Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for November 6th, 2012

A Look at the Different Properties of Wool Yarns

November 6th, 2012

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Sheep And Her Baby/Petr KratochvilAs the cooler temperatures begin to set in, many of you are probably starting to knit or crochet with fibers that have insulating properties for warmth; a common fiber to knit with during this time of year is wool.  Sheep’s fleece is the most popular type of wool fiber because it’s pretty widely available and versatile.  Below, I’ve rounded up a few different wool selections with explanations about their unique qualities, so you can determine which wool might be suitable for your upcoming winter projects.

(image courtesy of Petr Kratochvil)

Fishermen's Wool Fishermen’s Wool is 100% undyed, virgin wool with natural lanolin oil. Lanolin oil is a waxy natural substance found in sheep fleece that acts as a water repellent, which makes Fishermen’s Wool ideal for accessories or garments for skiiers and fishermen. Wool can absorb up to about 30% of its weight in moisture, while still allowing you to feel warm and dry.  Since wool takes dye easily, a skein in Natural or Oatmeal would be nice for experimenting with creating your own hand dyed yarns.  If you’re more interested in learning about dyeing, and appropriate dyes for your yarn, take a look at this previous blog post by Jess, Choose the Right Dye for Your Fiber.

We also love Fishermen’s Wool in it’s natural state to knit up beautiful cables and traditional Aran sweaters, which were worn by Fishermen working off the cost of Ireland in the Aran Islands. Click here for a few Aran sweater patterns.


10 Projects to Learn New Skills: Colorwork

November 6th, 2012

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Often, when I am looking for a new pattern for a project, I like to pick something that features a technique that I haven’t tried before. This way, I learn something with each new project. Usually, I pick something on the small side (a hat, scarf, mitts, etc.). But I know more than a few knitters and crocheters who like to “go all in” when they take on a new challenge, picking out large, more complex designs to keep their yarncrafting interesting.

Whether you like a small project or a large one for a new challenge, I hope you learn something with these projects.

Join me next week for 10 more projects with which to learn new skills!

Intarsia Knitting

Create elaborate-looking designs with basic stitches when you follow a colorwork chart! By switching colors at various points in the pattern, you create graphic designs that look extremely impressive.

Got the hang of it? Create your own designs  with knitting graph paper.


Image of Intarsia Polka-Dot Scarf Image of NYC Skyline Afghan
Knit Intarsia Polka-Dot Scarf Knit NYC Skyline Afghan