Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for June, 2014


Why It’s Important To Celebrate World Wide Knit In Public Day

June 13th, 2014

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wwkpWorld Wide Knit In Public Day takes place June 14-June 22 this year. Now, you might think, “Why do I need a holiday to knit (or crochet) in public?” The reason is that in many peoples’ brains, knitting  and crocheting still reside in a section labeled “old fashioned.” Believe it or not, 10-15 years ago, people were actually ridiculed for pulling out their yarn, needles and hooks in public and they hesitated to do it.

We’ve come a long way. But we’re not there yet.  I was knitting at an airport a couple of weeks ago and a man watching intently spoke up after a while and said, “I haven’t seen anyone do that since my grandmother.”  The man was in his 60s! I wanted to ask him where he’s been but obviously, he hasn’t been anywhere where he has seen people who don’t look old fashioned knitting or crocheting in public.

That’s where you come in.  Make your presence known. Promote your hobby on the train, the subway, the airport, the doctor’s office, the beach, the park,  the hockey game, the local coffee shop or bar. You know how great it is that you have this craft.  It helps you relax. It offers you the opportunity to give meaningful gifts. It allows you to be creative and productive in a tangible way.  Go out. Knit in public.  People will talk to you and you’ll have an opportunity to tell them what they’re missing.

Visit World Wide Knit (&Crochet) In Public Day’s Facebook page to find or lead a group and use the hashtag #wwkipday to find information and share images and info about knitting in public.

Then, let us know how it goes.  We’d love to hear your stories!

 


4 Pattern Specific Kits for Your Next Project Inspiration

June 12th, 2014

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Today we’re highlighting four awesome kits to inspire you to get you started on your next project! Two knit and two crochet, each kit includes all of the yarn you need to complete the project, and since everything is bundled for a specific pattern, you get a bargain deal!

Be sure to check out the links below the images for more kits, including options for babies, afghans, adult garments and more.

Sun and Sea Shawl Kit
(Knit) Sun and Sea Shawl Kit
Pattern Full Price= $33.96, Kit Price= $20.38
Edith Shawl
(Knit) Edith Shawl Kit
Pattern Full Price= $42.45, Kit Price= $33.95
USA Afghan
(Crochet) USA Afghan Kit

Pattern Full Price= $58.19, Kit Price= $45.97
Sunset Shrug
(Crochet) Sunset Shrug

Pattern Full Price= $24.25, Kit Price= $25.24
  • Interested in kits for baby related patterns? Click here.
  • Looking for more garment and accessory pattern kits? Click here.
  • Want to check out more afghan and blanket kits, then click here.

Show your love of Americana crafts with these 9 patterns!

June 11th, 2014

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There’s something about the color combination of red, white, and blue.  It has the power to make you feel bold, confident, and most of all, proud. With the 4th of July coming up in a few weeks, we’re celebrating the American spirit in the best way we know how – by crafting up a storm!

To represent your love for American-made items (and ours too!), we’re offering a 20% discount on all of our Made in the USA yarns like Country®, Heartland, Hometown USA®, Kitchen Cotton, and, one of our newest yarns, Quickie!

You can check out more of our American-made yarns here.

Below you’ll find some of our favorite Lion Brand patterns that capture the American spirit best:

Loom Woven Placemats Crochet Flag Headband Knit Lion Country Afghan
Loom Woven Placemats in Hometown USA® Crochet Flag Headband in Heartland Knit Americana Afghan in Vanna’s Choice®
Crochet 4th of July Potholders Knit Independence Day Kerchief Crochet 4th of July Garland
Crochet 4th of July Potholders in Cotton-Ease® Knit Independence Day Kerchief
in Vanna’s Glamour®
Crochet 4th of July Garland in Cotton-Ease®
Knit Flag Pullover Crochet Independence Day Table Mats Crochet Americana Afghan
Knit Flag Pullover in Heartland Crochet Independence Day Table Mats in Kitchen Cotton Crochet Americana Afghan in Heartland

What will you be making that’s red, white, and blue?


