Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for March, 2013


Get a Little Irrational: It’s Pi Day!

March 14th, 2013

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Okay, so maybe you haven’t heard of National Ear Muff Day, which just passed yesterday, but if you’ve been anywhere near a secondary school math classroom in the last decade–or have math nerd friends like I do–you’ve probably heard a thing or two about Pi Day. The Reader’s Digest Version? It’s March 14–3/14–and Pi, the irrational number that is related to the circumference and diameter of a circle, is approximately equal to 3.14, though the decimal places are though to go on forever. You can learn a little more about Pi here, or you can just dive in to some of the fun mathematical-themed knitting and crochet patterns I found on Ravelry to celebrate Pi.

 Knit Irrational Scarf by Anne Bruvold Knit Pi Digits Scarf by Christina J
   
Knit Pi Dish Towel by Shannon Servesko  Crochet Amigurumi Pi by Alicia Kachmar

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Keep Those Ears Warm on National Earmuff Day!

March 13th, 2013

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Every day is some kind of holiday, and I’m not talking about the big ones with leprechauns or bunnies. It turns out, today is National Earmuff Day, which obviously means I need to share some of my favorite ear-warming patterns with you. The good news is that all of these patterns are quick to knit or crochet, so you can whip them up in an evening and use them to keep your ears warm in the last dwindling days of cool winter and early spring weather. What do you say?

 Image of <font color=red>Ear</font><font color=red>muff</font>s Image of Ribbed Headband  Image of Beginner's  Braided Headband
 Crochet Earmuffs in Extra Soft Wool Blend and Glitter Eyelash Crochet Ribbed Headband in Amazing  Knit Braided Headband in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick

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Unlock the Secrets of Crochet Cables

March 12th, 2013

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Crochet Celtic Afghan

Knitting teacher and author Heather Lodinsky joins us for another article on the wonderful world of cables. Click here to read her previous blog post on knitting cables.

Creating cables with yarn may conjure thoughts of knitting—but did you know that this magic twisting of stitches can be worked in crochet?  Last month, we explored how cables in knitting are created by the use of a cable needle to change the order of stitches and to shape the resulting left or right twist of the cable.   The first time I saw a crochet cable pattern, I thought there must be a complicated technique  to “twist” stitches that were already worked.  In knitting, cables are made rearranging the order of “live” stitches (ones that are not bound off, or finished).  So, with the exception of the one loop on your crochet hook, how do you create a cable with stitches that are already finished?  The answer lies in how you work each stitch and in which order they will be worked in a given row.

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Advanced Crochet Techniques Part Two: Colorwork

March 11th, 2013

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In celebration of National Crochet Month, I’ll be featuring advanced crochet techniques each Monday on the Notebook. Missed last week’s feature on Tunisian crochet? Check it out here.

No matter what you call it–colorwork, tapestry crochet, fair isle, intarsia, jacquard or otherwise–the art of working a design into the fabric of a crocheted product simply by changing colors is a skill that never gets tired. Though intarsia has long been popular in Scandinavian-inspired knitwear, especially sweaters in rich neutrals, it is a method that lends itself to nearly any personal style, from formal and traditional to the fun, “geeky” project a friend is doing with the logos of favorite video games. Whether you seek to create a colorful abstract jacquard pattern or really want a blanket with your favorite sports team’s logo stitched in, learning colorwork is the way to get there.

As difficult as it may look, the great news about colorwork–which is most typically called tapestry when talking about crochet–is that it’s a relatively easy skill to learn, and only requires the patience of changing colors multiple times and following a chart as opposed to a typical pattern.

step2 colorwork  All you have to do to change a color mid-row is to crochet your stitch except for the last yarn over and pull through.
step1 colorwork The last yarn over will be with your new color, and you’ll pull that color through the two loops left on your hook from the previous color.
step3 colorwork Once you’ve linked that new yarn in, you’ll continue crocheting as you had previously.Just don’t forget to weave those ends in as you would any other end to ensure your treasured project doesn’t unravel!

Now that you know the basics of how to change colors in crochet, take a look at some of these crochet blocks from stitch finder that will put those skills to work!
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12 Shrugs for All Ages and Styles

March 10th, 2013

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As we head into spring, there are more days when you need to start and end the day with a light sweater, but you may want it to be something easy to throw on and off as necessary. That, to me, is quintessential shrug weather. Relatively quick to knit or crochet, they’re great projects for “just because” gifts. Make one for your best friend, your mother, your goddaughter, or your niece. Whip one up for your little girl, your sister, or your coworker.

Whether their style is earthy and simple, a little glitzy, or fancy, we have patterns that are just right for them.

6 Stylish Shrugs for Women

Image of Acorn Shrug Image of Crowded Cable Shrug Image of Sparkling Shrug
Crochet Acorn Shrug Knit Crowded Cable Shrug Knit Sparkling Shrug
Image of Stockinette Stitch Shrug Image of Glittery Shrug Image of Simple Crochet Shrug
Knit Stockinette Stitch Shrug Crochet Glittery Shrug Simple Crochet Shrug

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Vanna White’s Surprise at the DMV

March 8th, 2013

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This is a guest post from Vanna White.

