Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for October, 2013

Cracking the (Pattern) Code, Part 4: Selecting the Right Tools

October 21st, 2013

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Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay joins us for a series on understanding the different elements of patterns. Click here to read her earlier blog posts.

Hooks and Needles

Cracking the (Pattern) Code, Part 4: Selecting the Right ToolsThe sizes of the hooks or needles listed in a pattern indicate the size used by the designer to achieve the listed gauge and to complete the item shown. Gauge is the number of stitches and rows worked in a piece fabric of a certain size. The hook or needle size helps determine the gauge and the gauge determines the size and drape of the fabric. Different knitters and crocheters, even when they use the exact same size hook, yarn, and pattern stitch, will often create fabric of different gauge. Accordingly, you may need to use different size hooks or needles to achieve the same results as the designer. Begin with the listed size, but check your results and be willing and prepared to change to a different size (see Gauge section below for more details).

Hooks and needles of different types may also be indicated. Knitting needles come in straights of different lengths, circulars of different lengths, and double-pointed. Crochet hooks can be standard, Tunisian, or double-ended. Be sure that you have (or are willing to acquire) the skill needed to use specific hooks and needles, especially double pointed knitting needles or Tunisian or double-ended crochet hooks.

Pro Tips

The hook and needle sizes listed may or may not be the same as the recommended size listed on the yarn ball band. The recommended size listed on a ball band is a size needed for a fabric of average drape (or firmness) made from the most basic of pattern stitches (single crochet or Stockinette st). A specific project is likely to warrant a different drape and the use of pattern stitches other than the basics, thus needing a different size hook or needles.


Pound of Love Projects for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 19th, 2013

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Cotton Candy PInk Pound of Love is $3.99 this October

I try to keep in touch with my college friends as much as possible. But it’s hard when they don’t live near you—especially when they live as far way as the Virgin Islands. When my friend Amanda told me her mother was passed away due to breast cancer, it pained me that I couldn’t be there for her.

Since then, I’ve been motivated to regularly email her, and send care packages every Christmas, which includes one handmade item. Since Lion Brand has marked down their Pink (#103) Pound of Love® to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought it would be the perfect time to think about her holiday care package.

Here are some patterns that can be used with Pound of Love:

Knit Sweater Bag Crochet Eyelet Shawl Easy To Crochet Bolero Knit Evergreen Speed Stitch Afghan
Knit Sweater Bag Crochet Eyelet Shawl Easy to Crochet Bolero Knit Evergreen Speed Stitch Afghan

Click here for more patterns that use Pound of Love.

Designs with Lion Brand Yarns Spotted at the Fall Knit and Crochet Show!

October 18th, 2013

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In the first weekend of October, myself, and a few Lion Brand team members attended the Fall 2013 Knit & Crochet Show in Concord, North Carolina. We had a great time chatting with designers in the industry, discussing yarns and patterns, and making new connections. One of my favorite parts about the show is seeing the many different projects people have worked on using Lion Brand yarns.  Below, you’ll see some creative patterns from talented crocheters who were at the show – go ahead and check them out.

Betsy's ShawlKnit & crochet designer Brenda Bourg in her Betsy’s Shawl pattern made in LB Collection Silk: Pluto Deborah and Crochet OwlDeborah Bagley’s Owl Bean Bag chair in Vanna’s Choice won 3rd place in the “Artistic Expression” category at the annual CGOA design competition.  You can find more designs from Deborah and her sister at Yarnovations. Vintage Christmas AfghanThis Vintage Christmas Afghan was designed by Sue Solakian in Heartland, and the pattern will soon be available at Mainly Crochet.


Exclusive Pattern: Huge & Huggable Mochimochi

October 17th, 2013

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If you loved designer and artist Anna Hrachovec’s books of teeny adorable mochimochi (her little knitted creatures and creations), you’ll love her newest book of giant buddies—just released!

To celebrate, we’re sharing a super-sized version of her popular Petite Pencil, excerpted from the book. Click on the image for the pattern and click on the book cover for more info about it!

Arthur (Plush Pencil) designed by Anna Hrachovec Huge & Huggable Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec
Arthur: Knitted Plush Pencil Huge & Huggable Mochimochi

Want your own copy of the book? Look out for a giveaway in next week’s issue of The Weekly Stitch!

9 Easy Halloween Accessories for Adults, Children, and Pets!

October 16th, 2013

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Halloween is 2 weeks away, and there’s still plenty of time to make yourself, a pet, or someone you know, a fun item for a costume or disguise. Today’s pattern round up includes simple designs that are sure to be gratifying projects because they can be completed before it’s time to celebrate. Be sure to check out the “Related Links” at the bottom of the page for more Halloween ideas and inspiration!

Jack O Lantern Dog Sweater
Knit Jack-O-Lantern Dog Sweater in
Hometown USA
Pumpkin Hat & Booties Set
Knit Pumpkin Hat and Booties set in Vanna’s
Choice Baby
King of the Beasts (Lion) Dog Sweater
Knit King of the Beasts (Lion) Dog Sweater in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, Moonlight Mohair, Homespun and Chenille


Crafter Stories: Knitting & Crocheting in Transit

October 15th, 2013

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passing time
passing time by ollesvensson, on Flickr

Over the last few months, we’ve been sharing stories from you, our readers, about your experiences knitting and crocheting in public. Today, I want to share a few crafting-in-transit stories that we’ve received:

I almost always crocheted when commuting to work on the Long Island Railroad. One day, the man sitting next to me said, “Wow, I haven’t seen anyone knitting in years!”