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

June 10th, 2014

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As we continue on the journey of The 7 Wonders of the Yarn World – a spectacular series of handmade, yarncrafted sculptures by fiber artist Nathan Vincent – our next stop is an exploration of the beautiful motifs of granny squares. The 6th yarn wonder in our collection features a small scale Great Wall of China, assembled with hundreds of granny squares to compose the wall itself and the hilly landscape it sits on.

SevenWondersSculptureandJacket
Nathan Vincent’s sculpture of the Great Wall of China; model wearing Granny Square Coat

Sometimes thought of as old-fashioned, granny squares are experiencing a revival of sorts and being refashioned into numerous different styles and shapes. In fact, you’ll find they’re quite popular in “hippie-inspired” spring and summer collections. Granny squares, which are crocheted, can be formed into different shapes like hexagons, flowers and stars. Crocheting a granny square motif is done by crocheting in multiple rounds from the center starting point, moving outwards.

The granny squares created in the Granny Square Coat pictured above are a harmonious blend of jewel tones found in our color-changing yarn Unique. The modern construction of this granny square jacket is slightly oversized and cozy, making it ideal for pairing with skinny or bootcut jeans and a basic top. Check out more granny square fashions below!

 

sevenwondersgrannyvannaspalettesModern Granny Hat and
Modern Granny Scarf
sevenwondersgrannysweaterartfullyaskewGranny Raglan Pullover and
Artfully Askew Afghan
SevenWondersPicnicBlanketSparkly Granny Cap and
Hexagon Fireworks Picnic Blanket

 


How to Increase in a Row or in the Round

June 9th, 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.

As you work on shaping a project, a pattern may ask you to increase or decrease a specific number of stitches evenly across a row or round. But it won’t tell you how often to do this…just to do it evenly.
Increase
You don’t want the increases or decrease bunched up together at one point because it would make your piece lopsided. To avoid this, you want them spaced as evenly as possible across the row or round.

So you’ll need to do some simple math in order to determine how often to increase or decrease so they are spread out evenly.

Getting Started

  • You should know the number of stitches you currently have. The pattern will indicate how many stitches you need to increase or decrease.

    Example: Let’s say you have 100 stitches and the pattern calls for 10 increases. Dividing 100 by 10 equals 10, so you would increase once every 10th stitch.

  • If you’re knitting in rows, you’ll need to add one to the number of stitches you are to increase. Otherwise, in the above example of 100 stitches and 10 increases, the first increase would occur on the 10th stitch and the last increase would occur on the 100th stitch (10, 20, 30, 40, etc.).

    Example: Suppose you have 110 stitches and you’re to increase 10 stitches. Adding 1 to 10 equals 11. Dividing 110 by 11 equals 10, so you would increase one stitch every 10th stitch.

  • Whether knitting in the round or back and forth, the numbers don’t always work out exactly even, and you will get a fraction instead.

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Top 10 Patterns from May!

June 8th, 2014

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maypoppat

After a long winter and sluggish spring, warm weather is finally here to stay and just like an explosion of spring flowers, this month’s top patterns reflect a brighter, more cheerful palette. Bold patterns also take center stage with zig-zags, ripples, stripes, and granny squares. With all of the dazzling color changes and stitch patterns, you might assume that these projects are only for the expert crafter, but thanks to the magic of vivid color-changing yarns like Unique and our brand new Vanna’s Tapestry, most of these projects are rated easy! After all, taking up your favorite craft should be rewarding AND relaxing (it’s good for you too!).

It looks like many of you are getting into new crafts as well, so we’re pleased to offer more patterns for our Knit & Weave Loom like the placemat shown below. For those of you who are new to weaving, coasters and placemats are great beginner projects and they also make great handmade gifts!

