-favorite Scandinavian knitting superstars. Both grew up with knitting and crochet all around them and picked up handcrafts readily. As fashion designers, they’d been running their own label for years before they started to notice that their knit designs had the most flair, got the best response—and were the most fun for them, too.

“We discovered what we really wanted to do was right in front of our noses the whole time,” they say, and they promptly turned knit design into a career of 15 years and counting, with inspiration drawn from everything from wildlife in their own backyard to vintage Mexican embroidery, and over half a dozen books to their names.

Martin Storey was taught to knit when he was young, inspired by a teacher who saw nothing unusual in passing along a love of handcrafts to girls and boys alike—and is now one of the best-known knit designers in the world. It took years, and dedicated encouragement from a friend who was an art student, for him to pursue his love of knitting and turn it into a lifelong career. His work for influential yarn and knitwear design companies like Artwork and Rowan has led to multiple stunning pattern collections, and 10 books and counting, showcasing his love for cables, contrasts, and dynamic colorwork. Martin is a master at his craft and knows what knitters want—together with a fantastic eye for texture and color, this guarantees his garments are a joy to look at, to knit and, most importantly, to wear.

Ivar Asplund learned the basics from his grandmother when he was just five years old and found himself smitten right away. He loved to look at the projects she was working on, asking her to explain how she’d made them—and the answers were never as complicated as he feared. His grandmother taught him not only how to knit, how to work cables, and how to construct sweaters, but also to be willing to try new things and take risks: you’ll always learn something in the attempt, even if the results aren’t perfect the first time around! This has led him to favor deft, complex colorwork patterns, and stunning combinations of intertwined cables. Ivar’s grandmother passed away when he was 17, “but she continues to be with me in all my projects,” he says, “because handwork was how we talked to each other.” His first book to be made available in English, CABLE KNITS FROM NORDIC LANDS, is dedicated to her memory.

No matter how knitting might have come into your life, it’s worth inviting it to stay: knitting is enjoyable, relaxing, and productive, and all you need to get started is one pair of needles and a skein of yarn (even if you end up with … a little more than that, before you’re done!). It’s been both men’s industry and women’s work, and at the end of the day its appeal is undeniably universal.

Who do you know who might love to learn to knit—or might need encouragement to give it another try?

Find books by these authors and many others at the TSB online bookstore. CLICK HERE to explore our craft books now.

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

Spotlight On: Hen Knitting

Spotlight On: Hen Knitting

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Photo by Alexas Fotos/Pexels

“Hen knitting” doesn’t have anything to do with chickens—unless you want it to, that is! The term was coined by Danish knitter and author Kirsten Hofstätter in the late 1960s, as a way to describe knitting that wasn’t following strict pattern instructions: knitting that was bright and colorful, that used up leftover yarn instead of being made with purchased kits, and that gave the knitter freedom to choose pattern bands and motifs and create a design all their own. Danish knitters embraced the concept, and hen knitting became a wildly popular and well-loved form of self-expression. It’s fun, stylish, and a perfect way to make a beautiful, wearable statement about who you are and what you love.

How do you do it? 

Pick a handful of motifs to repeat around in pattern bands, one at a time, and before you know it you’ve got a personalized garment focused around any theme you want. Maybe an animal theme, for the kid who can’t get enough of four-legged friends from the barnyard—or safari! Or perhaps a lovely flower sweater in full bloom, for a gardener? Whatever you can imagine, you can do it with hen knitting; anything and everything that interests you can be combined to form a pattern that’s the perfect fit in every way.

And it doesn’t stop at patterns—or at sweaters, for that matter. Knit in abstract designs, symbols, or even words or a name. Work the ultimate personalized pair of socks or mittens, a skirt, a cowl, or a pillow or two (and you can visit our website to try out a free pillow pattern with its own set of reusable, rearrangeable motifs—CLICK HERE). Anything you can fit a repeating pattern band around can be hen-knit; all it takes is a few designs you like and some yarn in your favorite colors.

Hen knitting can even tell a story, or express the treasured personal memories you hold dear. One of the authors of KNIT YOURSELF IN, Linn Bryhn Jacobsen, designed a hen-knit sweater for her father, who comes from Stokmarknes—very far in the north of Norway. She decided she wanted to capture the beauty and the spirit of his native landscape: the clarity and intensity of the Arctic sunset, the wildlife, the high gray mountains and grassy hills, the seaside cliffs teeming with birds and the whales often spotted in the wild along the coast …

Whether your style is fun or funky, sweet and colorful or bright and adventuresome, the perfect hen knitting pattern is waiting for you to invent it. There’s no better way to make your knitting inimitably, incomparably, uniquely you.

CLICK HERE to find out more about our book about hen knitting, KNIT YOURSELF IN.

Thank you for supporting small businesses!

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

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.