Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Archive for January, 2013

2 Videos: How to Style a Brimmed Hat and a Beret

January 24th, 2013

Pin It

One thing I love about a nice, deep knitted or crocheted hat is that you can wear it more than one way. Roll up the brim for a close-fitting beanie, or wear it unfurled for a slouchy effect. Get some ideas with this new video from our YouTube channel:

Want to make a jaunty beret but need ideas for how to wear it? Here’s a video just for berets:

Related links:

Yarncrafting is My Superbowl!

January 23rd, 2013

Pin It


Tiny Football by Anna Hrachovec, view the pattern here.


Superbowl Sunday is just around the corner! I’m usually more excited about the snacks at the Superbowl parties than I am about the actual game. About 20 minutes in my attention starts to drift and I find my fingers sneaking towards my newest yarncraft project. Although I am rarely paying attention (and probably wouldn’t understand what was happening if I was), I still have a great time spending time with loved ones and sharing in the excitement!

The Superbowl is a great excuse for crafters to have fun whether you are a sport fan or not. Patty was telling me about how Franklin Habit has a favorite sports bar that he frequents. They know him so well that they give him a resounding greeting when he walks through the door and have a lamp just for him so he can see his knitting!

Here are three ways that you can celebrate this Superbowl Sunday with yarncrafting:

  1. Organize a get together with your local knitting or crocheting guild.
  2. Find a crafter-friendly bar or restaurant and support your team by making a project in their colors.
  3. If you are going to a Superbowl party with friends, don’t forget to bring extra yarn and supplies for anyone who is starting to acquire that glazed over look :)

Try a New Skill: The Wide World of Cast-Ons

January 22nd, 2013

Pin It


In the Learning Center, we recommend the knitted cast-on as a good basic cast-on for beginners to learn (because the motions are very similar to making the knit stitch). Other common cast-ons that are used by knitters are the long-tail cast-on and—for additional stitches needed for sections like sleeves—the backwards loop cast-on.

But there are many, many more cast-ons out there in the world, and in fact, there are many books and resources about them. In a December episode of YarnCraft (the Lion Brand podcast that I co-host), we talk about many of the different ways to cast on and bind off your project.

I often use a new project as an opportunity to practice a new skill. In the past, I’ve practiced the Old Norwegian Cast-On while making a cowl as a gift—I chose it because it’s extra stretchy, perfect for a cowl being slipped over the head. Currently, I’m working on a new project, and I decided to try Judy’s Magic Cast-On, pictured right (often used for seamless sock-toes, but in my case, I’m using it to create a seamless bottom to a tote bag knit in the round).

I love that even after years of knitting and crocheting, I can still learn new skills to add to my repertoire. Each new cast-on serves a different purpose and will give you a new way of looking at the beginning of your project.

For more ideas about cast-ons and bind-offs, check out that episode of YarnCraft. Click here for the episode guide or click here to listen right now [MP3].

Doing the Twist: Basics of Cable Knitting

January 18th, 2013

Pin It

Author, knitting teacher, and erstwhile crochet-along/knit-along host Heather Lodinsky joins us for an article on cables.

This season, style sections of newspapers and magazines are once again telling us that cables are a hot trend in fashion, showing up in all sorts of knitwear for women, men and children.   In knitting, there are those trends that appear again and again, such as lace, fair-isle knitting and cables.   It is safe to say that if you have never tried to knit a cable before…now is a great time to learn!

Cables in knitting look much more difficult than they really are.  I remember as a girl, looking at a cardigan my mother had knit with cables.   I was positive that she must have cut her knitting, and then twisted it to form the “ropes” in her knitting.   Well, I had half of the technique right, as cables are made by twisting  or moving your stitches as you knit, but no cutting of those stitches is necessary.

Choosing the Right Tools for Cable Knitting

In addition to the knitting needles you need to knit your project, you will also want to find the right cable needle for your project.   Cable needles come in various shapes and sizes, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they have two points like a double-pointed needle.   Some knitters do use a double-point needles as a cable needle, but there is a very good reason why cable needles are shaped the way they are.   Some cable needles are shaped as hooks, or simply have a bend in the middle of the needle.   But both work the same with the stitches being “moved” held on the bent part of the needle.

Cable Needle

Frequently cable needles come in a package with 2 or 3 sizes.   It is best to use a cable needle close to the size of the needle you are using to knit your project.   If a needle is too thin, the stitches may slide off as you are working your cable.  Alternately, if the cable needle is too thick, then your stitches will be stretched as you try to slip them on.  Choosing the right size cable needle will make your cable knitting a fun and rewarding  experience.


5 Useful Articles to Help Finish Your Knit/Crochet Project Effectively

January 17th, 2013

Pin It


So you’ve spent the last few days, weeks, or even months working on that sweater, or crocheting a bunch of granny squares; you’re almost there, but you know that you’re still not done.  Whether it’s seaming, blocking or weaving in ends, those final steps sometimes cause crafters to prolong completing their piece.

Finishing doesn’t have to seem like such a task, there are many tips and tricks to help you with the process. I’ve actually included a round up of some articles that should be helpful in finishing your work more effectively; check them out below!

    1. More Than Just the End: Binding Off
    2. 5 Tips for Seaming or Sewing Up Knit & Crochet Pieces
    3. How to Invisibly Seam Granny Squares
    4. How to Crochet Over Your Ends (Save time as you work!)
    5. How to Block (Wet, Steam and Spray blocking)

What are some methods you use for finishing your work? Share with us in the comments!