Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for August, 2011

How to Connect with a Person at Lion Brand

August 31st, 2011

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We want you to know that we are here for you to support your yarn crafting needs.  There are many ways to “talk” to someone at Lion Brand, and not only that, but depending on how you choose to connect, you can also share with other yarn crafters.

Find us on Facebook by searching for “Lion Brand Yarns”. There are a lot of great conversations going on over there.  You can read other peoples’ comments, you can comment yourself and you can ask us a question.  You’ll find about 190,000 fellow knitters and crocheters there.  Everyone can post pictures for the community to look at, and if you do, you’ll find that other community members may even comment on it.  You can participate in our polls and be the first to hear about special offers.  If you stop by, say hello to Jess, who works with our Facebook community.

Click the email link above to ask us a question about patterns, yarns, tools, and more. You’ll find it easy to reach the right person depending on what type of help you need.  You can make suggestions or pattern requests, ask about an order you placed. Did you know that we answer questions about our patterns if you get stuck? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line if there is any way we can help.  We answer these questions within a day or two during business hours, Monday through Friday.  We have a team of people who answer emails including Laura, Barbara, Carolyn, Zontee and more, because we want to take care of everyone’s needs as quickly as possible.

Comment on a blog post
Well, here you are at the blog.  We really love to hear from you when we post! Please feel free to comment on these posts. Tell us what you think or ask a question. We will comment back to you on the blog.

There aren’t as many of you on Twitter, but for those who are, we’re there and talking to anyone who talks to us! We share interesting links to yarny fun stuff and we tweet away about everything you can do with yarn.  We’re at @LionBrandYarn and Jess is there during the week, so say hello if you’re new.

We are active on Ravelry.  If you haven’t discovered Ravelry yet, you’re in for a treat. It’s a community of knitters and crocheters and there are always people to talk to, any time of day or night.  There are many fan-run Lion Brand groups where we love to hear what you have to say, like Lion Brand Lovers, Lion Brand Cafe, Vanna’s Choice Fan Club, and more. You can also find a group for our podcast, YarnCraft, and a group for our NYC store and education center, Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

Awesome Autumn Wedding Accessories

August 30th, 2011

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Will you be attending a wedding or getting married in the upcoming months? Fall is a popular wedding season, and I mean, why not? A wedding with fall color accents can be very beautiful.  I personally love to see the rich brown, gold and red hues in wedding decor.  Even a simple outside wedding with fall foliage in the background can be breathtaking.  Below you’ll find some patterns for wedding favors or decor inspirations.  Some of the pattern samples are designed in white, but take a look at these with alternative yarn colors for autumn themed creations.

Monogram Letters
Crafted with: Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton (Almond) 

Click here for pattern.

Other color suggestions in Nature’s Choice Organic
Spice, Mustard, Mocha

Lace Vase Cozy
Knit with:Sock Ease (Marshmallow)

Click here
for pattern. 

Other color suggestions in Sock Ease:
Green Apple, Circus Peanut

Wedding Favor Bags
Knit with Vanna’s Glamour (Topaz and Gold) 

Click here for pattern.

Other color suggestions in Vanna’s Glamour:
Copper, Bronze

Flower Hair Accessories
Crocheted with Vanna’s Choice Baby (Berrylicious, Goldfish,
Sweetpea, Lamb)  

Click here for pattern.

Ring Bearer’s Pillow Cover
Crocheted with Microspun (lily white)  

Click here for pattern.

Other color suggestions:
French Vanilla, Mocha

Amigurumi Bunny Topper
Crocheted with Vanna’s Choice 

Click here for pattern.

Congratulations to the couples to be wed in the remaining months of 2011! Wishing you plenty of joy and love!

Eek! I Ran Out of Yarn! (Or How to Finish a Project with a Coordinating Color)

August 29th, 2011

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Darn that Zontee. I was looking through past blogs for something to send to a customer and I happened on her blog post from last summer about upsizing the Bebop Cardi by using larger yarn. I’ve actually seen her sweater in person and it’s fabulous. I meant to make it back then, but then I sort of forgot about it as other projects took priority. But when I saw the post again, I knew I had to go ahead and chain on.

In the original blog, Zontee notes that she went up to a category 5 yarn and made the small. I’m a little larger than Zontee, so my choices were to either go all the way up to a category 6 yarn, or stick with the category 5 and make a larger size. Since I had two balls of Tweed Stripes in Caribbean handy, I went with the latter option. I did my swatch, found that the large was going to be the size for me and chained on.

