Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for November, 2008

Join Us for our Knit-Along and Get the Pattern Free!

November 13th, 2008

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Cable Luxe TunicLast month, we asked you which pattern you would like for our next knit-along. Although there were many votes for the Zen Coat and the Cabled Cashmere Sweater, the winner was the Cable Luxe Tunic!

Our KAL host will be Heather, a great freelance designer and knitting teacher. Please welcome her and introduce yourself!

Heather’s first post will be next Thursday, but in the meantime, go get your supplies, download and/or print the pattern (available for FREE only until November 27th ESPECIALLY for KAL participants), and get ready to knit with us!

No need to sign up or anything! Just follow along with the blog, and chat with us here, on Ravelry, or on Flickr. With all of the holidays coming up, we’ll be working at a leisurely pace, so jump in whenever you want!

We look forward to having you join us!

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Doodle Crochet: Free-form Creating with Yarn

November 12th, 2008

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This is a guest post from Jackie, our senior technical editor:

I spend about 2 hrs every day on the NYC subway traveling between my apartment and Lion Brand’s Union Square office. I usually pass the time by knitting or reading, but sometimes — like during this past summer — I feel like I want a project that will entertain me without engaging too many of my overheated brain cells. That’s when I turn to what I call doodle crochet.

Lion Brand offers a plethora of yarn choices, inspiration not just for specific projects, but perfect for some patternless fiber fun. For these examples of doodle crochet, I chose Lion Brand Microspun.

There’s no right or wrong in this project, just use whatever hook is handy. I think mine was a G/6 or an H/8 (4.25 or 5 mm). I chained 4, then joined with a slip stitch to make a ring — just as when you begin a granny square.

Then I did a bunch of double crochets into the ring. No counting here, just do as many as you like. Then I did another round of double crochets or any other stitch that strikes my fancy — single crochets, triples, doubles alternating with chain-1’s — truly, anything goes! I increased in every other stitch on this second round to keep the motif flat. (To increase, just work 2 stitches in each stitch of the first round) No worries about counting exactly, just add an additional stitch whenever the work begins to ‘cup’ rather than lie flat.

You can also skip the increases and let the motifs curl up — they’ll look like little flower buds. When this first little circle motif was finished, I did a bunch of chains — just coming right off the original circle. I slip stitched the last 4 of these chains to make a ring, then made another motif.

Sometimes I work back and forth on a motif, working in rows instead of rounds and turning the piece at the end of each row, to make a partial circle.

What a fun way to experiment with yarn or to use up your leftover yarn from a larger project!

Your piece can be a little bracelet or a little neck-piece depending on how long you make it. I love to wear these little works of art as soft sculpture necklaces. I often dress in black, so these are a wonderful way to add a little color to my outfit.

Try one (or more) – they’re addictive. Just remember the most important rule for doodle crocheting – there are no rules!

Have fun, stay cool, and cheers to all of you who don’t have to face the NYC subway every morning.

Five 2-Ball Projects from YarnCraft #28

November 11th, 2008

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Thigh High SocksIn episode #28 — Gifts to “Wow” on a Budget — of our audio-podcast, YarnCraft, my co-host Liz and I prepare for the holiday season by sharing our top 10 gift ideas. We also discuss ideas for crafting with the whole family, so join us for this fun and informative episode! Click here to listen [MP3].

As a preview to the episode, here are 5 great gift ideas for a budget of two balls or less:

  1. Aran Cable Scarf – The classic cable design gives this scarf a timeless touch for any girl or guy.
  2. Thigh High Socks – These fun leg warmers make a stylish gift for a younger sister, cousin, or friend.
  3. Knit Wristers – Just one cone of LB 1878 is enough for many pairs! This pattern is easily customizable, so add stripes, lace, cables, or embroidery to make a personal statement.
  4. Basic Socks – You can never go wrong with simple, classic socks.
  5. Bath Collection – An assortment of washcloths makes a great gift, especially when presented with a ribbon and handmade soap.

Liked this episode? Join us next Tuesday for a brand new episode featuring a sneak peek into the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, as well as a special interview with bestselling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club, Kate Jacobs, whose sequel Knit Two comes out November 25th!

Making Yarn, Making Electricity

November 10th, 2008

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It’s always incredible to hear about how something as traditional as making yarn can be turned into a way to transform people’s lives. In India, one man has found a way to do just that.

RS Hiremath has reinvented the spinning wheel. His “e-charkha” has taken India’s charkha (spinning wheel) and transformed it into an opportunity to provide clean electric power to the poor, generating energy stored in an maintenance-free acid battery attached to the bottom. With a long tradition of spinning yarn and weaving, Indians will benefit as the e-charkha will help to provide both income and electricity to some of the poorest people in the country.

Via Inhabitat, via iGovernment and The Hindu

Reminder: Lion Brand Yarn Studio Preview Days

November 7th, 2008

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Don’t forget that this Sunday is the first of our two preview days EXCLUSIVELY for Lion Brand Notebook readers, E-Newsletter subscribers, and YarnCraft listeners.

Come visit the Lion Brand Yarn Studio BEFORE the general public!

