Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for August, 2010

Suggested Size: Choosing the Right Needles or Hook to Get Gauge

August 31st, 2010

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It’s easy to get so caught up in following pattern instructions that you lose sight of what’s really important: gauge. You’ve probably already purchased the yarn for your project (or decided which of your stash yarns you’d like to use) by the time you sit down to work your gauge swatch, and you’ve probably just grabbed the needles or hook suggested by the pattern.

That’s a great place to start, BUT the important thing to remember is that the needle/hook size given in a pattern is just that: a suggestion. All it means is that the designer (or possibly the pattern tester) got the gauge specified in the pattern using that particular combination of yarn and needle. Don’t forget that everyone knits or crochets a little differently, and you may need to go up or down a hook size or two — or even more! — to get the correct gauge.

For more on how to make a gauge swatch (and why), please see this FAQ.

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If You Could Only Use One Word. . .

August 26th, 2010

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We love being a part of your lives and your knitting & crochet experiences and it means a lot to us when you share your experience with us.  Today, we are asking you to share with everyone who reads this blog,  what Lion Brand means to you in just one word. What one word comes to mind when you think about Lion Brand?

Fill out the form below to tell us your word, and next week, we’ll show you an image, known as a word cloud that illustrates your answers.

If you’re looking at this post in your blog reader or e-mail and can’t see the form, please click the title of this blog post to view it online with full content.

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See Nathan Vincent’s Crochet Taxidermy in NYC until Sept. 30

August 26th, 2010

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If you didn’t have an opportunity to see crochet artist Nathan Vincent’s fascinating yarn taxidermy when it was at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio back in late 2009 (as seen above), and you’re in the New York City area, you now have a second chance to see them! Nathan’s pieces will be on display from now through September 30 at Volume Black, a gallery in downtown Manhattan, located at 89 Washington Street.
From the artist’s website:

My work explores gender permissions and the challenges that arise from straying from the prescribed norms. It questions the qualities of gender by considering what constitutes masculine and feminine. It critiques stereotypical gender mediums by creating “masculine objects” using “feminine processes” such as crochet, sewing, and applique.

Want to learn more about Nathan’s work? Listen to our radio-style podcast YarnCraft’s episode 60 :: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Fiber Artists Ruth Marshall & Nathan Vincent to hear more about his fascinating pieces in his own words.

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FAQ: What is Intarsia?

August 25th, 2010

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Intarsia is a color work technique that is used to create individual fields of color in one piece. Yarn is not stranded horizontally (like in Fair Isle knitting); rather, each section of color has its own working yarn that moves vertically. You can usually identify intarsia because the color work does not continue over the course of the entire row. Thus, it would be pointless to strand a yarn over a row in which it is not used. Here’s an example that I knit up.
Intarsia front
While I only used two colors of yarn, I used three different strands of yarn: one purple piece for the center, one mustard piece for the left, and one mustard piece for the right. Here I have recolored my swatch to show where the matching mustard piece is.
Back recolor
As you can see in this close up, it is important to twist your working yarns when you change colors. This helps to prevent holes from forming when you change colors.
Intarsia back

And what can you make with intarsia? Click here to see seven knit and crochet intarsia patterns.

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On the Road: Customer Projects at Stitches Midwest

August 24th, 2010

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This past weekend I had the great pleasure of going to Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, IL.  It was so fun being surrounded by crafters all weekend and seeing knitters everywhere we went.  As I’ve said before, one of my favorite things about going to shows is seeing customer projects.  Some stop by to show off their work, while other are stumbled upon in hotel lobbies.  Either way, seeing the finished work (or work in progress) is always so satisfying for me.  Here are some of the beautiful projects from this weekend:

Please keep your mouse over the slideshow to see the captions. Unless the name of the pattern is specified in the caption, we do NOT have the pattern available. If you’re viewing the photos in your e-mail, please click on the title of the blog post to view it on our website in order to see the captions.

We’re headed to Maker Faire NY in September and Stitches East in October, and we’d love to see you there!  Even if you can’t make it to a show you can share your projects in our Customer Gallery.

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Bright & Graphic Tights for Fall!

August 23rd, 2010

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New York Magazine‘s fashion blog, The Cut, recently featured a fun slide show of bright, textured, and graphic tights–a trend that seems to be catching on for the fall. (Click here to visit the slide show.)

Well, with the introduction of 7 new colors this year to our Sock-Ease line, as well as dozens of patterns for leg warmers and socks added to our website, there are a ton of options for an enterprising knitter or crocheter to capitalize on the look and make her own!

