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="http://blog.lionbrand.com/" target="_blank"><img title="I craft with Lion Brand" src="http://blog.lionbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/I-craft-badge.jpg" alt="I craft with Lion Brand" width="150" height="150" /></a>
<a href="http://blog.lionbrand.com/" target="_blank"><img title="I crochet with Lion Brand" src="http://blog.lionbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/I-crochet-badge.jpg" alt="I crochet with Lion Brand" width="150" height="150" /></a>
<a href="http://blog.lionbrand.com/" target="_blank"><img title="I knit with Lion Brand" src="http://blog.lionbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/I-knit-badge.jpg" 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).
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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!

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How to Invisibly Seam Granny Squares

April 19th, 2012

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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!

How to Invisibly Seam Granny Squares

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.

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10 Adorable Knit and Crochet Baby Patterns for Spring

April 18th, 2012

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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)

 

Sunshine Day Baby Throw
(Knit) Sunshine Day
Baby Throw in
Vanna’s Choice Baby &
Cotton-Ease

(Knit) Baby Booties in
Nature’s Choice Organic
Cotton

(Click here for hat pattern)
Baby Hat with Flower
(Crochet) Baby Hat
with Flower in Vanna’s
Choice Baby

(Crochet) Baby Blocks
Throw in Babysoft

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Become a Lion Brand Advisor

April 17th, 2012

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YarnWe 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.


4 Reasons to Bring Yarn on Your Vacation This Spring & Summer

April 16th, 2012

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Take yarn with you when you travelKnitters 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.

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New to Yarncrafting? We’ve Got Some Tips to Help You Along Your Journey

April 12th, 2012

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Secret Stash: Helpful Tips For Yarn LoversI’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

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