Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for September, 2008


Crochet-Along: Sample Some New Stitches!

September 29th, 2008

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Hey All!

I’ve done some serious crocheting this weekend to catch up with some of you, but in the meantime, for those of you who are newer to the crochet-along, I’ve decided to give y’all a rundown of stitches to try if you are so inclined:

First an easy alteration to make to any of the 3 existing blocks in the pattern is to simply try a different stitch. Try half double crochet in Block 1 for example.

And have you seen the Stitchfinder? There are quite a few fun patterns to try out!

Here are a few to take a look at:

Lacey Stripes
:

Concentric Squares

Little Gems

Textured Stripes

Crochet Cable

Fanfare

Lace Ripples

Petite Popcorns

Scallop Stripes

If you’re using one of these alternate stitches, don’t forget to do a little gauge swatch and see how big each repeat of the pattern is, so that you can chain the right width for your block.

What alternative stitch patterns have you added to your sampler?  Please tell us all about it, right here in the comments to this post!

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Stitchin’ N’ Pitchin’ with Mr. Met!

September 26th, 2008

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Last night was an amazing evening for many reasons. It was the 2nd annual Stitch N’ Pitch for the NY Mets, as well as the fourth-to-last game played at Shea Stadium. This was the stadium that I grew up with and the home team that I rooted for, so this was my chance to say goodbye to Shea.

Lily Chin, Mr. Met, and Jack

Me on the field with my friend and designer, the one and only, Lily Chin (whose outfit, from baseball cap and mitt to jersey, were all yarncrafted!) and Mr. Met!

Being on the committee for Stitch N’ Pitch, I, along with other the members of the committee, was introduced and given an award on the field of the stadium. With my co-workers, my son, and my great nephew in attendance, it was a thrill that will always stay with me.

There were many craft celebrities that attended this event, and it was great to see so many New York-area yarncrafters, including Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting, author Debbie Stoller, author and podcaster Mary Beth Temple of Getting Loopy!, as well as the Vogue Knitting team. I had the pleasure of speaking with needlearts designers Wenlan Chia, Nicky Epstein, Lily Chin and many others. It was also great to see a large number of members of the Lion Brand team at the game.

It was a wonderful event with a great turnout. Over 1,000 knitters and crocheters came out to this amazing game.

P.S. The Mets won on the last play of the game. Let’s go Mets!

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Yarncraft with Us at Shea Stadium!

September 25th, 2008

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This season of Stitch N’ Pitch, sponsored by the National NeedleArts Association, will be wrapping up TONIGHT as needlecrafters of all kinds come to Shea Stadium in New York for one of the Mets’ last games in the historic stadium.

Stitch N’ Pitch is a series of national events that brings together all needle arts lovers at major and minor league baseball games. Last year’s Mets game against the Braves sold over 800 discounted tickets to crafters who knit, crochet, embroider, cross-stitch, and needlepoint, and this year’s event promises to be even better. There will be expo tables set up in the Concourse for tips, techniques, and lessons before the game.

In addition to enjoying two favorite pastimes of baseball and needle-arts, crafters will be able to make baby caps for the Knit One, Save One initiative launched by Save the Children and the Warm Up America! Foundation. It’s a great opportunity to “pitch in” for a good cause while having a good time.

Just like last year, members of the Lion Brand family will be there once again to craft, chat, and have a great time. We hope to see you there! And for those of you who don’t live in the New York area, we’ll be sharing pictures from the event in a couple of days, so keep an eye on the blog!

Have you been to a Stitch N’ Pitch event in your area? Tell us about your experiences!

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Crochet-Along: Stepping through Block 1 and Block 3

September 24th, 2008

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I hear some of you are finished already! I myself am woefully behind the pack, looking forward to a week of non-stop crocheting! Here’s a little step through of Blocks 1 and 3 to help address some of your comments.

Block 1 : Sc-tbl Stitch
Ch 27.
Row 1 Sc in 2nd ch from hook and each ch across – 26 sc.
Row 2 Ch 1, turn. Sc in back loop only of each st across.
Rep (Row 2) 31 times more. Fasten off.

That Sc-tbl, means work single crochet stitches through the back loop. After you’ve worked your first row of single crochet into your foundation chain, take a look at what you’ve just crocheted. The top of each stitch has 2 loops. We usually work through both. “Through the back loop” means work only through the back loop (the loop furthest from you). Mama Mac, my great grandmother, called this the back porch and the front loop the front porch. This one simple difference of working through one loop opens up a whole different drape and texture for your fabric. It’s one of my absolute favorite ways to add a subtle dash of spice to some simple crochet.

If you work through only the back loop every row, there will be alternating ridges on each side of your work. These ridges are created by the un-worked front loop. Also, working through only one loop loosens up the drape a bit, you’ll notice that back loop gets stretched out a bit and there will be more space between your rows.

If you were to work through only the front loop every row, you’ll find the same result you get with the back loop. If you work through front loop only the one row and back loop only the next, you’ll see that the ridges will all be on one side.

