Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for May, 2013


Mix It Up: Using Multiple Yarns Together

May 14th, 2013

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Lion Brand’s Design Department shares tips on one of their favorite tips for creating a unique (and quick-to-make) project.

Simple Cowl | From Our Newsletter Archives: Mixing It Up | Lion Brand NotebookYarn blending is the technique of stranding together several yarns to create a knit or crochet fabric. It takes all of the beautiful qualities of its component yarns and blends them into something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

HOW TO DO IT:

  1. Take a few yarns and hold them together.
  2. Judge the combined thickness and select an appropriate needle or hook.
  3. Knit or crochet all yarns at once.

Yarn blending is so simple, yet it can yield infinite varieties and unexpected results. You can never predict what a yarn blend will look like until it is worked up. Therefore, an integral part of this process is creating swatches. After a few rows, you will get an idea of how the fabric will look and can evaluate the combination. Then you can adjust your work, adding in new yarns that you like. Since blends tend to be bulky, a swatch can be made in no time.

[Pictured: Knit Simple Cowl.]

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Yarn-Bomb Your Bicycle for Bike Month!

May 13th, 2013

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It’s National Bike Month! Whether you like to cruise through beach towns during vacation or use your bicycle as a primary mode of transportation, there is something so lovely about the riding of a bike. You can cruise carefree, go on an intense workout ride, or travel around knowing you’ve reduced your carbon footprint. Whatever the reason for your ride, why not celebrate Bike Month with a little bicycle yarn-bombing? As we know, temperatures are (finally!) rising, and big, heavy projects can seem even more daunting in the warmer months, but these quick and easy knit and crochet projects are a perfect opportunity to try out new yarns or color combinations and work on great pocket-sized projects. The best part is, when you’re done, you’ll have a truly customized bike that shows off your creative side!

Image of Bike Seat Cover
Knit Bike Seat Cover in Tweed Stripes Crochet Bike Seat Cover (from Ravelry)

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Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along — Ribbing and Knitting the Back

May 9th, 2013

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Note: This is the third installment of our Spring 2013 Knit-Along. To view previous posts, click here.

This week the weather where I live seems to be right on cue for our Spring Knit Along with sunny, warm days all this last week. Working with Cotton-Ease for this project has been perfect for these days where my windows are open and I can already be found knitting on my porch. This week I finished the back of the Tranquil Tank Top.

FinishedBack

The back is the simpler half of this top with only ribbing and stockinette stitch (and a little shaping thrown in.) The lace will appear after we finish the bottom of the front. As I was knitting the back, I remembered a few things that will make sure this top will fit and look great. All of the sizes of this pattern call for the bottom ribbing to measure 9” before starting the stockinette stitch pattern for the upper part of the back.

When I thought I had knit the full 9” of ribbing, I remembered that measuring ribbing can be a little tricky as ribbing should be measured slightly stretched before I measure. What I thought was 9” was actually not even 8 ½” when I measured it slightly stretched. Working a longer piece of ribbing can create this effect, so it is always good to just slightly stretch your ribbing before measuring the length. Take a look at this picture below – I have just stretched the ribbing a little and it measures 9”.

 

Ribbing

My last row of my ribbing was a wrong side (WS) row, which started with 2 purls and ended with 2 purls. I want to make sure that the ribbings to both my back and my front will have 2 knits on each side of the right side (RS). (You can see this is in the first picture above.) Making sure the ribbings of the front and back are worked the same will make it much easier to sew up the sides for a very nice finish. The stockinette stitch started with a knit row on the RS, where there are 2 knit stitches on each edge of the ribbing. I will keep this in mind when I start the lace part of the front.

After binding off for the armholes, there are some decreases that I can see will be very important for the lace patterns on the front. The back is a good place to try these decreases – especially if you have never done an “ssk” before.

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Get Your Stitching and Pitching On This Baseball Season!

May 8th, 2013

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If you’re anything like me, you probably think an event of any sort that actively encourages hours of knitting or crochet is the best kind of event. Though I have some sort of yarn-craft project going during every baseball game we watch or attend, few days are more exciting to look forward to during the baseball season than Stitch ‘n Pitch days. If you’re not already familiar with Stitch ‘n Pitch, it’s a series of events put on by TNNA–The National NeedleArts Association–that encourage all needlecrafters to come on out to Major and Minor League Baseball games for “the perfect double play”. Crafters sit together in dedicated section and spend the game making new friends and often get the chance for special giveaways. The Stitch ‘n Pitch season kicked off in Atlanta on Saturday, May 4, and the next game scheduled is with our hometown team, the New York Mets!

Mets Stitch ‘n Pitch at Citi Field, Flushing, NY (vs. Pittsburgh Pirates)
Saturday, May 11
1:10 pm
Click here for tickets

Discounted tickets in the Promenade Reserved section are available for $25 each, and–perhaps best of all–the first 1,000 attendees to purchase tickets will be receiving this really awesome limited edition Mr. Met Knitting bobblehead. I’ll admit I’m biased, as a Mets with a growing collection of bobbleheads, but I think it’s pretty cool to see a team mascot crafting!

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Play Nice!

May 8th, 2013

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Writer/illustrator/knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column on the life of a yarn crafter.

I was at a yarn shop a few weeks ago, troubleshooting a thumb gusset in the company of those who understand the importance of good thumb gussets, when the topic of steeks came up.

