Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for May, 2011


Discover Your Next Project with LionBrand.com Pattern Finder

May 19th, 2011

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Itching to get some yarn back on your hook or needles, but stumped for what to make next?

LionBrand.com is home to over 4,000 free patterns, but browsing them doesn’t have to take all day. The Pattern Finder® is an excellent way to search for your next project based on stitch technique, skill level, stash yarn, and much more!

We’ve created a video for you that explains all the different aspects of the Pattern Finder® in just 2 minutes.

Remember, there’s more than one way to discover the perfect pattern. Try combining different search fields and see what you find. Your next project is waiting for you in our pattern library!

To access the Pattern Finder®, click here.


4 Tips for Spring Socks

May 18th, 2011

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Socks are the perfect project for spring and summer. They’re small enough to be portable, so you can work on them everywhere from the subway to the beach. Best of all, you won’t have a lot of yarn resting on your lap, so you can keep cool while crafting! Here are 4 tips for you to get the most out of your spring sock-making experience:

Socks1. Use fun, bright colors! Celebrate the beautiful color palettes of spring by incorporating them into your socks. Sock-Ease shades like Lemon Drop, Cotton Candy, Sour Ball, and Lollipop are perfect for adding a pop of color into your wardrobe.

2. Choose wool. It might sound crazy, but wool socks are great for warmer weather. That’s because wool is a very breathable fiber, and it will actually wick away some of the moisture from your feet.

3. Select the right pattern for your yarn. Solid and semi-solid shades are versatile enough to be used in plain and intricate patterns. Self-striping and variegated colors can obscure more detailed patterns, so it’s best to use them with simpler stitches.

4. Try new techniques! Top-down, toe-up, heels, toes, magic loop — there are so many different ways to make a sock, so challenge yourself to try something new.

Are you new to sock knitting? Click here to watch our How to Knit Socks video series.


Spring Has Sprung! 5 Favorite Patterns for the Spring!

May 17th, 2011

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Spring is all around us! The changing weather brings with it longer warm days and cool nights, and if you are lucky, more time outside! These projects are perfect for the changing weather, and are extremely popular.

Sequoia Shrug Crochet Sequoia Shrug
Adorable to wear and a perfect garment for changing weather, a shrug is the perfect accessory for spring! While it’s light enough for warm days, it’s warm enough for cool nights.
Stockinette Stitch Shrug Knit Stockinette Stitch Shrug
Here’s our most popular shrug for knitters. This shrug is knit in Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton: so it’s good for the season and good for the earth!
Market Bag Crochet Market Bag
Make this super popular market bag to celebrate the return of farmer markets and fresh fruits stands, and keep using it all year for beach parties, back to school shopping, gifts and more! Our most popular market bag in Recycled Cotton helps you recycle and reuse at the same time.
Little Princess Cardi Crochet Little Princess Cardi
Been longing to try out bamboo? Looking for a light, washable sweater that a toddler will actually want to wear? This little sweater uses a simple pattern and is a fantastic chance to try out LB Collection Cotton Bamboo.
Brimmed Cap Crochet Brimmed Cap
This is one of our most popular hat patterns. The pattern calls for two skeins of LB Collection Organic Wool, but try working it in two skeins of Cotton Ease or Lion Cotton and the result is a perfect hat for keeping the sun off in spring!

What projects and yarns are you excited about this spring? Leave a comment to let us know!


See the Amazing (Yarn) Man at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

May 16th, 2011

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Earlier this year, we featured a photo of our Amazing man, a sculpture made with various colors of our Amazing yarn that was featured at the CHA trade show. If you want to see him in person, you can visit the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles in San Jose, CA starting this week. Both he and his couch will be part of the exhibit, Primary Structures from May 17 to August 7.

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Small Changes, Big Results

May 13th, 2011

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How making a few easy changes to a pattern gave me exactly the finished project I wanted.

Possibly my favorite thing about Spring is finally wearing pretty skirts again. After the heavy long skirts of winter, it’s a relief to have a light little twirly skirt on. Unfortunately, the weather is not always cooperative with my idea of what a perfect Spring day should be, so I sometimes find myself either shivering in a too-cool outfit or sadly donning heavier clothes yet again. When I saw the Carnaby skirt last year on Knitty.com, I filed it away as a possible solution, and when this winter began to look like it would never give way to Spring, I decided it was the perfect time to cast on, but with a few little tweaks to make it exactly what I was looking for.

The first thing I changed was the yarn. The original pattern calls for a category 4 yarn, and one of the samples even uses Lion Wool. While I do like Lion Wool–and it comes in some really great colors–I knew I had enough LB Collection Organic Wool in my stash for the skirt and I love being able to do a little easy stash-busting. I worked up a quick swatch, and the gauge was on the large side but I really liked the feel and drape of the fabric I was getting. Because of the way this skirt is constructed, stitches per inch will affect the length and rows will affect the waist measurement. There’s no shaping other than the gores–you just work the panels until it’s long enough to wrap around you–so I wasn’t overly concerned about my row gauge.

Stitch gauge was another matter. With the larger gauge, my skirt was going to hit me right across the knees–not a great look for me. But since I really liked the way my fabric was draping I didn’t really want to go down a needle size or two to get gauge. Instead I decided to just work fewer repeats of the pattern than originally called for. To do this, I needed to calculate two things: how many stitches made up a pattern repeat, and about how many stitches I needed to get the length I wanted.

Determining how many stitches would give me the length I wanted was fairly simple: multiply desired inches by stitches per inch. I measured a skirt I already own that I like the length of and decided I wanted a finished length of about 18″. At an in-pattern gauge of 16sts = 4″, or 4sts = 1″, I needed to cast on about 72 stitches. Now it was time to look at the pattern repeat.

This is a fairly simple box stitch, and it tells me right in the pattern notes that it’s multiple of four stitches (you can find similar information in the Stitch Explanation section of Lion Brand patterns). 72 is actually a multiple of four, so I was done with the mathy bit. If 72 hadn’t been a multiple of the number of stitches needed for the pattern, I would have gone up or down as necessary. For instance, if I’d needed a multiple of 10, I’d’ve just rounded down to 70. One thing to note here about stitch multiples: you will often see something like “multiple of 4 +1”. What this means is that your total number of stitches needs to be a multiple of 4, plus one additional stitch. If you are just up- or down-sizing a pattern, you really don’t need to worry about the “plus” — just add or subtract the main multiple.  In other words, if this was a multiple of 4 + 1 and the original cast on was 81, I would still only subtract 8 which would leave me with 73: a multiple of 4 + 1.

The final change I made was to forgo the buttonholes and actually sew the final panel to the first panel. Using buttons to hold a knit skirt closed just seemed like it was asking for a wardrobe malfunction. I really liked the look of the buttons, though, so I kept the overlap when I sewed the flaps together and sewed the buttons on top. Because the slip stitch waistband has very little give, I fell back on a trick I learned from garment design: I sewed a smaller button underneath the top decorative button and left a bit of a flap open at the top so I can actually get the skirt on and off. Once I’ve got it on, the smaller button fastens to the lower flap and no one’s the wiser.

These few easy little changes gave me a skirt I absolutely love — I’m looking forward to wearing it all Spring and digging it back out again in the Fall when temperatures start dropping again!

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