Here are just a couple of the options:

(If you’re looking at this blog post on the website, click on the slideshow to move to the next photo. If you’re viewing this blog post in your e-mail and you’re having trouble with the photos, please click the title of the blog post to view the slide show on the website.)

Find the patterns at (must be logged into to view):

What is your favorite fashion trend for fall? Leave a comment and let us know!

You Never Know When You Might Learn Something New About Yarncrafting

August 20th, 2010

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While I was on vacation last week, I went to a lecture on health and wellness. During the lecture I noticed a woman crocheting in the audience, and I instantly felt right at home. Her name was Elaine (pictured right), and I couldn’t wait to ask her all about her project. When I asked, I was extremely happy to find out that she was crocheting preemie hats for a local charity. Charity yarncrafting has always been near and dear to my heart and I truly appreciate all of those who donate their time and energies to such worthy causes.

Elaine even shared a little fun fact with me: Did you know that while crocheting hats for babies, a preemie hat should be the size of an orange and a full sized baby hat should be the size of a grapefruit?

It really is amazing that you never know when you might learn something new about crafts you thought you knew well!

What interesting knitting & crochet tips and tidbits have you learned unexpectedly? Leave a comment and tell us!

Are you looking for a yarncrafting charity to donate to? Check our Charity Connection database for local, national, and international organizations.

Make Big Stitches Your Friend

August 19th, 2010

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Like many knitters & crocheters, when August rolls around, I’m already thinking about what to make for fall. Taking a cue from designer/model Mandy Coon–whose fall collection includes oversized, bold, stockinette stitch arm warmers (left) and scarves–I thought it might be fun to make some oversized items that are quick to knit or crochet up!

I took a quick browse through the Lion Brand Pattern Finder to pull up some oversized patterns for inspiration.

Here’s a list of just a few of the patterns that I found (Click the highlighted text to see the pattern on; must be logged into to view patterns):

  • Knit Fall River Scarf: big stockinette stitches make this simple scarf bold; very similar to Mandy Coon’s look.
  • Knit Jumbo Cable Scarf: eight strands of Vanna’s Choice held together and worked as one makes for a really huge statement.
  • Crochet Whoosh Scarf: seven strands total, give this V-stitch scarf a really chunky, graphic look.
  • Crochet Glam Statement Scarf (right): I love how this glittery scarf/wrap gives a pop to any outfit!
  • Knit Triple Play Scarf: not for the faint of heart, this scarf takes “oversized” to another level.
  • Crochet Bubblegum Scarf: big bobbles are made with five strands of a shocking fuchsia make for a lot of look.
  • Knit Dobbs Ferry Cowl: made with three strands of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, this cowl makes a strong statement, but also very wearable.

As you can see, with just a couple of strands of yarn held together and worked as one strand, you can get a totally graphic look out of even the most basic stitches.

Via The Cut.

Have you experimented with multiple strands of yarn? What do you think of big, bold statement pieces like this?

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FAQ: What is Fair Isle Knitting?

August 18th, 2010

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Fair Isle knitting, also known as stranded knitting, refers to color work that is a repeating pattern worked over a group of stitches and rows. What separates Fair Isle from intarsia and other color work techniques is the stranding on the back.  Here’s a quick example that I worked up using the houndstooth chart from this pattern.
Fair Isle front
Here’s a close up of the stranding on the back. Because my floats are short, I didn’t have to twist them.
Fair Isle back

Curious about what you can make with Fair Isle knitting? Here are just a few examples:
Fair Isle patterns
Clockwise from left: Limelight Stirrup Socks, Pemberly Tam, and Cloudsong Cowl.

Want more information on Fair Isle knitting? Click here to read our FAQ.

Keep Track of Your Measurements

August 17th, 2010

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Whenever I start a new garment, I find myself double and triple checking my measurements.  I ask myself, “What was the measurement on that last sweater?” and eventually spend the few seconds it takes to remeasure my bust and waist.  The only trouble is that sometimes it’s awkward to take measurements in public, so I can never commit to a new sweater without a little planning.  Plus, it’s silly that I remeasure myself every time I start a sweater, even when my measurements remain consistent.  I finally decided I needed to write down my measurements and keep them somewhere accessible. Our friends at BurdaStyle have a fabulous downloadable personal measurement card.  The card includes all the important measurements, and you can print it, fill it out and keep it with you wherever you go!  To download it, just go to their size chart page and click “Download Card” (on the right in the “BurdaStyle’s Personal Measurement Card” box).

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