Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Experiment with Color! Knit or Crochet Your Next Project with Lion Brand’s New Yarn, Vanna’s Palettes!

July 30th, 2014

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VannasPalettes

We love using lots of color in our patterns, which is why I’m excited to introduce a new Lion Brand yarn: Vanna’s Palettes. Similar to Bonbons, with Vanna’s Palettes you get eight mini-skeins of yarn, specifically designed to compliment each other and a coordinating skein of Vanna’s Choice®. Each package of Vanna’s Palettes comes with suggested Vanna’s Choice® color pairings and a knit or crochet pattern. Couple Vanna’s Palettes with a matching skein of Vanna’s Choice® and you’ve got a nine-color project at an affordable price!

vannaspalettes
The Lace Edged Poncho (above) is a great example of how to use this yarn. Using a combination of Vanna’s Choice® and just one package of Vanna’s Palettes, you can make this project at a fraction of the cost had you bought all of the colors in nine full-sized skeins. With Vanna’s Palettes, it’s all about easy color coordination!

Below is a selection of Lion Brand’s latest Vanna’s Palettes patterns:

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Group Effort: An Afghan For David

July 29th, 2014

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This month, our CEO, David Blumenthal, celebrated a big birthday.  We honored the day at our annual company barbecue.  As a special way of recognizing David’s birthday, an afghan was created from a patchwork of knit and crochet squares created by people who work at Lion Brand, as well as some names you may know from the world of knitting and crochet.  Included among the designers and makers of squares were Nicky Epstein, author, designer and creator of one of Lion Brand’s most enduring patterns, the Tree of Life; Trisha Malcolm, the editorial director of Soho Publishing; and Nathan Vincent, the fiber artist who designed the 7 Wonders Of The Yarn World.  There were also squares made by Vanna White and her daughter Gigi.

David was surprised and thrilled with his gift as you can probably tell from the smile on his face!

If you are giving a group gift to someone, why not try this idea of having a number of people contribute squares to make an afghan to commemorate the occasion?  Here are a few afghan patterns to get you started:

9 Cousins Lapghan Crochet Baby Squares Storyteller Afghan Basketweave and Slip Stitch Afghan Americana Afghan
Knit 9 Cousins Lapghan Crochet Baby Squares Storyteller Afghan Knit Basketweave and Slip Stitch Afghan Crochet Americana Afghan

 

3 Ways to Bind Off/Cast Off

July 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.

Bind Off

Ahhh, finally done with your latest knitting project. Now you can’t wait to finish so, in a final flurry, you bind off all your stitches and…oh no. The sweater won’t fit over your head or the bound off edge of the blanket is narrower than the cast on edge.

What have you done? You bound off too tightly.

I’ve done it myself. You might not notice if it’s a scarf because a scarf is narrow. The bound off edge does not have as much “give” as the rest of the knitting. That’s why it’s difficult to get the neckline of that sweater to stretch enough to fit over your head.

1. Bind Off Loosely

Always, always, always bind off loosely. This includes the stitches that you are knitting or purling during the process as well as when you pass a stitch over and off. Don’t tug, pull, or yank the yarn as you work each stitch. I know that it seems so loose that it’s tempting. But don’t. If you find you are binding off too tightly and can’t manage to do it more loosely, use needles one or two sizes larger than the size you used to knit the piece.

Binding off, sometimes called casting off, actually creates a final row of fabric, so what stitches you work as you bind off does make a difference. You can simply knit across as you bind off as many people do; but upon close inspection you’ll see the difference in the details.

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Lola’s Got a Brand New Bag

July 26th, 2014

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

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Want to knit the Chic Cabled Bag seen in this week’s Lola comic? Get the free pattern here and below.

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Cute Alert! Finger-Knit a Set of Adorable Animal Ears With Audra Kurtz

July 25th, 2014

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This week, Audra Kurtz shows you how to finger knit these adorable animal ears with Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. The animal ears are great props for a newborn baby photo shoot, for Halloween, costume parties, and more!

Check out Audra’s easy tutorial below:

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

 

Lion Brand’s Most Popular Patterns for Sock-Ease!

July 24th, 2014

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Sock-Ease™ is a Lion Brand finger weight yarn that is perfect for socks. The colors range from bold, vibrant solids to colorful gradients excellent for striping.  Not just for socks, Sock-Ease™  is also great for scarves, accessories, and even afghans. And that’s not all. . . you may not know this but for easy-care crafting, Sock-Ease™ is also finished with aloe vera which will soften your hands as your knit or crochet! Pretty neat, don’t you agree?

Make your next project the All Season Wristers, the most popular pattern for this yarn. And now until July 31st, Sock-Ease™ is on sale for 15% off the original price.

Below you’ll find a selection of popular patterns that use Sock-Ease™:

Knit Basic Socks Crochet Candy Color Afghan Cozy Crochet Socks
Knit
Basic Socks
Crochet Candy Color Afghan Cozy Crochet Socks
Knit Baby Bright Pants Knit Women's Double Strand Toe Up Socks Knit Sparrow Fingerless Gloves
Knit Baby Bright Pants Knit Women’s Double Strand Toe Up Socks Knit Sparrow Fingerless Gloves
Crochet Garden Scarf Knit Thigh High Footless Socks Knit Houndstooth Check Tie
Crochet Garden Scarf Knit Thigh High Footless Socks Knit Houndstooth Check Tie

 

31 Ways Knitting and Crochet Can Change Your Life and Make You Healthier

July 23rd, 2014

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The research is in and there’s no denying it: people who knit and crochet have a much better chance at staying healthy, being happy and getting organized.

