Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for November, 2010

5 Charity Projects in Your Favorite Yarns

November 30th, 2010

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Last week, I asked you to vote on your favorite Lion Brand yarn for charity crafting. The results are in, and you named Vanna’s Choice as your favorite. Some of the reasons you named were the softness, washability, and wide color range. Homespun was also quite popular in the poll for similar reasons. Now that you’ve selected your favorite yarns, here are 5 patterns to inspire your charity crafting:

Warm Up America Blanket1. Knit Warm Up America Blanket: This comfortable blanket is perfect for donating to Warm Up America or any other charity organization. It’s also a great project for experimenting with the over 50 colors of Vanna’s Choice.
2. Crochet Comforting Blue Cap: This comfortable hat makes a perfect chemo cap.
3. Knit Ribbed Scarf: This versatile scarf can be worn by men, women, or child.
4. Crochet Simply Sublime Shawl: The softness of Homespun makes this prayer shawl extra special.
5. Knit Honest Warmth Shawl: This triangular prayer shawl works up quickly and easily.

What’s your favorite pattern for charity projects? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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5 Ways to Decorate Your Home with Yarn

November 29th, 2010

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Decorating with yarn is fun and easy!  No matter what style your home is decorated in, homemade items add a special touch.  Whether you follow patterns or create your own designs to match your decor, here are 5 great ideas for decorating your home.

1. Pillows: You can never have too many throw pillows!  Pillows are fun to make and easy to customize– just switch up the stitch pattern and colors for a different style.  You can also get creative and whimsical with pillows for kids’ rooms, like the Amigurumi Elephant Pillow above.

2. Vases: Whether you cover a vase in knit or crochet, or even just wrap it in yarn, a  cozied vase is unique and beautiful.  You can create vase cozies for special events, or have everyday vases that brighten up your home.

3. Frames: You can make pictures frames by wrapping a wooden frame with yarn, or you can frame knit or crocheted pieces to hang on your wall, using our Jewelry Frames as a guide.  There is no limit to the colors and stitch patterns  you can use to make this the perfect decoration for your home.

4. Coasters: Coasters don’t just keep water rings off the wood; they add to a simple coffee table or end table.  Choose any shape you want, and simply knit or crochet it densely to make sure it protects your furniture.

5. Table Runners: You can make a beautiful seasonal table runner, or make a simple strip to match your dining room decor.  Whether you knit, crochet, or weave one, use colors that pull everything together to bring your dining room to the next level.

All of these decor items are also great for the holidays.  Make them in holiday colors or patterns and use them every year to celebrate the season.

How do you use yarn to decorate your home?

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Color Trends for Spring

November 26th, 2010

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Each year, Pantone, the well-known color and printing company, invites 10 fashion designers to predict the color trends of the upcoming season. For spring 2011, the colors they chose are:

As we’re currently in gift-making season, it’s useful to consider these color trends when picking gifts to make that can be used in the warmer months, especially for those of us with loved ones who like to be on trend.Whether you mix and match these colors or use them on their own, each one makes a great statement.

Here are just a couple of yarns to consider when thinking about these spring 2011 colors:

Clockwise from top-left: Baby Wool in Peony and Papaya, Vanna’s Choice Baby in Mint, Cotton-Ease in Maize, Baby’s First in Twinkle Toes, LB Collection Angora Merino in Smoked Pearl, Baby Wool in Lavender, Baby’s First in Sea Sprite, Cotton-Ease in Turquoise, and Superwash Merino Cashmere in Cacao.

Wondering what to do with these colors? Consider projects like these:

Knit Striped
Swing Sweater
Crocheted Tote
Knit Sunset Raglan Tee Crochet Scalloped Cowl

What colors are you incorporating into your palette this season? Leave a comment and let us know!

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What’s Your Favorite Yarn for Charity Crafting?

November 24th, 2010

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Here at Lion Brand, we are dedicated to giving back through charity, from our Charity Connection to our Lion Brand Yarn Studio charity initiatives. We know that you love to craft for charity, too. That’s why we want to know which Lion Brand yarn you prefer for your charity projects. Select your favorite and hit the “submit” button below. Feel free to also share your favorite charity projects in the comments. On November 30th, I’ll announce which yarn was most popular. I’ll also share some great patterns for charity crafting.

Giving Thanks and Giving Back

November 23rd, 2010

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This time of year, many of us wake up from our sense of complacency to remember that we should be thankful for what we have.  Studies show that being grateful is actually good for us.  Remembering  to be thankful for something everyday has been linked to being healthier and happier.  When we realize that our lives, while never perfect, have many bright spots, the natural inclination is to give back, to show our appreciation by paying it forward.

One of the lessons I have learned from working for Lion Brand for over a decade is how important charity is to this company.  It’s been part of  the family’s traditions for generations.  We don’t talk about all of the donations, but there is one we would like to share with you today because it is with your help that we make this donation.   Lion Brand Yarn Company and Vanna White have partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with the goal of furthering research to fight childhood cancer.  With your help in making Vanna’s Choice, Vanna’s Choice Baby, and Vanna’s Glamour successful, we have raised $622,745 since March 2007 to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This donation supports the extraordinary work of an organization where no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or the ability to pay.

Tomorrow’s post will be about yarn crafting for charity–a topic we know is near and dear to so many of you who believe in charity as well.  Before we all leave for the holiday, from everyone at the Lion Brand family to you we want to express our thanks for being part of our community.

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Introducing Threaded Comments on the Lion Brand Notebook!

