Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for February, 2013

Visit Lion Brand at Stitches West

February 17th, 2013

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Are you in the San Francisco Bay Area? Come visit Lion Brand this coming weekend at Stitches West–the largest knit & crochet show in America! It’s a yarn expo put on by our friends at XRX, and Lion Brand is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s shows!

There will be classes, a marketplace, fashion shows, events, free lectures and demos, and much more. Want to see some highlights from past shows? Check out these blog posts:

Special Offers and More at Lion Brand’s Booth

At Lion Brand’s booth, you’ll find select yarns including brand new products AND our exclusive LB Collection–all on sale especially at the show. Plus we’ll have pattern booklets, stickers, and other goodies for FREE. Stop on by!

As a sponsor, we’re also pleased to offer you 50% off market admission with this coupon (click to open it in a new window):

50% off marketplace entry


Knit & Crochet Vintage Styles from Lion Brand in the 1900s and Similar Modern Styles for Today

February 15th, 2013

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Lion Yarn BookIn 1912, Lion Brand released a pattern book, “Manual of Worsted Work for Those Who Knit and Crochet”, which was wildly successful in its release.  The book contains plenty of vintage patterns ranging from cardigans, afghans, hats and more.  Since it was so successful, Lion Brand released another book in 1916 (Lion Yarn Book, pictured left) with more great vintage styles reflective of that time.

What I find interesting about looking at these vintage patterns is that they’re still relatively similar to styles worn today (albeit, there may be a bit more ribbon incorporation in some of the older styles).  If you’re a lover of antique patterns, you’ll enjoy the Lion Yarn Book and its assortment of patterns.  Below, I’ve created a side by side comparison of some of the older styles found in the 1912 and 1916 books with more modern styles that have similar silhouettes – have a look for yourself!

Ladies’ Knitted Derby Coat
Ladies’ Light Weight Knit Coat
Fitted Jacket

Knit Fitted Jacket
LB Collection Organic Wool


Keep Busy This President’s Day Weekend with Quick Projects

February 14th, 2013

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It’s almost here. The coveted three-day weekend. The opportunity to get that extra day you feel you need every weekend to get those extra household chores done, spend more time recharging, or take a mini road trip. No matter what your plans for the long weekend, one thing is for sure: it’s a perfect opportunity to use some extra downtime finish (or start!) some outstanding projects.

If you don’t already have a great project on your hook or needles, I’ve rounded up a collection of fun, quick-to-knit or -crochet patterns that you’ll be able to cast on and bind off in just one (long) weekend!

60681ba l20053a  90208ada
 Knit Fast Finish Throw  Braided Rug  Crochet 5 1/2 Hour Throw


Celebrating Our $1 Million Donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

February 13th, 2013

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Yesterday, as President of Lion Brand, I had the honor of joining my cousin and EVP of our company, Dean Blumenthal and Vanna White, Lion Brand’s spokesperson, at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to present a check representing donations of $1 million. When we first introduced the Vanna lines of yarns and Vanna shared her wish that we donate a portion of the proceeds to this fantastic cause, I had a dream to donate $1 million. Yesterday that dream became a reality.

$1 million dollar check

Pictured: Richard C. Shadyac Jr. (CEO, ALSAC), Dean Blumenthal (EVP/COO, Lion Brand),
Vanna White, and David Blumenthal (President/CEO, Lion Brand)

As the fourth generation in our family-owned business, we learned the importance of giving charity in both our business and personal lives from our parents. The opportunity to tour the St. Jude facility and learn more about what this amazing organization does was truly a highlight of my life.

We heard from one woman who survived leukemia when she was 10 years old. The survival rate was 4% at the time. Today, the survival rate for this type of leukemia is 92%, thanks to the cutting edge research and treatment that this organization provides. We saw the heartbreaking scene of small children who are being treated for cancer. We heard the extraordinary fact that no family every pays for anything related to the treatment of their child. Not only does St. Jude cover all the costs of medical treatment, but they take care of housing for the family and provide emotional support for the siblings and parents.

I knew that we were donating to a good cause, but it was humbling to see the human side of this organization. I was inspired by what can happen with vision.

(Please NOTE: there is a brief ad that appears before the segment)

Courtesy of, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News
If you’re viewing this blog post in an RSS reader or your email, please click on the title of the blog post to view it on our website and access the video.

Great Beginnings: Starting Your Crochet Project Right, Pt. 3 – Magic Ring or Adjustable Ring

February 13th, 2013

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Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay joins us for several articles on starting your project right. This is the last of her 3-part series on crochet. Click here for yesterday’s article, and click here for the previous day’s article. Join us next week for a 2-part series on knitting.

Adjustable Ring Foundations

Hats, bags, and toys often begin with a tight circle. Foundation chains can be used for this purpose and there are two common methods: 1) Work a short foundation chain (ch 2 for a circle of single crochet, ch 3 for half double crochet, ch 4 for double crochet, etc.) then work the stitches of first round into the first chain made, 2) Work a short foundation chain (but, longer than for first method), join the ends of the chain with a slip stitch to form a ring, then work the stitches of first round directly into the ring (not into the chains). Both of these methods can produce unacceptably large center holes that can be difficult to close.

An adjustable ring (also known as magic ring) is a wonderful alternative to foundation chains. There are different ways to make an adjustable ring. The differences include: 1) whether the working yarn or tail is wrapped into a ring, 2) whether the ring is wrapped clockwise or counter-clockwise, and 3) whether the ring is wrapped around a finger or wrapped in “mid air”. All the variations yield similar results.

