Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for April, 2009

5 Eco-Friendly Patterns from YarnCraft Episode #38

April 17th, 2009

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In episode 38 of YarnCraft, our bi-weekly radio-style podcast, Liz and I prepare for Earth Day with eco-friendly yarns and projects! We also answer some great questions asked by our listeners. Learn more about great products like The Knitter’s Block, our Stitch of the Week, and great listener websites like WooWork! In our regular segment, Stash This: Ideas for Your Crafting Life, we share some useful techniques for using leftover yarn.

Here are 5 fabulous eco-friendly patterns:

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 an episode all about Mother’s Day gift ideas!

Are You A Stash Buyer or a Project Buyer?

April 14th, 2009

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If you’re a stash buyer, you purchase yarn because you found a yarn you simply must have and will find something to do with it later.

If you’re a project buyer, you purchase yarn for a pattern or specific project you plan to work on.

Which one are you?

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Q & A: What Is Blocking and What Can It Do for Me?

April 14th, 2009

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Q – I’ve heard about blocking, but I’m not sure what it is and what it’s for. Can you explain?

A – Blocking refers to the process of stretching and shaping a finished piece to ensure it is the proper size and shape. It can be used to finish any item and even out stitches. When choosing a blocking method, keep in mind your yarn’s care instructions. As acrylics are sensitive to heat, they should not be steam blocked.

Note the measurements of your garment and wash according to yarn label instructions. Lay your garment flat on a clean towel and roll the towel, pressing out as much water as possible. Repeat this with other towels until the item is mostly dry. On a flat, clean surface, such as a towel or blocking board, lay out your item and pull it into the desired shape. Pin to a blocking board if desired. Let the garment air dry.

Lay your item on a clean, dry towel on a flat surface. Place a cool wet washcloth over your item. After heating your iron to the appropriate setting for your fiber, press the iron on your washcloth for a few seconds. This will create steam. Repeat as necessary, rewetting your washcloth as needed. You’re your item into the proper shape while steaming. Afterward, allow your item to air dry. Pin to a blocking board if desired.

Lay your item on a dry towel on a flat surface. Mist with a spray bottle of room-temperature water. Pull the item into the desired shape. Pin if desired. Let the piece air dry.

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Knit and Crochet: Good For Your Brain

April 13th, 2009

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Photos and More from Martha Stewart, Sharkey, and Francesca

April 13th, 2009

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It was so fun to have Martha Stewart visit the Lion Brand Yarn Studio with her French bulldogs Sharkey and Francesca — a particular thrill for me personally, since I grew up watching her shows. Earlier this month, Martha blogged about her visit to the Studio and posted some beautiful pictures. Click here to read Martha’s post and to see her beautiful photos of the space.

Sharkey also blogged about her and Francesca’s sweaters on their blog, the Daily Wag — and even trying their paws at knitting! Click here to read their blog and check out their great photos.

Moderne Jacket Crochet-Along: Adding the Finishing Touches

April 8th, 2009

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This CAL has just flown by! This jacket has been fun and challenging at the same time for myself and many of you. Last week I worked the collar, and I’m glad I used markers to help me evenly space the stitches around the neck. After I worked the collar, I wove in all my ends and washed it inside-out, on gentle cycle, in my washing machine. I just let it air-dry and I’m amazed how much nicer a garment looks after it has been washed — after you finish any project, it’s always a good idea to wash it, since it’s been handled a lot during the making process. I used Vanna’s Choice and Vanna’s Glamour which I could easily wash in my machine. Just make sure to always check the label on your particular yarn for washing and drying instructions so that you may “ooh” and “ahh” after you clean your jacket for the first time!

While the jacket was drying, I decided to make the buttons. Below are the three types I made before I decided on which one to make 2 more times. The button on the bottom is one strand of each of the yarns I used with the size J hook called for in the pattern. You can see the size of these buttons compared to the quarter. Depending on what yarn you used for your jacket, the self-made buttonholes created by the ch-1 spaces are going to be larger or smaller than the same fabric created with another yarn.