Here’s a very simple change if you want to try another something different: Alternate across a row, working through the front loop of one stitch and the back loop of the next stitch. This creates a subtle waffled sort of texture.

Ch 27.
Row 1 Hdc in 2nd ch from hook and each ch across – 26 hdc.
Row 2 Ch 1, turn. hdc in back loop only of next st, hdc in front loop only of next stitch, repeat across the row.
Repeat Row 2 to the desired size.

Block 3: Cluster Stitch

Ch 26.
Row 1 (RS) Sc in 2nd ch from hook and each ch across – 25 sc.
Row 2 Ch 2, turn (counts as first dc), CL in next sc; *ch 1, skip 1 sc, CL in next sc; rep from * to last dc, dc in last sc.
Row 3 Ch 1, turn. Sc in first dc and in each CL and ch1-space across to t-ch; sc in top of t-ch. Rep (Rows 2 and 3) 8 times more. Fasten off.

Let’s step through Rows 2 and 3:
Row 2 starts with a ch 2 turning chain that will stand in as a double crochet, next you will work your first cluster stitch in the second single crochet from the previous row. This is very important, don’t work the cluster in the first stitch of the row, but the next one (the second stitch of the row.) Chain 1, skip the next stitch (third stitch of the row) and work the next cluster into the fourth stitch of the row. Continue in this combination across the row: chain 1, skip a stitch, cluster in next stitch. If you have an odd number of stitches in your first row of sc this will work out such that you have clusters along the row with a double crochet in the first (remember that turning chain is pretending to be a double crochet) and last stitch of the row. If you adjust your number of stitches in a row to get your blocks the same size make sure to use an odd number of stitches with this one!

For Row 3, work a single crochet in that double crochet from the previous row, then single crochet in the top of the cluster stitch and single crochet into the chain stitch and keep going across the row. Work a single crochet into that turning chain from the beginning of the last row and your sc row is finished! You should have the same number of stitches in Row 3 as you did in Row 1. See the photo for a close up of the single crochet worked into the cluster row.

Little mistakes to look out for:
-Don’t work the first cluster of the row in the first stitch!
-Don’t work a chain between the last cluster of the row and the last double crochet. This will throw off your stitch count. I have to keep an eye on myself because I keep doing this!

Happy Crocheting!

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News on the Lion Brand Yarn Studio!

September 22nd, 2008

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“What’s going on with the Studio?” …is the question we’ve been reading in e-mails, blogs, and message boards. The short answer is a LOT! First I wanted to introduce myself to you and say how much I’m looking forward to knitting and crocheting with you all. My name is Patty and I’m the new Studio Manager. I’m thrilled and honored to be part of this amazing new project.

The Lion Brand Yarn Studio will be a place to showcase the Lion Brand spirit of inspiration, education, innovation and contemporary design for yarn crafters.  The Studio will offer classes, workshops, special events, fashion shows, knitting circles, movie nights, book signings and more–if it’s fun and yarn-related, we want to do it!

Our grand opening will be November 18, 2008.  Look for details in our newsletter.

So, here’s where you come in. Tell us what you’d like to do and see in the studio. What are some of your ideas for fun knitting events? Post a comment. We want to hear from you.

On a personal note, as a knitter, being part of Lion Brand family is like coming full circle for me. My mother taught me how to knit when I was a kid, but I never got past a scarf. I really became passionate about it 7 years ago, and I haven’t gone one day without knitting since. My first sweater was a Lion Brand free pattern, the Hooded Knitted Sweater. I knit it out of Homespun. It was the perfect beginner pattern, but I was NOT the perfect beginner knitter. I didn’t understand gauge, and I was a crazy tight knitter, so it turned out to be a perfect sweater for my (then) 12 year-old niece.

Ah well, we all keep learning and improving, and that’s what the Lion Brand Yarn Studio is all about!

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Kid-Friendly Projects from YarnCraft Episode #23

September 16th, 2008

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In episode #23 of YarnCraft — our half-hour audio show — we featured great patterns to make with and for your kids. We featured great craft projects from lanyards to bookmarks, knit and crochet items including great sweaters for fall weather and geometric monster dolls, and a fun fingerless gloves pattern from the book, Crochet Kid Stuff, which we featured in the E-Newsletter.

Crochet Fingerless Gloves Monster Dolls

Listen now to get ideas for projects to do with your kids, or fun ideas to bring out your inner child! For over 15 project recommendations, click here to listen to episode 23 [MP3].


A Hat of My Own — with Sparkle

September 15th, 2008

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Jessica\'s HatAs one of the new interns here at Lion Brand, I thought it might be fun to share a knitting story.

When I started working here last week, I knew there was something I had to do: knit a hat. You see, my grandmother taught me many things when I was young, like crocheting, baking, stitching, and gardening. One day, she gave my twin sister Casey and me this hat that she had knit many years prior. It was a floppy beret knit out of black yarn with silver glitter. Of course, it was way too big for our heads, but it was fun to carry around.

As we got older, Casey and I became far more interested in this hat. We developed a sort of joint-custody situation. She has the hat right now, so my poor head gets cold. I decided to knit an alternative inspired by my grandmother’s classic.

