Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for April, 2012

Grab a Badge for Your Blog!

April 30th, 2012

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Want to show that you’re part of the Lion Brand community? Add a badge! We’ve put together these three adorable badges that you can add to your own blog, Ravelry profile, or other profile!

To use them, right-click (Ctrl+click on Macs) the image and save to your computer and then upload it to your blog, or copy/paste the HTML code below to use on your blog or website.

<a href="" target="_blank"><img title="I craft with Lion Brand" src="" alt="I craft with Lion Brand" width="150" height="150" /></a>
<a href="" target="_blank"><img title="I crochet with Lion Brand" src="" alt="I crochet with Lion Brand" width="150" height="150" /></a>
<a href="" target="_blank"><img title="I knit with Lion Brand" src="" alt="I knit with Lion Brand" width="150" height="150" /></a>

These badges are a great way to show off your Lion Brand pride! (Okay, couldn’t resist the lion pun!)

Looking for the patterns for the lion toys shown? Click here for the crochet amigurumi lion, and click here for the knit lion.

What’s Your Favorite Pattern Book?

April 27th, 2012

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As a yarncrafter, I draw inspiration from so many sources: magazines, websites, Ravelry, retail items, etc. Books are an especially valuable resource because they often feature tips and techniques in addition to the fabulous patterns. Right now, my favorite pattern book is Teeny Tiny Mochimochi by Anna Hrachevoc.
Teeny Tiny Mochimochi
The book features so many adorable creatures, from mermaids to robots to airplanes! The patterns are written for fingering weight yarn and size 1 needles, so you end up with the cutest, tiniest projects. I used Sock-Ease and size 1 needles to make the Tiny Armadillo (pictured above), which is slightly more than an inch long, but you can really use any yarn that you like. My Tiny Cupcake and Tiny Lion were both knit with Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend and size 5 needles; you can see the difference the sizing makes! No matter how many projects I’m working on, I can always find a few minutes to whip up an adorable little knit for someone I love.

Now that I’ve shared my inspiration, I want to know your favorite pattern book of the moment. What do you love about it? What keeps you coming back to that particular book?

How to Crochet Broomstick Lace

April 26th, 2012

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Broomstick lace has a beautiful, open look that really shows off the character and texture of your yarn. Dating back to the 1800s, this technique creates large loops of yarn that gently twist to the left, giving the finished project especially elegant drape. For a long time I was intimidated by broomstick lace, so I wanted to share how easy it is to create this beautiful, reversible fabric!

Ready to get started? You’ll need:

  • Yarn for your project: Choose a yarn you want to show off. I chose Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend because I love the twist and soft luster.
  • Crochet hook: Use whatever hook you feel works best with your yarn. I used a US K10.5/6.5mm hook for larger, more open stitches.
  • Large knitting needle (or actual broomstick, if you dare!): You can use any large needle for this project; the larger your needle, the larger your loops will be. I used a needle from a pair of ‘Speed Stix’ (US 50/25mm). When making broomstick lace, this tool is often called the “pin.”

How to Crochet Broom Stick Lace Step By Sep Guide with Pictures


1. First, make a chain. For this sample I wanted to make repeats of 5, so I chained 15 stitches for 3 repeats. Draw the final chain up over the knitting needle.

2. Crochet back into the chain, drawing up a loop in each stitch and pulling it up over the knitting needle.

3. Repeat until you have drawn up a loop through every stitch in your chain and transferred them onto the knitting needle. This step creates the large loops of yarn you will see in the finished lace.

4. Slide your hook through the first group of loops (for this example that’s 5 loops per repeat) and pull them off the needle. At this point, if it is easier for you to manage, you can remove the large needle from your work altogether.

5. Yarn over and pull through the group of large loops on your hook. Work one single crochet for every loop in the group on your hook (I worked 5 single crochet into the group of 5 loops). Continue this process until all the loops have been crocheted into. Note: make sure to check how many loops you have in each group to avoid accidental increases or decreases.

6. This completes your first row of broomstick lace! You can now draw loops up through each of the single crochet stitches you made in step 5, and continue to repeat steps 1-5 till your project reaches the desired length.


What new techniques have you tried that looked tricky at first? What would you tell a crafter who was nervous about trying a new craft for the first time? Leave a comment to share!


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10 Tips for Washing Your Handmade Items

April 25th, 2012

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There was a time when I did laundry and the most sorting I would do for my loads would be to separate the whites and colors.  I washed everything in hot water, and threw them all into a hot dryer to dry.  Needless to say, my cashmere sweater was no longer a recognizable garment.  It shrunk incredibly and had multiple holes in it; that sweater was dead.  Thankfully it wasn’t a hand-made item, but it still hurt to lose it – so today, I’ll share some tips on how to properly wash those yarn-crafted goods that you spent your precious time and energy on.

  1. Check Your Label:  The ball band will indicate with symbols, and in text how to wash and dry the yarn.  There will also be a symbol indicating whether or not you may iron the fabric. (When gift giving, it’s best to give the care label with some scraps of the yarn attached to the intended recipient).
  2. Test Your Gauge Swatches: Another reason to gauge swatch! Not only do you want to make sure your gauge is correct, but you want to see how the fabric reacts when it’s washed.  Note your initial swatch measurements, then take note of any size, color or textural changes after washing it (if applicable).
  3. Hand or Machine Wash?If the label says hand wash, hand wash the fabric! If you throw it in the washing machine, you might damage your final piece.  If it’s machine washable, keep it on a low, gentle setting (also to ensure your weaved ends stay in place).

6 Wonderful Knit & Crochet Wedding Projects Made by Customers Like You!

April 23rd, 2012

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On tomorrow’s episode of YarnCraft (our radio-style podcast about the wonderful world of knitting, crocheting, and yarn), we’ll be talking about projects for formals, proms, and weddings. As we enter the warmer months (at least here in the northern hemisphere), it seems like there are more parties, both indoors and out–which is why we’ll be talking about purses, shawls, and even some non-traditional yarncrafting projects that you may want to tackle.

In the meantime, we often hear from customers that they’ve made special projects as gifts or to decorate for their own or their friends’ weddings. Here are just a few fun projects that I spotted in our Customer Gallery (click on the photos to read their full stories):

Paul created this very cool blanket for his youngest step-daughter’s wedding–his own design, with a little help from his wife. He made it using Pound of Love, and you can really tell a lot of love went into this cool playing card-inspired design. Janice B. made an adorable little bunny bride & groom–and bridesmaid too!–based on our Cake Topper pattern. It was for a recently-married friend who loves bunnies!