Finally, May is the time many yarncrafters begin patriotic projects for Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day, so it’s no surprise that our Flag Afghan is number one again (it’s popular all year round – it was #1 in February and in the top 10 for March!). With our best-selling Heartland yarn that’s proudly Made in the USA, it’s a great way to honor the Red, White, and Blue!

Knit Simple Lace Shawl Granny Inspired Afghan Knit Poncho Pullover
Knit Simple Lace Shawl in Unique Crochet Granny Inspired Afghan in Unique Knit Poncho Pullover in Vanna’s Tapestry
Knit Color Rich Afghan Granny Square Coat Knit Zig Zag Throw
Knit Color Rich Afghan in Vanna’s Tapestry and Vanna’s Choice® Crochet Granny Square Coat in Unique Knit Zig Zag Throw in Vanna’s Choice®, Vanna’s Glamour®, Homespun® and Unique
Loom Woven Placemat Crochet Modern Ripple Baby Blanket New Slant Afghan
Loom Woven Placemat in Bonbons Crochet Modern Ripple Blanket in Bonbons and Pound of Love® Crochet New Slant Afghan in
Wool-Ease®

Train Your Own Little Dragon(s) with The Dragon Slayer Hood and Dog Sweater

June 6th, 2014

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dragonknit
How to Train Your Dragon 2 comes out next Friday and we’re so excited! Are you excited?

To mark the day, here are two fantastic new dragon-themed patterns for you. Kids will love seed stitch dragon scales on The Dragon Slayer Hood and just for fun, make The Dragon Slayer Dog Sweater for the family pooch – they’ll be off having backyard adventures together before you know it.

Both Dragon Slayer patterns are made with Vanna’s Choice® yarn, which means you have a wide variety of color combinations to choose from.


How to Customize a Pattern Using Color

June 5th, 2014

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Hand-knit and hand-crocheted items make great gifts to be treasured and loved. Make them even more special by making them unique. Pick colors special to you or your recipient and you’re sure to please, says Jackie Smyth, our technical editor. We asked Jackie to recommend readers three patterns that feature color as the main attraction. (This column originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.)

Knit Slip Stitch Pom Hat Crochet Sante Fe Throw Crochet Little Princess Throw

LBY Newsletter: Knitting and crocheting are great for handmade gifts that really reflect the giver or the recipient. What’s a simple recommendation about how to customize a project?

Jackie: One word—COLOR. The great thing about patterns is that it’s easy to choose other colors in the same yarns and get a totally different look. To make a pattern really personal, choose colors that you like or that have representative meanings to the recipient. Perhaps they love autumn colors or spring colors. The right colors can add a lot of depth to a project.

LBY Newsletter: What if you are nervous about choosing colors that will go together?

Jackie: Going with a yarn that has a great color range is often a good place to start. The Lion Brand Design team works to create yarn collections that are designed that coordinate beautifully.

LBY Newsletter: What’s a yarn you might recommend for someone looking for easy-to-match yarns?

Jackie: Vanna’s Choice® is a great yarn for mixing and matching colors. All 23 of the solid colors in this collection are designed to match and coordinate. You could use three colors in one family—say, Dusty Rose, Rose, and Antique Rose—to get a light-to-dark effect, or you could pick a few contrasting colors like Purple, Chocolate, Pea Green, and Rust that will really pop against each other.

It’s good to look for inspiration from the things around you. The garden is one place to find unexpectedly beautiful contrasting colors. Fashion and architecture are other places to draw inspiration.

LBY Newsletter: Would you recommend a few colorful patterns for our readers?

Jackie: For a simple project, I like the Slip Stitch Pom Hat pattern. We’ve carefully plotted the colors for each pattern stripto create a bold statement piece, but I would encourage you to experiment with your own color combinations. You could draw from the current fashion concept of Normcore and create a more traditionally color hat.

Next, I like the Santa Fe Throw. In colors to match the recipient’s home décor, it but would make a truly fabulous house warming gift.

