Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for January, 2013

How to Style a Rectangle Wrap

January 16th, 2013

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Rectangular shawls and wraps are so fun and easy to make, but did you know how versatile they are? The possibilities are endless! Check out our 7 favorite ways to wear the Crochet Maple Shade Wrap in this quick styling video.

Want more styling tips? Click here to visit our YouTube channel for even more videos. Want to see our newest videos as soon as they’re posted? Click here to subscribe to our channel (must be logged in to YouTube to subscribe).

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Turn Those Single Balls into a Spectacular Afghan

January 15th, 2013

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I’m one of those people who has a tendency of buying yarn without really knowing what to do with it. I buy one or two balls here, a skein there…

Soon, I find myself with a lot of single balls of yarn with no particular project in mind.

Of course, much of that yarn is well-used in one-skein projects. In fact, if you listen to our most recent episode of YarnCraft (the Lion Brand podcast that I co-host), you’ll get lots of ideas for great ways to use up single balls of yarn.

But if you’re looking to make a bigger project with all those disparate single balls, a crochet “mega granny square” afghan like our Afghan Squared pattern is an awesome way to go. Here, I’ve taken single balls of Vanna’s Choice®, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Extra Soft Wool Blend, Wool-Ease®, and Superwash Merino Cashmere and turned them into a beautiful gift for my cousin’s wedding.

Afghan Squared

Because they’re all machine-washable, worsted weight yarns, the blanket will be easy-care and non-yarncrafters won’t notice the difference in textures much.

How I designed my color scheme: While it may be feel daunting to make a variety of random colors harmonious, I found that it was best to look for colors that were similar in tone for 2-3 rows and then change to a color that provided contrast. In some areas, like the center, you’ll notice that I alternated between a single color (in this case, gray) and then one of several other colors, and then back to the first color to give it a more grounded look. I repeated the gray several more times throughout the afghan to give the color scheme some consistency. I think it turned out pretty well!

Now that I’ve taken a photo of it here in the office, I’ve put it in the mail for Jennifer and Harry to enjoy!

What have you made with single skeins or balls of yarn? Leave a comment and share your ideas!

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Homespun Inspiration from the Lion Brand Yarn Studio

January 11th, 2013

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Ever since I have joined the Lion Brand team I have always looked forward to seeing the new displays in the Lion Brand Studio. They are always so cute and creative with so much detail! Since this month is Homespun yarn month, I decided to take a look at some unconventional Homespun projects that  have been featured in LBYS displays…

(Click on the photos below to enlarge them.)

March 2009

Homespun 2009Homespun yarn LBYS 2009

November 2010

Homespun yarn LBYS 2010Homespun yarn LBYS 2010

December 2012

Homespun yarn LBYS 2012Homespun yarn LBYS 2012

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Fair Isle Favorites: 9 Patterns to Try Stranded Knitting

January 10th, 2013

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The new year is the perfect time to learn a new skill, and colorwork is a great place to start. Fair Isle knitting, also known as stranded knitting, is my favorite technique for adding colorwork to a project. With this technique, you carry your unworked yarn behind your working yarn to create floats. Click here to find out more about Fair Isle knitting.

Knit Snow Day Cap Knit Chance of Flurries Hat Knit Glamorous Fair Isle Hat
Knit Snow Day Cap in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Knit Change of Flurries Hat in Alpine Wool

Knit Glamorous Fair Isle Hat in Vanna’s Glamour
Knit Three Color Cowl Knit Tablet (iPad) Fair Isle Tech Vest Knit Limelight Stirrup Socks
Knit Three Color Cowl in Vanna’s Choice Knit Tablet (iPad) Fair Isle Tech Vest in Wool-Ease

Knit Limelight Stirrup Socks in Wool-Ease
Knit Colorwork Sweater Knit Colorful Fair Isle Throw Knit Fair Isle Capelet
Knit Colorwork Sweater in Martha Stewart Crafts Alpaca Blend Knit Colorful Fair Isle Throw in Wool-Ease and Amazing

Knit Fair Isle Capelet in Wool-Ease

Looking for more Fair Isle inspiration? Click here to view all of our Fair Isle patterns. Happy knitting!

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10 Projects Inspired by 5 Popular Resolutions

January 9th, 2013

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It’s the beginning of a new year, which means that millions of us are making resolutions, hoping to make changes big and small to our lives. If you’ve got a resolution, why not support it by pairing it with your favorite hobbies of knitting & crochet?

Here are some projects inspired by some of the most popular resolutions:

Eat Healthier

Bringing your lunch is a great way to have more control over what goes into what you’re eating. Make it easier with a lunch bag like our crochet Greenmarket Lunch Bag or knit Felted Lunch Bag.

Image of Greenmarket Lunch Bag Image of Felted Lunch Bag


Celebrating Homespun Handmade: 9 Projects from Our Customer Gallery

January 8th, 2013

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Homespun is definitely a favorite yarn amongst many Lion Brand fans, and it especially seems to be a “go-to” yarn for those looking to making an afghan. Most of you have expressed your enjoyment of working with Homespun because it’s soft, has a beautiful color range, and unique texture – not to mention, it works up super quick.

