Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Archive for August, 2010

Win a Copy of “Loom Knitting Socks” AND a Ball of Sock-Ease!

August 16th, 2010

Pin It

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who entered! The winner of this giveaway is Denise, comment #136, who will get a copy of Loom Knitting Socks PLUS a ball of Marshmallow Sock-Ease!

Here at Lion Brand, we love socks! (In fact, if you listen to tomorrow’s episode of YarnCraft, our radio-style podcast, you’ll hear from many different members of the staff here who talk about their favorite types of projects, which often include socks.) Not only do we love socks, but we also love all the different ways to make socks!

Whether you knit, crochet, or loom knit, making socks is within your reach! For loom knitters who want to explore the world of sock-knitting, we’ll be giving away a copy of Loom Knitting Socks by Isela Phelps, who has written several books about the art of loom knitting, courtesy of St. Martin’s Griffin. In addition, the winner will ALSO get a ball of Sock-Ease in their choice of color.

So how do you win this great prize?

Just leave a comment on this blog post telling us why you love making socks or want to try! And don’t forget to tell us which color of Sock-Ease you want!

One randomly selected winner will be chosen this Friday, 12 pm EDT. Good luck!

Here’s An Event You Won’t Want To Miss

August 13th, 2010

Pin It

Photograph by Nicomide from Flickr

I’m not sure I can possibly convey the incredible phenomenon of Maker Faire but I will try because it’s going to be coming to our home town, New York City, in September and is spreading to more cities around the country each year.

Maker Faire is a public festival that celebrates creativity with a focus on the do-it-yourself movement.  It is a one-of-a-kind “happening”  where you’ll see people who have produced amazing demonstrations of art, craft, science, food, engineering and technology–including new ways to combine these disciplines in the most innovative ways.

What will you see there? At the San Mateo event there was a solar powered, walking electric man,  a 3D printer that can “print” a lamp, a fashion show that displays fashions with lights embedded in them and a sculpture that plays music.

Lion Brand has sponsored Maker Faire for 4 years now and we are thrilled to be in the company of a diverse group of sponsors that includes Yahoo, Lego, Chevy, Hewlett Packard and Whole Foods and Martha Stewart. At the event in San Mateo in May we featured life-size knitted animals and free knit and crochet instructions.

We’ll be sharing more information about this family-friendly event as the time approaches.  In the meantime, go over to the website and get your tickets. I can promise you, this is one event you won’t want to miss.

Related links:

Soldiers Learn to Knit

August 12th, 2010

Pin It

Teaching people to knit is always rewarding.  I received an email recently from Joy, a soldier serving in Afghanistan who taught her fellow soldiers how to knit!  As many of us know, knitting is a great way to relax, and Joy decided to share her relaxation method with others.  It was heart-warming to hear about her impromptu knitting lessons even in less-than-ideal conditions.

Joy says, “It was extremely dusty and hard to keep anything clean, so we just took the garage sale yarn that my mother in law sent me in a care package. We got pretty creative. I made a pillow for the aid station while the PA Naimiyah made a cute scarf for her daughter.”

We were happy to send Joy and her fellow soldiers beginner supplies to spread the love of yarncrafting, and we hope they continue to enjoy knitting for years to come!

(If you’re looking at this blog post on the website, click on the slide show 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 see it on the website.)

Have you ever taught anyone to knit or crochet?  Who taught you to knit or crochet?

Update 8/13/10: Joy just posted this comment for those of you who are interested in supporting these Combat Knitters further:

Thank you so much Lions Brand Yarn for sending us those starter kits! If supporters are interested in sending knitting materials, I would be happy to receive them and distribute to our Combat Knitters! You can reach me at for my mailing address at FOB Sharana. Thanks for your support!

Related links:

Vote For Your Favorite Yarn Haiku

August 11th, 2010

Pin It

On July 15, we announced our very first Haiku contest. Since then, we’ve received an overwhelming response – over 1,500 of you submitted some of the most fun to read Haiku. Our team here at Lion Brand had a ball reading all of your entries and we were able to pick 11 of our favorite Haiku. It wasn’t an easy task.

As we mentioned during the announcement, we need to boil it down to 4 awesome Haiku. This is where you, our dear readers, get to contribute again! We designed this poll (see below) to allow you to pick 3 of your favorite Haiku. Once the poll closes on Aug 25, you can see right here who emerges as our four winners.

Update: Please note that we’ve removed the Haiku with the incorrect word counts. Thanks to those commenters who spotted the oversight for pointing it out.

Taking Inspiration from Macramé

August 10th, 2010

Pin It

I believe that looking at other crafts can really inspire and inform our knitting and crocheting, just as knitting and crochet inspire other crafts. When you look at traditional lace-making, you may be inspired to replicate some of that look with filet crochet. Sewing might inform us of a certain way to construct a knitted garment. Sometimes yarncrafts inspire other crafts too, like with these fabric prints I wrote about a little while ago, as well as the work of ceramicist Annette Buganksy, whose beautiful ceramic vases are designed to look like they’re made of knitted fabrics.

In this vein, I wanted to highlight the work of Australian artist Sarah Parkes, whose complex macramé designs are incredibly beautiful and inspiring. Macramé is a craft that can enhance the ways we think about working with yarn, since it’s similar in the sense that it’s about manipulating strands of cord or yarn to create an intertwined fabric structure.