My third recommendation, the Little Princess Throw, of the impact of color in your project. Tailor your color choice to the baby to create an heirloom – or have fun with gender neutral brights–have fun!

Don’t be afraid to change the colors in a pattern to suit you better. That’s the great thing about knitting and crocheting; you can really make every item your own.

LBY Newsletter: Thank you for your recommendations, Jackie. We look forward to speaking with you again next month.

For more pattern ideas, click to visit our Pattern Finder.

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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.


The Future of Fashion: Knitwear Designs from Students at the Fashion Institute of Technology

June 3rd, 2014

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Every year, senior students from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) design knitwear pieces for their thesis project. As a proud sponsor of the knitwear class, Lion Brand is thrilled to be associated with this iconic school; a school that’s respected and well-loved within the fashion industry.

Each Spring semester, students work with Lion Brand yarns to create beautiful, high-fashion inspired garments, with many of the final works being featured in the school’s annual Future of Fashion fashion show in May. This past fashion show featured a stunning array of pieces, and I’m happy to share with you some of the most amazing designs that graced the runway, along with some “process” shots of their creation. I’ll be highlighting several other amazing pieces in upcoming blog posts, so be sure to keep an eye out!

Hand dye oneDesigner and student Ou Ma hand-dyed skeins of LB Collection Silk Mohair Hand Dye twoOu Ma was inspired by the Cobweb Lace course she took at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio and used some of the technique she learned for the dress.
cobweb lace close upOu Ma’s Handpainted Dress on the runway

 

coin tying pt 2Sakshi Awal places pennies in the LB Collection Angora Merino knit material and ties them tightly with thread. Embossed CoinsA larger cluster of the tied coins in the knit fabric, which will be washed to create an embossed fabric.
Fashion Show Spring 2014Sakshi’s final dress without the coins on the runway.

And here are some other beautiful, creative designs:

Fashion Show Spring 2014Student and designer Jeong Ah (Jay) Woo’s dress knit with Romance and LB Collection Silk Mohair Fashion Show Spring 2014Student and designer Jeanette Yu’s LB Collection Silk Mohair dress featured on the runway.
Fashion Show Spring 2014Student and designer Dongeun Kwon’s dress on the runway with LB Collection Silk Mohair (Midnight) and Superwash Merino Cashmere (Ebony)

Please also check out the knitGrandeur blog for more photos of designs that were featured on the runway! (photo credits: Matthew Septimus, 2014)


6 Helpful Tips For Knitting in the Round

June 2nd, 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.

dpns_small

Knitting in the round can seem daunting, but with a bit of practice, it’s no more difficult than knitting on straight needles. Here are some tips that I hope will make it a bit easier!

1. Circulars and Length

The appropriate circular needle length is the same size or slightly shorter than the circumference of the piece you are knitting. If it’s too short you’ll have trouble keeping all the stitches on the needle; if it’s too long, the fabric will be stretched too taut (this is why you need to switch to double points when decreasing the crown of a hat).

2. A Neater Join

For some people, the usual way of knitting the first stitch of the round can be loose and therefore sloppy. You can tighten it up with the tail when weaving in the end later.

A better way to join it the round can be to cast on one extra stitch. Slip this stitch to the left (the first needle if casting on to double points); this is the beginning of the round and next to the first stitch you cast on. Then knit the two stitches together.

Still better, slip the first stitch you cast on to the right, next to the last cast on stitch. Pass the last cast on stitch (which is now the second stitch on the right) over the slipped stitch, give the yarn a tug and begin your round.

3. Which Double-Pointed Needles to Buy

Aluminum needles can be slippery and your stitches will always want to slide off. Try bamboo or plastic.

Double points come in different lengths. Longer ones can be a bit more awkward but for larger number of stitches, you’ll need them so your stitches don’t fall off.

They come in sets of 4 or 5. If you have the option, always buy 5; then you’ll have it if you need it (and if one disappears you’ll have a spare!).

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