The yardage from the two balls of Tweed Stripes should have been plenty, but I remembered that I’d used a bit of it for another project awhile back. Not much, though–just a few yards. That wouldn’t matter, right? (Stop laughing. You know denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.) Sure enough, I ended up about 3 rows short. Grrr. They were three short rows, too!

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I could have just bought another ball of the Tweed Stripes when I got to the office the next day–it wasn’t quite the same as when you run out of a discontinued yarn that you just can’t get more of, or can’t find a matching dye-lot or something like that. Working at a yarn company does have its privileges and sitting on top of a warehouse full of said yarn is one of them. But I wanted to be done with this thing, and I was mad! How dare my yarn betray me like that! I’d show it! Who needs the original yarn when you can just finish up with a coordinating yarn?

So that’s what I did: grabbed a partial ball of Vanna’s Choice that I’d had laying around for a long while and that also happened to coordinate perfectly with one of the colors in the Tweed Stripes. I finished off my three rows and it looked okay, but just okay. What I really needed to do to make it look as if I’d planned this all along was add more of the Vanna’s Choice in another location. It’s a bit of a cliche, but it’s true: if it occurs once, it’s a mistake; if it occurs twice or more, it’s a design feature.

What I decided to do was add a border all the way around the outside edge (meaning the open sides and the bottom, since the color was already at the top of the sweater) and then also around the sleeves. I probably could have also done just a couple of rows of dc at the bottom of the sweater, obviating the need to do the sleeve edges. One more note: Vanna’s Choice is actually a category 4 weight yarn and not a category 5. I know this, but I also know that Vanna’s Choice is at the thicker end of the category 4 spectrum, so I was pretty sure it would work okay with the same hook. It did turn out to be a little tighter in gauge than the rest of the sweater — enough so that I ended up working one fewer round than called for in the pattern. So do definitely keep in mind your gauge and what weight yarn you need to work with to obtain that gauge when you’re choosing a replacement yarn like this.  (Just in case you’re wondering about the “design” I used for the border, it’s just a simple *sc, ch3, sk next sc. rep from * all the way around the sleeves and on both side edges. The bottom edge I just worked a sc in each stitch across.)

I really love the way this one came out–it might be one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. So I guess instead of darning Zontee for leading me down this path, I should be saying, “Thanks, Zontee!”

Related links:

Baseball + Yarn = The Perfect Double Play

August 28th, 2011

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Play Ball! August is wrapping up, which means we’re heading into the home stretch of this year’s Stitch N Pitch season. If you’re not already familiar with it, Stitch N Pitch is an event organized by the National NeedleArts Association that brings yarn crafters to major league ball games. As someone passionate about both yarn and sports, there is nothing I love more than to see people yarn crafting supporting local sports.

Upcoming games in September:

Sept 10 – Chicago White Sox
Sept 13 – New York Mets
Sept 15 – Cincinnati Reds
Sept 25 – Detroit Tigers

As we get to the end of Stitch N Pitch season, I hope that those of you who have already attended your local Stitch N Pitch games had a great time, and I hope you’ll leave a comment sharing your experiences.

Stitch N Pitch in New York
My fellow New York Stitch N Pitch committee members and I have been working hard to top last year’s event, during which we set the World Record for most people crocheting in one place. This year, we’re planning–with the help of yarn crafters like you–to yarn storm (or “yarn bomb”) Citi Field. If you’re in the NYC-area, click here to learn more about how you can drop off swatches at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in Manhattan and come to our seaming party to help seam up the swatches into pieces that will decorate Citi Field! I am extremely excited for everyone to see the yarn storming that will place at Citi Field. It will truly be something to see.

So come one, come all as we cheer on the New York Mets as they battle the Washington Nationals. Again, the game is September 13 and it starts at 7:10 pm. To purchase tickets for the game, visit the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

Related links:

Round-Up: Fall 2011 Fashion Trends

August 26th, 2011

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Without a doubt, fall is my absolute favorite fashion season. The rich colors and luxurious fabrics are just what I need to get me through the winter months — even if I can only dream about wearing them!

Just recently, I saw a breakdown of fall trends on New York Magazine’s website that appealed to the yarncrafter (as well as the fashionista!) in me. According to their fashion reviews, two of fall’s biggest trends are Victorian-style lace collars and fur coats.

Seeing these trends got my imagination going — what patterns, I wondered, could I make that would hearken back to these luxurious, heirloom styles? I checked out our Pattern Finder®, and here are my favorites among the patterns I found.

Victorian Lace:

Crochet Lace Scarf 

This scarf is made of very Victorian, thick floral lace. Use it to add interest to a turtleneck or wear it as a shawl during transitional weather.

