Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for November, 2008

Natural Inspiration Meets Fiber Art

November 28th, 2008

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One of the great things about yarn is that it can be used for so much more than just clothing or afghans. Yarncrafters around the world use yarn for art and sculpture. At the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, we will be regularly featuring fiber artists.

Our first featured artist is the incredibly talented Emily Barletta. Emily received her B.F.A. in Fiber Arts from The Maryland Institute College of Art in 2003. Since then, she’s been very active within the artistic community, exhibiting her work in almost twenty shows. Much of her work is crocheted or felted into abstract, intriguing pieces.

Many of her pieces are reminiscent of shaping in nature, particularly coral. Her piece Horizon, made of old felted sweaters, is currently on display in our Studio.

Horizon, by Emily Barletta

For more fiber artists, visit the Lion Brand Yarn Studio and check out its gallery wall throughout the year.

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5 Holiday Ornament Ideas from YarnCraft Episode #29

November 25th, 2008

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Amigurumi Gingerbread HouseIn the latest episode of YarnCraft, our audio-podcast, my co-host Liz and I focus on two very exciting developments in the yarn world. First, we take an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the newly opened Lion Brand Yarn Studio, including interviews with staff and customers. Then we’re joined by Kate Jacobs, bestselling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club and the new book, Knit Two, coming out on November 25th, and she tells us how you can have her visit YOUR book-club next year! Kate will also be LIVE at the Studio in January, so check out the Lion Brand Yarn Studio website for more information.

This episode’s “Stash This: Ideas for Your Crafting Life” segment focuses on holiday crafting with yarn. Here’s a preview of 5 patterns discussed:

  1. Crochet Snowflake Ornament
  2. Amigurumi Gingerbread Person
  3. Amigurumi Gingerbread House
  4. Knit Mitten Ornament
  5. Knit Stocking Ornament

Want to listen to the whole episode? Click here! [MP3]

Join us next Tuesday for last minute gift ideas and tips for de-stressing during the crazy holiday season!

Photos from the Customer Preview Days at the Studio

November 25th, 2008

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If you were not able to attend the customer preview days at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, we hope you’ll make plans to visit over the next few months.  You can check out the Studio web site for a schedule of events and classes, which we will be expanding in the beginning of the year.  Check out this Flickr page to see some photos from the preview days.

Reflections on a Special Week

November 24th, 2008

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Wow! What a week!

Times Square AdIt started off last Sunday at exactly 6:00 pm in Times Square. There was about ten of us there waiting to be a part of something very special. Then, it was as if skies opened up. There it was — yarn 16 stories high, big as one can imagine — a video on the top of Times Square with someone actually knitting! Along with this video were numerous billboards flashing our yarns and one big billboard announcing the opening of the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

On Monday night, we had a little celebration with family and friends in the new Studio. A warm introduction by my cousin, David, started off the night. He explained his life-long dream of the studio and how it has finally become a reality. Then there was a lovely little talk by Vanna White, in which she explained her commitment to Vanna’s Choice yarn, her long association with Lion Brand, and our commitment together to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Tuesday was the Studio’s grand opening. I visited the Studio that day and just watched the smiles on people’s faces. I listened to their remarks about the studio, remarks such as, “What took you so long?” “Welcome to the neighborhood!” “I can’t wait to come back and bring my friends!” There were even TV cameras from CNBC there! It was an exciting time.

The icing on the cake came when The New York Times released an article about our Studio!

This past week was filled with festivities and excitement that I will never forget!

Cable Luxe Tunic Knit-Along: Let’s Get Started!

November 20th, 2008

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CableGreetings, cable-loving knitters, to the second Knit-Along (KAL) by Lion Brand! I am very excited to be the host of this KAL and look forward to making this gorgeous Cable Luxe Tunic along with so many of you. I was thrilled that so many of you voted for this tunic because I have wanted to make it for awhile myself! As a knitwear designer who sends away much of what I make, I have often referred to my two daughters as the “Cobbler’s Children” based on the story of a cobbler who sold all of the shoes he made, resulting in his kids being barefoot! The oldest of my kids, Lizzie, will be getting a fabulous cable sweater as a result of this KAL that she can wear as she goes off to college next year.

I have been a knitting teacher and freelance knit and crochet designer for about 15 years now. I learn so much from my students when it comes to explaining how to knit or finish a project, so I will do my best to answer questions or give you hints to help you with knitting this beautiful sweater.

First things first. Go ahead and download that pattern for the Cable Luxe Tunic! It is only free to download until November 27th, so make this the first thing on your list of things to do.

Now comes the important question of what yarn to use. Although the yarn used in the pattern is Wool-Ease, there are many yarn choices perfect for this pattern. Other yarns that would be great to use would be Vanna’s Choice, Cotton-Ease, Fishermen’s Wool, or Lion Cashmere Blend. Just remember to use a yarn listed as “Category 4 – medium worsted-aran weight” yarn and make sure you have at least the same amount of total yardage as called for in the Wool-Ease to make the size you want. A smooth, light, or bright color yarn will be best to show off all those cables!

What yarn did I pick out? Actually, I decided on Wool-Ease. One reason is that there were so many great color choices. The one I chose was a perfect pink, Blush Heather, that I know my daughter will love. Secondly, as she will be heading off to college this next year, this will make a wonderfully warm sweater that she will be able to wash and dry on her own. I will be making the small for her and I already have my 7 balls of Wool-Ease. I’m ready to get knitting!

Stockinette swatch

My students know I am quite a stickler when it comes to making a gauge swatch, and it is always the first step to making sure a sweater will be the size you want. The pattern gives 2 different gauges, one in stockinette stitch and another in cable pattern. I concentrated on the gauge for the stockinette stitch, which will tell me the size of the largest needle to use. The gauge calls for 18 sts = 4″. An easy way I get the gauge is to make a swatch starting with the size needle called for — a US 8 (5 mm). I like to cast on either 3 or 4 stitches on each side of the 18 sts to make a garter stitch border, which makes it very easy to measure the center 18 sts in stockinette stitch. When I made the swatch using the US 8 needles, the measurement over the 18 sts was about 3.5″ — too small. To make the stitches larger, I went up one needle size to a US 9 and the swatch measured a perfect 4″ between the garter stitch borders. For this sweater, I’m most concerned about the number of stitches, rather than rows, as it will affect the width of the garment (although the row gauge was right on as well!) I will use a needle one size smaller — US 8 — for the circular needle for the yoke of the sweater.

Cable Luxe Tunic KAL badgeNow, I’m ready for the first part of this sweater –- making the beautiful cabled strip (see above) that will go all around the tunic just below the yoke. This cable pattern is a 16 row repeat pattern, so I find either marking down on paper what row I’m on or using a row counter a great help. I will be busy knitting this pattern for 44″ during the two weeks until my next post. In the meantime, print that pattern, get your yarn, get swatching, and have a very happy Thanksgiving! (Our next post will be Dec. 4.) I look forward to seeing your pictures (join our Flickr group) and hearing from you!

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