November 22nd, 2010

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One of the things we love best about this blog is that it gives us a chance to hear from YOU. With the crochet-alongs and knit-alongs, contests, questions, and all of the other fun posts that we share here, the Notebook has become a place for the Lion Brand community to gather online, share thoughts, and interact.

To help make that experience even better, you’ll notice that we now have threaded commenting (also known as “nested comments”) throughout the blog, meaning that you can reply directly to other people’s comments, “like” their comments, AND you can even get e-mail notifications when people respond to you, so you can stay in the loop! We think it will help make the conversations about each topic even more interesting and helpful by keeping related comments together.

How do you use it? Just click on the “comments” button on any blog post and scroll to the bottom, where you’ll see this:

You can log and comment with an existing account if you have Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, or Yahoo, and type in your comment, OR if you don’t use any of those services, you can simply fill in your info after you write your comment by clicking the “post as” box.

If you want to respond to someone’s comment, just click on the “reply” button under their comment, as shown below:

You can also click the “like” button found at the bottom of every blog post (and next to every comment) if you just want to give a nice shout-out to someone.

Finally, as you play with this new feature, we hope you’ll review our Rules of Engagement, our guidelines for interacting here on the blog. They state that all conversation on the Lion Brand Notebook should be open, friendly, and respectful; that comments should stay on topic; and that you should identify yourself (by name or pseudonym) when posting, so that others can identify you as a member of the community. For the complete Rules of Engagement, click here.

We hope you enjoy this new feature, and wish you happy commenting!

Crochet on the Beach

November 19th, 2010

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NeSpoon, a Polish artist, adorned her favorite beach with beautiful doilies.  Her street art often involves using lace as a stencil to to create ceramics and paint public spaces, but for this project she decided to use the actual lace.  The delicate doilies were photographed and moved about by beach goers before eventually giving in to the salt air and disintegrating.  If you could decorate anywhere with yarn, where would you decorate and what kind of adornments would you use?

(via DudeCraft)

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We Are Now A Family Of 150,000 On Facebook

November 17th, 2010

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We hope you are part of our growing family on Facebook.  Yesterday we welcomed our 150,000th member!  If you haven’t joined us yet, we invite you to enjoy the friendship and conversation you’ll find there.  Tell others what you are working on, what your favorite patterns and colors are and get ideas from people who share a love of knit and crochet.  It’s a great place to get the support and inspiration you need from other yarn lovers.

4 Essential Tools for Your Project Bag

November 17th, 2010

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For every knitter & crocheter, every project brings with it a couple of basic needs: the right size hook/needle, rows to count and keep track of, and of course, ends to weave in. To help you with these basics, here are 4 essential tools that you will want to keep in your project bag (I know I certainly get a lot of use out of these tools), available at and in your local stores:

Needle gauge: Often needle/hook size numbers get worn down or are just hard to read (or with DPNs, the needles are often unlabeled). Keep a needle gauge in your bag to and simply stick your needle through the various holes to see what size it is. Plus, the 5-inch ruler on the edge, makes it a tool that does double-duty! This tool will work for crocheters too, giving you the number and metric sizes, but if you’re wondering which letter it is, just remember this useful tip from our friend, designer Lily Chin: H = 8 and they sound similar. Working forwards and back, you can now figure out which letter your hook will be!

Row counter: Keep a row counter handy when working on projects where you have to keep track of the pattern repeats or number of rows. Turn the dials every time you complete a row. These Lion Brand row counters even slip onto your circs or straight needles so they don’t get lost! Split-ring stitch markers are another great tool for keeping track of pattern repeats. Slip them on your needles every ten or twenty stitches for place patterns. Since our stitch markers having this neat split-ring design, they’re also perfect for slipping onto the first stitch of your crochet rounds or even slipping onto mistake stitches in your knitting that you want to fix when you come back around to them!

Large-eye blunt needles (or tapestry needles): Essential for weaving in ends, seaming together garments, kitchener stitching your socks, or embroidering facial features onto your amigurumi, every knitter & crocheter needs blunt needles in their bags!

Finally, I like to keep a couple of extras like a pair of small scissors or a yarn cutter and a small crochet hook (useful for fixing mistakes on knitting projects too!). Whether you want to have a set for every project bag or whether you move them from bag to bag, these tools will help to keep you on track, no matter the project.

What are the tools that you always keep in your bag? Leave a comment and let us know!

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6 Ideas For Making Fast, Inexpensive Gifts When You Have A Big List

November 13th, 2010

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For those of you have a very big list of people to appreciate this year, here are some ideas that will allow you to customize gifts and make them special without having to spend too much time or money.  These are combination gifts that include a little handmade and a little storebought.

1.  Washcloths are something everyone can use.  They are fast and easy to make and you can personalize the colors.  You can purchase small basket and fill it with a couple of washcloths, a bar of scented soap and wrap in a clear cellphane.

2. You can  make an especially feminine version of a gift set perfect for harsh winter weather by placing washcloths in a box, tied with a ribbon and add lip balm and a travel size of hand cream or some antibacterial towelettes to ward off winter germs.

3. For the cooks on your list, put together a collection of potholders and add a spatula, wooden spoon and a bottle of the person’s favorite spice.

4. For those who like to decorate for the holidays,  try combining a crocheted coaster set or knit table runner with a carved or scented candle.

5.  Combine a little hand-made purse for kids or adults and add a selection of their favorite candy.

6. Little sachets in sparkling Vanna’s Glamour can hold miniature goodies of all kinds from soap to candy to potpourri.

What ideas do you have for small but special gifts?

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