Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for July, 2013


How to Do the Long Tail Cast On

July 31st, 2013

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Also known as the slingshot cast on, this technique is fast and creates a neater look than your basic cast on. If you’ve ever seen it done by somebody else it looks very complex (I was super intimidated when I first saw it!), but it actually isn’t. Once you get the hang of it, you can quickly produce a beautiful and even cast on row!

how to do a long tail cast on

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Hints & Tips on Knitting Decreases

July 30th, 2013

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Throughout this season, we’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

When you decrease in knitting, you are not always losing stitches. Decreases are used in lace patterns, for example, and you’ll almost always have the same number of stitches after completing the row because the decreases are balanced by increases (most likely yarn overs). Lace pattern stitches will specify which decrease to use; the correct decrease is important because it impacts which way the fabric biases or slants.

Decreases are also used for shaping projects, such as sweaters and even purses, and you will be subtracting stitches. As in lace patterns, the correct decrease will help the fabric to slant in the direction it should. Patterns for garments will sometimes tell you which decrease to use when you are shaping the armholes and neck; other times the designer will assume you are already armed with this knowledge and you are left on your own. You could use the default k2tog decrease and turn out a perfectly fine sweater. But the correct decrease will give it a more professional look.

Which decrease to use is really quite logical. Although there are many more decreases available, it’s important to know that ssk slants to the left and k2tog slants to the right. These two decreases match each other in terms of appearance.

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Crafter Stories: Knitting and Crocheting in Public

July 29th, 2013

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Crafter Stories: Knitting and Crocheting in Public | Lion Brand Notebook

A little while ago, we asked you—our blog readers—to share your stories with us about knitting/crocheting in public. From making new friends to delighting strangers, you shared your experiences.

Here are just a few of the submissions we received:

I knit on the “L” in Chicago pretty regularly and it’s not unusual to get a comment or question from a stranger. But one time in particular I really broke the ice when my ball of yarn fell out of my bag and rolled all the way down to the other end of the car. Everyone burst into laughter because it was so unexpected and from then on the whole mood of the car changed. Everyone was talking to me, and to each other, and there were a lot more smiles the rest of the way home.
– Christine Renee, Chicago, IL

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Crochet as Meditation

July 24th, 2013

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares tips on meditating through crochet.

Crochet as MeditationI remember the first time that I tried formal meditation. I sat amidst a group of compassionate people with closed eyes who were letting go of all thoughts, focusing attention on their breath. I felt no compassion for myself as my monkey mind skittered about. I felt self-conscious about my constant twitching and resituating, certain I was irritating the peaceful beings around me. More than that, I simply didn’t enjoy the experience. My anxious mind raced into terrifyingly uncomfortable places. I left feeling that meditation is a great thing…for other people but not for me! Then I found crochet.

Crochet offers a chance to meditate in a way that many people find easier than sitting still in a room and focusing on the breath. Crochet is a relaxing, repetitive craft that can be done as a means to mindfulness. The combination of constant counting, gentle recurrent hand motions and focus on the work is a stress-reducer and a path to being present in the here-and-now.

Want to practice crochet as a form of meditation? Here are some tips:

  • Choose a project that requires only beginner skills, like a large granny square or a scarf made of only single crochet stitches.
  • Select a project that offers comfort in counting. For example, a scarf will let you count the same number of stitches again and again in each row.
  • Use a yarn color that feels comforting.
  • Work in a quiet, relaxed space.
  • Set an intention. At the beginning and end of the crochet project remind yourself what it is you want to achieve with meditative crochet. Celebrate the craft and celebrate yourself.

There is certainly something valuable to be found in formal meditation. However, it doesn’t work for all of us. In particular, people with mental health conditions including depression and anxiety may find it too difficult to simply sit on the cushion and watch the breath. We can use mindfulness crochet instead to bring ourselves back to the present moment, practicing compassion for ourselves and for others with each stitch.

What has been your meditation experience? How does crochet help?


How to Cable Without a Cable Needle: A Tutorial and Video

July 23rd, 2013

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Let’s say that one day, you’re working on that lovely cable project you’ve been looking forward to starting, it’s time for you to start your cable – you dig through your pouch full of notions and somehow, your cable needle is nowhere to be found! Oh no… now what?

I’m sure many of you have experienced working on a cable project with no cable needle nearby, and you have probably used something else in substitution of the cable needle – a pen, pencil, straw, etc.  But did you know that you can also cable without any needle at all, and it’s quite simple.  We have an easy tutorial with step by step images showing you how to cable without a cable needle, which you can find here – but now, you can watch the tutorial in action by viewing the video below!

Which is your preferred method for cabling? Share with us in the details!

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