Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Archive for September, 2011

Crafty and Creative: Blogs That’ll Keep You Craving for More

September 14th, 2011

Pin It

If you’re a crafty person then you probably read a few different blogs during the week. Blogs can be inspirational, educational and just plain fun to read! I love when bloggers take the time to post with detailed pictures; who doesn’t like eye candy? When it comes to yarn crafting, these are some of the blogs that definitely keep my attention (hopefully I can do another blog round up soon). From general crafting, to knitting and crocheting, these blogs might make you want to create something beautiful–or maybe adopt a pet!

Meet Melissa and Archie! I simply can’t get enough of this blog. Melissa has the cutest little pug named Archie, and pug creations adorn her site. She knits, crochets and paints mostly animal related items. I absolutely adore her doggy sweater vests; stop by her site and check them out.
Crochet Everyday
Megan “the newlywed” is on a journey to completion. She posts a ton of new patterns, with a goal to create something for every pattern she’s created by 2014. Megan primarily crochets, but she also sews and makes quilts. Oh–and in addition to picture/pattern posts, she does frequent giveaways!
Tammy Powley: The Crafty Princess Diaries
Welcome to the world of crafty Tammy, and meet her 4 cats (Coco, Chanel, Herbie and Lola) along the journey.  Tammy crochets, creates jewelry, does some knitting, and even experiments with looms.  To further help inspire, Tammy continuously posts links to other crafty websites.  I love to see her cats stuff themselves in cardboard boxes, adorable. Blog
Craft Magazine’s blog, Craftzine, is what you would call- Awesome! Every day there is a new craft to try on your own.  This blog is a compilation of DIY crafts that range from embroidery, cooking, baking, sewing, yarncrafting… and the list goes on! You’re sure to find something here no matter what your crafting status is; from beginner to advanced, you’ll enjoy this blog!

a caffeinated yarn
I love the “homey” feel of this blog.  I feel like I should be cozied up on my couch with some hot cocoa when I read this. Jodi has a plethora of beautiful knit and crochet projects and even posts cooking recipes (including pics of her finished results).  I enjoy the pictures of her cats snuggled up in the home made blankets; they’re so cute!
The Sweatshop of Love
If the bright colors of Allyson’s blog don’t catch your attention, her hip and modern pattern designs surely will.  Allyson creates lovely garments and fashion accessories with plenty of entrelac patterns.  She also posts amazing pictures from her travels which makes me want to visit some of the places she’s mentioned. If you enjoy knit-alongs, definitely give this blog a try, as she has done quite a few.

I’m always interested in finding new blogs; unfortunately I couldn’t list all of the ones I like, so hopefully I shall return with more listings. Have you, or do you read any of the blogs mentioned? What do you like to read? Share your thoughts!

4 Fast and Easy Hats to Knit & Crochet for Fall

September 12th, 2011

Pin It

With the cooler days of fall approaching, it’s time to start thinking about warm, snugly hats. These hats are made in thick, super-bulky yarns and constructed in simple stitches to help you finish them quickly. You can make these hats in all different colors to keep for yourself or to give as gifts.

The Ripe Wheat Hat is crocheted as a flat rectangle and seamed together to form a tube, and then gathered at the top. Made entirely in single crochet, this hat gets its interesting ribbed look from working those single crochet stitches into the back loop of the previous row.
Love the knit stitch? then the Garter Stitch Hat is perfect for you. As the name suggests, you only need to know the garter stitch pattern (all knits) to complete this thick, warm hat. The piece is worked flat in a rectangle and then sewn into a tube. The top of the hat is closed by threading yarn back and forth through the bound off edge, pulling the yarn to scrunch the edge together, and knotting it securely.
If you like crocheting in a continuous round or spiral, then the Home Team Hat is the one for you. This hat is worked in single crochet, and is a great project to practice and master simple crochet increases. Because the pattern starts at the top and expands toward the brim, with a little math it can be easily customized for size and comfort.
To knit the Tweed Beginner’s Hat, you only need to know the knit and purl stitches. Like the Garter Stitch Hat above, this one is also knit in a flat rectangle shape and then sewn into a tube. Gather the upper seam to close the hat, and then add a fun pom-pom to decorate it.

Lovely fall colors like Spice and Eggplant Wool-Ease Thick & Quick or Billings Chocolate and Santa Fe Tweed Hometown USA will make these hats beautiful and fashionable. Warm, rich colors like these will make even the coldest weather comfortable and fun. Click here to check out many more patterns for hats online at, and get ready to enjoy a cozy fall season!


Have you gotten started making any hats for fall this year? Leave us a comment to tell us about your favorite hat projects and what you’re looking forward to


Fall Into Shawls

September 9th, 2011

Pin It

This is a guest post from Karrie of

I don’t know many people who don’t enjoy the spoils of autumn weather: Friday night football games at the local high school, picking apples at the local orchard, bonfires, roasting marshmallows, hayrides, pumpkin picking, and fall foliage tours. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the remains of warm weather and usher in the beginning of cool weather. But what to wear? It’s not quite warm enough to wear a short sleeved shirt and yet a long sleeved shirt is too warm during the day. You can bring a jacket with you, but it may be a little too warm for that. How about a shawl?

