Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Make Two by Franklin Habit

May 5th, 2016

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franklin_400x400Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

Every so often, usually during a rare moment when I feel pretty good about myself, a well-meaning relation sends me one of those perennial news items about a lady who has crocheted the same blanket for every baby born in her town since 1957, or another lady who singlehandedly keeps an entire children’s hospital supplied with knitted teddy bears, or that other lady who cranks out 100,000 pairs of mittens annually to warm the chilly hands of the poor.

These inspiring stories are invariably accompanied by a note saying, “Hey, you could do something like this.”

Sure, okay. Maybe I could also sail to China on a mulberry leaf, or spin straw into rigatoni.

I’m not so good at repetitive knitting.

Or maybe I am. I don’t know, because I pretty much refuse to do it. I have a deep-seated, abiding aversion to knitting the same thing twice. It is only through the cultivation of an iron will that I do not have a wardrobe of full of unwed socks and one-armed sweaters.

I am not proud of this. I see it as a character flaw to be smoothed away, much like my fear of flying. Both keep me from living life to the fullest.

To overcome the aerophobia, I’ve found it comforting to interact with people who love airplanes. My father, for example, is a pilot; and keeps an airplane in his backyard where normal people keep a toolshed. When taking off, or bouncing through unstable air, I hang on tight and try to remember his frequent rhapsodies on the wonder of flight and the laws of aerodynamics. I also listen to Frank Sinatra singing “Come Fly With Me,” and pretend I am having a ball up where the air is rarified. Sometimes it helps. Fake it ’til you make it.

So I thought it might be useful to hear from knitters and crocheters who find joy in repetitious work, even if not to the extent of knitting the same mitten 100,000 times.

I put the word out and found that People Have Opinions About This. Mind you, people who knit and crochet have opinions about everything; but I was nearly carried into the next state by the flood of comments.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Rio Rancho Cardigan Knit-Along Week 2: Reading Stitches and Swatching!

May 4th, 2016

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Spring2016KALmainI am so thrilled you are on board with our spring knit along: the Rio Rancho Cardigan. It is a flowy, open cardigan that I keep calling my cardishawl. I love how easy it is going to be to throw on when it gets a little chilly at night. I am also loving watching my color changes as I knit up this cardigan.

First things first! If you are new to knitting or choosing this knit along to improve your knitting skills, I want to point out a few important points.

I have to enourage you to knit up a gauge swatch. Not only does this aid you in choosing the correct size needles, but it also ensures the garment will fit. For this project, fit is not as important as this is a one-size fits all open “cardishawl”, but for more form-fitting projects, it is a crucial first step.

KAL_swatch
For this project, swatching serves two purposes:

1. How much air do you want in your garment? Examine your fabric to see how tight or loose you wish the garment to be. I was actually able to obtain gauge on a 7 and 8 needle. Using a 7 needle made my fabric a bit less airy than with 8’s. I liked that feel, so I went with a size 7 needle.
2. Am I comfortable with the seed stitch? If you are new to knitting or the seed stitch, knitting a 4” square is a great way to practice this new technique.

SEED STITCH

I hate to say it, but due to the texture of this yarn, it is a little tricky identifying the difference between knit and purl stitches. I took a few photos so that you could see the difference between the purl stitches (BUMPS) and knit stitches (V’s).

BUMPS:

KAL_bumps
V’s:

KAL_Vs
For seed stitch, whatever the stitch is that you encounter on the needle, you knit it the opposite.

When you see a bump (PURL), knit that stitch. When you see a knit (V), purl that stitch. When you get used to reading your stitches, it is easy to put it down and pick it up and begin again without remembering what you did last.

Taking the time to learn to read your stitching takes a lot of the stress out of it. And since the beginning of this pattern is 11 inches of seed stitch, it’s important to not be stressing out!

Speaking of the beginning, I suggest casting on using markers for every 10 or 20 stitches.

KAL_markers
There is nothing more frustrating than losing count on a large cast-on. Adding markers makes counting it much quicker. No stress knitting everybody!

Comment below if you have any questions or comments about beginning this project. See you on the Ravelry thread too!

 

Your Knit Style: Rio Rancho Cardigan made with Shawl in a Ball

May 3rd, 2016

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Now that you know Shawl in a Ball isn’t just for shawls, check out just one of the amazing garments you can make with this yarn!

Add a touch of glam with this cardigan/shawl hybrid. Featuring a cascading shawl-like back, the Rio Rancho Cardigan gives the classic cardigan shape a chic update. Shawl in a Ball‘s cotton-acrylic blend creates a drape that flatters.

See it in action in the video below!

:: Can’t see this video? Click here to watch – https://youtu.be/gGgi62BX1Ig :: 
 

Psst! – The Rio Rancho Cardigan is our Spring 2016 Knit-Along pattern! Grab a KAL kit — now 20% off! — and knit-along with host Kristy Glass.

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May’s Featured Yarns: Cottons

May 2nd, 2016

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May Featured Yarns

Save 20% this month on these cotton favorites: Cotton-Ease®, Kitchen Cotton, and NEW 24/7 Cotton! Cotton and cotton-blend yarns are perfect for the warmer months. You don’t have to put your crafting away just because the temperatures rise! Small projects like market bags are excellent for spring and summer, but afghans are also a great choice when they are constructed in pieces. With the right yarn and an exciting new project on your hook or needles, you can craft with confidence all year round!

Check out our LookBook below for pattern inspiration; these yarns are 20% off through May 31st so stock up for all of your warm weather projects now!

 

Your Crochet Style: Key West Circle Top made with 24/7 Cotton

May 1st, 2016

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Just in time for summer! You’re going to want to get stitching on this adorable Key West Circle Top that you’ll be wearing all season. This top pairs a simple shape with fabulous fringe to make a trendy, light look. And 24/7 Cotton is the perfect yarn for the warm weather.

Throw it over a tank top or a sundress or make one to sport at the beach or by the pool! This yarn is machine washable!

Check out this top in the video below!

Having trouble viewing this video? Click here: https://youtu.be/zcTfuNEJCQQ

 

 
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