Pale Gray Lace Cowl 

This cowl hints at the lace collar trend without looking fussy. Try tucking it under a blazer for a polished look.

Ruffle Necklace Scarf 

The possibilities are endless for this fun, feminine accessory. For a more delicate look, try using a laceweight yarn like LB 1878. For a true Victorian lace look, use a DK weight yarn like LB Collection® Superwash Merino.



Knit Segment Scarf  

Fur goes a little bit rock ‘n’ roll with this long scarf. Wear it to toughen up a casual look or to distinguish your formal look from the crowd.

Wendy Collar 

They won’t know it’s faux! This jaunty collar has the luxurious look of fur with the added plus of being animal-friendly.

Knit Vest with Fun Fur Trim 

The trim on this rugged vest uses two colors of Fun Fur® for an authentic look. The body incorporates Scattered Seed stitch for durability.

Do you like to incorporate fashion trends into your projects? Tell us in the comments!

An Invitation to Guest Bloggers

August 25th, 2011

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If you’d like to write a guest post for the Lion Brand Notebook, we’d love to hear from you.

Over the past four years the Lion Brand Notebook has been a resource for inspiration and support in the worldwide yarncrafting community.  From interviews to detailed how-to articles, the Notebook covers subjects that are interesting and helpful to crafters and aspiring crafters.

We’re looking for relevant, unique content that readers here are interested in. We would love to share your unique insights, teachings, and creativity with our community.

Interested? Submit your proposal to be a guest blogger on the Lion Brand Notebook by emailing the following details to

  • Your Name
  • Your Blog’s Name/URL
  • What topics that you are interested in writing about (remember, we stick to yarncraft-related subjects)
  • A description of why you are interested in guest blogging for the Lion Brand Notebook

We look forward to hearing from you.

Finding Lion Brand Yarns at Your Local Store

August 24th, 2011

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Many of you have written to us about not being able to find your favorite Lion Brand yarns at your local stores and have encouraged us to offer more there.  We thought we would give you a little behind-the-scenes info about how our yarns end up in your local store to help you understand what you’ll find.

Lion Brand offers over 800 different yarn colors and over 45 different types of yarns.  The major retail chains that carry yarn–Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby and Walmart–as well as the smaller stores, could not possibly have room for all of our yarns in the space they have available in their yarn department.  Of course, we would love for them to offer a wider selection of Lion Brand but we don’t control what retailers offer.  As a result, you will often find a good selection of the most popular Lion Brand yarns like Vanna’s Choice®, Homespun®, and Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® in many retail outlets, but you may not see some of our cult favorites like Cotton-Ease®, Wool-Ease®, or Recycled Cotton.  But even if you find a popular yarn like Homespun®, no one store will carry nearly 60 colors.

We know that everyone has her favorite yarns and colors so if you’d like your local store to carry your favorites, don’t hesitate to ask them.  You can write on their Facebook page, if they have one, you can email their corporate office, or you can ask a store manager for the yarn and color you like.  When enough people demand the same product, it may push your local store to carry it.

If all else fails, we have every single yarn and color on our website,  Plus, we have something extra online, which is the exclusive LB Collection of fine fibers at value prices.

How to Make Bracelets with Yarn

August 23rd, 2011

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If you host a girl-scout troop, after-school club, or just the neighborhood kids, it’s always have to some great craft projects in your back pocket for a rainy day…or perhaps you’re hosting a wine & crafts night (or a bridal shower, baby shower, birthday party, etc.) for your friends and you’re looking for some group-friendly activities that are fun and light-hearted. Either way, bracelets made of yarn can be a fun project to do together.

Whether you’re just crafting (by wrapping and gluing, knotting or braiding) or you’re knitting and crocheting, has a great selection of bracelets and cuffs to check out. Here are just a couple of options, but as always, you can use the search box on to look for others.

Wrapped Bangle Bracelets Wrapped Bangle Bracelets

Recycle sections of old mailing tubes or dress up plastic bangles with sparkling yarn. Just wrap and glue the yarn! This basic craft project can be done with kids of all ages in just about any yarn.

Click here for the pattern.

Craft Blue and Green Bracelet Wrapped & Braided Blue and Green Bracelet

Wrap a foam ball in yarn to create a bauble for your braided bracelet. Glue, yarn, and a foam ball are all you need to make bracelets of all sorts.

Click here for the pattern.

Knotted Friendship Bracelet Knotted Friendship Bracelet

You may remember knotting lanyards or embroidery thread as a kid to make bracelets for all of your friends. Relive those days–or pass this easy skill onto a child in your life–with this beginner pattern.