Free Knit & Crochet Pattern: Aromatherapy Eye PillowsIn the past few years, reports from authoritative sources such as CNN, the Huffington Post and Oxford University, cite evidence to support the fact that knitting and crochet can change your life in many ways … and for the better.

Health is a serious matter for all of us, so we took some time to compile our favorite writings on the matter; articles from Lion Brand bloggers such as Kathryn Vercillo and investigative reports from mainstream media outlets such as the Washington Post.

We hope that you find this round-up useful and that you’ll include knitting and crochet as part of your personal health and wellness plan. It works!

31 Ways that Knitting and Crochet Can Change Your Life

  1. Relieve depression.
  2. Promote mental health.
  3. Reduce anxiety.
  4. Process grief.
  5. Alleviate cabin fever during winter months.
  6. Reduce Stress.
  7. Practise mindfulness and meditation.
  8. Create a non-medicinal, feel-good high.
  9. Protect the brain from damage incurred by aging.
  10. Learn discipline, empathy, patience.
  11. Lose weight.
  12. Relieve insomnia.
  13. Relieve chronic pain.
  14. Keep your brain fit.
  15. Think clearer.
  16. Reduce negative thoughts.
  17. Reduce or postpone dementia.
  18. Improve your mood.
  19. Get organized.
  20. Build self-esteem.
  21. Avoid cognitive impairment.
  22. Delay memory loss.
  23. Control eating disorders.
  24. Find friends.
  25. Reduce irritability and restlessness.
  26. Control addictions.
  27. Get strong.
  28. Recovery.
  29. Practice prayer.
  30. Give to others.
  31. Build community.

:: Get the pattern shown above: Aromatherapy Eye Pillows (pattern available in knit and crochet) ::

 

Congratulations to the Newest Member of the Crochet Guild of America’s Hall of Fame!

July 22nd, 2014

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gwen-blakley-kinslerAs a fourth generation family member of Lion Brand, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to meet and talk with very passionate people that are prominent within the yarn industry; people like Janet Johnson Stephens, Rita Weiss, and Gwen Blakely Kinsler. I met Gwen a number of years ago when I spoke to her Guild in Rolling Meadows, Illinois and I was impressed with the many ways she has contributed to the craft industry.

Gwen was instrumental in establishing the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) organization 20 years ago and is also an author, designer, teacher and writer of everything crochet.

This year, the Crochet Guild of America chose Gwen as their 2014 recipient for the Jean Leinhauser Hall of Fame Award. Her passion and determination to host the first meeting with crochet enthusiasts in Chicago is now recognized as an incremental part of yarn history.

For everyone who is passionate about yarn and loves to crochet, Gwen Blakely Kinsler is an inspiration. I’d like to congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.

 

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Trying a New Stitch

July 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.

Simple Basketweave St. George's Variation (Crochet) Seed Stitch
Simple Basketweave Stitch (Knit) St. George’s Variation (Crochet) Seed Stitch (Knit)

There are many stitch patterns available in books, magazines, and online–and probably just as many that have not been invented yet. You will find a large selection in the StitchFinder. To use them for simple projects like scarves, dishcloths, and afghans, keep in mind that these projects can all be simple squares or rectangles. You can just cast on the appropriate number of stitches according to your gauge and desired width (stitches per inch × desired width = the number of stitches to cast on) and start knitting.

But to get the most out of these stitch patterns, you’ll want to consider a few factors before getting started.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

A Welcome Surprise: Baby Cardigan – Oh Natural!

July 20th, 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. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

There weren’t many occasions when Jean was at a loss for words, but when Ben stopped by after work with the news–”Mom and Dad, you’re going to be grandparents!”–she was speechless. After she’d finished hugging her son and husband while giggling uncontrollably; after she’d finally regained composure and they’d discussed the due date and how Lara was feeling (tired, queasy, thrilled), then Jean felt a tremendous urge to get out her needles, find some beautiful yarn, and knit, knit, knit. Besides bringing so much joy, a new baby offered a great knitting opportunity!

Jean liked her knitting simple. She viewed projects as emblems of a lifestyle she wished to cultivate–clean designs, quality materials, form aligned to function.

When she saw the online photo of the “Oh Natural!” baby cardigan, it fit these requirements perfectly. The sweater–utter simplicity, classic style–and the organic yarn the pattern specified, were everything she wanted. Only the softest, only the purest, only the best for her grandbaby.

With every stitch, Jean thought how adored this child would be. She and Doug told Ben and Lara they didn’t want to know the baby’s gender beforehand. “Surprise us,” they’d said. That made her color choice easier too–warmest ivory of velvety-soft cotton, suitable for a boy or girl. “Dear little one,” whispered Jean as she shaped the winsome sweater, which seemed as it developed, to make her grandchild ever more real. “May your life be as happy as mine is now, as I wait with delicious anticipation, to welcome you whole-heartedly into this world.”

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.

 
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