Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Archive for June, 2008

Teaching Math With Knit and Crochet

June 29th, 2008

Pin It

It turns out that some of the best ways to understand mathematical concepts and to solve mathematical problems is by expressing them with knit and crochet models. Daina Taimina, a math professor at Cornell, was the first to crochet a model of hyperbolic space. Hyperbolic crochet was also used to show the coral reef by the Institute for Figuring.

On our web site you can find a pattern for basic hyperbolic shapes using these concepts.

In Science Magazine Carolyn Yackel, an assistant professor of math at Mercer University in Atlanta is quoted as saying that “Crochet, knitting and other crafts allow people to visualize, recontextualize and develop new problems and answers.”

Thanks to Jack and Marlene in Sales for pointing us to this interesting information.

Breaking Ground for The Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City

June 26th, 2008

Pin It

Lion Brand Yarn Studio

It’s been a dream of mine for over 10 years–to have a flagship store, a studio space at our Manhattan location, where we can display our yarns and inspire customers with our images and garments in a way that truly reflects the Lion Brand vision. My goal is for it to become the center of the yarn universe.

Here is the facade of the building under construction. We’ll be telling you more as time goes on. Since we do want it to be a surprise until we have our grand opening, peeks will be limited. But, as a reader of this blog, you’ll be offered a few exclusive preview days before we open to the general public. Watch this blog and look for announcements in our newsletter in September.

In all of New York City, there are so few places to buy Lion Brand, we think you’ll enjoy the opportunity to purchase our yarns when you’re here. But there will be so much more to the Lion Yarn Studio. There will be classes, book signings, fashion shows and more! I am truly excited.

Seen in the Yarniverse: Quitting Smoking

June 26th, 2008

Pin It

quitting the habitKnitting and crocheting are not simply hobbies for relaxation, can be very useful to kick habits like smoking as well! Chapel Hill News chronicled Riva Econopouly, a woman who put down her cigarettes for knitting needles, and has been smoke-free ever since. This is an incredible story of a woman who used to smoke up to three packs a day, but thanks to her knitting needles, was able to kick the habit. In fact,’s guide to quitting smoking suggests picking up portable hobbies such as crocheting or knitting to control the urge. Rocky Mountain News wrote that even teenagers are knitting to get rid of their nicotine dependence.

If you have any stories about how crafting helped someone quit smoking, we’d love to hear about it. Send us your comments.

5 Ideas for Knitting & Crocheting in Groups

June 24th, 2008

Pin It

Whether it’s for a charity or just for fun, being around others can truly enhance the experience of knitting and crocheting. In YarnCraft (our 30-minute downloadable audio-show) episode #17, my co-host Liz and I shared ideas for gathering to knit and crochet in a group.

WristersHere are a few tips:

1. Do a pattern together. Whether you each create a rectangle for a Warm Up America! afghan or you all make the same pattern (like in our knit-along), you can find support (as well as expertise and advice) in numbers.

2. Add your own influence. Take a pattern like our basic wristers and personalize it. Each person can make it in their own colors, adding their own embellishments, etc.

3. Try new yarns. Throw a “yarn-tasting” party by gathering some friends and passing around some new yarns. Everyone can make a swatch of each yarn to take with them, so that you all know how the yarn works up and you have a record of the colors you like.

4. Teach new people. Bring new knitters and more experienced knitters together and hold a class. This is a great activities for mothers and daughters, girl and boy scouts, groups of new mothers (maybe make it a baby shower activity) and more.

5. Create for a cause. Make items to donate to the charity (find one at our Charity Connection) of your choice. It’s always nice to know that your handiwork is going to a good cause.

For more ideas, as well as some great pattern recommendations, visit the YarnCraft blog post on this episode.

The Afghan That Was Created From Our Swatch Experiment

June 20th, 2008

Pin It

In last week’s post I talked about how we design based on experimenting with swatching. Last week I shared a peek into the process by which we decide on color sequencing.

Here is the afghan we created with the new Vanna’s Choice colors that was based on that swatch.

Seen in the Yarniverse: Male Knitters and Crocheters

June 19th, 2008

Pin It

Male knitters are popping up more and more these days. It’s exciting to see boundaries being changed and people are being more open-minded about crafts. There’s a wonderful article at that looks at males in the knitting community. We also had an episode of YarnCraft featuring Men Who Knit & Crochet. As a male knitter myself, I got odd looks from subway passengers while knitting a scarf on my way to work. But it’s great to see that the number of males crafting is on the rise — one of the readers of the blog, Robert is working on the Tree of Life pattern right now, in fact. Also, one of my good friends, who’s a world-class rock climber was one of the last people I’d have expected to crochet, but he’s made some incredible things.

Are you a male knitter or crocheter? Speak up by commenting on this post and introducing yourself!

Tree of Life Knit-Along #4 – Flower Garden

June 18th, 2008

Pin It

I love this pattern, and this project reminded me that I had come across a similar flower stitch in a vintage knitting book from the 1930’s years ago and used it as an accent pattern for a baby sweater.

It’s a really great stitch that has a thousand uses.

The Flower Garden is one of those patterns that is really simple, but hard to wrap your mind around at first. Because of this, I have included step by step pictures of the stitch.

