Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for February, 2010

Inishturk Sweater Knit-Along: The Inishturk Shapes Up

February 18th, 2010

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The Inishturk Sweater is certainly a cabled sweater of “Olympic” proportions!  I know I’m not the only one having fun knitting it while watching the 2010 Winter Games.  One reason this sweater is a great project to work with cables is because there is very little shaping in this sweater.  However, we do have necks and arms!   So there is a little shaping at the top of the back and front as well as the sides of the sleeves.   Some of you have been wondering how to keep your knitting in pattern while working the shaping of the neck and sleeves.  On all the wrong side rows, the instructions are to knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.   This can be confusing when you shape this sweater, because all of a sudden, the patterns change.

The shaping for the sleeves (for all the sizes) has us increasing 1 stitch each side of the sleeve every 3rd row 8 times, then every 4th row 15 times.   Keeping the Double Seed stitch pattern can be a challenge doing that when you will need to increase on the right side (RS) and sometimes on the wrong side (WS).  The main thing to remember is on the RS, knit the purl and purl the knit stitches.  On the WS, knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.

One of the best skills to have as a knitter is to be able to “read” your stitches.  In other words, know if they are knits or purls.  So, look at the stitches as they appear right now rather than how they were worked on the row before.  So, if your stitch appears like this picture (to the right, in pink), it is a knit stitch (even though it was a purled the row before.)  These are the stitches you purl on the RS and knit on the WS.

OK – so here (in green) is a picture of a purl stitch as it “appears” (there is always a “bump” at the base of it).  One of my students told me she learned how to identify a stitch as a purl, by the “pearl” necklace it is wearing!  These are the stitches you will knit on the RS and purl on the WS.

Sometimes the edge stitches might be difficult to “read”, so just look at the next couple of stitches to figure out whether that edge stitch is a knit or a purl.  And if the edge stitches don’t look perfect – don’t worry – they will be in the seam before you know it!

What about those cables patterns when you are shaping the neck?  The main rule is to not work a cable if you do not have enough stitches to do it.  Just work those stitches in stockinette stitch.  Below you can see the shaping I’m doing on the front left neck. It looks a little strange, but when I pick up stitches for the neck, it will look fine.

This sweater is “shaping” up nicely, and soon we’ll be at our own “finish line”!

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Turquoise: Color of the Year

February 17th, 2010

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Every year, color authority Pantone reports on color trends. This year, it has revealed turquoise as its color of the year. This cheerful shade of blue is popping up everywhere, from home decor to clothing and accessories. Turquoise is versatile because it can be bright and bold or calm and soothing. Here are some turquoise-inspired projects.

Clockwise from top left: Turquoise swatch from, Easy Knit Mittens in Country Green Jiffy, Knit Hat and Scarf in Lagoon Homespun, Crochet Amigurumi Octopus in Sage Lion Wool.

The color turquoise invokes feelings of confidence and cheer, making it perfect for any garment, accessory, or decor item. Try using the shade Turquoise in Cotton-Ease, Microspun, or Fun Fur to add a special pop of color to your next project.

Lion Brand Yarn Spotting

February 16th, 2010

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One of the funny things about working at a yarn company is that you start recognizing yarns all over the place. I recently received a cozy crocheted hat, that I suspected was Vanna’s Choice in Rust.  My only doubt came from the fact that my aunt, who gave me the hat, does not crochet.  Then minutes later my cousin opened her gift, which was also a crocheted hat, this time undeniably Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Wood, confirming my assumption that mine was Vanna’s Choice in Rust.

It turns out that my aunt had bought them from Krochet Kids, an organization where women from northern Uganda crochet hats to support themselves and their families. (Click the related links below to learn more about Krochet Kids.)

Each hat has a tag with the woman’s signature in it so that you can look up who made your hat on their website. It is always really fun and exciting to see Lion Brand yarns used in people’s work in online marketplaces, and it was especially fun to see it used by this interesting organization.

To see some other great uses of Lion Brand yarns, check out the Lion Brand Gallery on Artfire.  We also love seeing how you use our yarn, so be sure to post your most recent finished project in our Customer Gallery.

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Don’t Panic: A List of Resources

February 15th, 2010

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I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to write this particular post. You see, I really, really like talking to you all and helping you with your knitting and crochet questions. I like hearing about the project you’re making for your son on the East Coast, or your daughter in the Coast Guard. I really think it’s neat that you’ve been crocheting since you were 10, or that you’re in your 70s and have just decided to learn to knit. I want you to keep calling me and emailing me, and I want to keep helping you when you find yourself having a bit of trouble.

On the other hand, I think some of you only call and email because you’re not sure where else to turn, and I want you to know that there are some other resources out there that you can turn to if one of us at Lion Brand isn’t immediately available to you (like when you can’t quite remember how to properly do a hdc or sk2p at 3am on Sunday morning). So without further ado, here is a quick reference list of some helpful resources from

  • Learn to Crochet and Learn to Knit: Great explanations of the basics, plus a few more advanced techniques. You can also go to the Lion Brand YouTube Channel to see a lot of techniques demonstrated in short videos.
  • Hook and Needle Equivalents: Got a question about the proper hook or needle size? Check here for metric and imperial equivalents.
  • Lion Brand Yarn Info: Questions about a particular yarn? Click on the name of the yarn you’re interested to see available colors, recommended needle size, and more.
  • The Pattern Finder: This is one of the coolest things at Want to knit a sweater for your new grandson? Looking for a nice cowl pattern for yourself? You can search on a particular term, or you can scroll down and use the selection boxes and drop downs to narrow down the types of projects you want to see.
  • The FAQ bank: Want to know how to substitute a different yarn into a pattern? Need to estimate how much yarn you need for a particular type of project? Want to know why we’ve discontinued your favorite yarn? The Frequently Asked Question bank has the answers to the questions that, well, our customers have asked most often over the years.
  • List of Abbreviations: This mega-list of knit and crochet abbreviations is a fabulous resource, but remember to check the Stitch Explanation section of your pattern for detailed explanations of special stitches.
  • Finally, don’t forget to use this blog as a great resource! There is all sorts of great info here, and it’s all searchable using the search box in the upper right corner of this page.

I hope you will find these resources as helpful as I do. If you’re still stuck, though, please do give us a call or send an email (click here for customer & pattern support contact info) — we really do enjoy hearing from you and helping you!

Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation…and Knitting!

February 14th, 2010

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A site we like called Everyday Health, promotes knitting and crocheting for health reasons alongside some better-known stress reduction techniques.  This article talks about the health benefits of the crafts that we love. Here is another article that points to the impact of expressing your creativity on your health and also mentions knitting and crocheting.

Now, if we could only get health insurers to cover yarn!

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