Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for September, 2010

Yarn Takes the Design World By Storm

September 20th, 2010

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Here at Lion Brand, it’s a well known fact that I read many newspapers and magazines, from business to knitting and crochet to fashion. I like to tear out articles, ads, and photos that inspire me or catch my eye, so I can share them with our associates.

Recently, I was flipping through the Wall Street Journal Magazine, when I came across an article entitled “A Gripping Yarn.” It was accompanied by a photo collage of all kinds of knitting, crochet, and yarn-inspired pieces seen at the Milan Furniture Fair, a major trade show in the interior design industry. The article described how yarn and crafting are coming into their own in the design community:

Following a resurgence among fashion designers and artists, homespun, cozy techniques such as crochet, macramé and knitting have found favor with international furnishing designers from Rotterdam to London to Toronto. “Craft is the word of the decade,” says Murray Moss, founder of the design gallery Moss in New York. “It went from having the most pejorative meaning to being embraced.”

Having grown up surrounded by yarn–our family business–and having seen the world of hand-knitting and crochet evolve over the last several decades, it is especially gratifying to me to see that designers everywhere–and even the Wall Street Journal–are taking notice of the wonderful world yarncrafts.

I hope you’ll click here to read the full article and check out the photographs of just some of the items–from chairs to lamps–inspired by yarn.


Help Us Yarnify Maker Faire!

September 16th, 2010

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squaresWe’re thrilled that the 2010 World Maker Faire is taking place in our hometown of New York City on September 25th and 26th. To celebrate, we’re collaborating with fiber artist Robyn Love to yarn bomb a rocket at the New York Hall of Science! The installation–called Send a Message to the Universe–will consistent of 12″ x 12″ knitted and/or crocheted squares (featuring messages to the universe stitched into the fabric) that will be attached to one of the rockets. After Maker Faire, the squares will be made into blankets for the Warm Up America! Foundation.

Want to participate? If you’re in the New York City area and would like to help make some squares, please join us on Monday, September 20th and Tuesday, September 21st from 6-8 pm, at 34 West 15th Street, 7th Floor, between 5th and 6th Avenues. We’ll provide the hooks, needles, and Hometown USA yarn that you’ll need to contribute to this unique collaborative work of art. We want you to personalize each square, so be as creative as you want with your color and stitch pattern! Please note that we will have to limit the amount of people due to fire capacity, so the events will be first come, first served. If we do reach capacity, we’ll make sure to give you yarn and tools so that you can still work on squares. If you can’t make it to our knitting/crocheting nights, you can still participate. Download this PDF for more information on how you can help.

Maker Faire New York Want to attend World Maker Faire for yourself? Click here to buy tickets to join us for two days of craft, technology, science, food, and fun! Stop by our booth for knitting and crocheting lessons, make and take crafts, beautiful yarncrafted art, knitting machine demonstrations, samples of our latest yarns for you to see and touch, and more. Don’t forget to show us your fantastic yarn creations made with Lion Brand–and also help yarn bomb the rest of the fair grounds too!

Maker Faire is also looking for volunteers to assist with the event. If you would like help out and attend the show for free, go here to find out more about volunteer opportunities. We hope to see you there!

Join Us for Our Special Guest Crochet-Along!

September 15th, 2010

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Several times a year, here on the Lion Brand Notebook, we like to host a knit- or crochet-along. The idea is that it’s a virtual event that brings yarncrafters together here online to work on one pattern together, share their experiences, and to learn together.

There’s no need to sign up: simply follow along with the blog posts, work on your projects at your own pace, and comment when you feel like it!

A special fall project from Crochet So Fine

For our fall crochet-along (CAL for short), we’ll be making the stunning Pearl’s Cardigan, a pattern from the book Crochet So Fine by Kristin Omdahl…and as a special bonus, Kristin herself will be hosting the CAL! We are thrilled to have her helping us through this pattern — Kristin will be blogging every Wednesday starting next week for the CAL, answering your question and sharing insights into this beautiful crochet cardigan.

Connect with us! Not only are we working on the CAL here, but you can also find us on Ravelry in our CAL group and on Flickr. Share your pictures, ask questions, and comment on those websites, in addition to here at

Ready to get started? Click here to download the pattern at!

