Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Archive for July, 2013


How to Do the Long Tail Cast On

July 31st, 2013

Pin It

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

Related links:


Hints & Tips on Knitting Decreases

July 30th, 2013

Pin It

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.

(more…)


Crafter Stories: Knitting and Crocheting in Public

July 29th, 2013

Pin It

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

(more…)


Crochet as Meditation

July 24th, 2013

Pin It

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

Pin It

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!

Related Links:

 


Designer Spotlight: Lily Chin’s Versatile Styles and Skills

July 21st, 2013

Pin It

Designer Spotlight: Lily Chin | Lion Brand NotebookSomething I love about working in the yarn industry is all of the creative people you meet. Working with designers, artists, and writers constantly inspires me. One of my favorite people in the industry is extremely prolific designer Lily Chin.

Look her up on Amazon.com or Ravelry and you’ll find dozens of books and individual designs, ranging from accessible accessories to complex cables—reversible, no less!

But don’t take my word for it! Here are a few podcasts and videos from our collections featuring interviews with Lily herself:

Want to make your own Lily Chin original? Here are a few patterns she’s designed for Lion Brand that I think are awesome summer projects:

(more…)


Learn Skills Online with Craftsy & Lion Brand!

July 18th, 2013

Pin It

betwee_takes

Do you love the tutorials and how-tos here on the Lion Brand Notebook? If so, you’ll be excited to hear that we’re partnering with Craftsy–the online education experts–to bring you knit & crochet classes the Lion Brand way! Look out for more info later this year!

Here’s a sneak peek at one of the classes we shot earlier this year…Can you guess what it’s going to be?

Sign up for our Weekly Stitch newsletter or keep an eye here on the blog for announcements later this year!

Save Up to 75% Off Online Classes

In the meantime, save on Craftsy’s online classes during their Sweet Summer Sale. Starting today, save up to 75% off select classes. Click here: http://lby.co/195f99E

Check their site each day through this Sunday (July 21) for different online class offerings!

Today’s selection of classes only lasts until midnight, so be sure to sign up and save on your favorites today then check in tomorrow for new online classes on sale. Get unlimited lifetime access once you sign up and learn on your own schedule, in your own home!


Get Inspired by Our Under-the-Sea Window (Plus 9 Patterns for DIY Sea Creatures)

July 17th, 2013

Pin It

At the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, our store and education center in NYC, we’re proud to showcase amazing window displays each month. This summer, our window features a fantasy ocean scene, complete with a knitting octopus, sea stars, coral, jellyfish and even a mermaid.

To see more about how our artists created this one-of-a-kind scene, click here to visit the store’s blog.

9 Patterns for Under-the-Sea Inspiration

Although these large-scale art-pieces took several months to complete and combine many different yarn crafting techniques, you can create your own sea creatures with patterns from LionBrand.com

(more…)


9 Colorful, Summery Tote Bags to Knit & Crochet

July 15th, 2013

Pin It

During the summer, a fun and satisfying project can be a tote bag. Perfect for taking to the beach or on road trips, tote bags can also be a great opportunity to have fun with color. Below are 9 of my favorite tote bag patterns from LionBrand.com!

Image of 4 Ball Market Bag Image of Loom Woven And Knit Bag Image of Rainbow Burst Tote
Crochet 4 Ball Market Bag Loom Woven and Knit Bag Crochet Rainbow Burst Tote

(more…)


Gauge & Why It Matters

July 14th, 2013

Pin It

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. 

Every knitter and crocheter has heard of it. Most ignore it. The smart ones know better. What is it? Gauge, of course.

You’ll see gauge (also sometimes referred to as tension) mentioned in your pattern and on the yarn label. Assuming you are knitting with the same yarn as the pattern used, the gauge on the label may or may not be the same.

The gauge on the label is only a suggestion…a starting point for the gauge of the yarn the manufacturer felt was best. You’ll see a needle size noted too; this is also just a suggestion. All yarn works to a variety of gauges with various needles sizes; in fact, some yarn labels will give you a range of suggested gauges and needle sizes.

If the pattern gauge is different than the label, this is gauge you need to achieve. Ignore the label. Remember, the gauge and needle size of a pattern is only the gauge that particular designer achieved with that size needle. Your mileage may vary. This is why you need to check your gauge before beginning to knit the project. If you fail to do this, you may end up very disappointed at the outcome.

Don’t believe it’s important? Let’s say you are knitting a sweater and the back should measure 20″ across. The gauge in your pattern is 16 sts = 4″, in other words 4 sts = 1″, so the number of sts you’ll work over will be 80 (20 x 4). Suppose you are getting 3.75 sts to the inch instead of 4. Your piece will measure 21.4” (80 divided by 3.75). If you were knitting at 4.25 sts to the inch instead of 4, your piece would measure 18.8″ instead of 20. So, as the math shows you that even a quarter of a stitch in your gauge indeed makes a huge difference! The more stitches you are working over, the larger this difference will be.

(more…)