I tested my button with my jacket and realized that the buttons would be a tight fit to get through the hole. So, I made a smaller button (in the middle) with 2 strands of Vanna’s Glamour and an F hook. This button fit through the hole, but I think it would have “popped” out while the jacket was being worn – and it looked a little small. I then made a button with 3 strands of Vanna’s Glamour and the original J hook creating a larger, and very shiny button! This seemed to go through the hole with a little squeeze, but my daughter almost always wears her jackets open. So, we decided on the “glam” button on the top.

Of, course you have all sorts of options when it comes to buttons. If you want the fabric buttons, but can’t get them through the hole, you could sew them to the front of the right side of your jacket and sew snaps on the fabric underneath. Or you could purchase buttons and if you want to make the buttonhole more apparent and reinforce it, you can just stitch around the openings of your buttonhole with a single strand of yarn. Remember the swatch you made in the beginning? I always keep mine nearby while I make a project, but you can also use it to practice stitching to make a buttonhole, rather than practicing on the jacket. That way you can see if you like it, and if your button will fit through the hole.

Well, the only thing left to do was to get my youngest daughter to try it on! The jacket shimmers — and she shines, too!

I have had a great time making this jacket with so many of you and I hope you have enjoyed making it as well. Remember that you can still read all the posts, questions and responses to this CAL on the “Crochet-Along” link on the right side of the Lion Brand Blog. Thank you all for joining and keep those updates and pictures coming!

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From a Knitter in Italy, One Story of Hope

April 7th, 2009

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Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the earthquake in Italy.  Here is the story of a 98 year old woman survived, apparently with the help of her knitting.

“Another of those rescued today was Maria D’Antuono, 98, who said that she had spent 30 hours knitting as she waited to be freed from her ruined home. “I worked, I knitted,” said Mrs D’Antuono, from the village of Tempera, close to L’Aquila. The redoubtable nonagenarian told rescuers that she was in good health when she was found this morning.”

Sockerific: Sock Knitting Tips from a New Sock Knitter

April 7th, 2009

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Although I have been knitting for years, I was always scared of making socks. Closing the toe, turning the heel — these ideas were foreign to me. Then there are all of the decisions involved: double pointed needles or circulars, toe up or top down, two at a time or one, etc. But for my new year’s resolution, I decided that I would tackle socks. To my surprise, they weren’t difficult and only took a week to make! Here are a few quick tips I’ve learned from my first pair of socks.

  1. Do whatever the pattern says to do. The directions might sound strange, but give it a try. After you’ve followed your first pattern, you can decide on your variations. It’s always better to understand the basics before trying something more difficult.
  2. Use self-striping yarn. Many sock patterns include several inches of straight stockinette stitch, so the color changes in yarn helps you keep track of your stitches and keeps knitting fun.
  3. Try on your socks as you’re knitting! Stop at the end of a round and carefully slide your foot into the sock, making sure not to knock any stitches off your needles. This will help you make the sock the perfect length.
  4. Have confidence. Half the battle with socks is your own perspective.

These are my first pair of socks. I used the Basic Socks pattern with Sock-Ease in Rock Candy. These socks have just the right amount of stretch to them, and they’re very comfortable. I’m already making my second pair.

Furniture: Knit and Crochet

April 6th, 2009

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I love it when my favorite blogs feature knitting and crochet in other forums. Check out 2Modern Design Talk’s feature on some gorgeous knit, crochet, and woven furniture! Click here.

CHA Fashion Show 2009

April 2nd, 2009

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Every year at the Craft and Hobby Association’s winter show, we have a special fashion show — hosted by the lovely Vanna White — featuring some of our latest patterns and creations. This year’s show, in Anaheim, CA, featured new takes on the classic scarf.

Some of these patterns are already available on our website, some will be featured in our Fall catalog — and as with many fashion shows — some are “concept pieces” meant just to showcase some of the cool trends that we’re excited about. Check our Pattern Finder — which lets you search by type of item, yarn, and so much more — to see some of these great items.

Click below to watch!

Here is just a selection of the items featured:

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