#1 #2 #3
Step #1 Step #2 Step #3
#4 #5 #6
Step #4 Step #5 Step #6

Related links:

Loom Knitting–Creating in Double Knit

June 17th, 2008

Pin It

This is a guest post by Pat Novak of

What is Double Knit? And why would we want to loom knit with a Knitting Board? Well, for me, it all started about 10 years ago. I had learned to knit at age 19 working with all size needles and all varieties of yarns. I became a ‘knitting junkie’ for many years. I still enjoy working with my needles when I want to create single knit. But when I want a nice thick, cozy double knit I use the Knitting Board.

So, what is the difference? And, what is the Knitting Board?

The Knitting Board is a knitting tool that creates double knit very easily and quickly. The process is simply, weave and hook. As I discovered, creating double knit can be an easy process, and is very easy on my hands and wrists. The Knitting Board creates a thick knit that is ideal for afghans, sweaters, shawls, scarves and footwear.

Why Double Knit?

Double knit is a two-sided knitted fabric with NO back side. That means that you can weave in different color designs without seeing the knots and connecting yarns on the back of the knitted piece. Think about this for afghans, shawls, bags, scarves, and anything that you want to be reversible. Your design will look exactly the same on the front of the knitted piece as it does on the back side. The connecting yarns and knots are completely hidden in between the layers of knit.

So, you may want to know, “Is this still hand-knitting?” Simply speaking, “Yes.” Just ask some of the thousands of knitting board and loom-knitters if they are still hand knitting. It’s a different art or craft from knitting with needles, and just a change of tool from needles to loom.

Right now, my current project is a baby blanket for my first grandbaby, Jaedyn. She is scheduled to join our family in September. Her mommy and daddy live in Florida, so I want to make my blanket and booties out of Babysoft and Lion Organic Cotton. My knitting board is set with a 1″ spacing between the boards so that the knit is open and airy and cool. I’m using several different stitches to create lots of texture. It will have little chickie designs of yellow and pink and green on a white base. I think I’ll do the booties in white with trim in pink and green. I’m really excited–can you tell? I know it will be beautiful because of the double knit with no back side. As soon as it’s completed, I’ll post it to the blog for all to see. I’ll even put the pattern up for free so you can knit up a Little Chickie baby blanket, if you have someone very special in your family.

Here’s the chick design I’ll be using, shown here in a sweater.

Next project? I have a new puppy too. Her name is Deshka and she needs a puppy sweater. That will be a great project for Fall. Perfect for the double knit on my knitting board.

Sock-Ease – For More than Just Socks

June 16th, 2008

Pin It

Sock-Ease Basic SocksIf you’re a yarncrafter and you’re on the internet, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of people like to make socks. And if you listen to our YarnCraft podcast, you’ve heard me talk about socks an awful lot!

I mostly taught myself to knit while I was in design school. I wanted to take hand-knitting as an elective, but I was at the maximum number of allowed credits, so I grabbed a book and some needles and settled down to teach myself. For the first few months, I made a variety of scarves, but I was very eager to be a ‘real’ knitter–and to me, real knitting meant socks. All that shaping–and what was this business about turning the heel?

I made my first pair with leftover fingering-weight yarn from my mother-in-law, and I really haven’t stopped since! There are so many different ways to make socks, you can keep yourself endlessly entertained with new styles and techniques. And there are all sorts of other reasons why socks are so popular – they are fast to finish, they are portable projects, they make great gifts, and they are comfortable and cozy. But personally, I think it’s all about the sock yarn.

Sock-Ease ballSock-Ease, our newest yarn, is soft, colorful, and you only need one ball to make a pair of socks! It comes in 7 fun, multi-hue colorways. The design department has had a blast experimenting with Sock-Ease –- and not just for socks. Because of the way the random striping has been designed, you can get totally different stripe and color-block patterns by changing your gauge, stitch pattern or project. Try crocheting a granny square or floral motif, and watch how the colors rotate and swirl. Try a chevron or shell stitch to get wavy bands of color. Need a drawstring? Whip up some I-cord, or use a spool knitter, to make a cord with bold stripes. Add bright, multi-hue pompoms to embellish any project.

Sock-Ease is also great held together with another yarn. In a narrow piece like a scarf or amigurumi, it will make subtle stripes. Used in a wider piece like a sweater, you’ll get a great tweed effect. We are all loving baby and kid sweaters that mix Sock-Ease with Vanna’s Choice, Vanna’s Choice Baby, or Cotton-Ease.

Even more than the soft feel or fun colors, my favorite thing about Sock-Ease is its flexibility. It’s much more than a great sock yarn -– it’s a tool you can use to explore your own creativity in knitting and crochet.

Do It In Public This Saturday

June 13th, 2008

Pin It

This Saturday is World Wide Knit In Public Day 2008. Go ahead and crochet too please. We know the difference but most people don’t. It wasn’t too long ago, in the late nineties, when there was a lot of talk on the internet about people having the unpleasant experience of being ridiculed when they knit in public. We’ve come a long way baby. . . .

Send us your comments on Monday and tell us where you did it!