Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for July, 2011

Mesh Raglan Pullover Crochet-Along: Underarm Chains

July 21st, 2011

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Welcome back to the Mesh Raglan Pullover CAL! So I spent some time ripping out the yoke and reworking it with the larger H hook and it worked out well – I got the length I needed to reach the armholes. It definitely made the yoke larger overall, but with the neck tie, it still works well, and it gave me a little extra room in the bust and slightly looser sleeves.  Now that I’ve got my yoke in order it’s time to move on to making room for the underarms and working through the body. So let’s get to it!

When you have completed your yoke you finish it off completely by cutting the yarn, then you reconnect the yarn to create chain spaces at the underarms. Before you start, be sure to read all of the notes for the section! Here they are again:

  1. In next section, you are making a ch that spans the underarm and will be used on the Next Rnd of the Body and Sleeves.
  2. Stitch markers are placed at beg and end of the underarm ch to indicate where Sleeve sts will be worked later.

By reading the notes you will get a better understanding of what you are trying to accomplish in the next section, as well as any other bits of information to make the next part a success. This chain gives you some extra stitches to reach from front to back under your arms to work both the body and sleeves off of. Setting up the armholes may sound complicated, but it is just a matter of getting your hook into the right stitches. As written in the pattern:

Join yarn with sl st in last dc of V-st at beg of one Sleeve section, place a marker in same dc as sl st join, ch 1 (3, 5, 7, 9), sk the Sleeve sts, sl st in first dc of V-st at end of same Sleeve section, place a marker in same dc. Fasten off. Rep for other underarm.

So what does this look like? Remember those “corners” we created in the yoke? Focus on two that are on either side of a sleeve section (the shorter of the four sides). Find the V-stitch of the corner to the right of the sleeve (or left of the sleeve if you are left handed). Got it? Now insert your hook into the  leftmost double crochet of the V-stitch (rightmost double crochet if left handed) and join your yarn there. Now create your chain and join back into the rightmost double crochet of the V-stitch (leftmost if left handed) on the other side of the sleeve opening. Joined! It should looks something like this (with stitch markers placed in the same stitches as the joins):

Now to work the body by using those new chains. Here the notes are also super important:

  1. Work next rnd with RS facing for sizes S, L and 2X. Work next rnd with WS facing for sizes M and 1X.
  2. The first rnd of Body is worked over the Back and Front sts and the underarm chs.
  3. The marked dc at beg and end of the underarm chs are part of the Sleeve sts, and are not counted as sts when working the Body.

Although the result it subtle, if you don’t start working as directed in #1 (the right side or wrong side) your stitches in this row will look slightly different than the rest of the rows. How do I know? Because I just started going and noticed after a few stitches that it wasn’t lining up quite like the rest of the rows…then I saw the note about joining from the wrong side if you are making the medium. Make your life easier and check all notes carefully before proceeding! For future reference I marked the right side (RS) of my project with a clip-on stitch marker so I don’t have to analyze it each time I need to know one side from the other:

Stitch marker

This time you will join your yarn and work your ch 4 in the other double crochet of the V-stitch you used for one of your underarm chains. I chose to use the side that would put the join of my rounds on the back of the sweater instead of the front, because the joins always look just slightly different than the rest of the sweater and I’d rather hide that in the back. Once you work across the chain (skipping over both of the marked double crochets at the start and end of each underarm where the chains are attached) and across the body, it should look something like this:

Now you’re set to work round after round around the body, trying it on as you go until you get a length you like. If you are planning to put a tie at the bottom of your pullover as shown in the pattern, make your bottom tie ahead of time (as we did with the neck tie) so when you think you have the length you like, you know what it will look like when done. In case you are having any doubts about joining your rounds each time (maybe adding or losing stitches), the joins are the end of each round should progress something like this (click on each image to zoom):

Ready to go on the next round! Alright, I’m going to keep working through the body of my sweater, trying it on as I go to get the length I want, and next week we’ll be on to the sleeves. Enjoy!

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Customize Your Project with Birthstone Colored Yarns

July 20th, 2011

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On our radio-style podcast, YarnCraft, my co-host Liz and I often talk about how to customize your knit & crochet projects. In particular, customizing gifts is a popular subject, since many knitters and crocheters like to make things for their loved ones.

One great idea that I got from the book, The Prayer Shawl Ministry: Reaching Those In Need, is to use yarns that match your recipients’ birthstone. It’s, of course, a great idea for birthday presents, but could be used throughout the year. To help you on your way, I’ve put together this handy chart:

January – Garnet 

Deep shades of burgundy make for wonderful accessories and garments in luxe Superwash Merino Cashmere or glitzy Vanna’s Glamour.

Superwash Merino Cashmere: Garnet Vanna's Glamour: Garnet
Superwash Merino
Cashmere in Wine
Vanna’s Glamour
in Garnet
February – Amethyst 

Add a touch of texture with shades of purple with the haziness of Silk Mohair or silky hand of Homespun.

LB Collection Silk Mohair: Iris Homespun: Amethyst
LB Collection Silk
Mohair in Iris
in Amethyst
March – Aquamarine 

Cool, light organic cotton or easy-care Vanna’s Choice both make wonderful accessories, boleros, and more.

Nature's Choice Organic Cotton: Blueberry Vanna's Choice: Aqua
Nature’s Choice
Organic Cotton
in Blueberry
Vanna’s Choice
in Aqua
April – Diamond 

April’s child loves a touch of glitter, so try one of these soft, metallic yarns for a wonderful project.