I replied, “You still haven’t—I’m crocheting.”
– Hazel in NY

Once I was knitting on the Long Island Rail Road when the conductor took my ticket without saying much. He came back a little while later, however, during a long stretch between stations. This burly guy wanted to show me his crocheting! I kept a straight face and admired his work, which was the kind of lacy doily that used to go on furniture. He must have learned this art at his grandmother’s knee.
– Ellen


An Introduction to Needle Felting

October 14th, 2013

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Darrin, our needle felting teacher at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City, shares some insights into this fun and sculptural craft technique. Shop felting tools on by clicking here.

If you knit or crochet, then you know how important it is to follow the pattern.  Obtaining the correct gauge, and counting stitches and rows are all required to be certain that your project will turn out like the pattern describes.  With needle felting you can forget about all of that!

I hope you will find needle felting liberating as I do, it is refreshing to be free from all of that regulated structure. Take back control of your yarn crafting, and make choices as you go.  Often, if I don’t like something, I just take my scissors and cut it off of my work. It is very liberating to work in a creative free-form way, where you can decide as you go if you like how your work is turning out.

What Is Needle Felting?

Needle felting is a popular fiber arts craft that creates felt without the use of water. Fiber artist Eleanor Stanwood first used special needles that were originally used in industrial felting machines in the 1980s to sculpt wool by hand. Now this art form is gaining in popularity.

Frequently, the needles are described as having barbs, spurs, or notches, along the shaft of the needle that grab the layers of fibers and tangle them together as the needle passes through the wool fiber. These notches face toward the tip of the needle and do not pull the fibers out as the needle exits the wool. Once tangled and matted, the felt can be very strong and used for creating fabric, jewelry, 3D sculptures, and just about any thing that you can imagine.  This is a very versatile art form, and you can really achieve very fine detailed work.


Cracking the (Pattern) Code, Part 3: Selecting Yarn & Buying the Right Quantity

October 13th, 2013

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Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay joins us for a series on understanding the different elements of patterns. Click here to read her earlier blog posts.

Cracking the (Pattern) Code, Part 3: Selecting Yarn & Buying the Right QuantityCrochet and knit patterns list a specific yarn and the number of balls of yarn needed. Using the specified yarn is the best way to achieve the intended results. If you would like slightly different results (e.g., different fiber content due to a sensitivity) or the specified yarn is not available, you may wish to substitute a different yarn. There are at least three things to consider when selecting a substitute yarn: 1) Weight, 2) Quantity, and 3) Drape. Yarns can be grouped into different weight categories, as described on the Craft Yarn Council web-site.

For best results, when a substitution must be made, select a yarn of the same weight and with similar fiber content. Yarn comes in balls of different weights and lengths. When determining how many balls of a substitute yarn will be needed, compare the total yardage. For example, if there are 120 yards in each ball of the specified yarn and 4 balls are needed, 4 x 120 yards = 480 total yards are needed.

If you wish to substitute a yarn that comes in balls of 110 yards each, you will need 480 / 110 = 4.63 balls, or 5 balls, of the substitute yarn. Different yarns look and behave a bit differently when knit or crocheted even when the exact same pattern stitch is used. A substitute yarn may yield firmer or looser fabric than the specified yarn. Make a swatch in the project pattern stitch, study the drape of the resulting fabric, and decide if the drape is acceptable.


I Love Yarn Day with Lion Brand

October 11th, 2013

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Here at Lion Brand we love yarn as much as you do, and to show our appreciation we encourage you to share our exclusive “I Love Yarn day” badge on your website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Proud Yarn Lover For Life
<a href="" target="_blank"><img title="Proud Yarn Lover For Life - I Love Yarn Day 2013" src="" alt="Proud Yarn Lover For Life - I Love Yarn Day 2013" width="163" height="200" /></a>

Not sure what to do to celebrate ILYD?  Here are some ideas:

  • Wear your latest knit or crochet item.
  • Meet up with a local knitting, crochet group.
  • If you like knitting or crocheting solo: take some time out of your busy day, relax, and pick up that WIP.
  • Visit our Studio or Outlet *(if you’re in the Tri-State area) and find some yarn for a new project. Or visit your LYS.

What are your plans for I Love Yarn Day? Share below or visit our Facebook.

*Note:  Be sure to check store hours as we tend to close early on Friday.

Video: A Family-Owned Company Looks Back at 135 Years in Business

October 10th, 2013

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Lion Brand is an 135-year-old American brand that’s still owned and operated by the Blumenthal family! Six generations of the family have been involved in every aspect of the company from the corporate offices, to being the baby models on the yarn labels, to working at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio. Join the Blumenthals as they recount some of their favorite memories of Lion Brand throughout the years.

If you’re reading this blog post in your email or an RSS reader, please click on the title to view the full blog post and video on our website.

What are some of your favorite memories of Lion Brand from your life? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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