Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Decorate for Thanksgiving with Your Own Personal Style!

November 13th, 2011

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Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this November 24th and want to create decorations that show off your style or follow a theme? Whether you’re looking to create projects that will last a lifetime, a stylish sophisticate, or simply young at heart, we’ve got the perfect combination of yarncraft projects for you to use this Thanksgiving! (Click the pattern names or pictures to access the patterns on LionBrand.com.)

Centerpiece

Place Setting

Party Favor

Traditional

To many of us, sharing tradition is what makes Thanksgiving so special. Decorate your dinner table with pieces that are sure to become family heirlooms.

Knit Fall Wreath Crochet Fall Wineglass Decorations /
Crochet Bountiful Napkin Rings
Crochet Leaf Sachet

Modern

Sophistocated shapes and an understated color palatte make these projects the perfect decor for a Thanksgiving that’s all grown up.

Crochet Felted Leaves Table Runner Crochet Felted Leaf Coasters Knit Felted Soap Cozy with Acorn

Fun

Bring the spirit of the kids’ table into your dining room! Decorate with a whimsical touch that’s sure to be a hit with guests of all ages.

Crochet Tom Turkey Crochet Harvest Bowl /
Crochet Adorable Acorn Accents
Crochet Amigurumi Happy Pumpkin

Flip My Scarf! 4 Different Projects from a Simple Rectangle

November 4th, 2011

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Over the years, I’ve met a lot of yarncrafters, young and old, who’ve told me, “I knit/crochet, but I only make scarves.” But what I want to tell these yarncrafters is, if you know how to make a scarf, you probably already know how to make throws, hoods–even garments! All you need are your scarf-making skills and two magic ingredients.

Ingredient one: Flip that scarf! Thinking outside the box will have you looking at your scarf in a whole new light. Fold it in half lengthwise. Twist it. Line several scarves up next to each other. Is your scarf starting to resemble something else, like a cocoon shrug or a blanket? You’re on the right track! All you need to do now is attach your work together at one or two key areas, and you have a whole new project. That takes us to…

Ingredient two: Join together! The best way to attach knit or crochet pieces together is to use seaming, or sewing up. If you haven’t seamed pieces together before, don’t be afraid to jump right in! Seaming yarncrafts is to sewing as paint-by-numbers is to painting with watercolors; the stitches act as a guide for where to go next, so you won’t have to worry about whether your sewing looks even. For an illustrated guide on how to seam knit pieces, click here. For a guide on how to seam crochet pieces, click here. (Need some extra guidance? Check out Zontee’s top 5 tips for seaming by clicking here.)

Looking for some inspiration on how to take your scarf to the next level? Here are some project ideas that are really just scarves in disguise. (Note: click the name or photo to access the pattern on LionBrand.com.)

Moebius WrapThe simplest way to update a plain scarf is to seam the short ends together to make a cowl. Take that idea one more step by twisting the scarf a 1/2 turn before you do your seaming, and you’ve got an elegant and versatile wrap!

To wear, drape the wrap off your shoulders as shown here. You can also wear it doubled as a cowl or over your head as an impromptu hood.

 

Scarf Hood The name says it all: this hood may look complicated, but it’s really a scarf in disguise! To make, simply fold your scarf in half crosswise and, starting at the fold, sew one side together for 11 inches. For an added challenge, add the crochet Fun Fur® trim, or leave it off for a more streamlined look.

To wear, leave the scarf ends hanging, or wrap them around your shoulders for extra warmth.

 

Striped Crochet Throw The pattern shown here uses striped colorwork, but you can make a nearly identical project without learning how to join new colors! To make, simply seam together scarves of equal length together along the long edge.

Seam together several wide strips to make an afghan. Or just use two or three narrow strips–you’ve got a throw that doubles as a shawl!

Cocoon Shrug This shrug is made from a shorter, wider rectangle than a traditional scarf, but making it uses the same set of skills. To make, fold the rectangle in half lenthwise. Sew the short ends together, starting at the edge and leaving a hole big enough for your arms to go through.

To wear, drape it over your shoulders as shown, let it fall for a more glamorous nighttime look, or even wear it over your head like a hood to keep the chill away.


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How to Hand Felt with a Little Help from Your Kitchen

October 23rd, 2011

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I’ve always wanted to be a certain famous pig for Halloween, so when my boyfriend expressed an interest in being a certain famous frog (news reporter fedora included), I jumped at the chance.

Naturally, I decided to knit the pig ears and nose I needed for my costume — and for some added authenticity, to felt them as well! Since the pieces were small, I hand felted them in a hot bath using just a few tools I already had in my kitchen. Here’s how I did it.

