Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for June, 2011

Rosettes on a Flower Loom: An Easy Craft Project

June 15th, 2011

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Earlier this summer, I was at Potter Craft‘s offices–and since we were all crafters–we took some time after lunch to try a few craft projects from the upcoming book, Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts (available this fall). One of the projects was rosettes, which we made with LB Collection Silk Mohair and a Knifty Knitter 4 1/2 Inch Flower Loom. Simply by wrapping the yarn from peg to opposite peg and rotating the loom, we were able to create these fun flowers that could be used as a brooch, part of a headband, a gift topper…the sky’s the limit! It’s a fun and customizable idea that would be fun to make as wedding favors or at kids’ birthday parties, baby showers, and more!

Plus let’s just say that this project may give you a hint of something to come later this summer…stay tuned for more soon!

5 Great Slippers to Keep You Comfy

June 14th, 2011

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Everyone needs a great pair of comfy slippers, and summer is a great season to make some!

Slippers and slipper socks make great portable projects, and are excellent items to have on hand once the weather begins to get cooler.  Here are 5 of great patterns to make a pair of these must haves!

These Scrunchy, Slouchy Slipper Socks can be knit or crocheted, and are a great way to keep your feet and ankles warm on chilly nights. These socks are too thick to wear inside shoes, but are just right for snug, cozy slippers!
The Oxford Slippers make a great gift for men. This pattern is written for a discontinued yarn, but would work up excellently in any sturdy, bulky yarns like Tweed Stripes or Jiffy. Modeled after the classic shoe, these slippers even have laces for support!
A great project for loom knitters, the  Loom Knit Chunky Footies They work up beautifully, are soft and cushy, and are a great way to put a loom to good use!
The Red Hot Slipper Socks are knit in Wool-Ease Thick and Quick and are thick and comfy. These slipper socks only come up to the ankle, and are great for someone who prefers a low cuff on socks.
These Crochet Adult Booties are a great option for crocheters – they even match these baby booties in a very similar style!

Have you made a pair of slippers you love? Leave a comment to tell us all about it!

Less is More, pt. 2: Knit Decreases

June 13th, 2011

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Alright, knitters. Now that all of your crocheting friends are cranking out ripple blankets and lacy scarves thanks to last week’s blog post, it’s your turn. The good news is, your choices in decreases are pretty straight forward: k2tog, ssk (or skp) will turn two stitches into one, and for multiple decreases, you’ll either see sk2p or k3tog (or 4, or 5, etc.). Mostly, they’re worked exactly how you think they would be, so instead of covering the mechanics I’m going to just give you a link to our Learn to Knit tutorial for each stitch and then talk about when it’s appropriate to use the different decreases.

K2tog (“knit two stitches together”) and ssk (“slip, slip, knit two slipped stitches together”) are both simple decreases: you’re turning two stitches into one. The magic of these stitches is that they lean in different directions: a k2tog leans to the right, while an ssk leans to the left. Ever notice on a raglan sweater how the stitches along the seams seem to point to each other? That’s because they are what is called “paired decreases”: one left -leaning decrease and then one right-leaning decrease. You’ll see this in lace a lot, too. You will also come across variations on these decreases, such as working them through the back loop (k2togtbl and ssk tbl) or purling rather than knitting the stitches (p2tog and ssp).

A couple of notes on the ssk: in some patterns, especially older ones, you’ll see an skp (“slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over” called for instead of an ssk. These two decreases are interchangeable, but many people find that an ssk lies flatter and looks more like a reversed skp, which is why most modern patterns will call for the ssk. Also, when you are decreasing in knit (i.e., ssk as opposed to ssp), you slip as if to knit, leaving your yarn at the back of the work. (A quick tutorial on slipping stitches can be found here.)

For multiple decreases, the most common double decrease is the sk2p, which stands for “slip one, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over [the stitch you just created with the k2tog]”. You’ll also see k3tog pretty frequently, and for decreases of more than two stitches, you’ll usually see kXtog, where “X” is the number of stitches. Note that the number of stitches you’re decreasing is always one less than the number of stitches you are working. So a k5tog decreases four stitches, a k3tog decreases two stitches, etc.

Sometimes you will also see a bind-off used to decrease stitches. This is most commonly done at an armhole or neck edge, and the stitches are bound off as normal.

That’s really all there is to it. Now you’re all ready to knit a nice lacy wrap to ward off those chilly little spring breezes.

Related links:

Less is More, pt. 1: Crochet Decreases

June 10th, 2011

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Think you don’t need to know how to work increases and decreases because you only want to make blankets and scarves? Think again–lots of beautiful patterning is created with increases and decreases in both crochet and knitting. Ripple patterns, lace patterns, even some cable patterns will require you to increase and decrease. I wrote about increasing awhile back, so let’s talk about decreasing now. There are so many different ways to decrease in both crochet and knitting that I’m going to split the subject by craft. Crocheters, you’re up first.

