Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for December, 2012

Slip Stitch Knitting: Easy, No-Fuss Colorwork!

December 12th, 2012

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I have been a big fan of slip stitch colorwork for a long-time. It allows you to create wonderful, geometric designs that look so much more complex than they really are! In fact, awhile back, I demonstrated our Fallen Leaves Scarf and its lovely slip stitch pattern on Knitting Daily TV (video at the right; if you’re viewing this blog post in your email, click on the title to see the full article online).

Easy Colorwork Using Only One Color at a Time

What I love about slip stitch colorwork is that you only work one color in each row (no changing colors, no stranding) and that even a novice knitter can take it on. All you need to understand is:

  • How to slip a stitch: without working the stitch, simply slide it purlwise–as if you were putting the needle in to purl–onto your working needle (unless otherwise noted).
  • Which sides are the front and back of your fabric: the front is the side closest to you, the knitter, as you work; you’ll hold your working yarn in front or in back of the fabric as directed in your slip stitch pattern.
For more tips, click here to read an introductory article from our archives.

Want to try slip stitch knitting for yourself? Here are some of my favorite patterns from

On Trend: Chunky Stitches

December 11th, 2012

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Everywhere I turn in New York City, I see beautiful knit and crochet accessories with super thick stitches. Stores like Anthropologie, Gap, and H&M are highlighting the chunky stitch trend. By combining super bulky (category 6) yarns with thick needles and hooks, you can work up these fun accessories in a flash. Best of all, they’re fast enough that they make easy holiday gifts! Here are some great patterns for trendy accessories.


Knit Ribbed Cowl Openwork Crocheted Cowl
Knit Ribbed Cowl in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Openwork Crocheted Cowl in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick


Easy Rib Knit Hat Crochet Unisex Slouchy Hat
Easy Rib Knit Hat in Hometown USA Crochet Unisex Slouchy Hat in Hometown USA


Knit Snow Day Mitts Crochet Touchdown Wristers
Knit Snow Day Mitts in Da Vinci Crochet Touchdown Wristers in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick

Want even more chunky stitch ideas? Be sure to check out this post by our friend Jen that highlights her favorite chunky stitch patterns.

Experimenting with Yarn Weights: Turn a Washcloth into a Bathmat!

December 7th, 2012

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Ever wonder what a project would look like with a different weight yarn than what the pattern calls for? Home decor items are great for experimentation since you don’t have to worry about fit.

Jen, one of our staffers at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, adapted our Cream Circle Washcloth pattern to create a bathmat. The original pattern used Cotton-Ease® (a worsted weight yarn) and a size H crochet hook to produce a washcloth that measured 5″ in diameter. But after seeing our new Zpagetti (a super bulky weight yarn) hit the shelves, she had to try it.  Simply by using this yarn in conjunction with a larger hook (size Q) She was able to create an adorable bathmat.

Jen followed the pattern almost exactly (only substituting single crochets for slip stitches in the final row) and used two cones of Zpagetti yarn. Once you become comfortable with substituting yarns of different weights you might want to try it on garments as well. I suggest you start by reading our 5 Articles to Help You Make a Sweater That Fits & Flatters article.


Make Great, Quick Holiday Gifts: 12 Knit & Crochet Patterns Requiring Only 1 or 2 Balls

December 5th, 2012

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There’s still plenty of time left to knock out handmade projects for those on your holiday gift list.  There’s even time to knit or crochet some of these items for upcoming Hannukah gifts.  So, to help you make some crafting decisions, I have included a round up of some of our fast finish patterns suitable for men and women.  Since these projects require either one or two balls, they’re extremely portable – allowing you to knit or crochet on the go!

1 ball hat

Crochet Family of Beanies
Home Team Hat
Crochet Home Team Hat
Knit Solstice Hat
Knit Solstice Hat


Holiday Creeps

December 5th, 2012

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I’ve noticed that in December knit and crochet types divide naturally into two camps:

  1. Those who have finished their gift-making.
  2. Those who have not.

If you’re in Camp One, congratulations. You might want to keep quiet.

If you’re in Camp Two, what are you doing reading this? Have you looked at the calendar?

The calendar is looking at me, because I’m in Camp Two. I am always in Camp Two. I have standing reservation for a Lakeside Cabin with En Suite Bath in Camp Two.

It’s my own fault. Each year, in early summer, I lay out a plan. I decide who is going to get knitted gifts, and what they’re going to get. My plan looks something like this:

Mom: Scarf 
Dad: Hat
Tom: Hat

Notice that this is a short list of small projects. I do not propose to knit lace shawls for the mail carrier, the mechanic, and all the bartenders who have flirted with me during the previous fiscal year. Two hats and a scarf, to be completed by Thanksgiving. A novice could pull that off and still have time for matching mittens.