Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for August, 2012

9 No-Knit/No-Crochet Craft Projects to Do with Your Kids

August 14th, 2012

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It’s that time of year when kids are getting home from summer camp–but not yet going back to school. If you’re looking for activities to do with your kids, either at home or on vacation, here are some of my favorite craft projects.

In addition to being fun and easy, they are also awesome for using up small quantities of yarn (or to play with new Bonbons multi-packs)!

Image of Tassel Necklace Image of Pom-Pom Animals Image of Fairy Wands


4 Ways Yarncrafting Can Help Kids Heading Back to School

August 10th, 2012

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This time of year it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and anxiety of starting a new school year. Recently it’s become popular to introduce teens and children to yarncrafts as they head back to school; it’s been seen that crafting has numerous benefits that can help all ages during times of stress. Plus, taking a little time to relax can be helpful for kids and adults, particularly when you take some time to enjoy a hobby you love together.

Here are some great ways that yarncrafting can help the kids, teens and grown-ups in your life:

Crafting is something you can do by yourself to relax. Knitting or crocheting a few rows between classes or on the morning bus can lend a sense of value to these hurry-up-and-wait portions of the day. It’s a great way to decompress at the end of a long day, and can help clear your mind as you work.

Yarncrafting can help you connect with other people. Lots of activities for young people seem to be designed to be done alone; but crafting, particularly yarncrafting, can be a great way to spend a little face-time with friends or family. Lots of schools are developing crafting clubs, and crafting with a group of peers can introduce students to new friends.

12 Patterns to Get You “Back to School” Ready!

August 9th, 2012

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Whether you have a college student or an elementary school student in your life, August and back-to-school season is an exciting time full of anticipation and preparation. With this in mind, I’ve included a round up of some of my favorite back-to-school patterns. Below, you’ll find projects for students of all ages–ranging from cozy sweaters to book bags.

Sweaters are great for staying warm in air-conditioned classrooms and on chilly mornings.

This Knit Hooded Cardigan in Martha Stewart Crafts™ Alpaca Blend will be the favorite of any high school or college student.

Boys and girls of all ages will love this casual sweatshirt style project; the Knit Kildare Hoodie in Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®.

This quick to make project, the Crochet Bebop Cardi in Vanna’s Choice, will be your tween’s favorite sweater.
 Fresh Picked Color 3/4 Sleeve Cardigan
Cute and classic, this Fresh Picked Color 3/4 Sleeve Cardigan in Vanna’s Choice is great for Picture Day or any day.


In a Pinch? Use Everyday Objects for Crafting Accessories!

August 8th, 2012

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Make Everyday Objects into Yarncrafting AccessoriesWe’ve all been there: you’re happily working through your pattern, then you reach for your stitch holder and realize that you don’t have one in your bag. Never fear! There are plenty of everyday desk and office supplies that you can use for a quick fix. Here are some common households items and how they can be used in crafting.

Paperclip: This is one of the most versatile tools you can have! It makes an excellent stitch marker as is, or you can unbend it to create a cable needle or double-pointed needle. Drop a stitch in your knitting? No problem! Just unbend the paperclip except for one end to create an emergency crochet hook.

Binder clip: Need to keep project pieces together for seaming but don’t have any pins handy? Binder clips will keep your project together as you’re seaming.

Rubber band: Snip into small pieces to create custom-sized stitch markers. For a stitch holder, just cut one end, then thread the band through your stitches. Tie the ends together to secure your holder. (You can also use extra yarn or string for these!)

American dollar bill: If you’re trying to measure your work and forgot your tape measure, reach for your wallet! American currency is 6.14 inches long, so you can easily use a bill to estimate measurements. (You can also use a standard piece of printer paper to estimate; the normal size is 8.5 inches by 11 inches!)

Do you have any other ideas on how to turn common household items into emergency yarncrafting supplies? Share your ideas in the comments!

5 Tips on How to Wear Summer Brights

August 6th, 2012

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The hot summer breeze and sunshine always makes me crave bright clothes that remind me of Miami art deco or fresh flowers at the farmers market. If you like the look of summery shades like coral and teal, but you’re not sure how to best incorporate them into your wardrobe, here are a few of my favorite tips:

Focus on One Statement Piece

Make a gorgeous top like our Tiger Lily Tank (shown right) and then keep the rest of your outfit simple. Pair it with a khaki pencil skirt, espadrilles, and some subtle gold earrings and be on your way. Alternately, focus on an accessory piece like a loose, lace tam or a light shawl to add just a touch of color to your outfit.


