Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for April, 2014


Craft Through the 7 Wonders of the Yarn World – Next Stop: Embellishments!

April 30th, 2014

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7wonders-embellishment
Nathan Vincent sculpture of the Taj Mahal; model wearing crochet Knit Embellished Pullover

Crafting is not just for cold months, but all year round. Warmer weather is the time for lacy projects and it’s also a great time to make garments brand-new with small embellishments.

Which brings us to our next stop in Lion Brand’s 7 Wonders of the Yarn World series: Embellishments and the Taj Mahal. Earlier this year we asked Nathan Vincent to create fiber art sculptures that incorporated seven different yarn techniques and to associate each with one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Previously in this series we’ve covered textures, stripes and chevrons, and cables.

Nathan’s recreation of the Taj Mahal represents this yarn technique well because of its attention to detail.

An embellishment can be anything from a simple ruffle or fur trim to a scarf made with our array of self-striping yarns like Unique and Tweed Stripes® to a complex embroidery pattern. Lion Brand’s Bonbons yarn is perfect for embroidery and embellishing larger projects like afghans and sweaters.

Below are some of amazing designs that use embellishments to make them even better!

CHA- embellish-lion CHA-embellish CHA-embellish-cowl CHA-gardenfantasyafghan
Knit Abstracted Lion Pullover Knit Embroidered Slouch Hat
with
Openwork Crochet Shrug
Crochet Flower Power Hat
with
Knit Modular Cowl
with
My First Collared Raglan Cardigan
Knit Garden Fantasy Afghan

Make DIY Flip Flops in Fettuccini® with Audra Kurtz from The Kurtz Corner

April 28th, 2014

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Audra Kurtz shows you how to make custom flip-flops using Lion Brand’s Fettuccini® Yarn!

If you enjoyed Audra’s tutorial, check out her YouTube channel, The Kurtz Corner!


Working with Multiple Strands of Yarn

April 28th, 2014

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This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.

There are so many different patterns that call for working with two, three, or even four strands held together (our Spring 2014 Knit-Along pattern, the Spring Lace Shawl, calls for four). Why do designers like working with multiple strands? There are quite a few reasons. Different colors held together and worked together as one can create a tweedy color effect. Two different yarns together may create a unique texture. Other times, the multiple strands will make for one extremely bulky yarn which enables an afghan to be worked up very quickly. Here are a few examples:

Marmalade Kimono Crochet Mother of the Bride Crochet 5/12 Hour Throw
Knit Marmalade Kimono: Two colors held together for a tweedy look. Crochet Mother of the Bride Shawl: Two different yarns held together for a combined texture. Crochet 5 1/2 Hour Throw: Several strands held together for a fast finish project.

If you’ve never knit or crocheted with multiple strands, don’t worry: just pretend you are working with a single strand; each stitch is made as if you were holding one strand of yarn. That’s really all there is to it.

Once you get started, you may find the strands twist together. People have come up with all kinds of ideas to try to prevent this from happening. You can section off a shoebox, putting one skein in each section, and make holes in the top to feed the yarn through. There’s even a gizmo specifically made for this purpose that you may see in stores. While these organizers will keep your balls from getting tangled into each other, they will not keep the strands of yarn from twisting as you knit or crochet them. This is in part due to how you wrap the yarn around your fingers as you feed it through as you work each stitch. I wrap it several times and every wrap twists it. Don’t worry if this happens though; it makes no difference if the strands are twisted around each other or not. The stitches will look the same regardless.

Here is the one word of caution however: it’s easy for the strands to get so tangled that loose loops start to form. Just take care that you don’t have any of these loops lurking as you work each stitch. If those loops are becoming a frequent problem, try running your fingers through and down the strands toward the skeins to eliminate some of them. If you are still having the problem, hold the strands of yarn and dangle the work itself, letting it spin to untwist the strands. I’ve found this a much easier solution than dangling the individual skeins.

Enjoy your next multiple strand project!

Want to learn more about creating colors by using multiple strands of yarn? Click here to read our popular blog post about the topic. 

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To sign up for the Weekly Stitch and get columns like this, free patterns, how-to videos and more, click here.


Chevrons to Love: the Zig Zag Dress

April 27th, 2014

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This story is from our newsletter called Pattern Journal which brings a warm-hearted, wholesome story to your inbox to read every month. We’re sharing the most recent story here in the blog. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

Knit Zig Zag DressSamantha, my youngest child, has always been the most protected. I’ve knitted for her steadily all along, believing that my hand-made garments would somehow shield her. Maybe it’s because she was a preemie—her miniature face overwhelmed by the baby bonnets I’d knitted months earlier. But she grew heartily, becoming an energetic, red-haired mop-top with strong lungs, much fiercer than her brothers. She loved to sing and got good parts in school musicals, belting out songs and reveling in the applause.

