Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for February, 2011


Sock-Ease: For More Than Just Socks

February 28th, 2011

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Sock-Ease is one of my favorite yarns for sock knitting because of its durability, but did you know that it’s great for other projects, too? Whether you’re trying this yarn for the first time or are using up your scraps, here are 4 great ways to use Sock-Ease for non-sock projects!

  • Hudson River CowlColor blending. Try stranding one of the self-striping shades with a solid worsted weight yarn for a fun color effect. For example, our Hudson River Cowl combines 3 shades of Sock-Ease with Fishermen’s Wool for a colorful cowl.
  • Lightweight wristers. Cold hands need covering. Since Sock-Ease is 75% wool, it’s perfect for making warm wrist warmers that light enough to wear while typing and working. Check out our All Season Wristers and our Sparrow Fingerless Gloves for wrister inspiration.
  • Granny square afghans. Colorful patchwork afghans are the perfect way to use new yarn and sock leftovers. Our Candy Color Afghan shows how the self-striping colorways create exciting splashes of color.
  • Hats. I love wearing hats, and the versatile fingering weight of Sock-Ease makes hats that are great for transitioning to spring. Our Lake District Hat is the perfect example of a cozy hat that’s not too warm.

Have you tried Sock-Ease for a non-sock project? What did you make?

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Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along, Part 5: Now the Hoodie has a Hood!

February 24th, 2011

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I must be getting near the home stretch of the Saturday Morning Hoodie, because I have finally reached the part that that makes it one: the hood. This last week I sewed in the second sleeve, and then I decided to sew the side and sleeve seams together as well. (This just makes the piece a little more manageable to work on.) After the fronts, sleeves and back are all sewn together at the raglan edges, I can pick up stitches for the hood.

I am working on the second size in this pattern and it tells me to pick up a total of 45 stitches around the neckline. Sometimes, knitting patterns tell you exactly how many stitches to pick up for each section of a neck, but for this pattern the total number is given–and I have an easy way to evenly pick up stitches! (As always, highlighted photos can be clicked on to enlarge.)

I really do like using detachable markers (or safety pins) to mark off sections and all I did was fold the neck in half, and place one marker at the center back. Then I folded each of these halves into quarters and marked each of these sections off. So, with the neck in quarters, I only have to pick up 11 in each section, and one extra (probably at the center back). By working from marker to marker, this makes the job easier than to just hope to have the total number picked up by the time I get to the end of the neck. Another tip: I also like to pick up my stitches with my smaller needle for a neater look and then work with the larger needle for the rest of the hoodie.

After working the hood for 11″, I shaped the top of the hood to create the top of the hood. Then I worked even for another 5” (for the top of the hood) and bound off.

Look! I just sewed the bound off edges to the sides of the center piece and a hood emerges!

All I have to do this next week is the ribbing for the front bands, sewing the pockets to the fronts and working the bands of the pockets. Oh, and one of my favorite things to do – find some great buttons!

How is your hoodie coming along? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Join Our Twitter Contest!

February 24th, 2011

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As a New Yorker, I often knit and crochet while on the subway. I love hearing your stories about crafting in public, and now we want you to share on Twitter where you’re yarncrafting for your chance to win a gift certificate to LionBrand.com! To enter, just tweet where you’re crafting to @LionBrandYarn, and be sure to include the hashtag #yarninpublic! A sample tweet would look something like this: “@LionBrandYarn I’m crocheting in Union Square Park! #yarninpublic” Of course, you don’t have to be in public; you can tell us that you’re crafting in your house, at the library, or wherever you may be!

Here are the official rules:
1. Enter as many times as you like. The more you tweet, the more likely you are to win!
2. Open to residents of countries to which LionBrand.com ships. You can find out where we ship by clicking here. Void where prohibited.
3. Must be 18 or older to enter.
4. Tweets must be sent by Thursday, March 3rd at 12 noon Eastern time.

Now, on to the prize. One randomly selected winner will receive a gift certificate to LionBrand.com. The value depends on how much everyone tweets! We will also make a matching donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, so your entries will also help this fantastic charity. Here’s what you might win:
0-250 total tweets: $100 gift certificate
251-500 total tweets: $200 gift certificate
501-1,000 total tweets: $300 gift certificate
Way more than 1,000 total tweets: TBA!

