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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.
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?
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:
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!
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.
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!|
I love granny squares because they make it so easy to play with exciting colors. Often, my squares end up with different colored borders, so how do I choose a shade to seam them? The answer’s easy: I can use any color because I use an invisible seam! This super easy technique creates a durable seam that disappears into your crocheting. Ready to get started? Gather your granny squares and follow the steps below!
Step 1: Gather your materials: finished granny squares, a blunt needle, and your seaming yarn (I used a contrasting yarn for demonstration, but you may want to use matching yarn). Lay your granny squares side to side with the front side facing up.
Step 2: Insert your needle into your first crochet stitch from the back to the front.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2 on the opposite side. Continue this process on each stitch, alternating between sides. It’s sort of like lacing shoes.
Step 4: Ready for that seam to disappear? Lightly pull on both ends of your seaming yarn.
Step 5: Repeat with all squares, and that’s all there is to invisible seaming! Remember to weave in your ends and enjoy your new granny square project.
I’m almost positive that this spring of 2012 is baby season. I personally know a few people who are currently pregnant and a few who just had babies, so I thought I’d share some patterns to get you thinking about yarn-crafting a special hand-made gift for a special little person you may know (or who’s on the way!).
I’ve included knit and crochet patterns made with yarns that are most suitable for warmer weather, from super soft cottons like Nature’s Choice Organic and Baby’s First— to the brightly colored, and easy care of Vanna’s Choice Baby.
(pattern in image: Soft and Sweet Baby Blocks)
(Knit) Sunshine Day
Baby Throw in
Vanna’s Choice Baby &
(Knit) Baby Booties in
Nature’s Choice Organic
(Click here for hat pattern)
(Crochet) Baby Hat
with Flower in Vanna’s
(Crochet) Baby Blocks
Throw in Babysoft
We appreciate the warm, supportive and creative Lion Brand community. You generously share your ideas and your photos on Facebook, in the comment section of this blog, and face-to-face wherever we go.
As we think about the possibilities for new Lion Brand offerings, we’d love to have your input. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts, we invite you to apply to become a Lion Brand Advisor. We are looking for 20 people who are willing to try out new products and provide feedback about your experience with them. Advisors will be provided samples several times a year.
If you are interested in participating, click here to tell us more about yourself and to apply. Although we are only selecting 20 advisors, we will also be asking a larger group of applicants to be part of the Lion Brand Panel to answer surveys from time to time.
Thank you for considering this opportunity, and we look forward to hearing from you.
Knitters and crocheters are in demand every fall and winter; making scarves, hats, sweaters, mittens and more for friends and family to keep them warm in the cold months of the year. But what about spring and summer? Do we hang up our needles and hooks, leaving our beloved skeins and hanks tucked away until the chilly weather returns?
Hardly! Spring and summer are the ideal time to experiment with new fibers, new patterns and all kinds of projects you’d never have time for in winter. Here are 4 reasons to bring yarn with you as you travel or keep a project handy at home during the warmer months of the year.
Turn “travel time” into crafting time. Who doesn’t love traveling over the summer? The only downside to taking a vacation can be tedious time spent waiting to get there on trains or planes. Taking along a small project can soothe even the most frustrating travel situations, and turns idle moments commuting into a brand new shawl or sock! Just be sure to check what tools you’re allowed to take with you, especially if you are traveling internationally. Check out this handy regulations update site from TSA: click here.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m still a beginner yarn crafter, as I just learned how to knit last summer. Since I’m not as experienced as others, I’m always thankful when I find tips or new techniques to improve my knitting experience as a whole. Lion Brand just released an e-book entitled Secret Stash: Helpful Tips For Yarn Lovers, which is a compilation of tips submitted by users like you, ranging in topics from organization, how to teach others to knit/crochet, easy ways work with multiple yarns at once, and a lot more. As a little sneak peek, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tips with you!
I think this one is my favorite:
“I knit up gauge swatches for the yarns in my stash and staple them to index cards on a spiral ring.
I write the yarn name, color name, care instructions, needle size and gauge on each card. That way, the next time I use that yarn, I don’t have to swatch again. It also works well as a color wheel for choosing shades for a new project”
-Collen M. Palmer