Now a teen, Samantha’s the classic package of ups and downs—surprising kindnesses, prickly outbursts, sentimental jags—wrapped in creative chaos. She did well in high school, was passionate about Drama Club and Math Team. College acceptances arrived; she agonized over two Midwestern universities, and oddly, all I thought of was what to knit for her to take to Chicago, against whose harsh winters she needed protection.

Then I see this amazing pattern, an adorable, vivacious dress, with chevrons of snappy color angling up and down, and I think, “That’s my beautiful Sammy girl.” I buy the yarn and start. Knitted on a number 9 circular in machine-washable, destruction-proof Heartland, it’s undoubtedly the most enjoyable project I’ve ever tackled. It goes fast. Stitch and color variation make it interesting; imagining Sammy in it is, simply, a pleasure.

Even with all this forethought, I wasn’t ready for her response when I gave her the dress as she left for Freshman Orientation. For once, my irrepressible daughter was speechless, and then, after we hugged she whispered, “Mama, this is the most absolutely perfect thing you’ve ever knitted for me.”

She sent me a photo-text last week. Standing on the Lake Michigan shore, she’s wearing the zig zag dress over a long-sleeved black tee, leggings, and sheepskin boots. She’s got on a scarf, a hat, a sweater, and mittens that I knitted, too, but everything pales beside this dress.

She wrote, “Mama, look, I’m covered in love!”

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Selma Moss-Ward is a freelance writer who combines her love of writing and of knitting in her columns, stories, and blog posts. Selma is also an active classical musician and the caretaker of five wonderful pets. She lives with them and her husband in Rhode Island.


Can You Run and Crochet Simultaneously? Susie Hewer Can!

April 26th, 2014

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Susie Hewer Deramore Crochet
(image courtesy of Deramores)

We want to congratulate Susie Hewer “The Extreme Knitting Redhead”, who ran the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, April 13th and won the Guinness World Record for creating the longest crochet chain while running a marathon!  Sponsored by our friends over at Deramores in the UK, Susie used the bright, cheery Hometown USA while she crocheted.

Susie began running to help support Alzheimer’s Research UK after losing her mother to vascular dementia in 2005.  Every race that Susie runs is in dedication to her mother, and she has raised thousands of dollars for dementia research over the years.

Crocheting is an art form that Susie embraces as a method of educating others on dementia. She uses crochet to teach how dementia breaks the links between cells until the brain can no longer function properly.  Additionally, her mother taught her to crochet when she was young, which makes this even more meaningful to her.

We wish Susie well on her future endeavors and hope that she continues to inspire more people along her journey! You can read more on her blog here.


9 Great Gifts for Mother’s Day!

April 25th, 2014

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With Mother’s Day just a few weeks away, there’s a great opportunity to thank the person who nurtured you and who may have even taught you how to knit or crochet. She could be your aunt, your grandmother, or, of course, your mother — so make a handmade gift to show how much you appreciate her and the time she’s spent with you over the years.

If you’re like myself, you have an abundance of wishlist items, so to help narrow it down, I’ve selected some of my favorite patterns that are great for gifting:

Crochet Romantic Lacy Shawl Knit Everday Glamour Cardigan Knit and Crochet Tunic
Crochet Romantic Lacey Shawl Knit Everday Glamour Cardigan Knit & Crochet Tunic
Knit Tweed Cowl Crochet Skipping Stone Tote Knit Seashell Shawl
Knit Tweed Cowl Crochet Skipping Stone Tote Knit Seashell Shawl
Top Down Crochet Jacket Knit Lace Eyelet Shawl Crochet Open Air Shrug
Top Down Crochet Jacket Knit Lace Eyelet Shawl Crochet Open Air Shrug

What will you be making?


Spring Lace Shawl Knit-Along: Save your sanity with a lifeline!

April 24th, 2014

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KAL_BADGE_2014-300x180Welcome back everybody. Its week three, we’re halfway through the knit along and I’m sure you are all starting to see some progress. Some of you may be cruising along without a care but more likely you’ve ripped back so many times that if you have to do it again you’ll be ripping out some hair as well! This week I’ll show you how you can save the work you’ve already done, and your sanity, with a lifeline.

