Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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I Knit It My Way …

November 28th, 2015

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Selma Moss-Ward writes and knits in Rhode Island. She is a regular contributor to the Notebook.

You’re in an airplane before takeoff; the flight attendant is saying that in the unlikely event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling, and those traveling with children should don theirs before assisting others. Maybe that seems counter-intuitive, because generally we’re trained to help children before adults … but on second thought, you understand that you have to take care of yourself in order to effectively care for others.

Needlecraft, too, is often like that. Right now many of us are racing to make gifts for the holidays, and we’ve put our personal projects on hold. I’ve come to believe, though, that this operating procedure is counter-intuitive—maybe even backwards.

One recent morning the temperature fell into the twenties, and getting ready to walk my dog, I yearned for a new winter hat. I already have several hats, though they’ve seen better times, so I didn’t technically need a new one. I thought of all the gift projects lined up—a baby sweater, cowls for friends, a scarf for my sister—and I couldn’t see how to pause that procession. Feelings of mild frustration ensued. Why hadn’t I been realistic about what I could accomplish before the year’s end?


Then I recalled the Parable of the Oxygen Masks. Maybe I really should take time for myself before attending to others. That seemed potentially beneficial to all, and likely I’d return to my gift projects in a great mood. A hat would work up quickly, without causing much delay. I went to Lion Brand’s Pattern Finder database and looked for inspiration.

The Seed Banded Slouch Hat offered everything — clear instructions, clever construction, a stylish yet classic look. Best, the yarn required was that Queen of Fibers, LB Collection® Cashmere. To me, cashmere equals bliss. Its texture and gentle warmth are unparalleled.  I ordered supplies and began as soon as they arrived.

Knitting this pattern was almost as wonderful as wearing the finished hat. It took only a weekend to complete.  Every time I worked a few rows, I’d eagerly check the emerging fabric.  Supremely soft, and in a twilight shade called Pewter, it would become a hat I’d love for years. When my sister saw the final result—and tried it on—she asked me to substitute a Seed Banded Slouch Hat for the earlier-promised scarf. This time, the cashmere was a rich shade of terracotta, and since I already knew the pattern, the knitting went even more smoothly.

loopA great pattern like this slouch hat is always interesting to knit, and trying a new color the second time around sustains the novelty. Similarly, the Loop Scarf, entirely in garter stitch, cleverly mixes different yarns — LB Collection® Silk Mohair and LB Collection® Superwash Merino — for a lively, graphic look. It’s a good pick-up-and-go project, with stunning textures and color changes. After finishing my sister’s hat, I started working on the Loop Scarf as a kind of side interest, but its design was so compelling I once again put aside my main projects so I could see, quickly, its finished beauty. As with the Seed Banded Slouch Hat, the Loop Scarf garnered its share of admirers among my friends.

Looks like I’ll be making two more Loop Scarves in the very near future! I’ll use different colorways for two different friends, the pattern will become even more familiar, and as each project progresses I’ll enjoy watching how the colors uniquely interact. That’s one of the best things about knitting: you never really make the same thing twice, so it’s always wonderfully compelling.


The LB Collection® is 20% off until Monday, November 30th, 2015.


Lola Turns a Black Friday Frown Upside Down!

November 27th, 2015

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


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From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26th, 2015

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Patterns seen here:


Free Spirit Topper Knit-Along: Blocking & Seaming

November 25th, 2015

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KAL #2Friends! Fellow Knitters! I cannot believe we have reached the end of another fantastic knit along. I admit I felt a little overwhelmed when I read the Free Spirit Topper pattern — all those stockinette stitches! – but I am SO GLAD I stuck with it because my topper is so cozy. I haven’t taken it off since I finished.

For those of you who have not finished, I have a few last items of business to share with you.

First of all I want to talk about blocking. When I finished my two panels, they puckered in the middle, inside the seed stitch border:



I decided that blocking before I combined the two pieces was the best idea. I found this fabric does not require much manipulation, so I wet each piece and squeezed the water out gently. Keep in mind there is a 20% animal fiber component to this yarn, so it’s best not to agitate your yarn, to avoid felting. I laid one piece on my stone kitchen bar countertop and flattened out the puckering. I then placed the second panel directly on top of it, shaping it identically.

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Tea with Shira Episode 15: Shira Takes on David Babcock, The Knitting Runner, and … WINS?

November 24th, 2015

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On Sunday, November 1st, 2015 The Knitting Runner David Babcock ran the New York City Marathon to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association and he fingered-crocheted flowers while doing it!

I had the pleasure of meeting with David while he was here in New York and we decided to take our interview to Union Square Park so he could give me tips on running and warming up! We even decided to have a race of our own! You’ll never guess who won …

:: Can’t see the video above? Click here to watch — ::

There’s still time to donate to David’s campaign to raise money for “Athletes to End Alzheimer’s (benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association)”! Donate before Monday, November 30th and Lion Brand will match your donation up until David reaches his fundraising goal – please give what you can – every dollar counts as TWO!