Karrie in Sunshine ShawletteShawls add the perfect bit of warmth to cold shoulders; the perfect fashionable flair to an outfit; and the perfect addition to every wardrobe. Shawls can be knit or crocheted. They can be rectangular (stoles), square, round, semi-circular, or triangular (the most common shape). Shawls can focus on texture such as a garter stitch or single crochet shawl, cables, or a multitude of textured stitches which can be found in various stitch dictionaries. Shawls can be lacy and light, showcasing intricate or simple lace patterns to allow a beautiful and lofty pattern to emerge. And most importantly, shawls can be worn on the shoulders, asymmetrically on one shoulder, or around the neck like a scarf. Shawls are truly versatile, wonderful pieces to add to your wardrobe and knitting or crochet repertoire.

So now that I’ve convinced you to try your hook or needles at a shawl pattern, which pattern is right for you? To answer that, you need to consider two things: 1.) What skill level are you? Are you a beginner? Intermediate? -AND- 2.)What are you using the shawl for? Is it for warmth? Is it going to be a lacy accessory? Once you have answered those questions, you’re ready to search for a shawl pattern. Here are some of my personal favorite Lion Brand shawl patterns:

What are you waiting for? If you begin your project now, you’ll have a fashionable shawl to wear to that next bonfire.

Improve Your Home with 4 Quick & Easy Projects

September 8th, 2011

Pin It

There’s nothing like an upcoming family visit to make you realize that your home could use a serious fall cleaning. Suddenly, I’m seeing my apartment through my future guests’ eyes: a discolored lampshade here, clutter on the coffee table there. Luckily, I’ve figured out how to use my crafting skills to save the day!

Below are 4 easy projects that anyone can use to spruce up a home. Best of all, they’re great stashbusters, so you can even de-clutter your yarn basket–just in time to start stocking up on fall yarns!

Fall Nesting Bowls

That clutter on the coffee table never seems to go away, does it? With these adorable little nesting bowls, I can at least keep it organized.

Plant Hanger

I’d love to display my houseplants indoors, but until now, I’ve had to keep them outside and safe from my curious cats. With these plant hangers, I can brighten up my kitchen and keep my plants safe from teeth marks!

Lampshade Cover

One of my favorite lamps has developed an unsightly discolored patch on the shade. Until I can find a new one that fits, I can just whip up a lampshade cover! I can even use some old brooches I never wear for a set of fancy fasteners.

Striped Draft Stopper

Living in a first-floor apartment has its benefits, but it has its downsides, too. With this door stopper, I can block out unwanted visitors in late summer as well as unwanted drafts when the weather gets cooler.

Do you have any quick-to-make projects that you’ve used to spruce up your home? Tell us in the comments!

How to Use Safety Eyes

September 7th, 2011

Pin It

Want to put the finishing touches on your latest doll or amigurumi? Plastic safety eyes (also known as craft eyes) are an adorable option for topping off your project. Follow this simple tutorial to see just how quick and easy it is to apply safety eyes! I like to place my eyes when I’m about 3/4 finished with the head of my amigurumi, but you can add the eyes anytime before you close the head. (Note: Do not use safety eyes on projects for children under 3 or for animals.)

Safety eyes Your safety eye will consist of two pieces: the front (with a straight or threaded rod) and the washer.
Place first eye. Decide where you’d like to place your eyes. Slide the eye through your work from the outside in.
Place second eye. Place your second eye as well. Adjust the placement as needed. I often find that I need to move my eyes a few times before I get them just right. Before you start the next step, make sure that the eyes are where you want them. Once snapped in place, the eyes won’t be movable.
Push on washer. On the inside of your project, place the washer on the rod of the eye. Push down until the washer rests against your work.
Locked in place. The eye is now locked in place. Repeat for the second eye.
Finished. That’s all there is to safety eyes! Stuff and sew up your amigurumi. You’re all done!

Do you use safety eyes on your amigurumi? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Did You Know…? How to Fix Knitting Without Frogging

September 6th, 2011

Pin It

Picture this: you’re knitting merrily along when suddenly you realize that on the previous row, you somehow purled where you should have knitted and knitted where you should have purled. You only did this on two stitches and then straightened yourself out, but you didn’t even notice it until now. Do you have to rip out the whole row you just knitted to go back and fix those two stitches?

Nope! The good news is, it’s actually really easy to fix a mistake like this. It can be a single stitch you got reversed or a whole grouping, but you’re going to work one stitch at a time, and you’re going to do the same thing on each stitch. You can do this with just your knitting needle, but you’ll find it easier with a crochet hook (something close in size to your knitting needle or slightly smaller). Please read all the way through the steps to make sure you understand what’s going to happen before you start. Here we go:

  1. Remove the first stitch to be fixed from the left hand needle.
  2. Slip the top loop out of the next loop down (this is the stitch that’s going the wrong way). This will leave you with a “bar” of yarn, either in front of the next loop down or behind it, depending on what kind of stitch it was.
  3. Move that bar to the opposite side of the loop. If you want the stitch to be a knit, start with the bar in back of the loop; if you want it to be a purl, start with the bar in front of the loop.
  4. Use your crochet hook or the tip of your needle to pull the bar through the loop, creating another loop.
  5. Place the new loop on the left needle and work it as to continue across the current row. (There’s a great visual of steps 4 & 5–which are essentially just picking up a dropped stitch–available in our Learn To Knit center.)

