Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for May, 2014


Ready for a night of ballroom dancing with Lola?

May 30th, 2014

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Here is the latest installment of Lola, from its creator Todd Clark.

LBBolero_05282014

Want to knit the Simply Elegant Bolero? Get the free pattern here.

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By the way, Todd Clark was recently featured in the Idaho Press-Tribune — way to go Todd!

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Knit or crochet the Lola seen in the photo above, get the free pattern here.

Enjoy other installments of Lola here.


Our Visit And Photoshoot At Vanna White’s Home

May 29th, 2014

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In this post Lion Brand’s Creative Director Adina Klein shares stories and behind-the-scenes photos from her recent visit to Vanna White’s home near Los Angeles, CA. Joining her were Lion Brand’s Production Coordinator Karlye Mayer and our lovely photographer Jack.

After twenty years, Vanna is definitely part of the Lion Brand family.  Some of us have been to her home and she’s been to ours. Most recently she attended the company barbecue at our New Jersey headquarters. Going to Vanna’s house is more like visiting a friend than visiting a celebrity–well, maybe, except for the fact that her house is nicer than most of our friends’ houses. And even though she has a beautiful home with spectacular views, there’s something so down-to-earth about it–just like Vanna.  Vanna even made us breakfast and let us into her closet to pick clothes for her for the shoot.

You’d think her closet would be filled with glamorous gowns, but it was actually filled with an assortment of jeans, slacks, sweaters and t-shirts! We hung out in her bedroom, playing with her cat, Stella, while she had her hair done. We walked around the house, while she got dressed, looking for great spots to photograph.  In case you couldn’t tell, we felt right at home.  You’d never know she is one of the most well-known celebrities in the world!

One thing we love about Vanna is that she’s always calm, always gracious, and always kind.  It made it a lot easier for us to get great photos of her because she puts everyone at ease.  Now that we’re back home, we’ll be editing the photos and finalizing the patterns for the beautiful afghans and garments we shot and soon you’ll see the results of the day we spent with Vanna.


Make a Your Own Flower Bouquet using Bonbons Yarn!

May 28th, 2014

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bonbons-violet

During the summer months I prefer to work on smaller projects – something that I can complete in a day or so.

When I saw a crochet flower pattern on one of Lion Brand’s Pinterest boards, I knew it would be the perfect project for Bonbons. I decided on the “Nature” combination because of the variety of floral color combinations I could do with just one package.

Even though Bonbons are small skeins of yarn, they go a long way! As you can see I’ve finished a few and I still have some leftover for several more! Flowers are great for embellishing solid color cardigans, shawls, and scarves. Or even a bouquet or corsage for special occasions like weddings or proms.

For more fun projects with Bonbons, I’ve collected some of my favorite flowers patterns below:

morninglorysmall applesmall poppysmall
Knit Morning Glory Crochet Apple Blossom Knit Field Poppy
tradescantiasmall rosesmall lilysmall
Crochet Tradescantia Knit Rose Crochet Lily of the Valley

Check out even more flower patterns on Stitchfinder.


Celebrity Style: Anne Hathaway Rocks a Granny Square Sweater and You Can Too!

May 27th, 2014

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Anne Hathaway celeb style

See it … make it!

We spotted Anne Hathaway in this adorable granny square sweater and it reminded us of Lion Brand’s Granny Raglan Pullover pattern.

The Granny Raglan Pullover is crocheted using Vanna’s Choice® in the color Navy and Vanna’s Palettes in Charming.

Vanna’s Palettes are brand new here at Lion Brand. Each package contains 8 miniature skeins of yarn in colorways that are specifically designed to complement each other and a coordinating skein of Vanna’s Choice®. Look for more great patterns for this convenient new yarn on our website soon …

865SkeinArt

See it … make it: Granny Raglan Pullover.

:: Photo by Neil Mockford/FilmMagic. ::


5 Ways to Knit Increases

May 26th, 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.

An increase adds stitches and creates shaping as a general rule. Lace patterns will use increases to balance decreases and you usually end the row with the same number of stitches you started with.