Pick out your yarn! For this CAL, Kristin will be making her cardigan in the recommended Microspun, a silky-soft micro-fiber that comes in a ton of bright and muted colors, but for those of you who are looking for other DK-weight options, you may want to consider options from our LB Collection of luxury fibers at affordable priced including: Baby Alpaca, Cotton Bamboo, Superwash Merino, and our brand new Angora Merino.

Have a blog or website? Add this badge to show that you’re participating! Right click or Ctrl+click on Macs to save the image to your computer; then upload it to your blog.

Finally, we want YOU to leave a comment and introduce yourself! Tell us who you are, where you’re from, and who you’re making this sweater for! Welcome and thanks for joining us!

UPDATE: In response to your comments, Kristin says that she will talk about modifying the pattern (including larger sizes, sleeve length, body length, etc.) in week 4 of her blog posts, so please hang in there and your questions will be addressed at that time.

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Discover Embroidery: A Great Complement to Your Knitting & Crochet

September 14th, 2010

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This is a guest post from Andrea, a sales associate and teacher at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, our retail store in New York City.

I learned to crochet when I was four years old, and learned how to knit the following year, taught by my great-aunt. What came from her besides knowledge was an invaluable passion for crafting. Throughout middle school and high school, I had explored other areas of fiber-crafting, ultimately resulting in a minor obsession with embroidery. However, that skill was put aside to purse other things once I left home, and I let it slip from my memory. Working at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio has re-ignited that passion in me once again that has always been there lying dormant; not just for knitting and crochet, but for all things involving fiber and my hands.

At the Studio, we are always working on something for our elaborate and diverse window displays. When I was handed an inner tube for our recent Coney Island window that needed some lettering on it, I was amazed at how my hands were once again threading a darning needle and making a chain stitch! I had thought my embroidery skills were long forgotten, but what I discovered was that my hands and muscles never did.

Embroidery interests me mostly because of the minimal material requirement (all you need is a needle and colored thread or yarn!), and the range of designs you can create from very simple to the elaborate. I started with simple wall hanging kits I had inherited from my great-aunt, which have the pattern already drawn out for you in different colors;this was a great way to learn how the stitches can flow together and combine. After my mother had a sufficient collection of fruit and vegetable samplers, I began making my own designs. Designing an embellishment in embroidery is much easier than trying to write out your own color-work chart, or doing a whole lot of math to write your own sweater pattern from scratch. In fact, it is the easiest way to add some color to your work without a lot of commitment. If you don’t like it, you can just take it out! (The same applies for a mistake!!)

One of my favorite stitches, the duplicate stitch, looks exactly like the knit stitch, so you can use it to replicate an intarsia or Fair Isle pattern on your finished piece if you’re interested in trying some color-work, but aren’t quite ready to take on multiple bobbins or strands of yarn.

If you want to learn more about the duplicate stitch, you can find complete instructions plus step-by-step images in the Learning Center on the Lion Brand website (click the highlighted text to view it).

Embroidery is great for putting eyes on those cute Amigurumi, too. You can use a satin stitch to really build up a larger eye, or a simple French knot which really stands out from the fabric nicely. I also use French knots for a lot of other things, like the centers of the daisy stitch which is really adorable on baby items.

If you are interested in trying out some basic embroidery stitches and are in the New York City area, I am giving a class on these stitches and more on September 17th at the Studio. If you aren’t in the New York area, check out for some videos and tutorials for hand embroidery.

And here are some great free patterns from Lion Brand, using embroidery embellishments, that you can tailor to your liking:

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Where have your projects been spotted?

September 14th, 2010

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I recently had the fun experience of seeing one of my finished objects on a clothing website.  I made a Rose Red hat in LB Collection Superwash Merino as a gift for my sister, a fashion designer.  I was thrilled that she thought it was nice enough for a model wear in a photo shoot.

It’s always exciting when other people appreciate your craftsmanship.  We love seeing your projects in our Customer Gallery and at shows.  We’ve also heard about projects winning prizes at local fairs.  Has your project ever been spotted on a blog or in a magazine?   Have you ever won a ribbon for your crafting?  Share in the comments below!

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