Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for October, 2010


Happy Halloween!

October 30th, 2010

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Pumpkin

Happy Halloween, everyone! We love to craft for the holidays, and Halloween is the perfect opportunity to show your yarncrafting talents while making costumes, decorations, bowls, trick or treat bags, and more! How have you incorporated yarn into your Halloween decorations and costumes?

Update: Here are some photos from our staffers, Kendra & Zontee, who dressed up as characters from the cartoon series, Futurama, this weekend at Stitches East!

Kendra as Leela, with a Hometown USA wig, Vanna’s Choice arm band, and Vanna’s Choice Nibbler (the alien pet!).

Zontee’s brain slug, made of Vanna’s Choice!


Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 6: Finishing, Styling, and Care

October 27th, 2010

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I finished my brown, short-sleeved Pearl’s Cardigan! The modifications I added are perfect for my climate (living in southwest Florida) as I have many more opportunities to wear a vest than a long-sleeved sweater. Adding ease in the hips instead of side vents was not necessarily an important modification, but I thought it would be fun to show you two different styles of adding ease in the hips so you can either modify this sweater, or think about this type of modification in future sweater projects. Since I had leftover yarn, I decided to add more length to the body, too. I added an extra 6 repeats of the stitch pattern (for an added 6” of sweater length).

Pearl's Cardigan - Belted

The sleeves are worked even in the round in the same stitch pattern as the body of the sweater. There are lots of options here and since we used the top down method, you can try it on as you go to determine how long you want them to be. If you wanted a sleeve with a wider cuff, you could implement the side vents or increasing I demonstrated for the hip ease a few inches above the end of your sleeve. If you chose to work the sleeve as written in the pattern, you could still customize the length, too. Stop after a couple of inches for short sleeves, just below the elbow for 3/4 sleeves, just before your wrist for a long sleeve. For a cap sleeve (like I chose) only work the edging round onto the last row of the yoke where we separated for fronts, back and sleeves.

Pearl's Cardi - Belted from the back

The edging is very similar to the “pearl” rows of the yoke because it is clusters worked sideways into the side of the previous single crochet. Working them on the exterior edge of the garment gives a pretty scallop and “pearl” texture. I varied the length of the clusters used depending on the area of the sweater: along the fronts I used the treble-crochet-clusters, across the bottom edge I used double-treble-crochet-clusters, and around the neck edge I used double-crochet-clusters.

Pearl's Cardi - edging shot

Do you know how to weave in loose ends? As you added new balls of yarn to your project, you may have been tying knots in the yarn and leaving the ends. It is very, very important that you don’t just cut the yarn close to the knots as they will unravel over time and therefore your sweater will unravel, too. Using a tapestry needle, thread the yarn onto the needle and weave each yarn end into the stitchwork of the sweater. A length of 6” is good for ends because it gives you enough to weave the yarn into the work back and forth a couple of times, with enough left to handle with the needle and your hand. At this point, you will cut the remainder of the yarn end close to the body of work.

Here is a photo of my sweater just before I wove in the loose ends:

Pearl's Cardi Unblocked

Next comes the blocking process. As I have previously stated, blocking is a really important process in garment making. As long as you plan on laundering your project, you will need to know if water changes the gauge. We determined that water did change our gauge, and have assumed that post-wash gauge for the sizing of this garment. There are several ways of blocking a garment.

Steam blocking: If you have an iron with a steam feature, you can easily block your garment on a dress-form or hanger. DO NOT steam the garment on a body. It is extremely hot. The steam immediately relaxes the fabric and adds beautiful drape to your fabric.

Mist blocking: You can use a spray bottle and mist your garment, stretch the fabric to the proper gauge, and let dry. Generally, you should use a blocking board or flat surface that can be pinned for this method. If you don’t have a blocking board, a carpeted floor covered in clean towels and T-pins works fine. Or, a mattress can easily replace a blocking board in the same way (just make sure it isn’t a waterbed mattress!)

Wet blocking: Generally, I use my washing machine for blocking – even with fibers that are not supposed to be washed in the machine – but very carefully. I only use the spin cycle. I place the garment in the washing machine, set it for final rinse and watch it to make sure it does not spin (agitate). Stop the machine so the garment can soak for a few minutes, and turn it back on to spin out the water. When it is complete, you will have a damp garment that can be stretched and blocked with whichever tools you have available.

Depending on where you live and what your temperature and humidity levels are, drying time may vary. If you are feeling rushed, a ceiling fan may speed up the drying time.

Pearl's Cardi - unbelted

Based on the color I chose and the climate I live in, I will most often wear my Pearl’s Cardigan with capri jeans, a brightly colored 3/4 sleeve t-shirt, a brown leather belt and some sparkly jewelry. When I go on business trips, I think the vest will look lovely with a button down shirt, dress pants or a pencil skirt, and my (soon to arrive) silk leopard-print scarf, threaded through the belt loop holes. Too late to alter anything, I realized my brown belt is slightly too large for the belt loop holes so I styled my cardigan with the belt on top of the sweater. I like the way it looks and will probably not search out a belt that specifically fits in the holes. For a dressier look, I think a strapless sheath dress in brown or black would look really pretty with my hair worn up and a contrast color silk scarf for a belt. Let’s say I chose red, I would accessorize it with a red flower in my hair or red lipstick (but not both).

