Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for July, 2012


7 Quick & Easy Patterns for Cookouts & Backyard Grilling

July 31st, 2012

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It’s the end of July, which means we’re wrapping up our month of patterns for outdoor dining!

Today is the annual Lion Brand company barbecue where all of Lion Brand’s staff gathers at our NJ facilities to enjoy some fun in the sun, burgers, and camaraderie. In honor of the barbecue (and our month of cookout/picnic/grilling patterns), I’ve selected a couple of great beginner- and novice-friendly patterns that make for perfect hostess/chef gifts for any cookouts or parties you attend this summer.

Loom Woven Apron with Pockets

Loom Woven Apron with Pockets

A great apron is the perfect companion for any cookout chef. Use it to hold your secret seasoning bottles, spatulas, and thermometers. Plus, designed in Martha Stewart Crafts™ Cotton Hemp, this durable woven apron is machine-washable and will last for years to come.

Click here for the pattern.

4th of July Apron

Crochet “4th of July” Apron

Don’t let the name fool you; you can use this apron all summer long (and beyond)! Perfect for both men and women, this quick-to-crochet project is perfect for your grill-master.

Click here for the pattern.

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How to Easily Carry Your Knitting or Crochet Anywhere!

July 26th, 2012

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This time of year, traveling with crafts is something we hear about (and see around us) all the time. What better way to pass the time while waiting in line, taking long flights or car trips, or enjoying the weather at the beach or by the pool?

Your project bag will hold everything you need for crafting, so take your time choosing the right one for you. Your bag will carry the patterns, tools, writing implements, yarn cutter/scissors and, of course, your yarn. Keeping everything secure and organized won’t be daunting with these tips:

Choose bags with drawstring, snap or magnetic closures. Bags like these will close and open easily for quick access, and won’t damage your yarn. Steer clear of zippers and Velcro, closures like these are notorious for snagging yarn or damaging it beyond repair.

Smaller bags will be easier to carry and manage while you travel. When you’re choosing your project, keep in mind that something smaller will fit better into a small bag and be more manageable to work on. You can always pack more yarn and projects in with your suitcase, so you can grab a new project when you arrive at your destination!

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Neon Done Right: Just Add White!

July 25th, 2012

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Bright pop colors have increased in popularity over the past few years. It’s always fun to incorporate neons into your yarn crafting, but how can you create a bright project that’s neutral enough for everyday use? The answer is simple: pair your neons with a neutral border! I like to use white for a clean, modern look. To illustrate this, I’ve made a few granny squares in the newest bright shades of Vanna’s Choice: Radiant Orange, Radiant Yellow, and Radiant Lime.

Neon granny squares in Vanna's Choice

As you can see, the squares are super fun and vibrant, but maybe they’re a touch too fluorescent for an everyday afghan.

Neon granny squares with white border

Here, I’ve added a border in the Buttermilk shade of Martha Stewart CraftsTM/MC Extra Soft Wool Blend. The creamy white breaks up the neon and softens the brightness. I can absolutely see myself making an entire afghan out of this color combination!

What do you think of the neon trend? Let us know in the comments!


Show off Your Yarncrafting Pride with Fun Accessories!

July 24th, 2012

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Are you a proud knitter or crocheter who wants to share your love for yarn crafting with the world? Then I have just the right goodies for you!

If you’ve ever been to our store, the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in NYC, then you probably know that in addition to selling yarn, we also have a great rotating selection of gifts to choose from for crafters.  But, if you can’t make it to our store – I’ve gathered a selection of inspiring yarn crafting gifts from vendors that can be found online; I also found some items from other vendors that can be purchased on Ravelry. Check out some of these cool accessories below!

(Image to the right is our yarn stash sign in the office from J.L. Flickenstein’s ILiveonaFarm Etsy Shop, scroll down for details.)

These “Getting Through The Day One Stitch at A Time” and “Peace, Love, Crochet” notecards from Kniterella are super cute and would make a great gift for yourself or a yarn crafter you know.  Knitterella also carries bright and inspiring project bags, gift tags and and note cards in her shop.

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Untangled Forever: DIY Fix for Never-Tangle Earbuds

July 20th, 2012

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DIY no-tangle earbudsPinterest user Ada(:  recently pinned this nifty project on wrapping headphone cords with embroidery floss, and Apartment Therapy wrote a wonderful tutorial on making it. I love simple, clever projects like this one and knew I wanted to try it on my headphones right away! When the first packs of our new Bonbons yarn arrived, I fell in love with the sparkling colors and got started. I took step-by-step pictures as I used two colors to cover my headphones, and I’ve also included written instructions to help you re-create this project at home. One of the great things about using Bonbons instead of embroidery floss was that I didn’t have to wind the yarn onto a bobbin first, the tiny Bonbons skeins were already the perfect size to craft with.