 Adjustable Ring Method

Click on the images to see them as a slide-show; click the left and right arrows to navigate through the pictures. Click the X in the top-left corner to exit the slide-show. Please note that if you’re viewing this post in an RSS reader or an email, you will have to click the title to use the full functionality on our site.

  1. Hold yarn in palm, leaving a long tail extending out the top.
  2. Wrap tail loosely around index finger counter-clockwise (do not allow wraps to cross), until there are two wraps on top of your finger. Insert hook under first strand (tail) and draw the 2nd strand (working yarn) through.
  3. Pinch ring where working yarn and tail cross and carefully remove wraps from finger. Work a beginning ch (e.g. ch 1 for sc, ch 2 for hdc, ch 3 for dc).
  4. Work stitches of first round into ring taking care to cover tail as stitches are worked.
  5. When the first round is complete, pull the tail to tighten center of ring.

Come back next week for tips for starting your knitting projects.

Great Beginnings: Starting Your Crochet Project Right, Pt. 2

February 12th, 2013

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Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay joins us for several articles on starting your project right. Join us this week for a 3-part series on crochet, and join us next week for a 2-part series on knitting. Click here to see her previous blog post on foundation chains. 

Foundation Stitches

The use of foundation stitches for beginning crochet pieces has been gaining a lot of popularity lately. A major reason for this is because foundation stitches solve many of the problems associated with foundation chains.

Each foundation stitch consists of one chain and one standard crochet stitch. In this manner the foundation chain and the first row/round of stitches are worked at the same time. The chain is made by drawing up a loop in the base of the previous foundation stitch. This chain is then treated as a standard foundation chain. There is a corresponding foundation stitch for every standard crochet stitch, e.g. single crochet (sc), dc (double crochet), etc. Here are step by step instructions for working foundation versions of sc and dc. Notice that the Fsc and Fdc steps are very similar and that the final steps of each foundation stitch are the same as the final steps for standard sc and dc stitches.

Foundation single crochet (Fsc)

Click on the images to see them as a slide-show; click the left and right arrows to navigate through the pictures. Click the X in the top-left corner to exit the slide-show. Please note that if you’re viewing this post in an RSS reader or an email, you will have to click the title to use the full functionality on our site. 


Great Beginnings: Starting Your Crochet Project Right, Pt. 1

February 11th, 2013

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Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay joins us for several articles on starting your project right. Join us this week for a 3-part series on crochet, and join us next week for a 2-part series on knitting.

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – Plato

When you crochet you begin with a foundation. The foundation may be a chain, a foundation stitch, a ring, or a separate object (e.g. a curtain ring, another piece of fabric).

Videos, illustrations and written instructions for some foundation methods are available in the Lion Brand Learning Center.

Foundation Chains

Working a number of chain stitches and then working stitches of the first row or round into the chains is the most common foundation method. It can be used for beginning flat, circular or tubular pieces. So, why are there so many alternatives to foundation chains?


Reader Question: Cowl Patterns for Petite Women

February 8th, 2013

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A few weeks ago, we shared a guest blog post from Jessica in our sales department. Jessica is a big fan of crocheted infinity cowls and told us a little bit about her recent project. In response, we got this email from Esther C.:

“My daughter is short like me, and I am trying to tell her these cowls that you can use different ways would make us look top heavy. Do you agree? Is there a pattern for easy/intermediate that would fit the bill – maybe one using lighter weight yarn?”

First off, I just want to say that Jessica is petite (about 5 foot 2 inches or so), so shorter women can definitely wear infinity scarves! I think the key is simply to consider the scale of your project versus your proportions. A very long scarf may look disproportionate on a shorter person, but look just right on a taller person, and vice versa.

As a shorter woman myself, I like cowls that are more closely fitting around the neck  (instead of dangling further down the torso). Here are a few options in that style:

Image of Gray Lace Cowl Image of Pale Gray Lace Cowl Image of Cardiff Cowl
Knit Gray Lace Cowl Knit Pale Gray Lace Cowl Crochet Cardiff Cowl



February 7th, 2013

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Editor’s Note: It’s that time of month! Knit-wit Franklin Habit joins us for his regular column.

At odd moments throughout her otherwise pleasant life, my mother has been confronted by the sight of me, her only son, with my pants on backwards; with my fingers stuck together by glue; trapped in the bathroom by an aggressive cat; frantically hunting for a pair of glasses I was holding in one hand; and standing sheepishly under a dripping splotch of tomato soup that had spoiled the pristine white of a newly-painted kitchen ceiling.

Every time, she has turned to my father and issued the same official statement: “He gets this from your side.”

My father, the diplomat, has never countered with examples of what I get from her side; but the list is long and certainly includes my propensity for flying into fits of rage when thwarted by inanimate objects—including my knitting. If you could break yarn by hurling it against a wall, this room would be neck-deep in shattered bits of sweater.

Happily, that isn’t the greater part of my inheritance.

If creativity, like male pattern baldness, runs in families, it was inevitable that I’d wind up creative. (And bald.)


Celebrate the Year of the Snake with Yarn

February 7th, 2013

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This Sunday, February 10, marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. This lunar new year celebration, which represents the Year of the Snake and year 4711 on the Chinese calendar, will continue for 15 days. If you’re anything like me, those two weeks sound like the perfect opportunity to get creative and ring in the year of the snake, so I’ve rounded up some of the best snake patterns to knit and crochet.

80897ada Snake1
Crochet Sssandy the Snake Crochet Coral Snake