Whether you take that inspiration by using a similar crochet stitch pattern like the Solomon’s Knot (below; click the image for stitch directions), which reminded me of Sarah’s light fixture (above right)…

…or by creating knotted pieces with yarn, looking at macramé pieces can be a way to reinvigorate and inspire your own yarncrafting!

Via The Contemporist by way of 2Modern Design Talk.

Related links:

FAQ: Can I knit or crochet on an airplane?

August 9th, 2010

Pin It

airplaneWe get a lot of questions from curious travelers about whether they can craft on airplanes. According to the TSA, knitting and crocheting is allowed on domestic US flights. Keep in mind that blunt scissors under 4 inches are permitted, but circular thread cutters are not allowed. As an alternative to scissors, you can bring nail clippers (as long as they don’t have a blade) to cut your yarn. Keep in mind, however, that TSA officials make the final call on whether you will be allowed to take your crafting on board. Just in case, it’s helpful to carry a printed copy of the TSA’s current rule on knitting needles and crochet hooks, available here. If you have a smartphone, you can access the TSA mobile website at, where you can quickly find current TSA rules through the “Can I Bring?” function. In case the TSA official will not allow you to carry your crafting supplies on board, bring a self-addressed stamped envelope with you. Many officials will allow you to mail the supplies instead of confiscating them. If you live outside of the US or are traveling internationally, keep in mind that each country has its own individual security agency with unique regulations. Check with that agency to ensure that your tools may be used on their flights. Happy travels!

Video Knit-Alongs on the Lion Brand YouTube Channel

August 5th, 2010

Pin It

Recently, I shared the fun news that I’ll be leading 3 knit-alongs on Knitting Daily TV this season, focused on fun projects that introduce you to new skills — we’re happy to announce that these segments will be available to watch on the Lion Brand YouTube channel!

The first one is the Fallen Leaves Scarf, which introduces seed stitch, a basket weave pattern, and slip stitch color work. There are 3 short segments to get you on your way as you knit this sampler scarf project. Watch them now and get started!

[Click below to play them all one after the other below; if you’re viewing this blog post in your e-mail, you will need to click on the title of the blog post to view it online and see the videos.]

You can also check out my blog posts each Tuesday on, where I elaborate on some of the techniques discussed in each episode.

Are you knitting along? Tell us about yourself, the colors you’ve chosen, and what you hope to get out of this knit-along!

Don’t get Knitting Daily TV on your local public television station? Well, you will be able to see all of these knit-along segments on the Lion Brand YouTube Channel! (You can also contact your local station and tell them you want Knitting Daily TV in your area!)

Stitch Markers: A Lace Knitter’s Best Friend

August 3rd, 2010

Pin It

The very first thing I ever knitted besides a swatch was an oversized black lace mohair sweater. I was so incredibly proud that I was able to make these giant pieces of lacy fabric…until I went to put them together and discovered that one piece was almost twice as wide as the other piece. I had somehow managed to increase so many extra stitches that I had four extra repeats of the lace pattern going, and I had never noticed as I was working. Partly this was due to inexperience and a willingness to fudge (I was 15 and had an aversion to asking for help), but I’m sure it could have been largely avoided if I had used one simple little tool: stitch markers.

Placing a stitch marker between each repeat of a lace pattern not only helps you maintain the proper stitch count in each repeat across, but can help you quickly find where you made an error in a previous row. For instance, if you have a lace pattern with 14 8-st repeats, that’s 112 stitches to keep track of. If you place a marker between each repeat across, that’s 14 sets of 8 stitches. It’s much easier to notice and correct when one set’s missing a stitch, instead of realizing when you get stitch 109 that you’re not going to have enough stitches to finish the row (and also now your motifs are all out of whack) because a yo was missing way back in pattern repeat one or two.

Taking a couple of seconds to place a marker between each repeat as you work your first row can save you a lot of time and frustration down the road. Knitting should be relaxing and fun, not filled with the frustration of trying to located missed yarn overs or unworked decreases!

Do you like knitting lace? Tell us about what you’ve made!

[Pattern shown above: Island Shawl]

Donating Your Extra Yarn

August 2nd, 2010

Pin It

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my mom’s best friend, Shirley. Like many avid knitters and crocheters, she’s been collecting yarn for years, buying a few balls here and there, saving them for the day she can put them to good use. But lately, Shirley told me, she’s just feeling overwhelmed by the boxes of yarn she’s got in her closet, and she really wants to get rid of some of them that are no longer her style. But of course, she said, she feels like it would be a waste to throw her skeins and balls and hanks away.

“Donate them!” I told her.

There are so many organizations that knit & crochet for charity, make prayer and healing shawls for people in their local organizations, teach children and young adults to knit and crochet–and they can all benefit from the yarn that you no longer want.

On YarnCraft, our radio-style podcast, my co-host Liz & I have discussed this topic a few times and we suggest contacting your local schools to see if the arts programs and/or after school programs can put your yarn to good use. Local organizations or church groups who do craft drives are another good place to start.

Finally, we suggest checking the Lion Brand Charity Connection for organizations making things with yarn–we at Lion Brand hear from charity organizations all the time, and especially in this economy, your yarn can be a great boon to charities all over the world.

Click here to search the Charity Connection database.

How have you used yarn to give to others? Leave a comment and tell us about it.