Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for July, 2011

What Is Fingering/Sock/Sport/DK/Worsted…Weight Yarn?

July 31st, 2011

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Yarn weights go by so many different names, it can be difficult to keep track of what’s what! (For example, did you know that Fingering weight and Sock weight are one and the same?)

To help you out, we’ve compiled a chart using the yarn weight standards developed by the Craft Yarn Council, along with examples of Lion Brand Yarn in each category.

Yarn Weight Symbol/Category Name Commonly Used Names Example of Lion Brand Yarn
Cobweb, Lace, Crochet Thread
LB Collection® Wool Stainless Steel *
Sock, Fingering, Baby
LB Collection® Silk Mohair
Sport, Baby
Vanna’s Glamour™
DK, Light Worsted
LB Collection® Cotton Bamboo
Worsted, Afghan, Aran
Chunky, Craft, Rug
Wool-Ease® Chunky
Bulky, Roving
Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®

* Note: Although LB Collection® Wool Stainless Steel is listed on our website as a Category 1 Super Fine yarn, it may be used as a Category 0 yarn.

Interested in learning more about which of our yarns are in which weight category? Click here to check out our list of yarns by weight class on

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Mesh Raglan Pullover Crochet-Along: Adding the Sleeves

July 28th, 2011

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Welcome back to the Mesh Raglan Pullover CAL! Hopefully working on the body of your pullover has gone well and you were able to make it the length you want by being able to try it on as you go! Gotta love top-down sweaters, right? This pullover is almost done! Today I’m going to talk to you all about sleeves – then next week it’s on to the finishing touches and this sweater will be complete!

For the sleeves, you are going back to the marked double crochet and chains that you used to create the body only this time you are working the stitches into the armhole opening. As with the body, be sure to read the notes and pay particular attention to whether you should start on the right or wrong side for your size. The other very important note is that you working the first few stitches into the chains you skipped over while making the body. Otherwise working the sleeves around is just like a smaller version of the body, working dc, ch-1 in each dc around.

The chain between the stitch markers has the single sleeve dc between the two dc of the body from before (for the size M with a chain of 3 at the underarms)

A lot of you asked early on about making the sleeves longer. Just as with the body, this is very easy to do! At the simplest, just continue to work more rounds until the sleeves are the length you want, trying it on as you go to see how the fit is coming. As another option, work as above but decrease the number of stitches every 2-3 rounds to shape the sleeve a little smaller as you work towards your elbow.

To work a decrease in this mesh stitch I would recommend working one decrease at the point of the sleeve on the underside of your arm by working your turning chain of 4, then skip the next dc that you would normally work into and instead work your first dc in next dc.

Note the skipped dc below the turning chain. While it does leave a larger hole in the mesh stitch pattern, it is not as noticeable when placed on the underside of the sleeve.

You can also work the decreases at any other point in the sleeve as follows, but keep in mind it will leave a larger space wherever placed:

  1. Work up to where you want to work the decrease.
  2. Work your regular dc, ch-1, only skip the next dc and ch-1 space,
  3. Work the next dc in the following dc, ch-1 and continue in pattern as normal.

What this accomplishes is a decrease of a dc and a ch-1 space without an interruption in the pattern. This will tuck the sleeve in a bit on the underside of the arm and will help the sleeve from staying very open. It’s a great option to decrease slightly even if you don’t lengthen the sleeves as it will help bring the sleeve in a bit if your yoke turned out a little loose. If you choose to decrease, be sure to decrease an even number of times so the edging works out evenly.

Lastly for the sleeve is a trim round where you are working in a completely different pattern than the mesh stitch used so far. Instead you are focusing on working stitches into the ch-1 spaces we have been skipping and not working into the dc stitches at all. Otherwise it’s a nice (sc, ch 3, dc) in every other ch-1 space to make a nice lacy trim.

So get to work on your sleeves and next week it’s all about finishing up this great pullover! Keep sharing your comments and photos of your progress!

Michelle Edwards Explores Darning

July 27th, 2011

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One of the best things about the yarncrafting community is the stories crafters share. This story comes from author and crafter extraordinaire Michelle Edwards. She relates how while watching her friend Monica (pictured at left with puppets of the Owl Glass Puppetry Center) deftly mend a sock, she learned more about her friend and about the care and keeping of well worn socks. She even includes a list of her tips for darning at the end of her story.

