Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Needle Felting with Acrylic? Check out Lion Brand’s new Spinnables!

August 26th, 2014

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Lion Brand Spinnables

Felting and acrylic aren’t usually words that go together, so when the opportunity arose to try out some of Lion Brand’s “Spinnables” 100% acrylic fiber, I was skeptical. You might recognize this fiber because it’s our Homespun® before it’s spun into yarn! (We wrote about how Homespun® is made HERE.)

Here is a look at the fiber. It’s incredibly soft and silky. I frequently felt with superfine Merino wool, but even that does not compare to the softness of this fiber! It reminds me more of silk than of wool. Lion Brand Spinnables Acrylic Fiber
Acrylic Needle Felted Cat Next step was to try felting a simple object. I picked a cat, although I think the result looks more like a gummy bear. So let’s say it’s a gummy cat. The acrylic fiber felted surprisingly quickly and densely! The gummy cat feels very solid, although the surface texture retains some of the fiber’s silky smoothness. I started with a coarse felting needle and moved on to a finer one as the fiber began to firm up.
All finished! I only had one color to work with, but with multiple colors it would be possible to add details like eyes if desired (of course, a gummy cat doesn’t need them). Because of its extreme softness, this fiber is better suited to projects with simple shapes and rounded edges. Acrylic Needle Felted Cat
Acrylic Needle Felted Cat All-in-all, I think acrylic fiber is an excellent alternative to wool and a great way for those who forgo animal products to get into needle felting. I look forward to experimenting with it further and to seeing what others come up with.

 

Spinnables” fiber is available in 3 oz packages of assorted colors – more than enough for several small projects like this. You can find it at the Lion Brand Outlet and on our website. If you are new to needle felting, we also have everything else you need to get started. We hope you’ll give it a try!

 

11 Nail Art Designs Inspired by Knit and Crochet

August 25th, 2014

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11-Nail-Art-Designs-Inspired-by-Knit-and-Crochet

 

Lola crochets a Granny Baby Blanket … could there be a newborn on the way?

August 22nd, 2014

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

LolaGrannyBaby_08162014

Want to crochet the Granny Baby Blanket too? Get the free pattern here and below.

l32294ba

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Crochet a Little Super Hero Blanket with Yolanda Soto-Lopez!

August 22nd, 2014

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In her newest Lion Brand tutorial, crochet expert Yolanda Soto-Lopez guides you through the Little Super Hero Blanket pattern with one of our newest yarns, Hometown USA®.

Check out the video tutorials below!

VIDEO #1

VIDEO #2

If you like this video, check out more tutorials from Yolanda at All Crafts Channel!

 

The Many Costumes of Knit and Crochet Aficionado, Lily Chin!

August 20th, 2014

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lily chin w border

Almost 20 years ago at a Stitches East conference, Lily Chin conceptualized a unique and inspiring way to make her grand entrance at the Stitches student banquet… she wore a handmade costume!

Rather than just wear her “best” knits and crochets for the event, Lily thought that with the show being close to Halloween (Stitches East happens in mid-October), she would surprise everyone with a knit or crochet costume. Now a tradition years later, as of this past Stitches Midwest (August, 2014), Lily is proud to have created her 50th costume – that’s 5-0, fifty! Interestingly enough, she seldom wears her outfits again … except for on Halloween, and even then only occasionally. For now, they mostly sit in storage. We’d love for Lily to compile her fabulous costume designs into a book. Come on, Lily!

Through her wonderful costumes, the creative maven has portrayed many characters: Ariel the Little Mermaid, Morticia Adams, Cleopatra, and even Scarlet O’Hara from Gone with the Wind (noting that going to the bathroom with a hoop skirt isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do). Along with Scarlet O’Hara, her other favorites are the Statue of Liberty, which she made after 9/11, and last year’s dramatic “Brunhilde” (pictured below).

Everyone needs a creative outlet right? This happens to be Lily’s. Since she designs patterns for a living, this form of needle-crafting allows her to just have fun and not worry about pattern writing.

I personally love all of the detail that went into her Brunhilde, and even her Raggedy Ann doll outfit, which for Lily, evokes warm memories of childhood and good times. Her latest outfit, debuted at Stitches Midwest, is called “Tacky Tourist” (see below), and is knit entirely with Cotton-Ease.

I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Be sure to look out for Lily Chin and her amazing costume designs whenever you’re at a Stitches show, especially the night of the student banquet – she never ceases to amaze!

 

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Unwindings: Knitting in the Round

August 19th, 2014

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knitting-in-the-round-blogI learned to knit when I was eight. It was summer, school was out. For entertainment I explored a rarely opened closet. There was a shopping bag stuffed with maroon yarn, and a cylindrical leatherette case which, unzipped, revealed a jumble of colored metal knitting needles. I dragged everything into the light.

“What is this?” I asked my mother.

“Oh,” she said. “It’s my knitting. A sweater….I think.”

How amazing. I’d never seen her knit—did she knit while I slept?—and, naively, couldn’t imagine why she’d abandon the project. It seemed sad that the yarn had languished in obscurity.

“Why don’t you finish it?”

I’ve forgotten her answer. Probably her “I’m too busy” mantra, accompanied by a giant exhale of cigarette smoke. I do remember thinking this yarn deserved a kinder fate.

“Will you teach me to knit?” I asked.