Let’s talk about the really simple ways to decrease first: skipping stitches and slipping across stitches. Skipping stitches (usually written “sk next X stitches”) is exactly what is sounds like. Let’s call the last stitch you worked stitch A. The stitch next to that one will be stitch B, then stitch C, and so on. Now the pattern tells you to “sk next 5 stitches.” This means that you will leave stitches B, C, D, E, and F unworked, inserting your hook into stitch G to make your next stitch. Don’t worry — there won’t be a big string across all of those unworked stitches. Stitches A and G will snug right up together, gathering the other five stitches underneath them, and you have decreased 5 stitches.

Slipping across stitches (usually written “sl across next X stitches”) is similar, but you won’t be gathering the stitches. Instead, you’re leaving them where they are, either to form an edge (as in an armhole) or to be worked later. You simply slip stitch across the indicated number of stitches. On future rows, you won’t count those slips as stitches unless expressly told to by the pattern.

Now we come to the more complicated decreases, the ones I call the “tog” (together) increases, where you’re working multiple stitches together into a single stitch. Anything like sc2tog, dc3tog, etc. is a “tog”. The tricky thing to remember is that the sc/dc/tc at the beginning of the stitch only refers to the type of stitch you are working, not the stitches from the previous row that you will be combining. In other words, the written out form of “sc2tog” is “single crochet next two stitches together.” Those “two stitches” could be single crochets, double crochets, a single crochet and a double crochet–anything that counts as a stitch.

To actually make the “tog” decreases, you begin working the indicated type of stitch into the first stitch of those to be brought together. So if you’re working on a dc2tog, you wrap and insert your hook as you normally would to make a dc. Continue working the dc as normal until you reach the point where you would be pulling through the final two loops. Leave those two loops on the hook and start a new dc in the next stitch to be decreased. Now when you get to that last pull-through, you will have an extra loop to pull through, so you’ll be pulling through three loops instead of the normal two. If you were working a dc3tog, you would leave that last loop on the hook again, giving you a total of three loops on the hook as you started your next dc in the next stitch, and you would finish by pulling through four loops. The process is the same no matter what kind of stitch you’re making or how many stitches you’re decreasing: make the stitch as normal except for the last pull-through, leaving one extra loop on the hook for each stitch worked, then pull through all loops on the hook to end the last stitch.

And there you have the basics of decreasing in crochet. Knitters, you’re up next! Come back next week for my knitting decrease post.

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5 Easy Baby Booties to Knit

June 9th, 2011

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We’re continuing our baby bootie celebration with a round-up of our favorite baby booties to knit! (To read last week’s post about crochet baby booties, click here.) These patterns are great for beginning knitters and easy to embellish for all occasions.

Gansey Booties by Lorraine Goddard (Lobolita) on RavelryMade to stay on baby’s feet, this classic style can be knit in cool Cotton-Ease® or warm Wool-Ease® for year-round machine wash- and dry-ability.
Simple Garter Stitch BootiesGarter stitch makes these booties snuggly to wear and quick to knit! Replace the ties with ribbons for a world of different styles.
Booties from Pumpkin Hat and Booties Set by Michelle EdwardsCelebrate baby’s first autumn with one of our most popular baby patterns! For an apple set, trade Vanna’s Choice® Baby in Goldfish for Cheery Cherry.
Sweet Slip-OnsThe pom-poms on these little booties will make you want to nuzzle baby’s toes! Make them in any self-striping Sock-Ease® color for a fun and funky look.
Lavish BootiesDestined to become an heirloom piece in your family, these T-strap booties in LB Collection® Cashmere are soft as a cloud and so very warm.

Quick and portable, baby booties are a wonderful project for summer!

Readers, are you knitting a baby project? Let us know in the comments!

3 Bridesmaids Gifts to Wow a Wedding Party

June 8th, 2011

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Make a beautiful day even more personal by making bridesmaids gifts yourself! Making gifts for bridesmaids is a great way to give a thoughtful gift that is also economical and practical. These gifts won’t take too long to make, and could fit in nicely at the wedding ceremony!

Knitted shawls, like the Sweetheart Shawl to the left in Vanna’s Glamour are great accessories for everyday wear. They also make considerate gifts for bridesmaids who will be wearing sleeveless dresses or participating in outdoor ceremonies.
A little bag like the Perfect Purse to the left is the perfect place to tuck a few tissues, a camera, and other tiny wedding day essentials. The gift of a clutch like this one in Cotton-Ease is great for the big day and for everyday use.
If you’re crafting for a large wedding party, small sachets make great gifts. They work up quickly, but the detailed stitches of our four Wedding Favor Sachets make them anything but plain! [The Grit Stitch Sachet is pictured to the left.]

