Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for October, 2010


Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 5: Lower Body and Modifications

October 20th, 2010

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Have you tried on your sweater yet? I have, and although I have my heart set on a longer vest, I know I would be happy with a shorter cardi if I finished now, too.

I just passed the point where the pattern states to separate for the side vents. The reason I added side vents to this design is because I like extra hip ease in my sweaters. First, I think it is like an optical illusion of having shaping in the waist of the sweater. I personally find it to be more comfortable than something with actual waist shaping. That is why in this design I added the belt-loop holes so you can customize the amount of cinching you desire on any given day you wear the sweater. The hip ease adds to the contrast of your custom waist cinching.

As I was crocheting along this week, I realized that this particular pattern would be really easy to modify for increases, so I chose to make another modification and keep the lower body intact (without side vents) but still keep the hip ease. If you are making the side vents (as the pattern calls for) you will still be working even in the pattern, but working in sections, dividing the body into 4 equal parts (1 each for the right and left front, and 2 for the back). I decided to make increases within the pattern for the hip ease instead of separating for side vents. Today, I will explain how you can, too.

However many repeats of the pattern you have (mine has 38), you need to divide your stitches into 4 equal parts. Because mine has 4 equal sets of 9 repeats plus 2 repeats, I chose to work my increases on both sides of the extra stitch. For example, on the sc, ch5 row when I complete 9 repeats, I work an extra repeat into the same stitch, work the next repeat, then make an extra repeat in the same stitch, and continue evenly across the row. If yours has a perfect multiple of 4, simply work your increases on either side of 2 repeats instead of either side of 1 repeat as in the photo.

Increase row

On the subsequent rows, I work even in the stitch pattern. Here is what it looks like after the next row:

Next row of pattern worked even

And here is what it looks like after you work 2 more rows:

Continuing to work even in pattern

Notice how smooth and barely noticeable the increases are. By working 4 increases in the one row, I added 4″ ease to the hip area of my sweater. I think that is plenty for a relaxed fit sweater. If you wanted more swing in yours, I would work another set of increases in the same position (for a total of 8″ increase in the hip section). I tried my sweater on at this point today, and if I were going to add sleeves, I think I would consider this shorter hip-length for the sweater. But for a sleeveless vest, I want to balance everything out with a longer body. It was tempting, but I’m sticking with my plan. I have been shopping for a sheer silk leopard scarf to use as a belt. No luck yet, but I’m still hopeful. In the meantime, back to my hook!

This week I will be finishing up the last few inches of the sweater and working the edging. Next week, I’ll demonstrate the edging, talk about the sleeves and sleeveless modifications and finish up my sweater. I’ll go through the blocking process, laundering of handmade specialty garments and my tips on styling your new sweater!

Happy Crocheting!

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Arts Street Textile Studio: Fiber Arts Supporting the Homeless in Philadelphia

October 18th, 2010

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This month, we’re highlighting various fiber works and projects taking place currently around the country and the world. If you’d like to suggest an artist, exhibit, or event, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know!

From the summer of 2009 to the summer of 2010, the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program worked on the “Finding Home” project, a textile mural designed by Josh Saranatitis and Kathryn Pannepacker, assisted by Shelby Donnelly, aimed at raising awareness about homelessness. During that time artists and volunteers working in homeless shelters and cafes throughout Philadelphia worked together to weave the pieces of this mural. After this project, the studio re-invented itself into the Arts Street Textile Studio: handmade with the homeless. Staffed by fiber artists Kathryn Pannepacker and Leslie Sudock, recreation specialist Rachel Gucwa and muralist Mary Newsom, it’s a space that offers lessons in weaving, knitting, crochet, quilting, embroidery in an open studio space for a nominal contribution. The studio will also serve as a gallery featuring the works “of individuals who, though stigmatized as homeless or life-challenged, nonetheless identify as artists and want to work productively as artisans.” In addition, the organization–which is currently working to obtain non-profit status–has also initiated an outreach program to invite homeless women and children to participate in knitting, crochet, and quilting circles.

Stating that “art is a social service,” they are encouraging members of their community to come learn new skills and support this effort. Donations and contributions of materials, tools, and equipment are always welcome. Learn more by contacting Kathryn Pannepacker (kpannepacker@gmail.com) or Leslie Sudock (lsudock@gmail.com).

Arts Street Textile Studio
626 South Street, Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday – Sunday, 3 – 8pm

For more organizations doing good in the world through yarncrafting, click here for our Charity Connection.


Exploring Stitch Patterns & Techniques

October 17th, 2010

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The Lion Brand Yarn Studio is collecting 7″ x 9″ afghan blocks for Warm Up America.  Our customers are amazingly generous and we have collected over 200 so far!

One thing I love about making small projects is the chance to experiment with stitch patterns.  We’ve had some great knit blocks turned in from customers that used our stitch finder for inspiration.  We’ve seen Basketweave, Moss Stitch, Sugar Cubes and more.

Here are a few crochet blocks from our window that customers have turned in, that looked fun.  Our own Studio crochet expert, Gina, took a look to see how they made their squares–see below to make your own afghan blocks in these patterns.

