Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for March, 2009


Behind the Scenes with Martha Stewart

March 19th, 2009

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It’s been a whirlwind few weeks at Lion Brand preparing for the Martha Stewart show which airs on Monday, March 23rd.  Our Design team has been working on special projects that were created especially for the show.

photo credit: Anders Krusberg/The Martha Stewart Show

The producer visited our Studio and met with our president, David Blumenthal and our creative team headed by Karen Tanaka in an initial planning meeting.   A week later, Martha taped a segment in the Lion Brand Studio on which we blogged about on March 6th.  To get less than a 5 minute segment, the camera crew came at 7:30 a.m. and were in the Studio or our Design Department until 7:00 p.m. that night.  Martha brought her dogs, Sharkey and Francesca to the studio and they were fitted for sweaters that were designed by Lion Brand.

You’ll be able to get the patterns from our website by the time the show airs on Monday.

Here are some videos of the filming in our Studio:


Moderne Jacket Crochet-Along: Tackling the Back

March 19th, 2009

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I have been just so amazed this last week at the number of you responding to the invitation to join our CAL for the Moderne Jacket! For those of you who are just joining in on the fun, make sure to print your pattern soon as it will only be free especially to all the CAL participants until March 23rd.

This last week was a time for many of you to decide what yarn to use, making that swatch and starting work on the back. In my last post, I discussed what types of yarns would probably work best and decided myself to work with yarns that were different from the ones used in the pattern. The pattern calls for two different colors of yarn–but I decided to work with two yarns that were very similar in color. The two yarns I chose were “Vanna’s Choice” in Beige, and” Vanna’s Glamour” in Topaz. I liked the bit of glimmer that Glamour gave to my project, and so I chose a smooth, golden look to the jacket I am making my daughter.

So, how did my back turn out? Well, much to my surprise (and to some of you!) I found that after working my decrease rows, the 2 stitch pattern “shifts” by 1 stitch. Now, for many of you, this won’t be apparent at all – especially if you are working with two tones, or darker yarn, or a yarn with a texture, like Homespun. It is always amazing to me how the same pattern can look so different with a change of yarn!

Again, for many of you – this won’t even be an issue…but here is how I kept the pattern in line. I noticed while working this pattern stitch, that the first stitch I work into for the sc2tog was different in appearance than the second stitch I worked. (One is the stitch resulting from the sc2tog on the previous row, and the second is the ch1 done after the sc2tog). Keeping that in mind, on the rows that were “off” from the pattern, I did a sc at the beg of the row and an extra sc at the end of the row to make sure the stitch pattern lined up on itself as it did in the beginning. It was a little trickier for the raglan shaping as I was trying to line it up every row. I like how my back turned out, but it did take some forethought. I’m already thinking of doing this jacket again – but maybe a two- tone next time!

I’ve already started my fronts and keeping the pattern stitch “lining-up” will keep me busy. Next week, we’ll see how they “shaped-up”!

For CALers in the NYC, stop by the Lion Brand Yarn Studio to see the original jacket LIVE.

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Moderne Jacket Crochet-Along: Get the CAL Badge

March 19th, 2009

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Show your CAL pride and let everyone know that you’re part of the CAL community with your very own CAL badge!

Download the Moderne Jacket CAL badge and put it on your website, blog, or Ravelry page!

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Knitting Everything In Sight

March 18th, 2009

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I always love to see how knitting is used in pop-culture. In this Yoplait commercial a woman knits everything—from the sweater and hat she’s wearing to a basketball jersey and sweat bands—all in order to keep her mind off of her diet. Of course, knitters and crocheters have always known that you can make practically anything out of yarn. Want proof? Look at my post about Stitch N’ Pitch at Shea Stadium to see a picture of designer Lily Chin in her entirely knit and crocheted Mets uniform!


5 Spring Patterns from YarnCraft Episode #36

March 17th, 2009

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In the most recent episode of YarnCraft, our bi-weekly audio podcast, Liz and I look forward to spring with beautiful garments in lightweight cotton, including Cotton-Ease, Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton, Recycled Cotton, and LB Collection Cotton Bamboo. We also discuss how gauge, fabric density, and the look of your finished project relate to each other. We also talk about the Moderne Jacket crochet-along.

Here are five patterns to start your spring:

To listen to this episode, click here [MP3]. For more information about the podcast or this episode, visit the YarnCraft blog.

Join us next Tuesday for a new episode all about Easter and baby patterns for spring arrivals.


Looking Forward to Spring with Michelle Edwards

March 16th, 2009

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This is a guest post from Michelle Edwards–a life long knitter and the author/illustrator of many books for children including the 2006 Gryphon award winner, STINKY STERN FOREVER and CHICKEN MAN winner of National Jewish Book Award. Michelle lives in Iowa City, Iowa with her husband and three daughters. She is a frequent contributor to the Lion Brand Weekly E-Newsletter.

Greetings from Iowa!

Last week a strange critter appeared in our backyard. It had an intelligent, sharp-featured face and a long tail. Wondering what it was, I consulted our resident wildlife expert, my youngest daughter, Lelia.

