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! 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 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 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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