Dark Blue – front post/back post pattern

Ch 25
Row 1: sc across, turn
Row 2: Ch 3, 2 dc, *fpdc, 2 dc, repeat from * to end, turn
Row 3: Ch 3, 2dc, *bpdc, 2dc, repeat from * to end, turn

Repeat last two rows until piece measures 9”. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Green – basic shell stitch pattern

Ch 25
Row 1: Sc across, turn
Row 2: Ch 1, sc, (5 dc in next sc, skip 1, sc, sk 1) repeat ( ) 3 times, end with sc, turn
Row 3: Ch 3, 2 dc in same sc, (sc in 3rd dc of previous shell, 5 dc in next sc), repeat ( ) 3 times, end with sc in 3rd dc, 3 dc in last sc

Repeat last two rows until piece measures 9”. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Light Blue – easy textured pattern

Ch 23
Row 1: Sc across, turn
Row 2: Ch 3, *dc, sc, repeat from * to the end
Row 3: Ch 1, *sc, dc, repeat from * to the end

Repeat last two rows until piece measures 9” tall. Fasten off and weave in ends.

In the NYC area? Join our collection and stop by the Studio to drop off your blocks; learn more by clicking here. If you’re not in the NYC area and would still like to donate, please click here to visit Warm Up America! Foundation’s website and send your blocks directly to the organization.

What stitches do you like to experiment with? Leave a comment and tell us!


Pearl’s Cardigan Crochet-Along, Part 4: Bodice and Modifications

October 13th, 2010

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Before we begin with today’s blog post, I want to share a video with you. There have been a lot of questions about how to work the clusters, so I decided to make a video demonstrating how to work the clusters sideways by working them into the side of the previous single crochet. In the video, I crochet a dc-cluster, tr-cluster and dtr-cluster.

In the video, the sweater on the dressform beside me is my work-in-progress Mocha Microspun cardigan. My Pearl’s Cardigan is coming along nicely! How is yours? I finished the yoke, separated for front, sleeves and back, and crocheted the body down to the point where you split ‘right and left fronts’ from ‘back’ to incorporate side vents into the sweater. Here are a few images of the front, side and back of the Mocha Pearl’s Cardigan at my current progress level:

Kristin's Current Progress on Pearl's Cardigan

If you are making a custom sweater, please note that when we separate for fronts, sleeves and back, the yoke is evenly divided into six parts (1 part for each front, 1 part for each sleeve and 2 parts for the back). Then we add enough underarm chains to add enough circumference for the right side bust of the sweater and keep in mind that the amount of chains worked must equal a multiple of the stitch pattern. Some participants desire a wider armhole opening. There are a couple of ways this can be achieved:

  1. You can replace the underarm chains with foundation single crochet stitches instead. Foundation Single Crochet (FSC) stitches are much stretchier than chains and this can give you a little more ease.
  2. You can add more chains (or foundation single crochets) to your underarm stitches. Please keep in mind that you should add them in increments of the stitch pattern (+4, +8, +12, etc…)

Another modification to consider is that you can control the length of the sweater at this point.

  1. If you desire a cropped cardigan, I think you could stop after the belt-loop row and skip to the edging. Weave a belt or sash though the waist and you are done! I would style this with a fit and flare dress, or with a longer tunic and cute jeans.
  2. For an empire waist, you could work the belt-loop row a few inches above where the pattern suggests you add it (a few inches below the armhole opening). The beauty of a top-down sweater is you can try it on as you go, and decide where the waist works best on you! I would still work this empire-waist-modified sweater to the original length in the pattern.
  3. If you prefer to omit the belt-loop row, that is OK, too! Perhaps you would prefer buttons, securing with a shawl pin, or wearing the sweater casually worn open. Simply skip the belt-loop row, but add enough repeats of the body stitch pattern to achieve the desired finished length.

Next week, we will further discuss modifications. If you don’t like the side vents, you could add increases at this point to create a fuller hip width. I will crochet mine both ways to show you the difference. I am considering a sleeveless vest modification, adding the hip increases instead of side vents, and increasing the length by a few inches (using up the yarn that should have been used for the sleeves). I will show you the original sweater in close-up and compare it closely with any modifications I end up using.

Happy crocheting! I’ll be looking for your questions and comments in the coming week!

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Help Create Art Inspired by Endangered Animals

October 12th, 2010

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This month, we’re highlighting the works of various fiber artists currently showing around the country and the world. If you’d like to suggest an artist or an exhibit, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know!

Ruth Marshall, a fiber artist based in New York City, is looking for volunteer knitters to help her create knitted tiger pelts, her latest fine art textile project, sponsored in part by Lion Brand. Ruth has been studying archived tiger pelts at the American Museum of Natural History, and she currently participating in the Open Studio Program at the Museum of Art & Design located at Columbus Circle, in Manhattan, every Friday until December 3rd, 2010.

On YarnCraft, our radio-style podcast, my co-host Liz and I also had the pleasure of talking to Ruth about her fascinating work, which draws attention to various endangered big cat species. (Click here to listen to that episode [MP3]; the interview with Ruth starts at about 11:14.)

If you are an experienced knitter in the NYC-area, particularly with experience in intarsia and multi-colored yarns and would like to hang out and knit at the Museum of Art & Design, please contact Ruth by visiting her website, RuthMarshall.com, and clicking on the “contact” button which will open up an email window.

Ruth’s previous work has been exhibited across North America at such institutions as the Hunterdon Museum, San Jose Museum, Indiana State Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, MassArt, Museum of Art & Design, Dam, Stuhltrager Gallery – Brooklyn & Berlin, as well as various art fairs in Miami, FL; Chicago, IL; Paris, France; and Istanbul, Turkey. Awards include the BRIO-Bronx Council of the Arts. Ruth will be featured in two books coming out next spring, and will participate in “Green: A Color and a Cause”, at the Textile Museum, Washington D.C. in 2011.

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