Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for March, 2012

5 Hats & Different Ways to Style Them

March 13th, 2012

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Sometimes when I’m shopping and I see a garment or accessory I really want, I think about the different ways to style it, making the item itself very versatile.  For instance, I really like my denim jacket because I can roll up the sleeves different lengths and I can partially pop the collar for a different look. I can then pair it with a skirt or jeans for a more casual look…the choices go on.

The finished pattern images you see on show you one way to style an item, but today, I’ll show you alternate ways to style 5 hats.

Ballpark hat Crochet Ball Park Hat
We definitely like the slouch effect of the hat as modeled for the pattern, but think about playing around with your hat ribbing.  You can fold up the ribbing to let more hair show, and also to create a tighter fit.


My First Trip to Stitches West: Sharing the Lion Brand Experience on the West Coast

March 12th, 2012

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This is a guest blog post from Michelle, manager of the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, our flagship store in NYC. Michelle, Brandyce, and Zontee hosted the Lion Brand booth at Stitches West at the end of February. 

This was my first-ever trip to a Stitches show, and it was a fabulous experience! Being the Studio Manager means that I spend a lot of my workday at a computer screen, and I don’t usually get out onto the sales floor as often as I’d like to. So Stitches was a welcome change. I got to talk to so many lovely people and see all kinds of beautiful garments and other handmade items. It was like being in a living, moving art gallery! And with the Stitches Fashion Show and so many interesting knit & crochet pieces roaming around, my to-do list grew about a foot!

Keep your mouse over the slideshow to read the captions. Please note: If you’re viewing this blog post in your email or RSS reader, you may need to click the title to view it online.

I really enjoyed being able to chat with customers and hear your feedback. Lots of folks had had the chance to visit the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, and all of your kind comments were and are greatly appreciated! We do our best to make sure you have a great time when you visit us, so to hear so many nice things on the opposite coast is a real boost. And of course we love to hear your feedback and suggestions. It’s great to hear what you’re excited about…even if we had to tear you away from Amazing Man first! (Sorry ladies, he’s spoken for!)

The best part about going to the show is seeing old friends and making new ones! Can’t wait to see you all next time!!

If you’re attending Stitches Midwest or Stitches East later this year, look for the Lion Brand booths there!

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Custom Raglan Cardi Knit-Along, Week 3: Adjusting Body Length & Adding Waist Shaping

March 8th, 2012

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KAL BadgeHi, everyone! This week we’re going to talk about adding length to your sweater and adding optional waist-shaping. But first we come to dividing for the body, which is one of the most exciting parts of a top-down raglan garment because within a few rows your piece will start to look like a wearable cardigan! I like to slip the sleeve stitches onto some waste yarn rather than regular stitch holders (which are just like big safety pins), as this will make your cardi much easier to try on. I also place a stitch marker between the two bind off sections — the bind off stitches will become the underarm seam of your sweater. This marks what would be the side seam in a regular sweater and will come in handy when I’m adding waist shaping.

Make It Longer

If you’d like your sweater to be longer, you can just keep working in your pattern, trying on as you go, until it is as long as you’d like. I wanted my sweater to be at least hip-length, but I also wanted it to be a little more fitted. Since I’m not 35 inches all the way down, I decided to add some waist-shaping. This is not in the pattern, but can be nice for some of us making the garment longer. However, if you’re new to sweaters and prefer to keep it simple, just follow the directions as written! Feel free to adjust the length straight; the classic shape of this cardigan means that it will look great even without extra shaping.


9 Patterns to Get You Ready for Spring

March 7th, 2012

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It’s been a pretty mild winter here in NYC, and now that we’re closer to the first day of spring; I think we’re slowly starting to transition our closet wardrobe into some lighter garments or sweaters to keep us comfortable amidst the changes.  Below you’ll find some patterns and inspiration for projects to get you ready for spring.  Just click on the image for the pattern.

Jackets and Cardigans:

These jackets/cardigans are great for looking stylish while you’re out running some errands, picking up the kids from school, or even heading out for a date; they will be a great final touch to your outfit.

Matinee Swing Jacket
Matinee Swing Jacket
Textured Raglan Jacket
Textured Raglan Jacket
Sketchbook Cardigan
Sketchbook Cardigan


Directional Single Decreases for Knitting

March 6th, 2012

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When I knit my first hat, I noticed that the decreases on the top swirled to the right. This is because knitted single decreases slant to the left or the right. The most common decrease, knit 2 together (k2tog), leans to the right. Of course, there will be times that you need your knitting to lean to the left: lace patterns, sweater shaping, knitting socks, and so on. For these decreases, you have a few options.
Knit Directional Decreases
If you work your k2tog through the back loops (k2tog tbl), you’ll end up with a left-leaning decrease. I find that this stitch often becomes elongated, though. The slip, slip, knit (ssk) decrease matches the size of k2tog a little better, so it’s the left-leaning decrease that I use the most. The slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over (skp) decrease will also lean to the left. As you can see, I’ve used right-leaning decreases on the left side of my swatch and left-leaning decreases on the right. With these easy stitches, you can create even directional decreasing on each side. Interested in directional increases? I’ll have a post on that next week.
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5 Podcasts on How to De-Stress & Get Motivated When Knitting or Crocheting

March 5th, 2012

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5 Podcasts on How to De-Stress & Get Motivated When Knitting & CrochetingFor knitters & crocheters, sometimes it can feel stressful when you’re trying to finish a project and it’s slow going. However, it’s important to keep in mind the idea that knitting and crocheting are hobbies that are meant to be enjoyed for the journey, and not just for the end result.

