Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for January, 2012

Math + Yarn = Great Results (or 7 Articles to Read About Adjusting Your Pattern)

January 31st, 2012

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When it comes to improvising knit & crochet designs of your own or adjusting patterns, there’s almost always a little math to be done. Don’t be intimidated though! A little arithmetic will take you a long way, allowing you to make sure you get the results you’re looking for.

To help you on your way, here are jut a few blog posts you’ll want to read before adjusting your patterns.

Improvising/Adjusting a Rectangular Project

Want to use a stitch pattern to create a scarf, shawl, or afghan? Read this article. Want to adjust an existing scarf/shawl/afghan pattern? Read this one.

Book Recommendations

Beyond all of this, there are a ton of great books out there that teach you how to make different sweaters, hats, gloves, and more based on basic formulas, including the Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns and The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, and Knits Men Want by Bruce Weinstein.

There are also a lot of books that teach you how to adjust patterns to fit your body measurements including Knitting Plus by Lisa Shroyer, Custom Crocheted Sweaters by Dora Ohrenstein, and Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel.

With a little knowledge, a little practice, and a little math, you’ll find that you can make just about any pattern work for you.

Have you adjusted patterns to fit your needs? Share your tips in the comments!

Get Ready for the Super Bowl with Team Color Yarns

January 30th, 2012

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Can you believe the Super Bowl is on Sunday? The New York Giants and the New England Patriots are playing in Indianapolis, and there’s still plenty of time to yarncraft in celebration! To help get you started, we’ve pulled yarn color suggestions that best match each team. Since both teams have very similar official colors, we selected colors for the jerseys each team will be wearing that day — away colors for the Giants, and home colors for the Patriots. Use these suggestions to whip up a quick hat, scarf, or can cozy before the big game to show your team spirit!

Yarn New York Giants (White and Blue) New England Patriots (Navy and Silver)
Vanna’s Choice WhiteSapphire
White and Sapphire
NavySilver Heather
Navy and Silver Heather
Hometown USA New York WhiteSan Diego Navy
New York White and San Diego Navy
San Diego NavyDallas Grey
San Diego Navy and Dallas Grey
Wool-Ease White FrostIndigo
White Frost and Indigo
NavyGrey Heather
Navy and Grey Heather
Jiffy WhiteDenim
White and Denim
NavySilver Heather
Navy and Silver Heather
Lion Wool Winter WhiteMidnight Blue
Winter White and Midnight Blue
Midnight BluePearl Gray
Midnight Blue and Pearl Gray

Are you yarncrafting for the Super Bowl? What are you making? Let us know in the comments!

How to Host a Yarn Swap & Stashbusting Party

January 26th, 2012

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YarnA swap party is the perfect way to spend quality time with your yarn-loving friends, and unload a lot of unwanted yarn cluttering up your stash. At a yarn swap, all the swappers bring their unwanted yarn to unload and hope pick up a few new treasures.

If you want to host your own swap party and unload some yarn clutter, here are 5 useful tips on planning your party.

Make sure you’re ready to let go of your yarn when you bring it to the swap.
If you’d be comfortable donating your yarn to charity, then you’re ready for the swap. If you’re not ready, put the yarns in a box and mark it “check in 6 months.” Chances are in 6 months you’ll know if you want to hang on to it. Then you can have another swap!
Make your invitations clear so that your fellow yarn lovers know what to expect.
Will you be swapping only luxury fibers like angora and cashmere, or can you can bring any yarns you like? Telling your guests what will happen will help everyone get prepared for the swap and know which yarns, foods and entertainment they can bring.
Have a clean, large surface to spread the swapping yarn out on.
A dining or coffee table is ideal, but if you have enough yarn to cover the floor (lucky you!) spread a sheet or afghan out to keep the yarn clean and dust free. Make sure to keep food or drinks away from the yarn during the swapping.
Organize the swapping so that everyone gets a turn choosing yarn.
Making everyone comfortable is key to a successful swap. One popular way to coordinate the swapping is to have swappers draw numbers and select yarn from a central pile of  donations. This way everyone has a chance to look at the yarn and no one has to feel rushed. Go in as many rotations as you like till the yarn runs out!
Tell your guests that any unclaimed yarn will be donated to charity.
Tell your guests that unclaimed yarn won’t be wasted, it will go to helping others. There are lots of organizations that would be thrilled to accept yarn donations. For help finding one near you, check out our Charity Connection.

A swap party is a chance to spend time with your fellow yarn lovers, enjoy one another’s company and clean out some yarn clutter taking up space in your stash. You might even take home something exciting that you’ll know exactly what to do with; and it will carry the memory of good friends and fun.

Have you ever been to a yarn swap? How was it organized, and what tips would you share? Tell us in the comments below!

And the 2012 Color of the Year Is…Tangerine Tango!