Sunday, November 9th, from 12 pm to 5 pm

Thursday, November 13th, from 12 pm to 7 pm

34 West 15th Street, New York, New York, between 5th & 6th Avenues

Click here and print out your admittance ticket, redeemable for a special gift when you come for the preview days!

Can’t make it? The Studio’s grand opening is November 18th, with fun activities and prizes all day!

Crochet a Reminder to Give Thanks

November 6th, 2008

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The cornucopia is a symbol that reminds us to appreciate the abundance in our lives.  No matter how difficult times may be, Thanksgiving is a time to focus on what we are grateful for.

This cornucopia is a crocheted horn shape with individually crocheted mini fruits and vegetables inside, including a pumpkin, an apple, an egglplant, a corn on the cobb and a squash.  The filled cornucopia measures 6 3/4″ wide by 6 1/2″ tall.

We invite you to comment and share with us and with each other the things that you are grateful for.

Showing Sports Spirit in Yarn

November 6th, 2008

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This is a post from John, in our New Jersey office:

My name is John, and I work in Lion Brand’s Information Technology (IT) department. I originally learned to crochet from Carolyn, my best friend in our Customer Service department. As of Nov. 11th, I will have been working here for one year. Crocheting is still an uphill battle for me, so I am not as good as other associates here, but I get by.

Like many people from New Jersey, I was born a die-hard New York Giants fan. My cubicle is adorned with a fair share of Giants paraphernalia, especially Super Bowl Champions things. Between work, football, and only a cursory knowledge of crochet, I have very little time to practice.

Luckily, my good friend Stephanie decided to make me a Giants hat for my birthday. She told me to pick the colors, yarn, and layout and she would take care of the rest. I picked Vanna’s Choice in Colonial Blue, Scarlet, and White to match the Giants’ team colors. The resulting hat keeps me warm while rooting for the Giants. Go Giants!

For more ideas about showing team spirit, check out our latest issue of our monthly newsletter, BK4K.

My Magic Baby Mitts

November 5th, 2008

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This is a guest post from Jackie, our senior technical editor:

Visitors to my little Design Department cubicle sometimes ask about the wee, tattered baby mitts pinned to my bulletin board. The mitts are a talisman, the magic Smyth baby mitts.

My grandmother knit the mitts during her emigration from Ireland to the US in 1920. Shortly after she and my grandfather settled in Brooklyn, NY, she gave birth to my dad and the mitts were put to good use. In the following years, the mitts were hardly put away before they were needed for another new baby. My grandmother gave birth to another boy and then 6 (!) girls. All the tiny hands found handmade warmth in the little blue mitts. Sadly, my grandmother passed away when my dad was just 20 years old. In sorting through her things, it was decided that, as the eldest, my dad should be the keeper of the mitts.

So meaningful were these tiny mitts that my dad carried them with him when he enlisted in the Army. He felt the mitts were a charm, and entertained family and friends with stories of how they had kept him safe during the war. The mitts, a bit worn but still imbued with magic, were brought out again when I and then my sister were born, and years later for my own children.

What dreams and wishes must the little mitts hold after so many years and so many babies!

In honor of those who’d been so much a part of me, I’d kept my maiden name and am now the last family member to carry the Smyth name. And that’s how I came to be the keeper of the mitts. I’ve carried them with me through some difficult passages and they’ve not let me down yet.

As knitters and crocheters, we are all so lucky to be able to create future heirlooms for our families. Every handmade object is a treasure, carrying the warmth of family forward for generations. If you’d like to knit your own heirloom mitts, here’s a simple pattern that takes just one ball of Microspun.

Microspun Mitts
With size 3 (3.25 mm) needles, cast on 30 stitches.
Work in knit 1, purl 1 rib for about 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm).
Change to size 4 (3.5 mm) needles and work in Stockinette st (knit one row, purl one row) for about 2 in. (5 cm), end with a wrong side (purl) row.
Next (decrease) Row: *Knit 4, knit 2 together, repeat from * across the row – 25 sts.
Purl one row.
Next (decrease) Row: *Knit 3, knit 2 together, repeat from * across the row – 20 sts.
Purl one row.
Next (decrease) Row: *Knit 2, knit 2 together, repeat from * across the row – 15 sts.
Purl one row.
On the next row, knit 2 together across the row, end by knitting the last st – 8 sts. Cut yarn, leaving a long end.
Thread yarn end through these remaining stitches, gather together securely, then use yarn end to sew the seam of Mitt.

Make a 3-st I-cord using size 3 (3.25 mm) double pointed needles; the cord on my mitts is about 22 in. (56 cm) long. Sew a mitt to each end of cord. (Click here for detailed I-cord directions.)

The pattern BK4K 0609004, on our website, includes a chart and directions for working an initial in duplicate stitch if you’d like to add this to your mitt.

Which Would YOU Pick?

November 3rd, 2008

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The cool winds of autumn have arrived, and that can only mean one thing: time to craft cold weather accessories! From the quirky to the classic, hats are a fast-to-make, fun way to show off your unique style.

Which hat above is most YOU? Tell us which hat you like best and why!

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