So it began. I knitted blankets for my dolls, then scarves. Later, I learned to read patterns, saved babysitting money for yarn, knitted hats and sweaters. As a teenager, I commuted between school and home on the New York subway, carrying textbooks and knitting. Knitting gave me something to do in transit, and as I walked through dicey neighborhoods between the subway station and our apartment, the needles, tucked under my arm and pointing forward, protected me from aspiring muggers.
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3 Questions To Ask Yourself When You’re Substituting Yarns

August 18th, 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.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When You're Substituting Yarns

The time will come when you need or want to substitute a yarn in a pattern. The reasons for this are varied. Perhaps the yarn recommended is discontinued; perhaps it’s too expensive, or perhaps it’s a fiber you don’t wish to use.

1. What is the weight of the yarn?

Worsted? Bulky? You need to select a yarn in the same weight class. If you don’t, you won’t be able to obtain the correct gauge and your project will not be the correct size. You may eventually be able to obtain the gauge of the pattern but it will be as stiff as cardboard or very loose (depending on if you selected a lighter or heavier weight). For a project such as a sweater, this will have a huge impact.

For a listing of Lion Brand yarns by weight click here.

You can often combine multiple strands of a lighter weight yarn to achieve the same weight as a heavier one. Be sure to check your gauge very, very carefully when doing this. Yarns within the same weight class still work to various gauges. For example, a worsted weight yarn is usually classified as one that works between 16 and 20 sts per 4 inches.

These are approximate equivalents:

  • 2 strands fingering = one strand sport.
  • 2 strands sport = one strand worsted.
  • 2 strands worsted = one strand super bulky.

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A Reason For Everything: Felted Lunch Bag and Pencil Case

August 17th, 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.

Felted Lunch Bag Meredith sometimes wondered how life would be if she could travel back in timeand change just one thing. What if a seemingly random choice had been different? Like, why had she craved bright pink everything when she was a kid? She’d had the pink lunchbox, backpack, pencil case, flip-flops, barrettes…even a bright pink toothbrush!

Now, in college, she absolutely couldn’t fathom why she’d adored that color. She wondered, though, if she’d have become a different person had her early taste run to earth tones.

An ecology major, Meredith loved studying organisms and their environments. Similarly, she loved living in the balance–this was how knitting came in. The beautiful simplicity of two sticks and a ball of yarn offset the high-tech essentials of 21st century life. The subtle yarns she favored evoked country roads, open fields, dunes, rocky shores. Like the rugged, marled Fishermen’s Wool she’d recently used–it conjured up a time when handwork was honored, and things made to last.

Felted Pencil CaseEspecially pleasing were the useful lunch bag and pencil case she’d knitted of Fishermen’s Wool® in only a few hours, then felted (magical!), then appliqued with a beguiling acorn and rustic apple tree. Afterwards, she showed them to Paige, her roommate.

“These are totally adorable!” Paige exclaimed. “How’d you find such great projects?”

Meredith flashed onto her younger self and suddenly realized it was actually because of that Pink Phase that she’d become everything she was, here and now.

“Oh,” she smiled, “someone I used to know pointed me towards them.”

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

A story by Selma Moss-Ward.

Selma Moss-Ward writes and knits in Rhode Island. You can find her work on our blog, as well as Lion Brand’s monthly newsletter, Pattern Journal, which you can subscribe to here.

 

TAKE TWO! Help Pick Lion Brand’s NEXT Crochet-Along Project!

August 14th, 2014

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We heard you loud and clear — you’re looking for a bigger challenge!

Thanks to all of your feedback, we revisited our selections for this year and picked out a more challenging line-up to choose from!

So let’s do a hard reset and try that again — vote for the Fall Crochet-Along now! Voting ends Wednesday, August 27th, 11:59pm EST!

Clockwise from top left:

  1. Top Down Crochet Jacket (last year’s close runner-up, skill level: Intermediate (Level 3)
  2. Sunset Poncho (made with our new yarn Landscapes®, skill level: Intermediate + (Level 4)
  3. Open Air Shrug (one of our most popular patterns this year, skill level: Easy + (Level 3) – see front view)
  4. Portland Poncho (made with long-time favorite, Heartland, skill level: Intermediate (Level 3)

« Voting is now open. »



(Can’t see the voting tool above? Click here to vote.)

A crochet-along is a virtual event, where all the participants make the same project together. Follow along with our crochet-along host Grace DiLorenzo here on the blog and share your comments and photos. There’s no need to sign up, and it’s free to join! (New to crochet-alongs? Check out our guide here.)

The winning pattern will be announced Thursday, August 28th here. At that time we’ll also give you all the details you need to pick up your supplies and get started on the project!

Votes must be cast by 11:59 am Eastern August 27th, 2014. You must use the link above to vote; comments here on the blog do NOT count as votes.

Knitters, look out for a knit-along later this year, here on the Lion Brand Notebook.

 

Celebrate Shark Week With These 8 Patterns!

August 13th, 2014

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Shark Week 2014

Do you love sharks? We do! In celebration of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel we’re bringing you a roundup of some of our favorite shark-themed patterns to knit and crochet while you watch.

Repeat Crafter Me Shark Hat Moogly Shark Pencil Case Whale Shark iPhone Case Reuben Briskie For His Glory Handiwork Shark Pencil Holder
Crochet Shark Hat by Repeat Crafter Me
made with Vanna’s Choice®
Crochet Shark Time Pouch by Moogly Knit Whale Shark iPhone Cover by Reuben Briskie Crochet Shark Pencil Holder
by For His Glory Handiwork
Boomer Beanies Shark Hat Shark Hat and Mittens by Nuriya Khegay Lemon Shark by Karen Null Hammerhead Shark weight by Jazmo Tennant
Crochet Shark Hat by Boomer Beanies Knit Shark Hat and Mittens by Nuriya Khegay
made with Vanna’s Choice® Baby
and Jiffy®
Knit Lemon Shark by Karen Null Crochet Hammerhead Shark weight by Jazmo
Tennant

 
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