A wedding is also a great opportunity to try your hand at dyeing yarns! You can dye your projects to match the wedding colors with a little careful chemistry and practice.  Remember, dyes work best on natural fiber yarns like white or light shades of our Lion Cotton or Fisherman’s Wool. For more gift ideas and tips on dyeing yarns, check out YarnCraft Episode 40, it’s full of great crafting  inspiration for weddings (either yours or someone else’s)!

Do you have a wedding coming up that you are crafting for? Have you made gifts for bridesmaids or the happy couple in the past? Leave us a comment to tell us all about it!

Summer Stripes: 4 Home Decor Patterns on Trend This Season

June 7th, 2011

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Bold, colorful stripes are everywhere this summer, from the catwalk to home furnishings. To help you take advantage of this trend, we’ve picked out 4 patterns to add a jolt of color to your home. [As always, photos and highlighted text are clickable.]

Crochet Whimsy Stripes Rug

Contrasting colors plus stripes that get thicker and thicker make this rug eye-catching and appealing. Make it any of the colors of Lion Cotton for an easy-care and hard-wearing area rug that matches your decor.

Knit Summer Stripes Baby Afghan

Soft, breezy shades make this baby afghan a sweet gift project. The graphic stripes here play on varying widths of stripes. Make it as-shown or in shades of green, blue, yellow, and ivory for a completely different look.

Crochet Eyelet Strips Afghan

We love the combination of bright strips and delicate eyelets that make up this afghan. An instant favorite, it really captures summer’s charms.

Crochet South Beach Washcloths

Variations on a theme can make for a fun statement in your guest bath. With just 4 balls of yarn, you can make the multiple washcloths shown here.

Have you been incorporating stripes into projects this season? Tell us about them by leaving a comment!

3 Ways to Celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day!

June 6th, 2011

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Crochet Bracelet Knit Bracelet
World Wide Knit in Public Day is nearly upon us!

World Wide Knit in Public Day (June 11th, with celebrations all week long) is a holiday when knitters, crocheters, and all lovers of yarn are encouraged to take their crafting with them out into public. Here are 3 great ways to celebrate this yarncraft holiday:

1) Wear something to show your crafter pride! There’s still time to make a small accessory or two before the big day. The Crochet Bracelet and the Knit Bracelet (pictured above) both sparkle in Vanna’s Glamour and work up in no time. Plus, you can wear them no matter how warm or cold it is!

2) Make something special in public! Why not try out a new pattern or yarn for the occasion? Treat yourself to some special crafting time in a public place and enjoy showing others your skills! Our Pattern Finder is a great place to start looking for new and interesting projects. Check out our previous post about how to use this feature of our site.

3) Find a group to celebrate with! Groups are forming and events are being planned all over the world. The World Wide Knit in Public Day website has a database of KIP (Knitting In Public) events online at You can check out local events near you, or plan your own!

How are you celebrating the big day? Leave a comment to tell us what you’re up to, and what makes World Wide Knit in Public Day special to you!

Knit Flowers Round-Up

June 3rd, 2011

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Last week, I shared five great crochet flower patterns for the summer; click here to view the blog post. Now here are five of my favorite knit flower patterns!

Knit Flowers
Top row: Field Poppy (left), Clematis (right)
Middle row: Knitted Rose
Bottom row: Dahlia (left), Petunia (right)

My favorite thing about crafted flowers is that they add an exciting pop of color to any project in almost no time! My grandma used to add them to everything from dishtowels hanging in the kitchen to pins and wearable accessories. What’s your favorite way to use knitted flowers? Share your thoughts in the comments!

5 Easy Baby Booties to Crochet

June 2nd, 2011

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In recent months at the Lion Brand Yarn Company offices, we’ve had three new births! We couldn’t be more excited for these new mommies, and to celebrate, we’re sharing our favorite baby bootie crochet patterns. They’re fun and fast to make for beginners and experts alike!

Easy Booties

The color possibilities are endless for this classic pattern in Vanna’s Choice. Make dress-up time fun with a different bootie color for every day of the week–or every day of the month!

Sea Creature Baby Booties by Sandy Scofield (Sandyfroglegs) on Ravelry (click through for picture)

Layette meets amigurumi in these whimsical octopus booties. If baby gets fussy, she’ll have a toy to cheer her up right at the tips of her toes!

Booties from Easy Baby Set

These cozy little booties are made from Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton, which is both breathable and wonderfully soft. Best yet, organic cotton is free from pesticides and herbicides, so it’s safe for  little ones with sensitive skin.

Elfin Baby Booties by DIYMaven on Ravelry (click through for picture)

Perfect for mom’s little Christmas present, these newborn-sized booties include charming little jingle bells.

Felted Cowbaby Booties by BreeSoCrafty on Ravelry

Want to try felting, but not ready to toss your wool into the washing machine? These fun little “cowbaby” boots in Fishermen’s Wool are the perfect size for hand-felting!

Are you working on a project for a new baby? Share it with us in the comments!

Knitters, check back next week for a knit baby bootie round-up!