Many times, the pattern will tell you which specific increase to use; this is especially true with lace patterns. If the pattern tells you to simply increase, use the default increase: knit in the front and back of the same stitch (usually abbreviated kfb).

When working an increase in shaping, such as making sleeves wider, work them at least one stitch in from the edge. This makes seaming much easier.

Let’s take a look at some various ways to increase (click on any highlighted text to see diagrams:

1. Knit in the Front and Back (kfb)

As mentioned earlier, this is the default increase. It’s sometimes called a bar increase as it leaves a noticeable “bar” of yarn from the original stitch as it’s manipulated twice. It does not distort and it’s a perfectly fine increase except for the bar. If you don’t look closely, it will not be noticed.

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A Gift Just Because: Knit Compact Car Blanket

May 25th, 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.

Because you were there from the start—changing diapers, giving bottles, soothing us while we cried and cried. (Your twin challenges, you’ve always said.)

Because coming home from work, you stooped down with your arms open, and we ran to you, shouting “Daddy! Daddy!” for the world’s biggest hugs. And then you carried us, one twin per arm.

Because you took us camping and taught us about nature. Because you showed us how to play baseball and swim underwater.

Because you said you loved the blobby art we made at school. Because you always read us bedtime stories, and now that we can read ourselves, you still read us stories sometimes—just because…

Because you showed us how to make kites and fly them. Because you took us to the beach on windy days to fly our kites, and afterwards got us ice cream.

Because you like teaching us to fix leaky faucets and squeaky doors, and showing us the best tools for fix-it jobs.

Because you always call us your girls…including Mom.

That’s why we knitted you this blanket. The three of us, taking turns! It’s in your favorite colors. Mom’s stripes are white, Becky’s blue, and Jenny’s green. It’s for keeping in your car—because you spend a lot of time waiting for us in parking lots, while we’re at ballet and piano lessons, soccer practice, the movies, the mall. Because we know it’s often chilly out there, while you wait.

Because you never complain about getting chilly out there.

Because we love you, Daddy.

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.


8 Beautiful Patterns from Ravelry, Perfect for Weddings!

May 24th, 2014

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Wedding season is here and I know there are many brides-to-be, mothers, and friends searching for the perfect handmade pattern for the joyous occasion. How lovely it would be to have a handmade shawl or gift on that special wedding day; sure to become an heirloom piece, passed down from mother to daughter, and cherished for a lifetime.

I spent some time browsing wedding-related patterns on Ravelry and found these gorgeous patterns, all perfect for the big day. Couple them with Lion Brand’s “wedding appropriate” yarns, and just maybe you’ll have the perfect handmade wedding gift you’ve been looking for!

 Flying Home by Kat Coyle
Project by Ravelry User Lorix5
Knit Pattern: Flying Home by Kat Coyle
LB Collection Silk Mohair in Wisp
Morpho Shawlette by Cheri McEwen
Project by Ravelry User Paeonia
Crochet pattern: Morpho Shawlette by Cheri McEwan
LB Collection Silk Mohair in Wisp

 


Project by Ravelry User AngelSong76
Knit Pattern: Celtic Knot Stole by Sarah Kendrick Hughes
Vanna’s Glamour in Topaz
Siren Shrug
Project by Ravelry user BrotherLadies
Knit Pattern: Cashmere Bolero by Sharon Sorken
LB Collection Baby Alpaca in Fawn Heather
Vanna’s Glamour in Moonstone

 

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Lion Brand Recommendations: Two Fast-Finish Afghans

May 22nd, 2014

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Looking for a fast, last minute gift for an anniversary, birthday, or baby shower? The secret is to pick a project that uses basic stitches and multiple strands of yarn, says Jackie Smyth, Lion Brand’s technical editor. We asked Jackie to recommend two quick and simple patterns for beautiful afghans on the fly and to tell us all about why she likes them.  (This column originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.)

