Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Celebrate Our 135th Anniversary with Us!

May 5th, 2013

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Can you believe that Lion Brand has been a staple in the yarn industry since 1878? This year, we’re celebrating our 135th anniversary, and we want to invite you, our customers, to a behind-the-scenes look at our operation. Lion Brand yarns have been on the market for 135 years, and today, we’re proud to say that six generations of the Blumenthal family have been involved in the company, from the corporate office to the baby faces on skein labels. Take a look at this short video to get to know the Blumenthals and their passion for yarn as well as education, inspiration and innovation.

If you’re viewing this blog post in your e-mail or an RSS reader, you may need to click on the title of the blog post to view it online and see the videos.

What special memories have you had involving Lion Brand throughout the years?


Introducing… Heartland!

May 2nd, 2013

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HeartlandI’m a sucker for new yarns. I’ve been crocheting since I was eight and knitting since high school, and I’ve realized that sometimes I get myself into a rut: making the same patterns over and over again, using the same yarn or colors, or not stopping to learn new techniques. Each time I see a new yarn make its way into the department, it’s a new opportunity for me to pet something new and dream up different projects. Our newest yarn, Heartland was no exception. I sat down on the floor in front of all of the colors on Friday afternoon, just before my lunch break, and snagged two skeins that looked too precious to pass up: Great Smoky Mountains, which is a gorgeous multi-dimensional tweedy charcoal gray, and Denali, a pale, heathery pink. Of course, anybody who knows me at all knows that pink is my go-to color for almost everything, but I decided that, for whichever project I chose, I’d let the gray do most of the talking. How could I not? With all those different shades in there, it seemed like it had a lot to say–you know, visually. I only talk to my yarn when nobody else is around.

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Love the Earth with Our Organic Yarns

April 26th, 2013

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Yarn crafting is a great way to feel one with nature–creating something from scratch in a peaceful environment, instead of fighting mall crowds to pick up that mass-produced sweater, is one of the purest activities of them all. This is true no matter what fiber you’ve decided to use, but especially so with all-natural fibers. In our final ode to Earth Month, I want to tell you a little bit about two of our all-natural, organic yarns.

LB Collection Organic Wool is one of our affordable luxury fibers, and comes in five rich and beautiful tones to create stunning hand-knits. This worsted-weight yarn is a great choice for fall sweaters and bold felted projects. Not only is the fiber 100% organically produced, it is also dyed with low-impact dyes, and has been certified according to Global Organic Textiles Standards by the Institute of Marketecology. When you’re ready to get knitting or crocheting, we have 20 patterns designed specifically for this yarn listed on LionBrand.com. Click here to see pattern inspiration for Organic Wool.
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Join Our Spring Knit-Along Featuring the… Tranquil Tank Top!

April 25th, 2013

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KAL badgeEach season we host a crochet- or knit-along, a virtual event in which yarncrafters come together here online to work on one pattern together, share their experiences, and to learn together. There’s no need to sign up! Simply follow along with the blog posts at your own pace as you knit your project, and feel free to share your comments and/or photos as you progress.

The votes are in!

We asked you to vote on what knit project you’d like to make, and you picked our Tranquil Green Tank Top! More than 6,000 of you voted, and we’re so excited to knit-along with you.

Click here to download the pattern for the Tranquil Tank Top.

To get this knit-along going, this week is about gathering your materials so that we can jump right in next week. This lovely tank top is made in our Vanna’s Choice yarn, a versatile, easy-care, acrylic worsted-weight yarn that comes in a huge assortment of stunning colors. If you’re more in the mood for a cotton blend, Cotton-Ease is a great substitute, and will be light and lovely as the temperatures get warmer. You can also opt for the eco-friendly choice and knit your top in Recycled Cotton, which is a blend of new and recycled materials.

As with any yarn substitution, you’ll also need to figure out how many skeins of the yarn of your choice the pattern will require. Here are the number of balls for our other recommended yarns:

 Yarn S/M  L  1X
 Vanna’s Choice  4 skeins 4 skeins  5 skeins
 Cotton-Ease  4 skeins 4 skeins  5 skeins
 Recycled Cotton  4 skeins 4 skeins  5 skeins

Click here for our FAQ on substituting yarns.

When choosing a size, sometimes it helps to find a top that you like the fit of and measure this garment to help you choose a size.

Starting next week, our KAL host Heather will be posting her progress through the tank top project, with updates coming every Thursday. You’ll know it’s a dedicated KAL blog post when you see our special badge in the upper right-hand corner of the post. Don’t forget to join our Ravelry group for this KAL as well!

In the meantime, please introduce yourself below–let us know who you are, where you’re from, and who you’re making this top for!


Fettuccini is Back–Just in Time for Earth Month!

April 23rd, 2013

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zpagettiOur hugely popular yarn, Fettuccini, is finally back in stock after blowing off the shelves and selling out several weeks ago. And just in time! Earth Day may have been yesterday, but all of April is Earth Month, and every day is a great opportunity to be eco-friendly. As many Fettuccini enthusiasts already know, this unique yarn is made with remnants of jersey fabric used to create garments. The remnants would otherwise be discarded, so we’re thrilled to breathe a little new life into this special fiber. In honor of its (re-)arrival, I’ve rounded up a handful of the great items you can knit, crochet or craft with this yarn. Click here to learn more about Fettuccini, browse colors and place your order today!

