Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for July, 2009

Studio Snippets – Improvising a Pattern!

July 31st, 2009

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A new pattern came out, the Thermal Scarf, and it had a stitch that I wanted to try.  It was a scarf using front post double crochet.  I grabbed a ball of Cotton-Ease from our demo bin of yarn and gave it a try.  I wanted to make sure I understood the pattern in case any of our customers asked about it.  I was having so much fun I couldn’t stop.  I took it to home and I realized I was getting close to the end of the ball, but alas, I had no idea what the dye lot was.  I had two choices, rip it out and start again, or improvise.

I decided to look up how to do crochet button holes.  I put in two button holes, picked up some cute buttons from the Studio and turned it into a one ball neck warmer.  I love it.

Charity Knit & Crochet-Along: Crafting with a Group

July 30th, 2009

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Now that you’ve started your project, why not connect with others locally? A charity group is a great way to share your love of crafting and keep each other motivated.

First, find out if there is a local chapter of your charity. There may also be a local group that generally crafts for any charity. Use your charity’s website or the Lion Brand Charity Connection to search for such meetings.

If no local groups already exist, make your own! Invite friends and relatives to join you at a set time and location. Many groups meet in casual locations, such as a member’s house or a coffee shop. You may also consider contacting local community centers or churches to see if you can use a meeting space, especially if you need to accommodate a larger number of people.

The most important part of crafting with a group is staying positive and motivated. Bring in your finished items, and ask others to do the same. Viewing your collective work acts as a reinforcement of your progress.

Share your progress in our comments section! We want to hear about your projects and your groups. Keep up the great work!

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Quick Poll: What Are “Baby” Colors?

July 28th, 2009

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When you make a baby blanket, sweater or other baby garments, what family of colors do you prefer: pastels or brights?

(Click the items below for patterns/details.)

Studio Snippets – Making a Pattern Your Own

July 28th, 2009

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Following a pattern as written is great, but sometimes you want to mix it up a bit.  Don’t be shy, jump in.  Here are two different takes on one of our most popular patterns, the Weekend Retreat Cardi.

Michelle followed the pattern as written, but substituted Lion Cotton, color Sagebrush.  She really like this yarn and wanted to find a simple stockinette pattern that would really show it off.

How cute is she?


The next take on the same pattern comes from one of our customers, Jodi.  She described to me a sweater that she wanted.  I suggested she start with the Weekend Retreat Cardi, but then instead of going to rib she knit the feather and fan pattern for the bottom.  I think it turned out great.

Before you say, “I could never change a pattern like that,” note that Jodi took her very first knitting lesson at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in February.  She has only been knitting for five months!  If she can do it, you can do it.

Visit Us at the Knit & Crochet Show!

July 27th, 2009

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I always have fun meeting other yarncrafters (talking about our latest projects, seeing what good tips and tricks there are out there, and…maybe doing a little shopping for cool new tools). Luckily for me, next week, Michelle, India, and I will get the opportunity to meet some of you at an event just for all of those things!

Want to join in? Visit us at the Knit & Crochet Show in Buffalo, NY! It’s going to be a fun weekend of fiber, friends, and learning! Come by the Lion Brand booth, where we’ll be giving out free patterns and goodies, showing you the latest in Lion Brand yarns, and raffling off amazing prizes!

And if you’re interested in learning more about getting into the industry professionally, join us for the Crochet Guild of America’s Professional Development Day, and get an inside look at how to become a professional knitter or crocheter.

For more information, go to

Charity Knit & Crochet-Along: Getting Started

July 23rd, 2009

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Last week we discussed selecting a charity. Click here to read the post if you missed it. Now it’s time to collect supplies and begin your charity projects! First, select the pattern you wish to make. Many charities use their own patterns for consistency, but others allow you to use virtually any pattern. Use our Pattern Finder to help find ideas that meet your charity’s needs. Some of our charity patterns include chemo caps, preemie items, Warm Up America! blankets, and the SHIPS Project hat.