It’s always so great to see what our yarns inspire other people to knit/crochet, whether it be an original pattern, or from a pattern on our site.  Thank you for uploading pictures to our customer gallery, and please continue to do so! Here’s a roundup of some great projects made by fans like you, with Homespun.

Afghan in the Round
Afghan in the Round
Pattern: Woodland Circle Afghan
By: Delilah Sanchez
Vintage Ripple Afghan
Vintage Ripple Afghan
Pattern: Vintage Ripple Throw
By: Carolyn Boulet
In Fine Style!
In Fine Style!
(original pattern)
By: Robert Toth


Introducing Emerald as the 2013 Color of the Year!

January 7th, 2013

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Each year Pantone, the leading color authority, announces the hottest shade of the year. The big color for 2013 is Emerald, a rich, cool shade of green. In the words of Pantone, Emerald is “Lively. Radiant. Lush… A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.” Personally, I love how serene and calming this shade is, and I can’t wait to incorporate it into my yarncrafting! Want more Emerald in your crafting, too? Here are our favorite Emerald yarns for the coming year.

Emerald: Pantone Color of 2103

Left to right: Hometown USA in Grand Rapids Green, Homespun in Pesto, Jiffy in Country Green, and Martha Stewart Crafts Alpaca Blend in Meadow Green.

What do you think of this trend? Will you be using Emerald in your yarncrafting projects this year?

12 Shades of Winter White Yarns Including Wool, Alpaca and More

January 4th, 2013

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12shadesofwinterwhiteIt’s the first month of the new year, which for us here in NYC usually means – cold, wind, ice and snow.  But there’s something about heading into the dead of winter that makes me really appreciate winter white knitwear such as a cozy sweater, or chunky cowl; it may help brighten up your mood when it’s cloudy and cold out.

Yes, there is that old fashion adage about not wearing white after labor day, but it all depends on the fiber content.  You would certainly wear your white/cream cashmere sweater in the winter – because cashmere keeps you warm; also, those lovely aran sweaters look stunning in winter whites. I’ve included a round-up of some appropriate yarns to use for projects where you may want to include whites and off whites.

(sweater in image to left: Madison Pullover)

Fishermen's Wool Natural
Fishermen’s Wool Natural
LB Collection Pure Wool
LB Collection Pure Wool

Wool-Ease Fisherman

Homespun Deco

Superwash Merino Cashmere
Luve Fur Ivory
Luxe Fur Ivory
LB Collection Cashmere Natural
LB Collection Cashmere Natural
LB Collection Silk Mohair Wisp
LB Collection Silk Mohair Wisp
LB Collection Superwash Merino Antique
LB Collection Superwash Merino

LB Collection Angora Merino
Alpaca Blend Buttermilk
Martha Stewart Crafts Alpaca Blend
 Extra Soft Wool Blend
Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft
Wool Blend Bakery Box White

Do you like to knit or crochet with white or cream color yarns in the winter? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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Me Me Me

January 3rd, 2013

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Editor’s Note: We’re excited to introduce Franklin Habit’s monthly column for our Weekly Stitch Newsletter as a regular feature here on the Lion Brand Notebook. Stay tuned for stories, insights, and laughs.

My grandmother, a mostly sensible woman who nonetheless cultivated a small garden of superstitions, taught me early that to begin a new year with messy closets is to invite three hundred and sixty-five days of calamity. So last week, while 2012 was running out the clock, I was hastily performing the annual ritual of Keep-or-Keep-Not.

An essential part of the ritual is contemplating my meager pile of sweaters and wondering why there aren’t more of them. And why most came from a factory. And why most don’t fit. And why most of them are, to be blunt, tragically ugly. Keep? Hah. Burn.

I am a prolific knitter. I knit ceaselessly. But I almost never knit for myself. So I have to buy sweaters which never fit properly and I look terrible nine months of the year. This needs to stop.


How to Crochet Circles Two Ways

January 2nd, 2013

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How to Crochet Circles Two Ways | Lion Brand NotebookCrocheting a circle is a skill that is the basis of making items from hats to amigurumi. There are two ways to make circles, each with advantages and disadvantages, but the basic formula is the same. Here’s what you need to know:

The spiral technique means that you go around and around and around. If you look at it in the left column below, you’ll see that this leaves a little step in each round as you work, but it also creates a smoother fabric, good for amigurumi.

For standalone circles, joined rounds (see the right column below) will look most circular, without that little step that you get working in spiral. When you work joined rounds,  it means that at the end of each round, you’ll join the first and last stitch with a slip stitch, chain for the height of your next round (ch 1 for sc, ch 2 for hdc, etc.) and then start the next round. While this creates a little jog in the fabric where the rounds were joined, it also allows you to use stitch patterns more easily once you’re working even, as in hats, since each round is separate from the next. In joined rounds, you can also use stitch patterns that are worked back and forth (see my blog post from last week).