Here’s the step-by-step story of how I made my sparkling, tangle-free headphones:
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How to Do a Felted Join on Yarn Ends

July 19th, 2012

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Let’s face it: weaving in ends is not nearly as fun as crocheting or knitting. My favorite way to avoid weaving in ends is the felted join. Also affectionately dubbed the spit splice, this method is the perfect way to add join a new skein to your work. Keep in mind that this will only work on feltable fibers like non-superwash wool, alpaca, mohair, and so on. Here are step-by-step instructions on this fast and easy technique. I used 2 different colors so that you can better see the technique, but this works brilliantly for attaching the same color yarn practically invisibly.
Felted Join Tutorial
Step 1: Carefully untwist your yarn for a few inches and separate the half of the plies. This Fishermen’s Wool has 4 total plies, so I’ve divided my yarn into 2 sets of 2 plies each. 2-ply yarn would be separated into 2 sets of 1 ply each, 6-ply yarn would be 2 sets of 3 plies each, and so on.
Step 2: Take one set of your plies. A few inches down (4-5 inches, just to be safe), break these plies. Now you’ll have a set of longer plies and a set of shorter plies.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the yarn you’ll be joining.
Step 4: Lay the long sets of plies next to each other. This will be the transition section of your yarn. Because each long piece of yarn only has half the plies, you’ll end up with roughly the correct thickness in your join.
Step 5: Get your yarn wet. You can dip it in water, mist with some water, add some saliva — just get it wet. Remember, felting simply requires heat, humidity, and agitation.
Step 6: Let’s felt! Rub the yarns together in your hands briskly. Continue for a few minutes until the fibers have locked together. You may need to add some more water if your yarn isn’t wet enough.
Step 7: Give both sides of the yarn a gentle tug. If they’re firmly locked, congratulations! You’ve made a felted join! If not, just continue the felting process until the yarn is secure.

Now you’ll have an easy and secure join in your yarn, so you can continue crafting with having to weave in ends.

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Squares, Flowers, Stars, and Ripples: What’s Your Favorite Pattern Motif?

July 17th, 2012

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Incorporating motifs in your pattern is a great way to play around with color work and different stitch patterns.  Motifs also are also perfect for personalizing projects- such as adding skulls to a little boys cap, or butterflies to a girl’s headband.  What fun would it be if all our clothes and home decor just came in solid colors? So – I figured I would include a round up of some of my favorite patterns with popular motifs that might make a great gift for someone you know, or even for yourself!  Below you’ll find a selection of patterns that include flowers, stars, ripples and squares.

Squares

Bauhaus Washcloth
The Bauhaus Washcloth knit by Michelle Edwards reminds me of summers spent on the beach. This sophisticated color palette, paired with a ribbed, basketweave stitch makes for an efficient, yet aesthetically pleasing set of wash/dishcloths.
Patchwork Squares Throw
Play around with color with the crochet Patchwork Squares Throw. This is a great addition for someone looking for a more modern piece for their home decor, or even for a kid’s room.
Tumbling Blocks Afghan
No this isn’t a piece of art, although you could turn it into a tapestry if you’d like – this is the Tumbling Blocks afghan knit in Vanna’s Choice. Follow the pattern chart to complete this unique, eye popping afghan

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4 Reasons You Should Listen to YarnCraft

July 16th, 2012

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In 2007, we started our on-demand radio show (aka podcast), YarnCraftSince then, we’ve aired over 100 episodes, featuring behind-the-scenes stories from Lion Brand, interviews with people ranging from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee to Vanna White to Nicky Epstein, and tons of useful tips and pattern recommendations.

I’ve had the pleasure of working on each of these episodes, first as a producer and then later also as a co-host, and I’d like to invite you to check out the show if you haven’t already.

Here are just a few reasons you might enjoy YarnCraft, straight from our listeners…

Get inspired & learn something new

Each episode features a main theme/topic, as well as other fun segments. We cover topics ranging from patterns for particular seasons to becoming a professional knit or crochet designer.

“YarnCraft inspires me to try things I never would have tried. Hearing advice from other crafters gives me confidence and ideas to create things on my own. I look forward to every podcast and I learn something new each time!” – Erin, Denver, CO

“I just listened to the podcast on shaping…wow, how informative! […] You inspire me to tackle things I would never even consider. Thank you for providing a podcast that is informative and interesting and benificial to increasing my skills and knowledge of yarncrafting.” – Allison, Morton, IL

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Keep Yarn Organized: Learn How to Wind a Center-Pull Ball By Hand

July 13th, 2012

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Center-pull balls of yarn are convenient to use and to store, and are perfectly easy to make! Rest assured: if you can wind yarn into a regular wrapped ball, you have all the skills it takes to make a center-pull ball. Use this one trick to keep your yarn safe and tidy in storage, and stop it from bouncing all over the floor as you work!

You’ll need:

Yarn: Skeins, wrapped balls of yarn, spools and hanks can all be wound with this method. If you’re winding yarn from a hank, you’ll need a swift to keep it spread out (or a volunteer to hold it spread out as you work). For this tutorial, I used a skein of Alpine Wool in Olive.

A smooth, sturdy winding tool: I like to use a thicker-gauge crochet hook or long knitting needle. You could use a pen or a pencil in a pinch, they just have to be clean, sturdy and smooth.
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6 Perfect Patterns for Your Picnic & BBQ Accessories!

July 12th, 2012

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I’m sure many of you are enjoying the summer sun and the opportunities to take your homemade goods with you outdoors.  Picnics and BBQs are summer traditions that I personally love to take advantage of!

So if you’re heading out for a picnic or bbq, or simply just having a fun get together in your backyard – I’ve put together a round up of some of my favorite patterns that are great for outdoor usage.

(Click here for Plant Hanger pattern and tutorial in picture)
Knit Striped Dishcloth

Knit Bright Stripes Dishcloth

Bright and bold colors are all the rave right now, and they’re great colors to incorporate for your BBQ accessories. Knit in the retro-inspired color palette of Kitchen Cotton are our Bright Stripes Dishcloths. Kitchen Cotton comes in many fun colors that allows for great mix and matching, you’ll think of summer whenever you look at these eye catching potholders!

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