Repeat steps 1-5 for each stitch you need to reverse.

Note that you can do this for multiple rows, even if you have some correct stitches above a mistake stitch. Just drop all the way down to the row below the mistake and then pick up the stitches in the correct orientation. What determines whether to use this method or go ahead and rip back is usually just a comparison of time and effort: which is going to require the least amount of both? For instance, if you’re working on 50 stitches and you somehow screwed up 45 of them three rows back, you’re probably better off just ripping back because it does take some time to drop each stitch down and then bring it back up again. But if you only messed up five of those stitches? Definitely just drop down, fix them, and be on your merry way once again.

We’re Celebrating 100 Episodes of YarnCraft

September 2nd, 2011

Pin It

Since October of 2007, I’ve been lucky enough to work on our podcast, YarnCraft, a radio-style show that’s available online and to download. It’s been a wonderful part of my job, allowing me and my co-host Liz to share project ideas, sneak peeks at upcoming yarns, interviews with knit and crochet experts, and more. Over the years, our listeners have told us that they enjoy incorporating a little YarnCraft into their commutes, their morning jogs, and of course their crafting time, and we love that they share their comments, thoughts, stories, and photos with us and other listeners, making it a truly interactive experience.

On September 13th, we’re going to reach a special milestone: our 100th episode. To celebrate, Liz & I have hit the virtual road and are giving interviews on all kinds of topics (and giving away prizes) all over the internet.

Be sure to catch us us at the following places:

September 2 – The Crochet Dude
Crochet designer and all around cool guy, Drew Emborsky, asks Liz & Zontee to spill the beans about Vanna White, Lion Brand’s charity connection, and the secrets to putting together a podcast. Plus there just might be a chance to score some of Vanna’s newest yarn.

September 5 – Craftsy Blog
Well-known knitwear designer and teacher, Stefanie Japel, picks Liz & Zontee’s brains and gets some advice on crocheting for beginners. Get a second chance to win some Vanna’s Colors while you’re there.

September 7 – Crochet by Faye
Crochet designer Robyn Chachula asks the ladies of YarnCraft all about podcasting, working at Lion Brand, and the inspiration behind the LB Collection. Enter for a chance to win two balls of LB Collection Superwash Merino while you’re there.

September 8 – PlanetJune
Liz & Zontee answer questions from crochet designer and YarnCraft listener, June Gilbank. Find out about how working on YarnCraft has effected Liz & Zontee’s crafting lives. Also, get a chance to win 3 balls of Vanna’s Choice, June’s preferred amigurumi yarn.

September 12 (live at 9 pm; also available for download afterwards) – Getting Loopy! Podcast
Knit & crochet designer/blogger/podcaster, Mary Beth Temple, interviews Zontee about how to get started podcasting. Chat with Mary Beth live online during the show to submit questions!

September 12 – KnitPurlGurl Podcast
Karrie, a.k.a. KnitPurlGurl chats with Zontee for a behind-the-scenes look at Lion Brand on her podcast. You’ll also have a chance to win 3 balls of Superwash Merino Cashmere while you’re there.

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 Use the Customer Gallery in 3 Easy Steps

September 1st, 2011

Pin It

Have you discovered the Customer Gallery at It’s an excellent place to share pictures of your work and get inspired by the projects others have loaded, all featuring Lion Brand yarns. The gallery is easy to access and very simple to use. To help you get started, I’ll show  you how I added my latest amigurumi, a Best Bunny I made in Lion Cotton, to the gallery in 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Access the Customer Gallery
To go the Customer Gallery, you can click here or click the Have you made this pattern? Send us a photo link at the very bottom of any Lion Brand online pattern. From the homepage, you can navigate to the gallery by selecting the Community tab and then clicking the Customer Gallery option (it’s the second option in the list).

Step 2: Browse Through the Gallery & Add Your Project
Once you are in the gallery, feel free to look around! You can see over 3,300 projects there right now, and more are being added all the time. If you want to upload a project like I did, click the Click here to post it! link in the page description.

Step 3: Upload a Picture & Share Your Story
The next step is adding your work to the gallery. Here you can upload up to four pictures of your project, just be sure they are all in JPEG format. You can select a title (I chose “Margaret’s Best Bunny”) and fill in all the details about which yarn you used, how you liked the pattern and why you made it. Once you’re finished, click the orangesubmit button at the bottom of the page, and you’re done!

If you take a better picture later, or remember a helpful hint you’d like to share, you can go back and edit your gallery submission through your account at All projects uploaded to the gallery are reviewed before going online, so you should see your project in the gallery in 5 to 7 days.

If you like the gallery, why not upload a project of your own?  Leave us a comment to share which one is yours.