To help you keep that in mind, here are 5 segments from our radio-style podcast, YarnCraft, all about de-stressing when you’re working on a particularly taxing project OR getting motivated when you’re feeling stuck on a project.

Click through the links below to read the episode guide and click on the “play” arrow to listen to the episode (or download it to your computer using the link).

De-Stress with Episode 105 – Fast forward to 31:43 to listen to our “Stash This: Ideas for Your Crafting Life” segment all about de-stressing during the busy holiday gift-making season. These tips are definitely useful year-round!

Get Reinvigorated with Episode 91 – This episode, entitled “5 Ways to Stay Motivated Knitting & Crocheting This Summer,” highlights just that. Get inspired and reinvigorated in your knitting and crocheting, when you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a rut. Fast forward to 12:09 if you want to listen to just that segment.

Take a Moment with Episode 30 – In another “Stash This” segment (at 26:48 in the episode), learn useful ways to take a step back from your knit & crochet projects when you need a moment to gather your thoughts and tackle that next big step, whether it’s ripping back or starting a particularly challenging stitch chart.

Create the Right Environment with Episode 22 – Finding your zen place when yarncrafting is sometimes about creating the right environment. Learn what makes a good crafting space in this episode. Skip to 4:32 if you want to listen to just this segment.

Support Your Hands with Episode 9 – In this early episode, Liz & I share tips for supporting your hands and wrists while yarncrafting, as well as soothing, simple pattern-recommendations that are just right for those times you want a relaxing project to work on. Hop over to 23:48 for this “Stash This” segment.

If you like these segments, subscribe to YarnCraft here or find us on iTunes! We come out with a new episode, every two weeks!

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Substitute Yarns for a Chic New Take on a Pattern

March 4th, 2012

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This is a guest post from Kristen Mangus. She’s a loom-knitter and a blogger with her own series of helpful videos at To follow along with this project, click here.

Cowls always seem so chic and trendy to me; they look cozy without looking disheveled.  As a mom of three small children, cowls are so much easier than keeping a scarf on! I love that I can still look stylish and not have to worry if it was tied just right when on the go, don’t you?

Ridged Cowl Martha Stewart Crafts Lion Brand yarn Knit and Weave Loom Kit Assembly

So naturally I started looking for a cowl pattern that I liked. The Loom Knit Ridged Cowl pattern really struck me.  The rich, deep Red Dahlia shade of Martha Stewart Crafts Lofty Wool Blend that is featured in the design was beautiful & soft but wasn’t quite the choice for me. I needed a date cowl; one that is soft and luxurious but stylish for a night out, one that pulls attention to the face.

What I needed was Luxe Fur. It seemed that this yarn told me to make it into the Ridged Cowl. Does your yarn tell you what it wants to be, too? I imagined it to be like making a stylish muff for the hands but instead around my neck for that accessory that just makes an outfit work!

I’m a loom knitter. I can knit with needles but prefer my looms for less stress on my carpel tunnel and no dropped stitches. So I set out to work on my cowl and after some planning, just in GoodKnitKisses style, I made a video from start to finish.  You can find it on my YouTube channel; click here to loom along with me.  This pattern is made on the Martha Stewart Crafts Lion Brand Yarn Knit & Weave Loom Kit.

The Luxe Fur was easy to use on the loom. What I especially loved was that the fabric wasn’t too heavy; it was surprisingly lightweight. Although I could have knit the cowl in the round rather than flat, making it flat let me see how the pattern could be re-imagined into other items.  I think that is one of the best things about trying out a new style of yarn. Adding 9 more stitches at cast on could make it a cute shrug with a statement pin, broach, or even a handmade button at the top. Or you could cast on fewer stitches and use the two semi-circles included in the kit to knit a matching muff or even matching cuffs! The possibilities go on.

Ridged Cowl in Luxe Fur

The pattern calls for two skeins of the Martha Stewart Crafts Lofty Wool Blend, but I only ended up needing 1 entire skein of Luxe Fur. I found that it knitted up shorter in this yarn than expected, which can happen when you try using a different yarn with an existing pattern. If I were knitting this pattern again, I would add length with two more sections of ribs to make it even more stunning.

I received so many compliments on this cowl and my husband loved it! I hope you’ll join me in trying out Luxe Fur and knitting the Loom Knit Ridge Cowl.  Don’t be afraid to use a loom; it is simply another knitting tool to produce the same beautiful knits your friends and family (…and YOU) will adore!


Happy Looming!  -Kristen at GoodKnit Kisses.

For more tip & tutorials on looms and crafting visit my YouTube channel & subscribe. (Photos courtesy of Kristen Mangus ©2012 GoodKnit Kisses)


Custom Raglan Cardi Knit-Along, Week 2: Knitting the Yoke

March 1st, 2012

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Hi everyone, I hope you all had a good week swatching and choosing the perfect yarn! This week we’re going to get started knitting the yoke, and I’m going to talk a little bit about how a top-down raglan garment is constructed and why it’s one of my absolute favorite methods of knitting a sweater — with minimal finishing, the ability to try on as you go, and no fiddling with pesky sleeve caps to get them to fit into armholes!

This type of sweater starts with the stitches cast-on for the neckline, and then all parts of the sweater (both fronts, back and sleeves) grow out from these stitches. If you’ve ever had issues with sleeves not fitting correctly into armholes, a raglan is for you! The top of the sleeves form part of the neck, which is why it isn’t really possible to make a sleeveless raglan garment. Usually the sweater grows outwards at four points around the body (these will be the points that you place your markers), so every two rounds you will increase 8 stitches, one either side of each marker. In this pattern, a yarn over increase is used. I decided I wanted a less lacy look, so I chose to do a make 1 increase instead. You could also do a knit front-and-back increase if you prefer.