Click here for the pattern.

Glittering Knit Bracelet Glittering Knit Bracelet

This cable-knit bracelet is a stylish project that all your friends will love. Practice your cabling skills and make them in different colors so you can share!

Click here for the pattern.

Pink Sparkle Crochet Bracelet

Pink Sparkle Crochet Bracelet

This 5-star pattern is quick & easy, even for the novice crocheter. Make multiples in different shades of sparkling Vanna’s Glamour for party favors!

Click here for the pattern.

Increasing “In Pattern”

August 22nd, 2011

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When you are increasing stitches on a patterned garment, perhaps for a sleeve or some waist shaping, you may encounter the instruction “increase in pattern” or something similar. This is so that you won’t have something like a big weird unmatching section of stockinette at the side of your sweater — if your sleeve is worked in a patterned stitch like seed stitch or a lace pattern, you want the whole thing to be in that pattern, even as it gets wider.

It can be a little confusing when you’re adding stitches to both sides. The end stitches are easy to figure out, but the beginning stitches can seem a little tricky. You really just want to work the new stitches on the next row as if they were always part of the pattern. In seed stitch, for example, your first 5 rows will look like this if you cast on three and increase 1 stitch at each end of every other row:

Row 1: kfb, p1, kfb
Row 2: p1, k1, p1, k1, p1
Row 3: kfb, p1, k1, p1, kfb
Row 4: p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1
Row 5: kfb, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, kfb

And so on. You need to be able to identify the components of your pattern to determine where those new stitches belong. In the above example, the most important thing to remember about seed stitch is that you are working every stitch the opposite of what it appears to be, so if it looks like a knit you purl it and if it looks like a purl you knit it, and they’re alternating in a 1×1 pattern. When increasing in pattern like this I generally find it’s easiest to just look for the first recognizable stitch I can and then count out what I should be at starting the row (e.g., in seed stitch if I see a knit stitch three stitches in, I know I should purl that one, so the one next closest to the tip would be a knit, and the then the first stitch will be a purl). When you get to the end, you’ll just continue in pattern alternating knit and purl and that will work those new end stitches in correctly.

This strategy can be used with pretty much any stitch pattern, no matter how complicated: identify a stitch that you know where it falls in the pattern, then work backwards from there to determine which stitch you’re starting with. You may have to fudge occasionally…let’s say your pattern is something like k3, k2tog, yo, p2. If you’re increasing in single stitches, at some point the “correct” stitch to begin with will be either half of the k2tog or the yo–neither of which is really feasible. When that happens, just knit (or purl if it looks better) the edge stitch and begin using that stitch in pattern again on the next row.

Increasing in pattern doesn’t have to be tough–just take it slow and remember that your goal is to maintain the overall patterning as you work across.

Related links:

Crafting with Kids Before School

August 18th, 2011

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The days are nearing where the kids will be off to school and you worry less about what daytime activities will keep them occupied.  BUT, before you get ready to send them back to school, why don’t you cherish this time left and craft some projects together (or tell the kids to create some of these easy crafts to show you when you get home).  No needles or hooks required!

Paper Box Vases
Add some yarn flair to your containers with this simple craft great for pen/pencil holders, flower vases and more.

Crafted with Homespun.
Skill Level: Beginner

Click here for free pattern.

Blue Bayou Tassle Necklace
Stylish teens and younger children can have fun crafting this unique necklace. There are so many different color combinations to be made!

Crafted with Fun Yarn.
Skill Level: Easy

Click here for free pattern download.

Pom-Pom Caterpillar
Playing with caterpillars can be fun when they’re made out of yarn! Sew your pom-poms together to make this little critter.  It’s a great toy for a child, baby, and even a pet.

Crafted with Fun Yarn.
Skill Level: Beginner

Click here for free pattern.

Wrapped Bangle Bracelets
Make a few of these bracelets in different sizes and layer them for a night out.  These can make a great accessory for a simple outfit; try a different look with some sparkle from Vanna’s Glamour.

Crafted with Vanna’s Choice.
Skill Level: Beginner

Click here for free pattern.

Star Street Necklace and Bracelets
Have the kids craft their own jewelry set that you don’t have to worry about them losing or needing repair!

Crafted with Homespun.
Skill Level: Beginner

Click here for free pattern.

Check out some more crafting ideas from Lion Brand Yarn here! If you decide to craft any of these projects, we strongly encourage you to review our patterns.  Don’t forget, you can always post final projects to our customer gallery.  Happy Crafting!