Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for April, 2013

Enter Our Giveaway: Vanna’s Choice Yarn for a Baby Afghan and 2 Fiskars Scissors!

April 12th, 2013

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It’s the beginning of spring, and we’re celebrating this joyous season on the blog with topics related to babies, nature, and more. Today, you’ll have the chance to enter our giveaway, where you could win 5 different color skeins to make the beautiful, pastel toned Summer Stripes Baby Afghan. 

Thanks to Fiskars (The World’s #1 Scissor Brand™), we’re also providing you with scissors to cut your yarn as you move on to the next color.  You’ll get the chance to win The Original Orange-Handled Scissors™, which is great for cutting yarn and fabric; and the 4″ Folding Scissors™ for crafting on the go (which I personally have and LOVE).

Summer Stripes Afghan: Vanna’s Choice® and Fiskars® Scissors Giveaway

Vanna's Choice and Fiskars Scissors Giveaway

« Contest is now closed »

ONE LUCKY WINNER will receive this prize; Good luck! Contest ends on Friday, April 19 at 5:00 p.m. EST

Please note: Comments left on this blog post do NOT count as entries. Please click on the link above to enter.

*Update 4/22/13:  This contest is now closed, and the lucky winner is Sandra McClain!

Knitting with Big Needles: Tips and Tricks

April 11th, 2013

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Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting Barbara Breiter joins us for her monthly column on techniques that people frequently ask about. 

For super quick projects, nothing beats knitting (or crocheting!) with thick yarn or multiple strands and big needles. You can knit up an afghan in a fraction of the time it would take to make with worsted weight yarn and, for example, size 8 needles.

Larger needles are considered to be US sizes 15, 17, 19, 35, and 50. Particularly with the largest of needles, you may find them cumbersome at first…but remember how awkward knitting with any size needle was when you first began? With a bit of practice, you’ll be handling these jumbo size needles just like smaller ones. Because of the heft, size 35 and 50 are almost always plastic, but as with any needle size, you’ll find different options out on the market.

Image of 2 Hour Tweed Scarf
Knit 2 Hour Tweed Scarf


6 Different Ways to Knit a Sweater

April 11th, 2013

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Have you ever noticed just how many different ways there are to make a sweater? You could make it in one-piece from the top-down or bottom-up. You could make it piecemeal with a front, back, and sleeves. You could knit it from sleeve to sleeve. You could even make it in many modular pieces!

For those who are new to the world of garment-making, a great place to start is a baby sweater. They’re small, so they don’t take a lot of yarn or time commitment (and babies don’t mind a mistake in the knitting here or there). Here are just a few of the different sweaters that we’ve designed–and if you click through to view their schematics, you’ll get a sense of just how differently each one is made! Make one (or make them all) and get some practice so that you feel ready to take on an adult sweater of your own!

6 Baby Sweaters Featuring Different Construction Methods

Image of Sunrise Stripes Pullover Image of One-Piece Baby Pullover
Sunrise Stripes Pullover
Features a classic raglan construction, where you knit from the top-down, dividing for the bodies and sleeves.
One-Piece Baby Pullover
This sweater is created from the lower edge of the front, knit up to the top of the neck and  sleeves and back down to the bottom of the back.


We Want You! (To Pick Our Spring Knit-Along Project!)

April 10th, 2013

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The holidays are over and your hand-knitted gifts (yes, even the stragglers) are all done. If you’re like us, you can use some inspiration for a new knitting project. That’s why we’re kicking off our Spring 2013 Knit-Along! Help us choose the winning pattern and we’ll work on it together, step-by-step, throughout the spring.

« Click here to vote. »

Vote by April 21, 11:59 pm Eastern. Remember, you must submit your vote through SurveyMonkey for it to count!

KAL spring 2013

Want a sneak peek at the patterns? Click these links for the patterns shown above, clockwise from top left: Slip Stitch Sampler Throw, Tranquil Green Tank Top, Fireside Patchwork Afghan and Ginger Sweater.