Unwillingly to School

August 6th, 2012

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My knitting is sticking to my fingers. As I write this, it’s ninety-four balmy degrees outside the workroom. The plants in the window box are rioting–I abandoned judicious pruning in mid-July–and just below so is a gaggle of inebriated baseball fans, lurching homeward en masse after an afternoon game at nearby Wrigley Field. Sure signs of high summer in my Chicago neighborhood: heat, weeds, and another loss for the Cubs.

A change of season seems impossible. It is hot, it always has been hot, it always will be hot. But through the ceiling comes the first whisper, shortly to become a roar, heralding the approach of autumn. There has been a shopping trip, and the neighbor’s children are trying on back-to-school clothes.

They are not happy.

A muffled voice is protesting a sweater that itches. The pounding of stiff new shoes is shaking the walls. This collar is too tight. These pants are too long. “You’ll grow into them!” says their mother.

She is happy.


Part of Our History: 1941 Life Magazine

August 3rd, 2012

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Growing up in the Blumenthal family, I learned early that yarn is a treasure. Dad used to say that everyone in my family was born with a ball of yarn in their crib, and it was true (often literally!). In recent years it’s sometimes been seen as unusual to know how to knit or crochet, but I can remember a time when crafting was nearly universal, and it was very common to see a basket of yarn in any living room you might happen to visit.

I took this picture in my office at Lion Brand Yarn headquarters; I love keeping antiques that have to do with the tradition of crafting with yarn. This particular piece is an authentic cover of Life Magazine from 1941. The small text in the bottom left-hand corner says “How to Knit” and inside they included knitting instructions and a pattern for a regulation military vest. One line in the article reads, “To the great American question ‘What can I do to help the war effort?’ the commonest answer yet found is ‘Knit.’” Because yarncrafting was so abundant in everyday homes, this was one way folks found to contribute to the war effort.

In that era, it wasn’t out-of-the-ordinary to see people knitting a few stitches at the bus stop, crocheting a few rows in the park, or toting a bag of yarn to the library. Yarn was often a part of home-life too, even if you weren’t born into it like me. Needles would be clicking after supper and during family gatherings, and more than one child from the time has the memory of holding open a hank of yarn for Mom or Grandma while she wound it into a ball (a process I remember personally, one which always seemed to take an unusually long time).

One of the things I love about working with Lion Brand is seeing the culture of knitting and crochet grow with the development of online resources for learning, web-based ways to meet other crafters and online availability of great yarns. My personal dream is to see knitting, crochet and all sorts of yarncrafts become a large part of American culture again. Yarncrafts have an important place in our history, and I’m delighted that today’s communities of yarn-lovers will ensure a place for crafts in our future.

Want to learn more about yarn in history? Try these posts:


Discover New Ideas; 9 Popular Pinterest Pins

August 2nd, 2012

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Are you on Pinterest? Because we are! In a previous post on our blog, “Introducing Pinterest, a Great Resource for Crafters“, Jess introduced you to Pinterest and discused some great benefits for joining the picture sharing social media site.  Since we pin many images on our boards that come from the Internet, I thought it would be fun to share some of the popular pins on our boards.  We tend to pin cute and inspiring images, storage ideas, yarn crafting tutorials and ideas, and lots more.

If you click on the link under the image, you’ll be taken to the direct source of the image, and underneath that link, you’ll be able to view the board where the link was pinned.  We actually have a total of 22 boards on our Pinterest page, so don’t hesistate to look around – maybe you’ll find a project of yours that we’ve pinned!

Baby Cowboy Boots
Baby Cowboy Boots by Gina
(Four Leaf Clover) – pattern from Ravelry.
Board: Handmade Baby

Audrey Hepburn Knitting

Audrey Hepburn Knitting from Flickr user Vintage_Knitting
: Classic Hollywood Yarncrafting

Yarn Bomb Chair

How to Yarnbomb a Chair by Lion Brand
Board: Yarnbombing


Save Time by Doing Finishing Work as You Knit or Crochet!

August 1st, 2012

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Save Time by Finishing As You Go!Finishing work is usually saved for the end of the project, but it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of easy ways that you can speed things up. Here are my favorite ways to add new colors or change skeins without weaving in ends.

The Russian Join: This is a fantastic way to add a new skein of yarn to your work without weaving in any ends. It creates a steady, secure join, so it’s great for most yarns.

The Felted Join: Working with wool or another feltable yarn? Try the felted join! This technique locks your two yarns together, creating a solid join without a darning needle.

Crochet over your ends: Why use a darning needle when you can use your hook? This quick strategy allows you to keep crocheting as you tuck your yarn ends into place.

Do you have a time-saving tip? Be sure to share it in the comments below!