I imagine that most people think my everyday life is glamorous because I’m on TV six days a week wearing beautiful gowns.  But the fact is that my days are typically devoted to my two teenage children and doing errands like shopping for yarn (yes, I like to buy it in the stores) at my local craft store. Here is a story from a typical day last week.

I took my daughter, Gigi, to the DMV to take her drivers test.  As I was waiting for her to pass I walked by a lady crocheting.  She recognized me and came up to me and asked me to sign the label on the ball of yarn she was working with.  I was thrilled to see that it was a ball of Vanna’s Choice!! She was so excited! Not only did that incident make my day, my daughter passed her exam too! Yeah!

Vanna and Gigi

Vanna White and her daughter, Gigi

Want to hear more about Vanna? Click here to watch our series of interviews with her at her home!


The Iceman Groucheth

March 7th, 2013

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Franklin Habit returns to share his unique and humorous take on the life of a yarncrafter. 

Things that are sure to happen every January: white sales, credit card bills, and some perky knitter chirping, “Ooooooooooooh, I love these cold, snowy days! Nothing’s better than sitting inside, cozily knitting by the fireplace!”

This always brings forth a chorus of happy agreement from other perky knitters, calling to one another like cuckoos across the Schwarzwald: “Ooooooooooooh! Yes, yes! Snowy! Fireplace! Knitting! Love!”

I think spending a snowy day knitting by the fireplace sounds groovy. Perhaps, in my next life, I’ll get to try it.

A cartoon by Franklin Habit, exclusively for Lion Brand

I’m not sure where these people live. In my imagination, it’s farmhouses on hilltops in Vermont, or perhaps a cabins nestled in the pristine forests of Wisconsin. I also imagine independent incomes, household help, and heated garages–so that any trek into the blistering cold is purely voluntary. The perky winter knitter need only flounce outdoors to skate merrily around the pond; or playfully fling snowballs at her handsome, rugged husband until he playfully carries her back inside and playfully serves her a hot toddy–probably holding the cup to her lips so she can keep on cozily knitting by the fireplace.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, it is snowing sideways and we are out of milk. Much as I would like to sit inside, cozily knitting by the fireplace, I have to go to the grocery store. Five city blocks away. On foot. I could have milk delivered, yes; but that would drive the cost of the gallon up to $35.68 plus tip, and daddy isn’t made out of money.

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Spring Cleaning: 7 Ways to Organize Your Yarn Stash

March 5th, 2013

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Knitting expert Barbara Breiter joins us for her monthly column on tips and techniques for yarncrafters. 

I don’t need an extra closet for my stash…I need a whole extra house! If you’ve been crafting for any length of time, I’m sure you know the feeling: you’ve sworn off buying anything new but still…the new skeins always call your name.

There is an infinite number of ways to store yarn and supplies. Whatever method(s) you choose depends to some extent upon your available space, your budget, and the size of your stash.

Spring Cleaning: How to Organize Your Yarn Stash

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Celebrate National Crochet Month by Learning Tunisian!

March 4th, 2013

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It’s National Crochet Month, and I’m going to be highlighting some advanced crochet techniques on the blog every Monday in March. Today, I wanted to take a look at some great patterns that utilize the afghan stitch or Tunisian crochet. If you’ve never heard of Tunisian crochet before, you might be surprised by the technique. Like knitting, you’ll keep all of your stitches on your hook at once while doing Tunisian crochet, which is why you’ll generally use a longer hook that’s specific to this style. It looks like a hybrid knitting needle and crochet hook, with a long shaft, an end-cap on one end and a hook on the other. The simple Tunisian stitch creates a sturdy, dimensional canvas that’s perfect for embroidery or crocheting on top. To learn more about Tunisian crochet, check out the About.com guide.

Once you’re ready to get started, you can try your hand at some small, simple projects, like cuffs or a headband crocheted in Bonbons, or you can dive in to an entrelac afghan or sampler stitch throw in the beautiful colorways of Vanna’s Choice to practice all of your newly-learned stitches.

cuffs headband tote
Tunisian Crochet Cuffs Tunisian Crochet Headband Two-Color Tunisian Crochet Tote

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Celebrate National Craft Month & National Crochet Month!

March 3rd, 2013

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Did you know that March is National Craft Month and National Crochet Month?!

For those of you who want to share your love of these crafts, grab these fun badges for your blog, your Ravelry account, your Facebook page, etc. Simply right-click (Ctrl+click on Macs) the image and save to your computer, or copy/paste the HTML code below to use on your blog or website.

I <3 crafts | Get your own badge from Lion Brand Yarn

I <3 crochet | Get your own badge from Lion Brand Yarn

<a href="http://blog.lionbrand.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://blog.lionbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/craft_badge.jpg"></a>
<a href="http://blog.lionbrand.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://blog.lionbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/crochet_badge.jpg"></a>

Finally, we hope you’ll take a little time this month to enjoy these beloved activities, as well as to share them with someone in your life. For tips on teaching someone to knit or crochet, see these blog posts:

For inspiring project ideas and tips on learning, see:

Happy crafting & crocheting!*

 

*Knitters, we love you too–maybe we should start a petition to create an official “National Knitting Month”…

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