Stumped, she took a few pictures of it, and headed over to quiz our more knowledgeable neighbors. I waited by the window, watching nature in action. The creature’s delicate hands grubbed around the leaves and grass, eating something found there. It’s amazing how fascinating animals can be. A few minutes later, Lelia returned with the answer; a possum.

The very next day, close to to where the possum appeared, I spotted a fox. For the first time ever. Could these visitors be signs of spring? I sure hope so.

Yarns like LB Collection Cotton Bamboo in colors like Magnolia, Cherry Blossom, Hyacinth and Hibiscus, inspire me with visions of summery knits, especially on cold, rainy days like today. This month I plan to free up some of my needles, tackle the past, before embracing the new. My next story is about preparing for spring by finishing projects started last year. (Look out for this week’s newsletter to read it!)

My charitable knitting contribution this month will be washcloths, and Warm Up America squares.

Related links:


Moderne Jacket Crochet-Along: Choosing a Yarn & Swatching for Gauge

March 12th, 2009

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Welcome to all of you crochet-lovers who have been patiently waiting for your time to crochet together again. I am very excited to host this “adventure in crochet” with all of you! I had such a great time hosting the Cable Luxe Tunic Knit-Along a few months ago, that when I was asked if I wanted to host a crochet-along (CAL) – I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough! As a teacher and designer, I enjoy this camaraderie of our craft, and I know this CAL will be a lot of fun.

I was also thrilled to see which design the majority of you chose –- the Moderne Jacket. This is a great design that I think many of you will enjoy making and adding to your wardrobe. In my case, I am going to make this for my younger daughter, Caroline. My oldest daughter, Lizzie, was the lucky recipient of the knitted “Cable Luxe Tunic” and so I was hoping her sister might like the style of the “Moderne Jacket” – and she does!

OK, so before we go into the yarn I chose for the jacket, make sure you all print off the pattern for the “Moderne Jacket.” You can print this pattern for free until March 23rd! With the pattern in your hands (or yarn basket), let’s talk about what yarns would work well for this project. Actually, this pattern lends itself to a wide choice of yarns. The original pattern calls for a strand of Lion Wool and Lion Cashmere Blend to be worked together. Both of these yarns are worsted weight (category 4) yarns –- but when they are held together in a pattern, they are the same weight as a super bulky weight (category 6) yarn.

So for this pattern you can either work a super bulky yarn (like the beautiful and easy-care Wool-Ease Thick & Quick), or two worsted weight yarns held together (like two strands of Cotton-Ease for a spring jacket or LB Collection Organic Wool that’s perfect for fall), or a heavier worsted and a sport weight together.

I went to my stash of yarn and pulled out a variety of yarns to see how they would work with this pattern. I decided to try a skein of beige Vanna’s Choice (heavy worsted weight) along with topaz Vanna’s Glamour (sport weight). Vanna’s Choice and Vanna’s Glamour are also great, affordable yarns, and in this economy, they are a wonderful budget-friendly option. The results were beautiful as the Vanna’s Glamour gives a subtle shimmer to the fabric. On my tall, blonde daughter – I think this will be one “knockout” of a jacket!

Lucky for me, the size N crochet hook called for in the pattern was the right size and below is a picture of my swatch (note that each “bump” in swatch is 2 stitches):

Now that I know what yarns I will use, I made sure to order enough of each yarn to make the entire jacket. For the 5 sizes of the pattern, you will need approximately 900 (1000, 1100, 1200, 1300) yards of each of the yarns you will use. For my jacket (which will be a small) I will need 6 skeins of the Vanna’s Choice and 5 skeins of Vanna’s Glamour. Now it is your turn to pick out a yarn and swatch away! For your swatch, make sure to start with an even # for your chain (I chained 18 to get a nice size swatch). I’m going to get busy on the back of the jacket now, but I’m looking forward to your questions and comments!

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Ode to the ’80s Gem Sweater

March 11th, 2009

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Leslie Hall, a maker and crafter, creates a dance-worthy video showing how she knit the world’s largest replica of a knit 1980s gem sweater.  Remember them?


Pay It Forward

March 10th, 2009

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This is a wonderful story about a man who anonymously donates hand-crocheted hats to the homeless. Since learning to crochet from a YouTube videoLearn to crochet in January, Ernie has made and donated 30-35 hats, hanging them on a tree or fence in Grand Rapids’ poorest neighborhoods with a note: “free wool hat just for you.” Ernie was quoted in the article as saying,  “I just think everybody should be treated as a human being. And if everybody did just one little thing, it would improve the lives of so many people.”


Discover the Amazing Cricket Weaving Loom

March 9th, 2009

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Weaving is such a great activity for anyone who loves textiles and textures. I remember weaving on a little cardboard loom in school as a kid. Now, for anyone who wants to have a real loom of their very own, we have the fantastic Cricket Loom.

This little high-quality loom is so easy to set up, perfect for table-top usage, completely portable, and a great price for a starter loom. It has simple directions that will get you started right away, and you don’t need patterns to make great items on a loom. Simply weave the width and length that you want, in the colors of your choice. It’s perfect for scarves, place mats, and more. It even comes with two balls of Wool-Ease to get you started, making it a perfect gift!

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