A steek, in case you haven’t run across the term before, is an opening cut into a piece of hand-knit fabric. There are many ways to create one, but they all end by taking scissors to your knitting. Snip! It gives some knitters the shakes to even contemplate this. It shouldn’t, but it does.

That’s not what I want to write about today.

I mentioned to the group that I’ve launched a class in which the students cut steeks, then sew zippers into the openings. Zipper installation is another thing that gives some knitters the shakes. It shouldn’t, but it does.

That’s also not what I want to write about today.

“I’d take that class,” said one of the junior knitters at the table. There was a murmur of agreement from the other junior knitters. The most junior shook her head. “I’d like to,” she said. “But I’m not good with a sewing machine.”

“You don’t need a sewing machine,” I said. “In my class we use crochet to secure the edges.”

“Forget it,” said the least junior knitter. “I don’t crochet.”

“It’s only basic crochet,” I said. “Even if you haven’t done it before, you can pick this up in sixty seconds.”

“No,” she said, under a slightly curled lip. “I don’t touch crochet hooks. Ever.”

Several of the others–junior and senior–echoed her. No hooks. No hooks ever. Well, maybe to pick up dropped stitches. Never to crochet.

“I don’t crochet,” she said. “I’m a knitter!”

That’s what I want to write about today.

Play Nice! An essay by Franklin Habit for Lion Brand

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Celebrate National Barbecue Month with Yarncrafts!

May 7th, 2013

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Though it’s often the 4th of July that we think of for cookouts, May is actually National Barbecue Month! It’s no surprise, really, as May is often the first chance we get to start enjoying warmer weather and pulling the cover off the once snow-covered grill out on the patio. With Memorial Day upon us in just a few short weeks, you may have a barbecue of your own to start preparing for, and why not work on something other than a menu? These patterns, from our site and Ravelry, are the perfect projects to celebrate National Barbecue Month–and enjoy straight through until Labor Day!

 Image of 4th Of July Apron Show off your patriotic side with this easy-to-crochet apron, made with Cotton-Ease. With a pocket in the front for your grilling tools or recipe, this apron is the perfect addition to your barbecue repertoire. Get the pattern here.
These simple grill mitts make grabbing hot skewers from the grill easy as can be. They can be knitted or crocheted in Lion Cotton or Kitchen Cotton in whatever color you fancy. Get the knit version here, or get the crochet version here. Image of Pot Holder / Grill Mitt

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Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along – Additional Sizes (Or How to Resize a Pattern)

May 6th, 2013

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Tranquil Tank Top Knit-Along - How to Resize a PatternWe’ve heard from several of you (thanks for asking, Karen, Kate, and Chelli!) who are looking to make the Tranquil Tank Top larger or smaller than the bust sizes in the pattern. Because of this, I wanted to write up a quick blog post about how you can resize a pattern WITHOUT rewriting the directions.

How? Most of you know that getting the correct gauge is how we make sure that the item we make ends up the size we expect based on the pattern. It’s the reference point that makes sure that you’re on the “same page” as the designer.

We’ve all had that experience at least once in our knitting/crochet lives, where we’ve skipped the gauge swatch and ended up with a project that’s just too small or big. Well, by harnessing our gauge, we can purposely make a project larger or smaller.

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Celebrate Our 135th Anniversary with Us!

May 5th, 2013

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Can you believe that Lion Brand has been a staple in the yarn industry since 1878? This year, we’re celebrating our 135th anniversary, and we want to invite you, our customers, to a behind-the-scenes look at our operation. Lion Brand yarns have been on the market for 135 years, and today, we’re proud to say that six generations of the Blumenthal family have been involved in the company, from the corporate office to the baby faces on skein labels. Take a look at this short video to get to know the Blumenthals and their passion for yarn as well as education, inspiration and innovation.

If you’re viewing this blog post in your e-mail or an RSS reader, you may need to click on the title of the blog post to view it online and see the videos.

What special memories have you had involving Lion Brand throughout the years?


Katie Couric Interviews Vanna White–and Learns to Crochet!

May 2nd, 2013

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Vanna White joined Katie Couric on Katie’s show this week to talk about her love of crochet, working with Lion Brand, and our $1 million donation to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. She even shows Katie how to single crochet!

If you missed the segment, watch it below:

If you’re viewing this blog post in your e-mail or an RSS reader, you may need to click on the title of the blog post to view it online and see the videos.


Introducing… Heartland!

May 2nd, 2013

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HeartlandI’m a sucker for new yarns. I’ve been crocheting since I was eight and knitting since high school, and I’ve realized that sometimes I get myself into a rut: making the same patterns over and over again, using the same yarn or colors, or not stopping to learn new techniques. Each time I see a new yarn make its way into the department, it’s a new opportunity for me to pet something new and dream up different projects. Our newest yarn, Heartland was no exception. I sat down on the floor in front of all of the colors on Friday afternoon, just before my lunch break, and snagged two skeins that looked too precious to pass up: Great Smoky Mountains, which is a gorgeous multi-dimensional tweedy charcoal gray, and Denali, a pale, heathery pink. Of course, anybody who knows me at all knows that pink is my go-to color for almost everything, but I decided that, for whichever project I chose, I’d let the gray do most of the talking. How could I not? With all those different shades in there, it seemed like it had a lot to say–you know, visually. I only talk to my yarn when nobody else is around.

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