Look out for a new story by Michelle Edwards each month in our popular newsletter, The Weekly Stitch. Click here to subscribe.

Michelle writes:

Sometimes darning is about routine sock maintenance. Sometimes it’s about preserving and respecting gifts. Other times, it may be more than the socks that get mended; a bond may be repaired by engaging together in a worthwhile companionable activity.

Click here to read Michelle’s full story.

Do you darn? Who taught you? Do you have any darning hints for the newbies?

Leave a comment below and share your darning story.

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What Size Sweater/Top/Dress Should I Knit or Crochet?

July 26th, 2011

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When it comes to scarves, blankets, and even hats, sizing is pretty straightforward. But when you’re ready for your first sweater, things get a little more complicated. You see, there are really two sets of sizing on lots of sweaters: S, M, L, etc. and then there are the actual measurements.

The first type is not very useful. It will tell you what range of sizes an item comes in (e.g., a sweater that comes in XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL has a range of six sizes, while a sweater that comes in S, M, L only has a range of three sizes), which can give you some clues about fit and patterning but these sizes really shouldn’t be used to determine which size you’re going to make.

What gets confusing is that S, M, L, etc. are relative sizes, so you can have one sweater with a small that’s got a finished measurement of 32″ and another with a finished measurement of 46″. All that means is that it is the “small” of the range of sizes offered for that particular sweater.

What’s really important are the actual finished measurements, generally given as a chest or bust measurement (I’ll talk more about this in a minute). Note that unlike sewing patterns, knit and crochet patterns give actual measurements and do not include ease. So if you want your sweater to be a big boxy cardigan, you probably want to choose one with a finished measurement 4-6″ larger than your body measurements (positive ease). Looking for a figure-hugging glam-girl sweater? Choose a measurement that’s 2-4″ smaller than your body measurements (this is called negative ease).

When we talk about “bust” or “chest” measurement, that’s because for many people, that’s the part of the body with the largest measurement. If this is not true for you — say your hips are wider than your bust and you’re making a tunic length sweater — you should consider that when choosing which size to make.

Remember that when you’re making a sweater, you’re going to be putting a lot of time and care into crafting your garment, and you want it to be just right. It’s not like grabbing a sweater off the shelf…you want to carefully consider which size will be perfect for you (or the lucky recipient of your hard work!).

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How to Use Stitch Markers

July 25th, 2011

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Stitch markers are essential tools to crocheters and knitters alike. They can be used to mark a certain number of stitches, the beginning of a round, where to make a particular stitch, and more. Patterns often call for stitch markers with the abbreviations “pm” (place marker) and “sm” (slip marker). It’s important to note that there are essentially two categories of stitch markers: closed and open (also known as split-ring).

As the name implies, closed stitch markers feature one solid loop. They come in a wide variety of styles, including simple plastic rings and more complex charms. Here are a few examples:

Closed Stitch Markers

While knitting, the stitch marker sits on the needle between active stitches. To start using a closed marker, simply knit to where you want the marker, then place it on your right needle. Continue to knit as normal. Keep in mind that the marker can only be adjusted when you reach it in the row. When you reach the marker, simply slip it from the left needle to the right (as you would slip a stitch) to keep the marker in the same position.

Closed Stitch Marker while Knitting

Closed stitch markers do not work with most crocheting techniques. This is because crocheting closes stitches instead of leaving them live. Thus, if you used a closed stitch marker, it would be crocheted into your work. The only ways to remove the marker would be to rip out your stitches or cut your work (yikes!).

Open or split-ring markers are incredibly versatile. Because they aren’t closed, they can be added, removed, or adjusted at any time, regardless of which stitch you’re on. They come in a variety of different styles, including rings with a small gap, locking, or lever-backed.

Open Stitch Markers

When knitting, these markers can be used on the needle (as with closed markers) or attached to particular stitches.

Open Stitch Marker while Knitting

Because they can be removed at any time, open stitch markers are perfect for attaching to crochet stitches.

Open Stitch Marker while Crocheting

Those are the basics to selecting and using stitch markers! If you find yourself in a pinch and don’t have a stitch marker handy, try using a tie of yarn (for closed stitch markers) or a paperclip (for open stitch markers).

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