January 25th, 2012

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Pantone, the “world renowned authority on color” and provider of color systems throughout a variety of industries, has announced the 2012 color of the year; Tangerine Tango. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute stated,“sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it.” Tangerine Tango is supposed to help you feel inspired and energized.  Even though some hues may be brighter than others, it’s friendly enough to include in home decor.  If you’re interested in seeing how Tangerine Tango inspired knitwear will make you feel, browse through the selection of  orange yarn hues below (please note that colors may vary slightly depending on screen monitor settings; if you’re interested in getting color card samples before investing in your yarn purchase, click here).

Wildfire- Tweed Stripes
Tweed Stripes
Wild Fire
Persimmon- Cotton Bamboo
LB Collection Cotton
Terracotta- Cashmere
LB Collection
Paprika- Quick & Cozy
Quick & Cozy
Paprika- Lion Cotton
Lion Cotton

Clementine- Cotton Hemp
Martha Stewart
Cotton Hemp

Syracuse Orange, Tangerine Tango
Hometown USA
Syracuse Orange


Circus Peanut- Sock Ease
Circus Peanut
Apricot- Wool Ease Thick & Quick
Thick & Quick

Jiffy- Paprika
Tangerine- Silky Twist
Silky Twist
Saffron - Homespun
Pumpkin- Wool Ease Thick & Quick
Thick & Quick

Paprika- Wool Ease

Terracotta- Vanna's Choice
Vanna’s Choice

Do you think you’ll be adding a Tangerine Tango inspired piece to your project queue (if you don’t already have one)? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

How to Turn a Rectangle Into a Shrug

January 24th, 2012

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If you’ve mastered scarves, shawls, and other rectangular objects, you may be thinking about what else you can make. Or perhaps you want to make a garment, but you like instant gratification and don’t want to think about sleeve shaping, buttonholes, etc. Luckily for you, we have a lot of basic shrug projects on that are just rectangles seamed up to create “sleeves.” These shrugs come in all shapes and sizes, so be sure to browse through all of our various patterns to find the one that’s right for you.

How does a rectangle of fabric (plain or with a design) become a shrug? With a little help from Lion Brand Yarn Studio manager Michelle and the Golden Honey Shrug pattern, I’ve put together this quick guide to help you understand the construction of the shrug. (Click on the photos to enlarge.)

Sew the Seams 

What all of the patterns highlighted in this blog post have in common is that the “sleeves” of the shrug are made by simply seaming up several inches of the edges of the rectangle, leaving a space in the middle for you to put the shrug on. It’s quick and easy, but if you need a little help with your seaming, be sure to check out our tutorials.

Knitters, click here for tutorials on several seaming techniques. Crocheters, click here for our invisible sewn seam tutorial or click here for the slip stitch seam tutorial.

The Back of the Shrug

This particular shrug is designed to be a cropped length, so it sits just above Michelle’s waist, but we do have lots of patterns for oversized shrugs too. Click here for our fan-favorite Simple Crochet Shrug.

The Front of the Shrug 

Some shrug patterns, like this one, will have a very open front, in which you’ll mostly only see the sleeves when viewing it from the front. Depending on how “tall” the rectangle of the shrug is and how it’s seamed up, you’ll find that some shrugs will have more of a short-sleeved-cardigan-like look. Click here for an example, our Knit Ruffle Shrug.

The taller the rectangle, the more the fabric will show at the front (and the longer the back of the shrug). The wider the rectangle, the longer the “sleeves”.

Shaping through Stitch Patterns 

In this particular shrug, we’ve used 1×1 ribbing on the edges of the rectangle to create cuffs. Even though there’s no increasing or decreasing in this shrug’s overall stitch count, the ribbing creates an illusion of the fabric gathering. We use this in other ways on other shrugs. For instance, with our Knit Speckled Shrug, ribbing is used to create a “collar,” while in our Crochet Sequoia Shrug, the overall back-loop stitches (which create a ribbed look) add a lot of shape on their own, so no additional stitch pattern is needed.

Customizing Your Shrug

A wider shrug will look good on someone who is tall and broader-shouldered like Michelle, but you could adjust the size of your shrug to fit your body by increasing or decreasing the width and/or seaming up more or less of the rectangle to change the length of the “sleeves” versus the “body.” For tips on adjusting rectangle-based patterns, click here for an article on this topic from

Design Your Own Shrug with Stitch Patterns

You’ll notice that with the Golden Honey Shrug that we’ve got a lace pattern in the middle, seed stitch at the top and bottom edges to create the “collar,” and the ribbing to create cuffs. (It’s easiest to see in the photo of the back.) By mixing and matching stitch patterns (check out the Stitch Finder on, you can create your very own shrug pattern that’s designed just for you.

For even more rectangular shrug options, check out: