Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for January, 2012

6 Tips on How to Learn to Knit or Crochet

January 12th, 2012

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Are you interested in learning a new craft, or do you know someone who is?

Starting out can be hard when you’re learning a brand new skill. We’ve all heard people talk about how hard it must be, but with these tips on getting started and a little patience, learning can be fun and simple.

Video Watch a short video. Sometimes it’s very helpful to watch someone else’s hands working to understand how the yarn is supposed to move. You don’t have to go out and buy one either; check out our free Learn to Knit and Learn to Crochet videos for help.
Take a class Take a class. Local in-person classes or internet classes are great for people who learn well from formal instruction. If you’re in the NYC area, come by the Lion Brand Yarn Studio for a class!
Friends Learn with a friend, or group of friends. A buddy to learn with can be a great boon to you while you’re just starting out. You can swap tips and help one another as you learn.
Friend with skill Find a friend who already knows how. A friend with a skill can be teacher, translator, and compassionate helper when things get confusing. If you know a proficient crafter who’s interested in teaching, let them try out their lesson plans on you.
Support Call customer support. When you need support on your first pattern or just aren’t sure where to find a resource you need, call us! Call our Customer Support line (800-661-7551) from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. e.s.t. from Monday to Friday, or email us at
Forgive yourself Forgive yourself! Mistakes are part of learning a new skill. When something goes awry, simply rip back (a crafting term for pulling out the stitches you’ve made) and yarn lets you try all over again. You’re learning! Go easy on yourself and you’ll pick it up in no time.

Are you learning a new craft, or helping someone learn? What do you think are the best tips for a beginner? Leave a comment to share!

Treat Yourself with 1 Skein Luxury Projects

January 11th, 2012

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Now that the holidays are over, many of you are probably working on or thinking of projects for yourself.  Why don’t you treat yourself to a knit/crochet project with a yarn from our exclusive LB Collection.  The LB Collection is a premium line of Lion Brand yarns featuring 100% natural fiber yarns and natural fiber blends. LB Collection can only be found on, the Lion Brand Studio, Lion Brand Outlet and our catalog.

Cables and Lace Hat
Cables and Lace Hat

Our 100% roving Pure Wool is undyed and spun in the USA from the fibers of American raised sheep. This yarn is a great deal because for $5 you get 180 yd of pure wool which is also great for felting and hand dying.
Cottage Wrist Warmers
Cottage Wrist Warmers


One skein of this Baby Alpaca DK weight yarn can work into a soft luxurious set of wrist warmers.  Every stitch that you knit or crochet will feel like eating your favorite dessert; it’s that good!  Baby Alpaca is available in 6 natural colors for your warm and sophisticated projects.

Angora Tam
Angora Tam


Angora Merino is a soft and fluffy yarn that makes me feel like I’m holding a piece of a cloud in my hand.  Comprised of 80% extra fine merino and 20% angora, this yarn will add a touch of delicacy and warmth to any garment or accessory.

Angora Lace Scarf
Angora Lace Scarf
The Angora Lace scarf is another project which only requires one skein of Angora Merino that I had to share with you.  Knit in the vibrant Sangria color, this makes a great transitional scarf; the color palette will surely make you think of Spring.  You’ll love how it feels as it works up; you’ll probably knit it fast so you can wear it sooner.
Hazey Blue Lace Scarf
Hazy Blue Lace Scarf


If you’re into lace work, you’ll love Silk Mohair; a fingering weight yarn that practically glides through your hands as you work.  A lace project in Silk Mohair is sure to add a bit of classic sophistication to your ensemble.  I could see this scarf pairing nicely with a business casual outfit.  You could also pair Silk Mohair with a thicker yarn for extra warmth.

For over 100 knit & crochet patterns featuring our LB collection yarns, click here.

Have you ever tried working with the LB Collection? If so, which yarns are your favorite? If not, which yarn seems to speak to you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Getting Organized (and Remembering My Grandmother) in the New Year

January 10th, 2012

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Last week, I wrote a blog post asking you about your new year’s resolutions as yarncrafters, and now I’d like to share one of mine.

One of my resolutions this year is to organize my tools–I have so many different kinds of needles, hooks, and accessories that sometimes I have trouble keeping track of what I already own. I think I might want to log them into my account on Ravelry (there are also many apps out there that can help you keep track of your yarncrafting tools) and then put them in some thin vases for display. I’ll have to keep an eye out for some different options.

However, the first thing I’ve done on my organizing journey is to buy a case for some very special, vintage tools. Last year, my grandmother passed away, and each grandchild inherited some mementos from her house. Being that my grandmother was a very prolific needlecrafter and seamstress, my mom brought me my grandmother’s double-pointed needles, steel crochet hooks, and sewing needles. Some of the DPNs are the very long kind (about 15 inches) for making sweaters, before circular needles got popular–I’d never even seen DPNs that long before. As a yarncrafter myself, I really appreciate the beauty of these tools, and I wanted to protect them, as well as to organize them.

To do so, I got one of the beautiful, handmade, hook/needle rolls from CrippenWorks that we have on The long DPNs are in the back row of pockets and the crochet hooks and shorter DPNs are in the front. I’m glad to know that the needles are well-protected, and I hope that some day, I can pass them along to my own children.

Click here to see all of the CrippenWorks cases we carry.

5 Great First Sweater Patterns for Adults

January 9th, 2012

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So you’ve mastered the scarf and hat, perhaps even the baby sweater, and now you want to move on to a new type of project. Ring in the new year by knitting or crocheting your first adult sweater! With just a few simple skills, you’ll be well on your way to a cozy handmade garment. Here are 5 patterns perfect for your first adult sweater.

Knit Cropped Raglan Sweater One of the simplest sweater constructions is the top down raglan. The Cropped Raglan Sweater is a classic example, featuring beautiful eyelet increases and a breezy open front. Best of all, there are no big seams to sew! Although the suggested yarn has been discontinued, this sweater would look great in any of our other worsted weight yarns. Skills needed (click each skill for instructions): cast on, knit, purl, knit 2 together, yarn over, increase, and bind off.
Crochet Summer Swing Jacket Similarly, the Crochet Summer Swing Jacket is shaped through easy raglan construction. It looks great in any worsted weight yarn, so you have tons of options for fibers and colors! Get creative; the single button closure is perfect for highlighting a truly unique vintage button. Skills needed: chain, half double crochet, decrease, increase, and slip stitch.
Knit Nautical Stripes Pullover This cozy unisex Nautical Stripes Pullover utilizes simple construction, but it stays interesting with horizontal stripes. Because it’s made with bulky Homespun and larger needles, this sweater works up quickly. Skills needed: cast on, knit, purl, knit 2 together, slip, make 1, and bind off.
Crochet Side-to-Side Cowl Neck Sweater The Crochet Side-to-Side Cowl Neck Sweater looks complicated, but it’s anything but! The pullover is worked vertically with no increasing or decreasing; the stretchy rib provides all of the shaping that you need. Skills needed: chain, half double crochet, through the back loop, and slip stitch.
Knit Women's Eloise Eyelet Cardi Our easy Knit Eloise Eyelet Cardi was so popular for children that we had to make an adult version! The impressive lace yoke is a simple combination of yarn overs and knit 2 togethers. The cropped sleeves and single button closure make this cardigan a wardrobe staple. Skills needed: cast on, knit, purl, knit 2 together, yarn over, make 1, and bind off.

Remember, the most important step to making a sweater that fits is to make a gauge swatch! Happy yarncrafting!

Related links:

5 Reasons to Learn to Knit or Crochet in 2012

January 5th, 2012

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If you’ve been thinking about learning to knit or crochet, now is the perfect time! With the New Year upon us, now is the time to think what you’d like to learn or accomplish in this year. Whether you’d like to learn your first stitch, make your first scarf, or learn a new craft having mastered another (knitters learning to crochet, weavers learning to knit, etc.) now is the time to begin.