We’ll announce the winner here on Thursday, April 25th. We’re excited to have our friend Heather Lodinsky hosting. We can’t wait to see what the winning project will be!

New to knit-alongs? Check out our guide to knit/crochet-alongs for some helpful advice. Crocheters, we’ll be having another crochet-along in the coming months, so keep an eye out for an announcement.

5 Crochet Techniques We Love

April 7th, 2013

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5 Crochet Techniques We Love | Lion Brand Notebook (

I think that every crocheter and knitter should be open to trying new skills–by challenging yourself as a crafter, you grow your abilities and open up the possibilities of making even more amazing projects.

On a recent episode of YarnCraft (that’d be our podcast or downloadable online radio show), we talked a little bit about 5 crochet techniques we think that everyone should try! Here they are:

1. Tunisian Crochet

This technique involves two passes of the crochet hook (one to pick up loops onto the hook–bearing a resemblance to knit stitches on a needle–and one to work those loops off the hook) and creates a fabric that can look woven or knitted. Click here to learn more about this interesting skill.

2. Broomstick Lace

Create beautiful lace stitches with just your basic single crochet and a large knitting needle (or a handle…like that of a broomstick)! Find out how in this easy photo tutorial.

3. Intarsia

Both crocheters and knitters can create wonderful colorwork simply by following a chart. See some examples in this blog post.

4. Hairpin Lace

This unique looking lace is created with a special tool and a crochet hook. See this helpful video to see how it’s done.

5. Crochet Cables

Wonderful braids and raised textures are yours for the making with crochet cables. Learn just how easy this technique actually is with this blog post.

[Basic shell stitch pattern shown in swatch above can be found here; please note the photo above uses 4 colors and is shown sitting upside-down from the stitch pattern photo.]

To learn more about this episode of YarnCraft, click here. Use the player below to listen to the episode directly from this page (this particular segment starts at 27:24): 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I Heard the Trowel Call My Name

April 5th, 2013

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Writer/illustrator/knitter Franklin Habit welcomes spring with a humorous take on two of his favorite hobbies in this month’s column.

A month since I last wrote, and a world of difference outside. The change has only come in the past day or so, and it’s precarious change, but it looks as though we may yet have our spring here in Chicago. This morning, in one of the flowerbeds under my charge, I saw this.

I Heard the Trowel Call My Name | Franklin Habit for Lion Brand

That’s my first sight in six months of one common orange daylily (Hemerocallis).

My reaction to it was the reaction of the hero in one of those awful wartime romance movies where he thinks that his fiancée bit the dust when the bombs hit the old mill and afterwards he pulled from the rubble the bracelet she always wore that said My Heart Is Forever Yours but it turned out that no she flew clear into the next county and landed on a haystack and was physically fine but lost her memory and so spent the rest of the war working as a milkmaid and thinking her name is Phyllis when really it’s Midge but just as he’s returning home and wondering whether his heart will go on she gets smacked upside the head with a milk pail and her memory comes back and she screams MIDGE! MY NAME IS MIDGE! and runs all the way home across the county line and he sees her coming and drops to his knees in rapture while crying a single, noble tear that stops precisely halfway down his cheek.


Kicking Off Baseball Season with Yarn!

April 3rd, 2013

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The beginning of April means the start to a lot of things: spring blooms, warmer weather, and longer days. But as any sports fan knows, the first week of April means one thing: Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. Want to show your support for your favorite team? I’ve compiled a palette of colors for all 32 MLB teams in one of my favorite team-spirit yarns, Hometown USA. Not only is it soft and bulky so that projects will work up in a few evenings by the fire, it also comes in every bold color you can think of to support your favorite teams and schools.
I was lucky enough to attend the New York Mets Opening Day on Monday afternoon, and I brought the Mets-inspired blanket I’m knitting in Hometown USA along, using this color palette below!

 New York Mets Click to view detail of 135-401 Click to view detail of 135-109 Click to view detail of 135-100
Neon Orange – Forth Worth Blue  – New York White