So start tweeting for your chance to win and to support St. Jude! You MUST submit your entry on Twitter to be entered into the contest.


Non-Slip Slipper Bottoms

February 23rd, 2011

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Slippers are popular winter projects for both crocheters and knitters. However, the soles of handmade slippers can be, well, slippery. Here are a few ideas for making your slipper soles non-skid.
Felted Slip Ons

  • Pre-made soles. Our suede soles are durable and warm. They also add some traction to your slippers. You can also find leather soles or anti-skid gripping fabric that can be attached to your project.
  • Puffing craft paint. Simply dot the paint on your slipper bottoms (like the bottoms of commercially produced slippers). Although your paint may wear off a bit with heavy use, you can just reapply the dots.
  • Liquid rug backing. Found in craft and home improvement stores, this product can be painted onto slipper bottoms. It then dries to form a durable, skid-free sole.

Do you like to make slippers? How do you make your slipper bottoms non-slip? Let us know in the comments!


Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along, Part 4: The Nature of a Raglan

February 17th, 2011

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This certainly was a good week for me to work on two sleeves that are both identical and symmetrical.  It is that time of the year I find myself at college swimming meets for my daughter, which gives me time to enjoy watching her swim and also work on a great take-along projects–like sleeves to the Saturday Morning Hoodie!

Whenever I finish knitting the fronts and back for a cardigan, I think about how I can work another part of the sweater before I sew in the sleeves.  If I could have started the hood at home while my sleeves-in-progress were in my knitting bag, I might have done that but…this is a “raglan” sweater, which means that the top edge of the sleeves are part of the neck.  In raglan sweaters, there are no shoulder seams just the diagonal seams that connect the sleeves to the back on one side and a front on the other.  So, I have to complete the sleeves and sew them to the fronts and back before I can work on the hood.

One question I always ask myself when making a sweater is whether the length of the sleeves will be long enough.  I have longer arms than most, and usually I have to add an inch or more to a pattern.  For a cardigan that does have shoulder seams, I have my knitting students (as well as myself) sew up the shoulder seams and try on the sweater before they start the sleeves.  Then we can measure how long the sleeves for their sweater should be.  But for this raglan, there is another easy way to if you need to make the sleeve longer or shorter.  Remember that the reason that raglan sleeves look so long is because they are knitted all the way up to the neck.

If you look at all the schematics for all sizes of the Saturday Morning Hoodie, you can see that the length of the raglan itself is the same on the sleeves, back, and raglan edge of the fronts.  Looking again at all the sizes, I see all the total length of the sleeves are 2″ more than the total length of the back.  So, if you have already made your back the length called for in the pattern, just hold up that back to yourself (as if it were the sleeve) with the top up to the neckline.  When I did this, I could see that a couple more inches in length would be just right – so I kept the sleeves the same length as called for in the pattern.  If you do want to shorten or lengthen the sleeves, then you only have to add or subtract length before you work your raglan shaping.

After I worked the sleeves, I lightly blocked them like my back and fronts and using detachable markers, I have attached one of my sleeves to the front and the back.

I always use markers when sewing up any seams and just work from “marker to marker.”  This makes finishing a little less daunting and I won’t have to worry about one side ending up longer than the other.

I sewed together the stitches that were bound off for the underarms by sewing stitch to stitch as shown below:

But for sewing up the raglans, I use the “mattress stitch” (below), sewing together the “bars” of the stitches.

I also always sew up my raglans with the right side facing me and since I worked my raglan decreases a stitch in from the edge, it makes for a much neater and easier seam to work!

Now, I will just sew in that other sleeve and then I’ll be able to pick up stitches and start the hood!
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5 Goodies on the Lion Brand Site You May Not Know About

February 16th, 2011

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There is so much we offer for free on our site to help you with your yarn crafting but I have the feeling you may not know about all of these goodies.  Here are 5 kinds of freebies you can get.  Please check them out and let me know what you think.

1.  Charity Finder
If you are looking for a charity to knit or crochet for, or if you are part of a group of knitters and crocheters who knit for charity, the Charity Finder will be a great resource for you.  We have over 1,000 groups currently listed.  It’s easy to use.  Just indicate if you have a preference for a type of organization or a type of garment, the Charity Finder lets you limit the choice so you find just what you want.  You can also select a group within a few miles of your home.  When you go to the Charity Finder you will also find a useful listing of some of our most popular free patterns for charity.  We would love to hear from you and find out how your charity group search or organization listing goes.