Vanna's Glamour: Diamond Wool-Ease: White Frost
Vanna’s Glamour
in Diamond
in White Frost
May – Emerald 

Lush shades of green meet quick-to-work-up yarns in Hometown USA and Holiday Homespun.

Hometown USA: Green Bay Holiday Homespun: Evergreen
Hometown USA
in Green Bay
Holiday Homespun
in Evergreen
June – Pearl or Moonstone 

Subtle shades reflect June’s birthstones. Try this painterly shade of Homespun or the soft taupe glitz of Vanna’s Glamour.

Homespun: Pearls Vanna's Glamour: Moonstone
in Pearls
Vanna’s Glamour
in Moonstone
July – Ruby 

Perfect on their own or held double-stranded (one strand of each), July’s yarns are all about bright, bold red.

Vanna's Glamour: Ruby Vanna's Choice: Scarlet
Vanna’s Glamour
in Ruby
Vanna’s Choice
in Scarlet
August – Peridot 

Stylish yellow-green is lovely in this heathered solid shade of Homespun or the soft luxury of Superwash Merino Cashmere.

Homespun in Apple Green Superwash Merino Cashmere: Green Tea
in Apple Green
Superwash Merino
Cashmere in Green Tea
September – Sapphire 

Classic midnight blue makes for great accessories, shrugs, and more. Double-stranded or used individually, these yarns look luscious.

Vanna's Choice: Sapphire Vanna's Glamour: Sapphire
Vanna’s Choice
in Sapphire
Vanna’s Glamour
in Sapphire
October – Opal 

October’s yarns are all about a swirl of soft color with this painterly color of Homespun or self-striping Amazing.

Homespun: Tudor Amazing: Carnival
in Tudor
in Carnival
November – Citrine or Yellow Topaz 

This warm, golden fall-friendly color is beautiful in both shimmering Vanna’s Glamour and luxurious Angora Merino.

Vanna's Glamour: Bronze LB Collection Angora Merino: Nectarine
Vanna’s Glamour
in Bronze
LB Collection Angora
Merino in Nectarine
December – Blue Topaz or Turquoise 

Brighten up someone’s winter with a pop of color in silky-smooth, easy-care Microspun or Homespun.

Homespun: Seafoam Microspun: Turquoise
in Seafoam
in Turquoise

For episodes of YarnCraft (I like to say it’s like “Car Talk” for knitters & crocheters), visit our blog or find us on iTunes. YarnCraft comes out twice a month on Tuesdays.

How to Make a Ruffle Tank Top with Crochet

July 19th, 2011

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Many yarncrafters face the same challenge every summer: “I want to make something to wear right now even though it’s warm outside.” I have had this issue on my mind all summer long. On a recent shopping trip I finally found my summer yarncrafting inspiration. I’d like to share with you what I made, and what I learned in the process.

Recently, while admiring racks of ornate summer tank tops, I noticed little ruffles or motifs all over my favorite pieces. I realized then that little details are the perfect way to incorporate crafting into any summer wardrobe. I decided that my first project would be to add a sparkling ruffle in Vanna’s Glamour to an otherwise ordinary tank top.

First, I used a slender tapestry needle to Blanket Stitch a border all the way around the neck of the tank top. I used Blanket Stitch because it creates loops along the edge of the fabric without adding bulk.
Next, I worked Slip Stitch crochet into the border I had made, using the edge loops as my foundation row instead of a chain. This is a great method for adding crochet trim to different fabrics.
After I completed the border, I was ready to get started on the ruffle. Instead of writing a ruffle pattern from scratch, I followed the directions for the Potato Chip Scarf with a few alterations. I made a chain of 40 stitches (instead of 143), and used a single strand of Vanna’s Glamour with a size H8 hook. Crocheting the ruffle separately made the project a lot easier to manage, and helped me obtain the gauge I wanted.

After stitching the ruffle to the border and weaving in the ends, my tank top was ready to go! I really love the way it turned out, and figuring out how to do it was half the fun.

Have you made simple clothing special by adding hand made details? Leave a comment to tell us about your projects and inspiration!

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Tom Hanks Pulls Knitting Prank

July 18th, 2011

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Did you know that movie star and director Tom Hanks loves to play pranks on his sets? His latest film, Larry Crowne, stars avid knitter Julia Roberts. Hanks decided to surprise Roberts by getting the whole crew to take up her favorite hobby! Check out the video below:

I’m thrilled to see so many new knitters enjoying the craft, and what a pleasant surprise to see our yarn involved. Great prank, Tom Hanks!

Join Us at the Knit & Crochet Show

July 17th, 2011

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We’ve been a sponsor of the Crochet Guild of America and the Knitting Guild Association‘s joint yarn-event, the Knit & Crochet Show, for several years. It’s an event that we love to attend, because we love seeing all of our friends who are members of local knit and crochet guilds. We also love seeing our designer and teacher friends. This summer’s Knit & Crochet Show will be taking place in Minneapolis, MN on July 29 – 31, and it will have classes, a marketplace, contests, and more. Click here to visit the Knit & Crochet Show website for more information.

Prior to the Knit & Crochet Show, the Crochet Guild of America also holds their Professional Development Day (July 27, 2011) sponsored by Lion Brand. It’s a day of workshops and panels for aspiring designers/teachers/yarn-store owners to learn from experts in the industry, network with others in the community, and to share ideas and get feedback.  Want to know more about this special day? Click here to read about Laura’s experiences at the event last year.

If you’re able to make it, I hope you’ll stop and say hello to myself or Jack, as we would love to meet you in person! Or perhaps we’ll see you in Greensboro, NC, in the fall!