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle with Recycled Cotton!

April 18th, 2013

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Earth Day is less than a week away, and that means sustainability, eco-friendliness, and recycling is at the forefront of many people’s minds. While crafting is by definition the creation of something new, there’s no reason not to be sustainable while doing so! Lion Brand has an array of different fibers that are eco-friendly, whether that means all-natural, organic fibers or recycled materials. I’ll be featuring all of these great green products over the next week. Today, let’s take a look at Recycled Cotton! This worsted weight blend is made with 72% recycled cotton that is sorted by color to minimize the amount of dye needed to churn out the finished product. The cotton comes from leftover fabric from the production of tee shirts that would otherwise be discarded, much like our Zpagetti yarn. Ready to get started? Here’s a round up of my top ten favorite patterns using Recycled Cotton.

Image of Driftwood Pullover Image of Spring Essential Top
Crochet Driftwood Pullover Knit Spring Essential Top

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We Want You! (To Pick Our Spring Knit-Along Project!)

April 10th, 2013

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The holidays are over and your hand-knitted gifts (yes, even the stragglers) are all done. If you’re like us, you can use some inspiration for a new knitting project. That’s why we’re kicking off our Spring 2013 Knit-Along! Help us choose the winning pattern and we’ll work on it together, step-by-step, throughout the spring.

« Click here to vote. »

Vote by April 21, 11:59 pm Eastern. Remember, you must submit your vote through SurveyMonkey for it to count!

KAL spring 2013

Want a sneak peek at the patterns? Click these links for the patterns shown above, clockwise from top left: Slip Stitch Sampler Throw, Tranquil Green Tank Top, Fireside Patchwork Afghan and Ginger Sweater.

We’ll announce the winner here on Thursday, April 25th. We’re excited to have our friend Heather Lodinsky hosting. We can’t wait to see what the winning project will be!

New to knit-alongs? Check out our guide to knit/crochet-alongs for some helpful advice. Crocheters, we’ll be having another crochet-along in the coming months, so keep an eye out for an announcement.


Kicking Off Baseball Season with Yarn!

April 3rd, 2013

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The beginning of April means the start to a lot of things: spring blooms, warmer weather, and longer days. But as any sports fan knows, the first week of April means one thing: Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. Want to show your support for your favorite team? I’ve compiled a palette of colors for all 32 MLB teams in one of my favorite team-spirit yarns, Hometown USA. Not only is it soft and bulky so that projects will work up in a few evenings by the fire, it also comes in every bold color you can think of to support your favorite teams and schools.
I was lucky enough to attend the New York Mets Opening Day on Monday afternoon, and I brought the Mets-inspired blanket I’m knitting in Hometown USA along, using this color palette below!

 New York Mets Click to view detail of 135-401 Click to view detail of 135-109 Click to view detail of 135-100
Neon Orange – Forth Worth Blue  – New York White

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Advanced Crochet Techniques Part Four: Lace

March 25th, 2013

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As you’ve seen over the last four weeks, there is a ton that can be done with crochet. You never have to make the same style twice with all the possibilities crochet offers! Last week, we talked about textured crochet, which is often a thick, bulky style that evokes images of sitting by a ski lodge fireplace. Though it might be hard to believe in the still-frozen Northeast, the winter is finally beginning to thaw, and in anticipation of springtime, I’m going to take you to the opposite end of the spectrum today and talk about lace.

Crocheted lace is a wide-ranging topic. Some people think anything that has enough openwork and thin enough yarn or thread counts as lace, while others see it only as tatted thread.

Today, I want to give you a brief introduction to four common types of crocheted lace: broomstick lace, filet crochet, hairpin lace, and Solomon’s Knot.

Broomstick Lace

Image of <font color=red>Broomstick</font> Lace Crochet ShellBroomstick Lace gets its name from the original tools used to create it back in the 1800s. While now crafters often use large knitting needles, like our size 50 Speed Stix, the craft began by utilizing the long, narrow top of the broomstick, along with a crochet hook. It is also known as “jiffy lace” or “peacock eye crochet” because of how speedily it works up and the texture it creates. For a detailed tutorial on broomstick lace, click here.

The lacy yet structured material this stitch creates makes it ideal for springtime blankets and shawls or unique lightweight garments. This Broomstick Lace Shell, made with LB Collection Cashmere, is a perfect project to practice your technique and create a unique garment to wear as the weather gets warmer.

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Last Minute Easter Projects

March 19th, 2013

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Spring is just around the corner, but there is still time to get some last minute Easter patterns under your belt in anticipation of the season. I’ve rounded up a few for you. What will you be making to fill baskets or celebrate spring this year?

Image of Cute Cabled Lamb  Image of Wee Rabbit Egg Cozy
 Knit Cute Cabled Lamb Crochet Wee Rabbit Egg Cozy

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