Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for September, 2011

4 Easy Hats for Kids & How to Make Them Your Own

September 20th, 2011

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Stylish hats are excellent, thoughtful gifts for kids of all ages. These 4 projects to knit and crochet are clever and fashionable hats for kids worthy of any children’s boutique; only these are easy to make yourself. Try the hints below to make each hat special for each child in your life.

The ‘Totally Tubular’ Child’s Hat is a great project for knitters who love fast finish projects and  the garter stitch. The hat is worked flat in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, sewn into a tube and gathered at the top of the head with a bow. 

Hint to Make it Your Own:
The bow is a great project to get the child you’re knitting for involved in the design. Make the cord together as you teach them to cast on, or encourage them to make a cord with a knitting spool or crochet.

The Cool Kids Hat can be made in any super-bulky yarn, from Hometown USA to Martha Stewart Crafts Lofty Wool, and will look great in neutral, bold or pastel shades. 

Hint to Make it Your Own:
Pom-poms and tassels are excellent details, and who says you can only have one? Add a tassel or pom-pom to each point at the top of this hat, or make even more and add them in clusters.

For a hat with special attention to ears, the Mini Trick Hat is the perfect pattern. There are larger versions of this pattern made to fit older children (click here to see them all), and a wide variety of colorwork designs to suite any taste.

Hint to Make it Your Own:
This hat is a great project to experiment with color combinations. Take the child you are crafting for along with you to the yarn store or pick out colors together online. You can be sure the child will love the colors, and you’ll have introduced them to the wonderful world of yarncraft.

For crocheters who can’t get enough color and love a fast-finish project, the Speed Hook Earflap Hat is the one for you. Crocheted on a speed hook with 4 strands of yarn held together, this is one of the quickest hats to make and can be made in sizes for the whole family. 

Hint to Make it Your Own:
This speedy colorful hat and scarf set is a great opportunity to make matching gift sets. Try mixing different color combinations for each family member with one color in common, and you’ll have a matching family set that is still unique for each individual.

Have you made hats for children before? Share your favorite hat stories with us in a comment below.

Go International with Your Yarncrafting!

September 19th, 2011

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For some people, knitting or crocheting might be a hobby, while for others, it has been a cultural influence.  Like the United States, the United Kingdom has seen a large increase in knitting popularity over the years; In July, an English newspaper entitled The Guardian, mentioned in their article “Pride in the wool: the rise of knitting“, that knitting searches on Google have increased to over a million per month. Although there has been a recent increase in yarncrafting popularity, in many instances, knitting or crocheting has been passed along from generation to generation; it is common to hear, “My grandmother (mother) taught me when I was a child”. Knitting and crocheting is done all over the world, in many different styles; see the roundup below to check out some knitting styles adapted from over seas!

Fair Isle  

Fair Isle knitting is a technique that originated from Fair Isle, a small island located in the Shetland Islands of northern Scotland.  The technique is a traditional style that works in the round and uses two colors per row, usually with frequent color changes.  This style was developed in the mid 19th century and uses basic knit stitches, no purling.  Fair Isle knit patterns became very popular once they were seen on King Edward VIII, who donned the pattern during golfing in the 1920s.

Click here to see Lion Brand’s Fair Isle patterns.

Irish Lace Crochet 

Irish lace crochet is a technique that dates back to the 19th century famine years in Ireland.  During this time, charity groups taught crochet lace techniques to anyone who was willing to learn; they saw it as a way to jump start the economy.  The style is comprised of separately crocheted motifs which are then applied to a mesh background.  The tools for Irish lace crochet involve a fine steel crochet hook and thread or cotton in varying weights. A thinner thread/cotton is used for the mesh while a thicker thread/cotton is used for the motifs.

Click here to see Lion Brand’s Irish Lace Crochet pattern.

photo source:
Original Artisan

Andean Knitting 

The culture of knitting in the Andes is quite interesting because it is done primarily by the men.  The men knit caps (also known as Chullos) to keep them warm while working, and are mostly made with natural fibers, such as that from an Alpaca. The ear flaps are an important part of the cap, providing good insulation.  These hats are knit with very thin double-pointed needles and incorporate a plethora of colors. Chullos often tell a story of the man who’s wearing it, so a lot of motifs (animal and human), stripes, diagonal lines and diamond patterns can be found on them; the Andean men take a lot of pride in their knitting.