A lifeline is a piece of yarn that you thread though a row of stitches. Once it’s in place you can rip back to the lifeline if needed without disturbing any of the work below it. I like to put a lifeline in after finishing a pattern repeat or after any part that I’ve struggled with and don’t want to risk having to do it again. To put a lifeline in thread a needle with some waste yarn then thread the yarn through each stitch on your needle.

lifeline1

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A Great Giveaway Just In Time for Mother’s Day!

April 23rd, 2014

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Update: Congratulations to our winners, Dixie I., Karen C., and Jamie T.! Check your email for a message from us about collecting your prizes!

Some of my favorite garments to crochet are shawls, or wraps if you prefer to call them that, because of how easy they are to throw over your shoulders whenever there’s a slight chill … and that’s why I’m extremely excited to announce this great giveaway, courtesy of Stackpole Books and Tammy Hildebrand:

Crochet Wraps: Every Which Way by Tammy Hildebrand features 18 original designs for you to try for yourself or make a gift just in time for Mother’s Day! We’re selecting 3 lucky winners who will receive a copy of the book, as well as enough LB Collection® Silk Mohair to make the Purple Passion wrap, a pattern we’ve made available to our readers here.

Contest ends May 7th, so enter now and good luck!


How to Make a Repeating Stitch Into a Scarf or Afghan

April 21st, 2014

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This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.

You have a throw pattern with a beautiful stitch pattern, but you’d like to make it wider or narrower. Or perhaps you’d like to make it into a scarf. Maybe the converse is true…you’d like to change a scarf into a throw.

It’s not as difficult as it may seem, even if you are a beginner!

There are two vital concepts that must be understood to accomplish this.

Calculating the Repeating Pattern

The first is the stitch multiple, or the number of stitches needed for one repeat of the stitch pattern. A multiple of 5 stitches means you can cast on any number of stitches that is divisible by 5 such as 25, 30, etc. A multiple of 6 + 1 means you need to cast on any number of stitches that is divisible by 6 plus 1 extra stitch; examples include 25, 37, etc.

Sometimes the pattern will tell you the multiple of stitches used which makes it much easier to make adjustments. If the information is not included, you will need to determine this yourself. You do this simply by adding up how many stitches are used.

Here’s a stitch pattern called Twin Rib:

Row 1: *k3, p3; rep from *
Row 2: *k1, p1; rep from *

Leaves of Grass Stitch
 Leaves of Grass Stitch

Row 1 uses 6 stitches (3 + 3) while Row 2 uses 2 stitches (1 + 1). The pattern is a multiple of 6 because that is the larger number and you need 6 stitches for Row 1 to work correctly. Since 6 is evenly divisible by 2, the 2 stitches in Row 2 are more frequently repeated.

Calculating Your Desired Gauge.

Crochet Cable Stitch The second concept is gauge. You might hate working a gauge swatch, but it really is important. Work your swatch in the stitch pattern. Measure how many stitches you get over 4 inches. Now divide by 4 to determine stitches per inch.

The “magic formula” is stitches per inch x desired width=number of stitches to cast on.Keep in mind that given a certain set of parameters, the exact width you wish to make your project may not be possible without making further adjustments to, for example, your gauge by switching either yarn or needle size.

Let’s say your gauge is 5 stitches per inch, you are using a stitch pattern that is a multiple of 12 and you wish to make a throw 33″ wide. 5 (sts per inch) x 33 (desired width)=165, so you would cast on 165 stitches. However, 165 is not evenly divisible by 12, so that won’t work for your stitch multiple of 12. You’ll need to choose the number closest to 165 evenly divisible by 12, which is 168.

Crochet Cable Stitch

Armed with that bit of knowledge, you can now easily adjust any throw or scarf pattern you have, even if it’s not written at the size you really wanted!

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To sign up for the Weekly Stitch and get columns like this, free patterns, how-to videos and more, click here.


Knitted Toys: Bouncy Bunny Sock Critter

April 20th, 2014

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Writer and avid knitter Selma Moss-Ward joins us for a series of blog posts about becoming a first-time grandmother and knitting toys. Click here to read her previous blog posts.

bouncy-bunny-sill
Maybe because I’m a serious sock knitter, I found this pattern irresistible. Sock construction from cuff to toe cleverly shapes Bouncy Bunny Sock Critter from his neck up. Equally clever is how his legs and body, which are knitted first, flow into the ribbed neckline.

I knitted Bouncy Bunny in a heathery Wool-Ease® color called “Mushroom.” The naturalness of this shade is augmented by subtle black fibers, resembling guard hairs, spun into the yarn.

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