Next, choose the appropriate yarn. Many charities only accept certain yarns for projects; for example, charities for deployed troops often require items to be made of wool, as it is naturally flame retardant, while many children’s charities request machine-washable yarns. Some charities also require newly purchased yarn due to allergies. Always check your charity’s website for fiber, washability, color, and yarn weight requirements prior to purchasing materials. If you cannot find any guidelines, it never hurts to ask a charity’s organizer or chapter leader.

After finding any requirements, gather your yarn! When purchasing new yarn, remember to keep your receipts; the cost of yarn for any donation you make to a 501(c)(3) charity will be tax deductible. You can also check your own yarn collection, as many small items can be made from leftovers from completed projects. Ask friends if they have any extra yarn they would like to donate to your project. You can also find deals at thrift stores and yard sales. If you cannot afford new yarn, some charities have supplies that members may use; inquire with your organization for more details. Remember that it is very important to know your fiber content to comply with any charity requirements.

So now that you have your pattern and your yarn, gather your hook or needles and start yarncrafting! What will you be making? Comment to let us know about your charity, your items, and your yarn. Be sure to share your tips, your charity stories, and your progress!

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Found on Facebook

July 22nd, 2009

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We have really been enjoying our connection with those of you who have become friends on Facebook.

Here is a photo that Brittany uploaded to our Facebook page of a Homespun squid that is worn on the head.  This wins my vote for a unique use of yarn!  Upload your photo and show us what you’re making with yarn.  Please join us, become a fan and get updates whenever we add a new video, run special offers, and provide behind-the-scenes pictures and info about what’s happening at Lion Brand.  Best of all you can join the conversation and make friends with thousands of other yarn lovers like yourself.

All-Stars Among Us

July 22nd, 2009

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While I was traveling through the Midwest last week, I was able to catch some of the MLB All-Star baseball game. Before the game began they played a video called “All-Stars Among Us” that was introduced by President Barack Obama, featured the last five living Presidents of the United States, and honored everyday people who make a difference in others’ lives. To my surprise one of the “all stars” mentioned was crocheting. I was so excited to see our industry represented in this undertaking before such a large national audience. The amazing woman featured in the video was Christine Shively who founded a charitable organization called “Knots of Love”. This charity is dedicated to making hats for those who have lost their hair due to their battle with cancer. Since she started the organization in 2007 she has donated over 21,000 caps.

We at Lion Brand commend Christine and all other who dedicate their lives to giving back for their efforts to help bring happiness and warmth to so many deserving people. This video truly touched my heart as I hope it will do the same for all of you.

(To see Christine’s 20 second clip fast forward to 3 min and 30 second portion of the video.)

YarnCraft Explores: Communal Art, “Yarn Bombing,” Brooklyn Tweed

July 21st, 2009

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On the latest episode of YarnCraft, my co-host Liz and I explore the topics of yarn as art (and even yarn as graffiti), and what it means to express yourself through the creation of objects as an artist and as a community.

We talk about groups like Knitta Please, artists like Robyn Love and some of the great fiber arts exhibits that have been taking place around the country, as well as organizations like Keep the Fleece, whose longest scarf project supports Heifer International, a non-profit aiming to end world hunger through self-reliance and sustainability. Since yarncrafts are most often thought of as home-arts suitable for making useable projects, it was interesting for us to think about yarn as a means to express oneself. In this episode, we also interview Brooklyn Tweed’s Jared Flood about blog as a vehicle of expressing himself through his knitting and photography. Click here to listen to this episode now [MP3].

We have previously featured art projects here on the Lion Brand Notebook, and it’s always interesting to see what people have to say. What do you think? Is there value to yarn used purely for art? Or do you feel that yarn should be used solely for things like garments? Share your thoughts here in the comments.

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Studio Snippets – Fun with the Knitting Machine

July 20th, 2009

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At the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, we use our Silver Reed Knitting Machine for many things.  We teach private lessons on it, we use it to make objects for our windows and displays.  This adorable headband was made on the machine by knitting strips of Microspun and strips of Moonlight Mohair and then braiding them.

If you want to read about our gift wrapping, made on the machine, check out the Studio Blog post about it.