Click here for Lion Brand ear flap hat patterns.

picture source: Globe Hoppers
Estonian Lace/Haapsalu shawl 

The Estonian lace shawl is a traditional knit style originating from Haapsalu, a small town in Estonia.  Local artists sold these shawls at the seaside during the late 19th century, ranking popular amongst the Russian aristocracy for souvenirs and gifts.  A traditional shawl is knit as a rectangle, and uses very fine lamb wool yarn- mostly done in white.  The shawls are traditionally constructed using wooden needles.  The shawl’s body is composed of a center, a border and an edge- which has been knit separately and then sewn to the body.  This knitting tradition is still kept alive today through the school systems, as girls are taught this intricate pattern in grade school, and pride themselves on completion.

I’d love to hear how you learned to knit/crochet; were you taught by family, self taught or took a class? Are any of you familiar with these styles? I’d personally love to be able to Fair Isle knit one day, but since I’m still a beginner, that may take some time. Share your experiences with us!

Sources:Globe Hoppers: Haapsalu Shawl, Knitting Letters A to Z, Original Artisan

Think Pink Yarns for October

September 16th, 2011

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many crocheters and knitters show their support through crafting. From cancer awareness pins to scarves to cancer caps, there are so many projects that you can make in pink yarn to raise awareness and show support. Try using any of these pink yarns for your October projects; they’re all super soft and easy-care, so they can be shared with loved ones currently undergoing cancer treatment or donated to your favorite charity.

Baby’s First Twinkle Toes
Twinkle Toes
Heartland Denali
Vanna’s Choice Pink
Choice Organic Cotton
Fun Fur Soft Pink
Soft Pink
Hometown USA Honolulu Pink
Honolulu Pink
Homespun Parfait

For more information on how you can raise breast cancer awareness, remember to visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

A Sweater Dress for Every Body Type

September 15th, 2011

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While browsing the Pattern Finder®, I made a discovery: Lion Brand has designed a sweater dress pattern to flatter every body type (Hourglass, Pear, Apple, and Rectangle)! Check out my findings, as well as some styling tips, below.

Hourglass Knit Dress 

Show off your curves with a sheath-shaped dress that nips in at the waist. A length that hits at the knee helps to balance out your figure while showing a bit off leg. Ribbing at the yoke adds even more contouring.

For styling, add a low-slung belt and some fancy patterned tights.

[Note: The pattern shown uses Lion® Cashmere Blend, which is now discontinued. As a substitute, try using Superwash Merino Cashmere in Charcoal Heather.]

Pear Cable Luxe Maxi (shown on right) 

Your slender shoulders lend themselves well to ornate patterns at the neckline. An A-line skirt is flattering to wide hips. A length that goes past your knees will elongate and balance your figure.

For styling, this dress begs to be paired with equestrian-style boots.

Apple Speed Stix Mini Dress 

Apple types usually have long, lean legs, and this minidress helps to show them off! Empire shaping and smooth, sturdy fabric help to disguise a fuller waist. A boatneck neckline shows off your collarbone.

For styling, pair this with opaque tights or leggings and cute flats.

Rectangle Close-Fitting Dress 

Your slim, athletic figure looks best in body-hugging styles. An asymmetrical neckline adds interest and the illusion of curves. A lace insert at the skirt shows off a bit of leg.

For styling, go retro with a pair of slingback heels and a shrug.

[Note: The pattern shown uses Glitterspun®, which is now discontinued. As a substitute, try Vanna’s Choice® in Scarlet. Or, to get the sparkly flash shown here, try stranding Microspun® in Cherry Red together with Vanna’s Glamour® in Ruby Red.]

How would you style these sweater dresses? Which dress is your favorite? Comment and let us know!

Vote for the Fall 2011 Knit-Along!

September 14th, 2011

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Nothing says September quite like a new sweater, so it’s time for a new knit-along! We want YOU to help us decide on a pattern. Click on any image below to view its accompanying pattern. Submit your vote here by Tuesday, September 20th. Remember, you must submit your vote through SurveyMonkey for it to count!
Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover Raglan Sleeve Topper Textured Topper

We’ll announce the winner here on Wednesday, September 21st. We’re excited to have our friend Kendra hosting once again. We can’t wait to see what the winning garment will be!

New to knit-alongs? Check out our guide to knit/crochet-alongs for some helpful advice. Crocheters, we’ll be having another crochet-along in the coming months, so keep an eye out for an announcement.