Pearl's Cardi - pinned or buttoned

Note: Unfortunately, I was not able to find a silk leopard scarf in time for this blog post. I finally found one, but it won’t ship to me until next week. I will take new photos then, and add them to this post and the Ravelry pages at that time.

When we buy clothing at the store, laundering is a no-brainer! But with handmade crochet and knit garments, it is a different story. If the yarn is machine washable, I often use the machine on gentle cycle, but otherwise I hand wash all my hand made garments using a delicate soap like Eucalan, Soak or Unicorn Fibrewash. Depending on the garment and the gauge, sometimes you may need to slightly stretch or manipulate your garment back to its original finished measurements.

If you choose to add buttons to the front of your sweater, I don’t think a button hole band is necessary as long as you choose buttons large enough to fit through the openness of the sweater on the opposite side. A shawl pin would work nicely on some occasions, too.

As our Crochet-Along comes to a close, I want to thank everyone who participated along the way. Thank you so much! Without your participation it would not have been the same! The photos on our Ravelry CAL page are gorgeous! Don’t worry if you didn’t finish your sweater in the same time frame as me. The CAL posts will remain here on the Lion Brand Notebook and the CAL group on Ravelry will remain, too. In fact, I will continue to monitor the Ravelry Group for Pearl’s Cardigan CAL, so please continue to share your photos with me!

This Friday, I will be having a Pearl’s Cardigan contest on my website, StyledbyKristin.com, so please stop by. You will need to have a photo of your Pearl’s Cardigan sweater to participate, and a couple of words describing where and when you will be wearing your sweater first. But it doesn’t have to be a finished photo. If you just started, a photo of your hook and yarn would suffice. There will be lots of prizes, including a signed copy of “Crochet So Fine” , “Wrapped In Crochet”, a LionBrand.com gift credit of $25, PDF patterns from my pattern line, coupons and much more. Everyone will be a winner! See you there!

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100 Shawls for Those in Need

October 26th, 2010

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Recently, I read a great article on the Madison Daily Leader‘s website about a woman named Shirley Harrington-Moore,  who just knitted her 100th shawl for charity. As I have stated in previous blog posts, knitting and crocheting for charities is near and dear to my heart, so I am always thrilled when I see these type of stories in the news. In the article, Shirley discusses how her passion for knitting shawls comes from her desire to provide people who live in nursing homes with a form of comfort and warmth. She also says that it takes “approximately 15 hours to create one of her shawls and usually produces one per week.” I think that is pretty impressive for someone to take that much time out of their personal time to create something so comforting for those in need.

Shirley mentions that Lion Brand is her brand of choice for these shawls, and the picture on the front page of the article even features her modeling one of her latest shawls, which is made from the pattern that is featured on the inside of the Homespun label. We are so proud to have such loyal consumers, and we are inspired by all of your hard work and creativity!

To read the original article and see a photo of Shirley, click here.

For prayer & comfort shawl patterns, click here.

Visit our Charity Connection for local and international organizations that knit & crochet for others.

What charity projects do you contribute to? Why is it an important part of your yarncrafting life? Share your thoughts by commenting!


Staff Projects @ Lion Brand Yarn Studio

October 25th, 2010

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Here at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, our unique retail store in NYC, the entire staff knits, crochets, and yarncrafts, sharing their skills in the dozens of classes and workshops we offer…and like other yarncrafters, they love to show off their FOs (that’s “finished objects” in yarn-speak) by wearing them to the Studio. I always love stopping by the Studio and seeing what projects they’re working on both for the Studio and in their personal lives. Earlier this month, two of our lovely Studio mavens happened to have brand new sweaters:

Andrea (left) is wearing her new Victoria Cardigan, knit in the Bluebell color of our beautiful new Baby Wool. It’s a 100% wool yarn that’s machine washable AND dryable, making it super-durable and easy care, and the contemporary spring palette makes for great baby AND adult women’s garments.

Kendra (right) is wearing her modified version of the Owls Sweater, knit in Wool-Ease Chunky in Nantucket. She changed it from a pullover to a cardigan by steeking the sweater and knitting button bands–how cool is that?

Do you have a project that you’ve made in Lion Brand yarns that you’d like to show off? Click here to submit it to our Customer Gallery.

Want to see the Studio’s customers and their projects? Click here to see the Studio’s News & Events Blog’s “Look What I Made” blog posts.


Enter Our Lola Halloween Caption Contest!

October 21st, 2010

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Last year, we invited you to finish our Halloween Lola comic strip. We were so thrilled with your responses that we’d like you to do it again this year! Fill out the questions below (the section with the yellow background) and click the “Done” button by Sunday, October 31 at 11:59 PM Eastern time for your chance to win! Our four favorites will each receive a $25 gift certificate to LionBrand.com and a copy of our new Lola comic book! Only one entry per person will count. Remember, your caption must be entered into the survey for your chance to win; comments will not count in the contest. Your entry will not be displayed in the comments section. Once you have clicked “Done”, your entry has been submitted.

– Only open to residents in country to which Lion Brand ships. Click here to view our international shipping countries.
– Entrants must be at least 18 years old old.
– In the event of a tie where there are multiple submissions of the same line/caption, the first submission will win.

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