Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for April, 2011


Our Favorite Yarns for Making Knit and Crochet Baby Gifts

April 28th, 2011

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When someone you care about is expecting a baby, you’re likely to have the urge to create a one-of-a-kind beautiful gift.  As one of the landmark occasions in a family’s life, a time to celebrate the arrival of a new life, what better way to do that than with something made by hand?

Babies are delicate, so the yarn should be soft so it is comfortable on their skin. The reality of spills and spitting up require a yarn that will hold up well and be washable and dryable.

Our lightest weight baby yarn (#3) is Babysoft. This is soft and it gives you a pastel color palette to choose from.  It washes and dries beautifully and we offer 62 free patterns for you to choose from.

If you are looking for cotton yarns we would recommend Cotton-Ease, a blend of cotton and acrylic that has a lovely drape to it, beautiful stitch definition and is easy care. With 17 baby blankets and toys to choose from, this yarn is ideal for welcoming spring and summer babies.

In a #4 (medium) weight yarn, we recommend Vanna’s Choice and Vanna’s Choice Baby, our premium 100% acrylic yarns that are worthy of creating heirloom quality afghans.  You’ll have the widest variety of colors to choose from with these yarns–everything from pastels to brights. You’ll also have your pick of over 100 free patterns for that perfect gift. Another great choice in this weight class is Pound of Love, which is offers a selection of traditional baby colors and is the most affordable choice for baby gifts.  You can create a hooded blanket with only one ball.

One of our newest yarns,  Baby’s First, comes in a thicker, faster #5 weight.  The color palette includes sweet sherbet shades and the thicker yarn works up quickly so if the big day is approaching, you may want to choose this soft, easy-care yarn. 

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3D Images Projected on Yarn

April 28th, 2011

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Here at Lion Brand, we believe in supporting the next generation of fiber aficionados and artists. That’s why we support programs at universities like FIT in New York City and Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel.

Last month, Mindy Tchieu, a grad student at NYU Tisch’s ITP program whose work incorporates yarncrafted elements, shared with me the following clip from her classmate Matt Parker, whose graduate thesis project is a 3D volumetric display (it allows a 3D image to be projected):

You might be wondering, “What does this have to do with yarn?” Well, Mindy wrote:

[M]y favorite part about Lumarca is that it’s projected on YARN! Honestly when I saw the videos, I thought, “Wow this is cool,” but it wasn’t until I saw it in person at school and realized that it was white yarn, that my mind was blown.

Thanks, Mindy, for sharing this very cool usage of yarn with us! It’s always cool when low-tech materials like yarn can be used for high-tech purposes.

Have you seen some amazing uses for yarn? Share them with us by leaving a comment!

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A Sweater Knit for Three

April 27th, 2011

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Our friend and coworker Jocelyn recently shared pictures of a one-of-a-kind sweater that she knit for her band‘s new album. I think you’ll agree that it’s truly unique!
Pearl and the Beard
In this exclusive video, Jocelyn shares a bit more about why and how she made the sweater.

This sweater is more than a fantastic whimsical piece; it inspires non-crafters and crafters alike to engage in dialogue about yarncrafting. Thanks for sharing, Jocelyn!

Photo credit: Shervin Lainez


What Style of Crafter Are You?

April 22nd, 2011

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What style of crafter are you? Some work up a swatch for every project, and others grab the yarn and dig right in. It’s a little like the difference between rehearsing for a play and doing improvisation.

Rehearsed crafting is generally a great approach – it means you know how much yarn you’ll need before you get started, and what tools to look for. Swatching really comes in handy when you are making garments or trying out new patterns. Think of the swatch as a way to get a sneak peak at the final project. You’ll know exactly what’s coming up next!

Improvisational crafting is more unpredictable, and works best for more standard pieces like simple scarves or basic hats. Improvising can be a great chance to experiment, especially if you are very familiar with the yarn and know the basics of construction by heart. Extra trim or appliques are good improv projects because they are small scale and won’t affect the fit or size of a larger project.

Always remember: crafting should be fun! A little improvised flower pin can be a nice, energizing break from a complex afghan, and a beautiful cabled sweater can be a thrilling challenge if you are used to simpler, smaller projects.

How do you prefer to craft? Are your projects Mostly-Rehearsed or Often-Improvised? What yarn-filled adventures are you looking forward to? Leave a comment to let us know!


5 Cotton Yarns for Spring

April 21st, 2011

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It’s finally warming up here in New York, and I’m ready to start working on projects that are appropriate for the warmer days ahead.  Cotton is a great fiber to wear in warm weather because it’s cool and breathable.  It’s also ideal for market bags, accessories, and washcloths.  But, with so many cottons out there, it can be hard to pick the right one for a project.  To help you decide which cotton to use for different projects, I thought I’d give you a rundown of my five favorite cotton yarns.

Cotton-Ease is a worsted weight cotton-acrylic blend. It combines the absorbency of the cotton and the lightness of acrylic.  It’s machine washable, so whether you make a sweater or a washcloth, you can easily clean any project made with Cotton-Ease.

Baby’s First is a cotton-acrylic blend like Cotton-Ease, but it is a chunky weight.  It is constructed of many thin plies, so it is soft and cushy with wonderful stitch definition.  Ideal for fast-finish projects, you don’t have to limit yourself to baby items.  See Zontee’s adorable cardi (below), which she made by substituting Baby’s First for the required Cotton-Ease in the Bebop Cardi.

Zontee’s Bebop

Recycled Cotton is possibly our most unique cotton-acrylic blend.  Like Cotton-Ease, it is a worsted weight, but this yarn is made of cotton fabric clippings that would get wasted in the tee-shirt manufacturing process.  The material is sorted by color so that minimal dying is required. Before it’s dyed, it’s spun with acrylic and the result is a beautiful heathered yarn.  Make your market bags even more green, or make a cozy cardi for your little one like the Eyelet Remix Cardi (below).

Knit Eyelet Remix Cardi

Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton is organically grown and dyed according to the Global Organic Textile Standard by the Institute of Marketecology.  This super-soft 100% cotton is worsted weight, and I like to use it for things that will be close to my skin, such as shawl, scarves, and hats.  The construction of this yarn is ideal for simple stitches in knit or crochet.

Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton

LB Collection Cotton Bamboo, our most luxurious cotton, combines all the wonderful qualities of cotton with the beautiful drape and sheen of rayon from bamboo!  Bamboo is used to make rayon because it is a renewable resource.   The result is an affordable little luxury that can be used on garments and baby projects.

What do you like to make with cotton?

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