2.  Free e-Cards
When it’s the last minute on an important holiday or birthday, you can dash off one of our free e-cards for yarn lovers.  We have a wide range of designs to choose from.  Just personalize your message and go.

3. Stitch Finder
Over 100 knit and crochet stitches are explained and shown on our Stitch Finder.  It’s a great way to grow your skills and learn to make some changes to the patterns you tend to make over and over.

4.  The YarnCraft Podcast
It sounds hi-tech but it’s just a 30 minute radio show that feels like you’re listening in to a couple of friends sitting around and chatting about ideas in yarn crafting, interviewing designers, or sharing what they know about fashion trends. Listen to it online or download it through iTunes.

5.  Yarn Substitution Information
Are you about to start making one of our free patterns and you realize you don’t have the yarn that is called for?  We have a chart that helps you figure out what yarns can be substituted.  We also have articles that review the process of substituting yarns in case you’d like step by step instructions.

What other goodies and information would you like to see us have on our site?  Leave us a comment and let us. know.

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Your Questions Answered

February 15th, 2011

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Last week, we asked our Facebook fans to finish the following sentence: “I wish Lion Brand would…” We received an amazing amount of feedback. While we cannot give everyone a free lifetime supply of yarn, we wanted to address some of your requests.

Q: Why can’t I find your yarn in my local store?
A: We would love it if your store carried all of our yarns! However, we currently carry over 800 yarn colors, which is too much for any one store. Each store or craft chain selects the Lion Brand yarns it wishes to carry. If you can’t find the yarn or color that you want, the best thing to do is contact the store or chain directly to request the yarn. You can talk to a manager, send the company an email, call the company, or post on the their Facebook page. When you tell the store what yarn you’d like to see, they’re more likely to stock it. Of course, if you still can’t find what you want, you can order all of our yarns at LionBrand.com.

Q: Why don’t you open a store in my town?
A: We sincerely appreciate the outpouring of requests for new stores. Since we opened in 1878, Lion Brand Yarn has been a part of New York City. That’s why we opened the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, our retail store and education center, in our hometown. Right now we’re just focusing on making the Studio the best it can be, so we’re not looking to open new retail stores at this time. In the meantime, we hope you’re able to come visit us in New York.

Q: Why did you discontinue my favorite yarn? Do you have plans to bring it back?
A: We don’t take lightly the decision to discontinue a yarn, as we know that each and every yarn is special to people. However, we do have to discontinue some yarns and colors in order to offer new items. Based upon your feedback, we are now including the following note on yarns that are discontinued but still for sale: “Please note that out-of-stock colors of this yarn will not be replenished, as this line is being phased out and no longer in production.”

Q: Where do you ship internationally?
A: Click here to view a list of countries to which we ship.

Q: Why don’t you carry the LB Collection in stores?
A: The LB Collection is specially made in small batches, so it’s exclusively available through LionBrand.com, our catalog, and the Lion Brand Yarn Studio. We invite you to experience the yarns by visiting our New York City store, stopping by our booths at trade shows, or ordering color cards here.

We hope that this answers some of your questions! Of course, we invite you to reach out to us with your questions. You can find out how to get help from Lion Brand by clicking here. Also, be sure to visit our FAQ here for answers to some of our most received questions.


Lion Brand in California: Stitches West & Other Recent Shows

February 14th, 2011

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Here on the East Coast, it’s been quite wintry and blustery, but luckily for Lion Brand staffers, we’ve had some reasons to go out to sunny California for yarn and crafting events.

Last month, I was out in Long Beach for the TNNA Trade Show (that’s the National Needle Arts Association), where I met many industry insiders and interviewed them on what’s upcoming for 2011 in the world of yarn. You can listen to these interviews on YarnCraft, our podcast about all things knitting, crochet, and crafting with yarn (I like to call it “Car Talk” but for knitters & crocheters). Click the following to check out the episodes that include part 1 and part 2 of this mini-series of interviews; part 3 will come out tomorrow on 2/15.