My version isn’t a beret, but it’s still got sparkle. I used Wool-Ease Chunky in Tinsel White on size 9 needles. I cast on 60 stitches and went from there. Since I wasn’t following a pattern, I just knit and purled my way around until I finished. I was pretty surprised that it fit my admittedly large head, but it’s a perfect fit! Best of all, it only took me a weekend to complete.

Have you ever been inspired by a family member’s project? Tell us about it!


Lion Brand Associates Team Up to Knit & Crochet a Baby Blanket for a New Addition to Our Family

September 15th, 2008

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This post is from Rose, who works in the Lion Brand sales department.

For the past six months, I have been teaching a crochet class for Lion Brand associates. A few months ago, a Lion Brand associate mentioned that he and his wife were expecting their first child. Our crochet group joined together to create their first baby blanket. Each member crocheted or knitted two squares with Vanna’s Choice Baby. The result was a beautiful baby blanket, which we presented to our co-worker Michael and his wife Tracy during their baby shower on September 8, 2008.

We are grateful to Lion Brand Yarn, who donated the yarn, and to all of those associates who contributed to the gift with their handiwork.

Our knit and crochet team are (from left to right): Gina, Ling, Anny, Mily, the future parents Tracy & Michael, Marlene, Maya and Carla, (bottom row, left to right): Carolyn, Nicole, Danielle and Rose. Hilary is not in the photo, but also participated as knitter.


Crochet-Along: A Doll Sized Blankie!

September 11th, 2008

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When I saw how great the Lion Organic Cotton looked in these sweet and simple stitches I couldn’t help but want to make a quick and cute version of the blanket. So if you aren’t up for a huge blanket, how about a doll or baby sized blankie?

I’m using Lion Organic Cotton and chose to assign a color to each block type: Almond for Block 1, Cypress for Block 2, and Vanilla for Block 3. The blocks themselves worked up so quickly and I was really satisfied with them. Even enjoyed weaving in the ends! Sometimes I can get into this nice little end-weaving groove and get into the task, go figure. I hoped that groove would continue into sewing things together, but no such luck. I’ve really been dragging my feet on this part. Then I realized one reason why it was so frustrating. All my blocks looked the same size, but didn’t have row counts that matched up easily. If I add another 2 rows to Block 3 (1 more row of clusters and a last one of sc), I would be able to match rows as I seamed the blocks together, so I decided to go back in and add to Block 3. This gave me a chance to throw in a quirky bit and I used the Bark color way for these last two rows. It adds a cool, unique stripe into the mix and I rather like it.

Using a 6.5 mm K hook on each block:

Block 1: (make 3)
1 skein (82 yards) of Lion Organic Cotton in Almond

Ch 19
Work in pattern with 18 stitches in each row for 22 rows total.
Gauge: 3 1/2 sc and 3 rows of sc = 1″
finished block is 5 1/2″ wide x 6 ” tall

Block 2: (make 3)
1 skein (82 yards) of Lion Organic Cotton in Cypress

Ch 18
Work in pattern with 17 stitches (1 turning chain and 16 dc in dc rows) in each row for 15 rows total.
Gauge: 3 dc and 2 rows (1 row of dc and 1 row of sc) = 1″
finished block is 5 1/2″ wide x 6 1/4″ tall

Block 3: (make 3)
1 skein (82 yards) of Lion Organic Cotton in Vanilla and 1 skein of Bark

Ch 18
Work in pattern with 17 stitches (1 turning chain and 8 clusters and 1 dc in cluster rows) in each row for 15 rows total.

Gauge: 3 clusters = 3″, 2 rows (1 row of cluster and 1 row of sc) = 2″
finished block is 5 1/2″ wide x 6 ” tall


Notes:

The finished blocks aren’t exactly the same size, but stretch to match each other and having matchable row counts makes it so much easier in my opinion!

Joining the sides of the blocks, working through the sides of the stitches on the edge of each block:

Block 1 to Block 2: match sc rows to sc rows and 2 sc rows to each dc row.
Block 1 to Block 3: match sc rows to sc rows and 2 sc rows to each cluster row.
Block 2 to Block 3: match sc rows to sc rows and 1 dc row to each cluster row.

Yes, I am seaming these blocks together!  For my full size blanket (now nicknamed “the Purple Monster”) I will be using a single crochet border and slip stitch to join, more on that in the near future…

For this doll sized number I’m using 9 blocks total. If you wish to make a baby size simply work with these smaller blocks, but make enough to make the size you’d like! You can also make a smaller blanket with the larger blocks by using fewer blocks.

I don’t have the border planned out yet, will keep ya posted! TO BE CONTINUED….

Next Post: Stepping through each of the 3 blocks…


Knitting Circles in the News

September 11th, 2008

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The Daily News reports on the popularity of knitting circles among younger knitters in hip neighborhoods of New York City.  Of course we know you don’t have to be any particular age or demographic to knit.  If you’d like to find a group to knit or crochet with, check out our Club Finder.  You can search by zip code and interest and you can even add your own group to the list and welcome new yarn-loving friends.

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