Fast Finish Throw Speed hood Baby Blanket
Fast Finish Throw Speed Hook Baby Blanket

LBY Newsletter: You’ve chosen two simple, speedy patterns for our readers. What’s your first recommendation?

Jackie: I love the Fast Finish Throw because it’s just about as simple as they come. The beautiful colors in this afghan are soothing and it has a wonderful texture.

This project is easy and fast for two reasons: First, it’s made using only stockinette stitch. And second, it’s worked on Speed Stix, our exclusive size 50 knitting needles. When you work with Speed Stix the resulting fabric is quite forgiving so exact gauge is not a worry, making it simpler for knitters of all levels. When you knit with Speed Stix, it creates stitches that are an inch tall, which means that you see results quickly.

LBY Newsletter: What about the gorgeous colors in this afghan? How did you get that blended effect?

Jackie:The Fast Finish Throw is made with four different colors of Jiffy®yarn held together, so it has the beautiful look of tweed. It’s a gorgeous look without a lot of effort, something that everyone from beginners to designers can appreciate.

LBY Newsletter: That definitely sounds like a great, simple project. What’s the second pattern you’d like to recommend to our readers?

Jackie: My second recommendation is our Speed Hook Baby Blanket. You only need to know how to do a single crochet stitch to make this one! This blanket is made with our size S-35 Speed Hook, which is an extra large crochet hook. Again, your gauge doesn’t have to be exact with the Speed Hook. Like the first afghan, this adorable baby blanket also uses multiple strands of yarn—this time three strands of Cotton-Ease—which not only makes it extremely fast to crochet, but adds dimension to the color. You can make it in the recommended colors, our alternative color combination, or in colors of your own choosing. I think that this one is absolutely perfect to make for a last minute gift.

LBY Newsletter: So what are the main things that our readers should remember about these projects?

Jackie: Again, the key to the ease and beauty of both of these projects is simplicity. You can use basic stitches and super-sized needles and hooks, along with multiple strands of yarn worked together, to make these simple and satisfying blankets.

LBY Newsletter: Thanks for your recommendations, Jackie. We look forward to speaking to you again next month for more great tips.

For more great patterns, sign up for our New Patterns Alert, and see the latest creations from our Design Department.

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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.


Make a Charlotte Brontë Cape with Yolanda Soto-Lopez

May 20th, 2014

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Re-visit the Victorian era with one of our most popular crochet patterns, the Charlotte Brontë Cape, made with Homespun® Thick & Quick®. This informative two-part video series, hosted by Yolanda Soto-Lopez of “All Crafts Channel”, offers detailed instructions for making this piece, from start to finish!

Join Yolanda as she walks you through each and every step of this easy project that’s perfect for beginners.

Charlotte Brontë Cape — Part One

Charlotte Brontë Cape — Part Two

“I’m just going to crochet because I cannot help it.”


10 Most Important Health Benefits of Yarncrafting

May 20th, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. This is part one in her 6-part series for us on the topic of yarncraft health. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here

Yarn heals. Whether you prefer needles or hooks or a combination of both, crafting can soothe your body and mend your mind. Anecdotal evidence has shown this for decades and new research confirms it with science. The benefits people report are seemingly endless. Here are the top 10 yarncrafting health benefits.

1. Knitting and Crochet Relieve Depression

Depression relief is by far the most reported and studied benefit of crochet and knitting. The repetition of the crafts has been shown to release serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. CNN recently reported that “in one study of more than 3,500 knitters, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling “very happy.”

Knit Aromatherapy Eye Pillow
Knit & Crochet Aromatherapy Eye Pillow

2. Crafting Reduces Anxiety

Yarncrafts helps with various forms of anxiety. It keeps your hands busy and mind focused so that you can attend classes or events even when you have social anxiety. It brings the internal mind to a calmer space for when you’re coping with the anxiety of repetitious thoughts. The counting has even been shown to serve as a productive outlet for people with anxiety associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as eating disorders. The Craft Yarn Council reports on one study that showed nearly ¾ of women with anorexia found knitting to be calming and anxiety-reducing.

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