Later in January, some of the Lion Brand team went out to Anaheim for the Craft & Hobby Association’s Winter Trade Show. Open to industry insiders, it’s a show where we–and many other companies–highlight new products and ideas for the upcoming year. We always host a big fashion show, emceed by Vanna White herself, featuring inspirational projects made with yarn. Our booth also features unique and unexpected ideas about creating with yarn. Check out our yarn man, sitting on a patchwork yarn sampler ottoman (with more yarn creations in the background):

Upcoming This Month

And this weekend, we’ll be at Stitches West, a knit & crochet consumer show that’s open to the public, so be sure to stop by February 18 to 20. It’ll be at the Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, CA. We’ll have a booth with samples of new yarns for you to touch and feel, raffles throughout the day, and discounts on orders placed at the booth. Come join us for this fun-filled weekend! Learn more by clicking here.

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Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along, Part 3: The Fronts – Left, Right, Forward and Reverse

February 10th, 2011

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With the back of my Saturday Morning Hoodie finished, it’s now on to the fronts!  It certainly is not too late for any of you to join in,  because with a stitch gauge of 2 1/2 stitches to the inch,  this hoodie “grows” very quickly. I really like working the back of a sweater (especially a cardigan) first for a few reasons.  Usually, they are symmetrically shaped and for a cardigan, you can just work the fronts to correspond the back when it comes to the underarm and side raglan shaping.

A great addition to this hoodie pattern (since it became our Winter KAL) are the detailed instructions for the right front as well as the left.  Many times, knitting patterns with a left and right front won’t include full instructions for the second front, but rather tell you to just “reverse” the shaping directions of the first side. Sometimes this isn’t a problem, but this hoodie has the pocket facings (the fronts of the pockets) made simultaneously with the rest of the front, so it can be nice to have them spelled out for you.

The instructions start with the left front, and I thought I would take some pictures along the way to show how that front along with the pocket facing progresses.  Sometimes a picture (or two, or three) makes the instructions much easier to comprehend.

OK, so I worked the ribbing for my left front then after a couple rows of stockinette stitch, I placed the side stitches called for on a holder.  The ones on the needle are for the pocket facing (which is the outside, or front of the pocket).  Then I knit on just those stitches for 9″. (To enlarge any of these photos, simply click on them.)

Then, the facing stitches were placed on another holder, and I did a “switcheroo” by placing those originally held stitches back onto the needle.  Then I cast on stitches to this needle that will be the part of the left front – behind the pocket.

The front stitches are knit up for 9″, and then the stitches I had just cast on are bound off. (This creates the back of the pocket.)  On the next row the stitches on hold for the pocket facing are joined with the rest of the stitches.  This makes a nice, seamless join–and as long as I am careful sewing the inside of front to the facing–it will look great.   (I’ll do that a little later.)

Then, after working a few more inches of stockinette stitch, I followed the instructions for the raglan shaping when the front measured the same as the back to the armhole.  Of course, I will only shape on the armhole side.  The pattern calls for shaping at the neck about 2″ less than the back.  I found I still had to do about 3 more decreases at the raglan edge as well before it was all finished.  When I had 2 stitches left, I just worked them together and fastened off.

The right side is worked just like the left, only that the pocket facing is on the right side as you can see below.  The instructions give all the numbers – so it is much easier!   Both of the fronts curled quite a bit, so I again just lightly blocked them with a spray bottle and let them dry.

Later, I will be picking up along the pocket edges and lightly sewing those pockets on the inside.  Since this is a raglan, I’m really not able to do any seaming yet as I need to make those raglan sleeves to join the fronts and the back.    The sleeves are both the same, so no reverse shaping will be necessary this upcoming week.  Forward, knit!

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4 Must-Make Faux Fur Accessories

February 9th, 2011

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Faux fur is back in style this winter, popping up in the winter collections of clothing companies like BCBG: Max Azria, Juicy Couture, and others. Last month, our friends at BurdaStyle had a round-up of faux fur sewing projects, and inspired, we’ve put together a couple of patterns that you may want to try, in our classic Fun Fur yarn. Quick and easy, you can make each of them in a weekend!

Clock-wise from top-left: Crochet Dandelion Scarf, Knit Capelet, Crochet Midnight Sun Hat, and Crochet Urban Winter Leg Warmers.

Have you incorporated faux fur into your winter accessories? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Via Craftzine.com.

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