Here are 5 great reasons to learn to knit or crochet in 2012. Use them to get yourself started, or share them with friends and family members who are interested in getting into yarncrafting.

New Year's Resolution Yarncrafting makes a perfect New Year’s resolution. Taking up a craft is a great way to add creativity to your new year. Many resolutions involve giving up habits, but learning a new art is both a wonderful resolution that will keep your mind engaged and your fingers nimble.
Aromatherapy Eye Pillow Crafting with your hands can help you relax. Repetitive, calm motion coupled with the texture of a beautiful yarn can lend meditative qualities to your spare time. With so much stress in all our lives, it can be restful and soothing to spend even just a little time in a creative, calming  way.
Crafting with Friends Connect with old friends and meet new ones. Yarn lovers always seem to find each other in any crowd, so take advantage of the opportunity to make new friends and connect with people you know. Try joining a crafting group or starting your own with crafty friends. Meeting with yarncrafters is also a great way to pick up new skills. There’s a good reason they call close friends ‘tight knit’ groups!
Donate Crafting for charity is a great way to give to your community. If you can spare a few moments to knit or crochet, you can make a world of difference to someone in need. Whatever you love to make, there’s probably a charity collecting that very item. Try our Charity Connection for details if you’re interested in finding a group to donate to.
Design It Yourself! Be your own designer in the new year. If you’ve been scouring stores for just the right hat or scarf, learning to make your own might be the answer! Making your own garments and accessories gives you the freedom to combine your favorite colors and textures and create new and exciting looks.

With long, chilly winter nights ahead, curl up with some yarn and get started with one of the most enjoyable resolutions you can make for the new year. Happy yarncrafting!

If you’re interested in learning how to knit or crochet, check out these resources:

Make Simple Look Sensational with Bouclé

January 4th, 2012

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Bouclé knitwear is making a comeback for 2012; it’s been featured in the collections of fashion designers such as Bottega Venetta, Max Studio and Philosophy Di Alberta Ferretti.  Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for designer bouclé, you can easily knit or crochet your own piece with our bouclé style yarns in Homespun and Silky Twist (a new addition to our family).

boucle coat bottega venetaBottega Venetta boucle coat max studioMax Studio boucle philosophy di Alberta FerrettiPhilosophy Di Alberta Ferretti

Traditional bouclé is constructed with 3-plies, with one strand a bit looser than the others to create a loopy textured yarn.  When knitted or crocheted, the yarn appears a bit bumpy or “nubby”, giving the garment a unique quality.  Since bouclé yarn has so much texture to it, it is best to stick with a simple stitch–complicated stitches get lost with all of the loops and bumps involved.  Here are some bouclé patterns to start off a new project for the new year:

Ridges Hat
Ridges Hat

Crochet in Silky Twist
Long and Lean Jacket
Long and Lean Jacket

Knit in Homespun
Honest Warmth Shawl
Honest Warmth Shawl

Knit in Homespun
Simplicity Cowl
Simplicity Cowl

Crochet in Homespun

Do you have experience with bouclé yarns? Have you tried Silky Twist, our bulkier bouclé?  If you’re interested in learning more about knitwear trends for 2012, check out one of our previous posts by Jess, 3 Favorite Trends for 2012.

Happy New Year! Share Your Yarncrafting Resolutions!

January 1st, 2012

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Happy New Year from all of us at Lion Brand!

It’s that time of year when we think about new year’s resolutions, and I know I’m already thinking about what I’d like to achieve in 2012. From learning new skills to getting organized, trying new yarns to teaching a friend, there are so many ways to expand the ways we yarncraft.

You can hear more about my resolutions and the resolutions of other Lion Brand staffers on the first 2012 episode of our audio-podcast*–YarnCraft–which comes out on Tuesday, January 3, but in the meantime–we’d love to hear from YOU!

What are your new year’s resolutions as a yarncrafter? What do you hope to achieve in the new year?

*A podcast is like a radio show you can listen to online or download through iTunes!