Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for December, 2010

Resolutions for the New Year!

December 30th, 2010

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My favorite thing about a new year is setting new goals for myself.  In 2010 I accomplished some lofty yarncrafting goals: I knit my first sweater(s), learned complicated lace and cable patterns, and added color-work to my repertoire.  For 2011 I want to focus on organizational goals: keeping my stash organized, finishing all my projects, and sticking to my pattern queue.

What are you’re yarncrafting goals for 2011? Will you learn new techniques? Knit or crochet a pattern you’ve been wanting to try? Donate more finished projects to charity? Share your crafty New Year’s resolutions in the comments below.

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Around the Office: Surrounded by Yarn

December 28th, 2010

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From some of the guys in IT to our Sales staff, there are lots of people at Lion Brand you will find with a hook or needles in hand, and we truly enjoy being around these crafts that we enjoy so much.

Recently, a group of us were in a meeting and many of us kept our hands busy by working away at knit socks, crochet scarves, and other projects. Here’s Laura at that meeting–looking particularly yarn-friendly–as she works on a scarf in Hometown USA. Yes, she’s wearing the Learn to Knit Cuffs in Hometown USA and a sweater in Fishermen’s Wool, and yes, those are photos of some of our older yarns on the wall behind her! Being bedecked in yarn suits Laura, since she’s the one providing pattern support to those of you with questions!

Do you knit and/or crochet around the office or on the go? Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences!

We Love Craft Fairs

December 27th, 2010

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WashclothsA craft fair is an amazing way to connect to other crafters. Not only do you get to support the local economy, but you get the chance to bond with fellow crafters and artisans. Here at Lion Brand, we really enjoy both visiting and sponsoring local events. The Lion Brand Yarn Studio recently had the pleasure of sponsoring the Handmade Cavalcade, an independent craft fair held here in New York City. We also sponsor Maker Faire, a celebration of all things handmade.

Are you looking to get involved in craft fairs? Here are a few tips for selling your items:

  • Start locally. Your local craft fair is the perfect place to start drumming up interest in your handmade goods. A smaller fair makes a great introduction to selling your wares. Remember that word of mouth can spread very quickly!
  • Be unique. How are your handmade goods different from others being sold? Decide how to make your items stand out from the crowd.
  • Be prepared. Bring cards with your contact information so that people can follow up with you and make future purchases.
  • Share all care instructions (if applicable). It’s important for your customers to know how to care for their new purchases, so share all washing and drying instructions with them.

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Around the Office: Studio Sheep & Llamas

December 23rd, 2010

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Here at Lion Brand, we appreciate a little fun, and many of us collect whimsical objects to keep around our offices: I keep photos and buttons from all of the different yarn events I’ve attended on my bulletin boards, David collects lions of all sorts, Jess makes and keeps sea creatures on her desk, and there are lots of other cute and quirky examples.

If you’ve ever been to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, you may have seen our friends the Studio Squirrels, but very few people know about the secret herd of sheep and llamas in the Studio’s office.

Contributed by various members of the staff (I brought the wooden llama wearing the yellow hat back from my last San Diego trip) these little guys even have a whole wardrobe of coats and accessories made by the staff (that’s what’s hanging on those hooks below the shelf), the sheep and llamas range from those made of yarn or felt to the sheep-shaped needle gauge and the soap-on-a-rope black sheep hanging in the bottom part of the picture.

Want to make a lamb for your own space? Here are a couple of patterns that are adorable:

What fun, yarny goodness do you collect? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Did You Know…? All About Yardage

December 22nd, 2010

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Looking at yarn requirements for a pattern can be confusing and, especially if you need to substitute yarns, trying to decide how much yarn you will need can be overwhelming. Often a pattern will call for a number of balls of a particular yarn and may or may not include additional information about those balls, such as the number of yards per ball or the weight* of each ball. BUT did you know that the only number you really need to know is the total yardage required for the project?

The number of balls required is useful if you are using the yarn called for in the project (and for working the math to determine total yardage), but otherwise can be misleading. The weight of each ball is almost useless for determining how much yarn you will need if you are substituting as different fibers, different thicknesses and even different yarn styles of the same fiber can have wildly different yardages for the same weight.

Let’s take a look at a few different Lion Brand yarns that have the same weight per ball but widely varying yardage. Pay close attention to the differences in fiber and weight category:

Vanna’s Choice (per ball): 3.5 oz, 170yds, category 4, 100% acrylic

Baby’s First (per ball): 3.5oz, 120yds, category 5, 55% Acrylic/45% Cotton

Cotton-Ease (per ball): 3.5oz, 207yds, category 4, 50% cotton/50% acrylic

LB Collection Organic Wool (per ball): 3.5oz, 185yds, category 4, 100% organic wool

LB Collection Superwash Merino (per ball): 3.5oz, 306yds, category 3, 100% Superwash Merino

Let’s say your pattern called for 5 balls of Cotton Ease, but you’d rather use Vanna’s Choice. These are both category 4 yarns, so substituting should be pretty straightforward (though you will , of course, want to do a gauge swatch). However, even though the Vanna’s Choice balls weigh the same as the Cotton-Ease balls, if you buy the “5 balls” required by your pattern, you’ll end up being about 185yds short – that’s more than another full ball of the Vanna’s Choice!

Just remember when you’re thinking about how much yarn you need for a pattern that yardage is what it’s all about when you’re deciding how much to buy and you’ll be all set.

For more on substitution and figuring out how many balls of a different yarn you will need when substituting, see our FAQ by clicking here.

*Please note that “weight” here refers to the actual ounces per ball, not the thickness of the yarn