Not all yarns are created equal. In order for your project to felt properly, you must use non-superwash yarn made from animal fibers. I used Martha Stewart Crafts™ Merino in Milkglass Pink. [Note: For a pattern, I searched online for a knitted leaf pattern and modified the shaping.]
I got my felting tools in order: a large saucepan to hold the project, potato masher to agitate it, and shampoo to help speed along the process. [Note: I do not suggest using a non-stick pan for your felting project. As an alternative, try filling a sink for your project. Just be sure that you have a good-quality strainer to catch stray fibers.]
I put the pan directly into my kitchen sink in case I would splash a lot of water around. Then, I drizzled my project with shampoo and filled the pan with very hot tap water — too hot for me to touch! I grabbed my potato masher and, using a twisting motion, started agitating my project. [Note: In addition to helping with agitation, the potato masher has the added benefit of letting you use extra hot water, since you don’t have to touch the project with your hands.]
After a minute or so, my project appeared to stretch out. [Note: If this happens to you, don’t worry! The fibers spread and become more malleable when they are introduced to hot water. The agitation is what causes the felting.]
5 minutes later, as you can see, the stitches started to shrink together. [Note: If your water cools down or becomes too sudsy, pour it out and add new soap and water. I changed my soap every 10 minutes or so.]
After another 10 minutes, my fabric started looking more like actual felt. [Note: Some stitches, like the ones on the edges of the right ear, still hadn’t felted. I made sure to focus on those areas when I returned the ears to the water.]
Another 10 minutes later, my project had felted completely. I soaked the pieces with hot water and vigorously rubbed them together to finish the process.
After rinsing the pieces and rolling them in a towel to remove excess water, I blocked them around soup spoons to give them my desired shape.
Here are the fruits of my labor. Fit for the most glamorous of pigs, if I may say so myself!

Are you incorporating yarncrafts into yours or your kids’ Halloween costumes this year? Let us know in the comments!


A Sweater Dress for Every Body Type

September 15th, 2011

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While browsing the Pattern Finder®, I made a discovery: Lion Brand has designed a sweater dress pattern to flatter every body type (Hourglass, Pear, Apple, and Rectangle)! Check out my findings, as well as some styling tips, below.

Hourglass Knit Dress 

Show off your curves with a sheath-shaped dress that nips in at the waist. A length that hits at the knee helps to balance out your figure while showing a bit off leg. Ribbing at the yoke adds even more contouring.

For styling, add a low-slung belt and some fancy patterned tights.

[Note: The pattern shown uses Lion® Cashmere Blend, which is now discontinued. As a substitute, try using Superwash Merino Cashmere in Charcoal Heather.]

Pear Cable Luxe Maxi (shown on right) 

Your slender shoulders lend themselves well to ornate patterns at the neckline. An A-line skirt is flattering to wide hips. A length that goes past your knees will elongate and balance your figure.

For styling, this dress begs to be paired with equestrian-style boots.

Apple Speed Stix Mini Dress 

Apple types usually have long, lean legs, and this minidress helps to show them off! Empire shaping and smooth, sturdy fabric help to disguise a fuller waist. A boatneck neckline shows off your collarbone.

For styling, pair this with opaque tights or leggings and cute flats.

Rectangle Close-Fitting Dress 

Your slim, athletic figure looks best in body-hugging styles. An asymmetrical neckline adds interest and the illusion of curves. A lace insert at the skirt shows off a bit of leg.

For styling, go retro with a pair of slingback heels and a shrug.

[Note: The pattern shown uses Glitterspun®, which is now discontinued. As a substitute, try Vanna’s Choice® in Scarlet. Or, to get the sparkly flash shown here, try stranding Microspun® in Cherry Red together with Vanna’s Glamour® in Ruby Red.]

How would you style these sweater dresses? Which dress is your favorite? Comment and let us know!


Improve Your Home with 4 Quick & Easy Projects

September 8th, 2011

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There’s nothing like an upcoming family visit to make you realize that your home could use a serious fall cleaning. Suddenly, I’m seeing my apartment through my future guests’ eyes: a discolored lampshade here, clutter on the coffee table there. Luckily, I’ve figured out how to use my crafting skills to save the day!

Below are 4 easy projects that anyone can use to spruce up a home. Best of all, they’re great stashbusters, so you can even de-clutter your yarn basket–just in time to start stocking up on fall yarns!

Fall Nesting Bowls

That clutter on the coffee table never seems to go away, does it? With these adorable little nesting bowls, I can at least keep it organized.

Plant Hanger

I’d love to display my houseplants indoors, but until now, I’ve had to keep them outside and safe from my curious cats. With these plant hangers, I can brighten up my kitchen and keep my plants safe from teeth marks!

Lampshade Cover

One of my favorite lamps has developed an unsightly discolored patch on the shade. Until I can find a new one that fits, I can just whip up a lampshade cover! I can even use some old brooches I never wear for a set of fancy fasteners.

Striped Draft Stopper

Living in a first-floor apartment has its benefits, but it has its downsides, too. With this door stopper, I can block out unwanted visitors in late summer as well as unwanted drafts when the weather gets cooler.

Do you have any quick-to-make projects that you’ve used to spruce up your home? Tell us in the comments!

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