Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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How to Make a Pom-Pom Out of Yarn

July 6th, 2011

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Left to right: Hanover Hat, Kildare Hoodie

Pom-poms–you see them everywhere in yarncrafting, from the tops of skiing caps to the ends of hoodie ties. But have you ever wondered how to actually make one? Below, watch our video on how to choose the perfect pom-pom for every project.

With endless combinations of color and texture, pom-poms are the perfect way to add new life to old projects. They’re also a great project to do with kids! (For more tips, click here for our recent post about kid-friendly yarncrafting.)

Ready to get started? sells a huge variety of pom-pom makers, from winders of all sizes to customizable wooden and plastic pom-pom trees! Click here to check out our selection.


A Closer Look at the 3rd Annual Vanna’s Choice Contest Grand Prize Winner

June 27th, 2011

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Many of you have already taken a look at the 32 fabulous winning designs of the 3rd Annual Vanna’s Choice Contest — but we thought our Grand Prize winner deserved a closer look! Below, check out our video highlighting all the interactive features of the Kid’s Farmyard Activity Book by Alison Grosvenor of Surrey, BC, Canada. (Note: if you are reading this blog post in an e-mail, click through to the site to watch the video.)

This year, we received so many wonderful entries that we had a really tough time choosing the winners! We’re grateful to everyone who entered.

To see the full list of winners, including the Zuider Zee ‘Double Dutch’ Double Knit Afghan by Margaret MacInnis of Cherry Grove, AB, Canada, the Christmas Chess Set by Aiqi Huang of Simi Valley, CA, and the Vanna’s Silver Ribbons dress by Amy Dulac of Deltona, FL, click here.

3 Tips for Making Potholders

June 16th, 2011

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Potholders are like the “beach books” of yarncrafting. They’re quick to finish, require little concentration, and — with all the possibilities for color and shape — super fun! But if you don’t choose your materials and design carefully, that potholder could become a pot-sticker — or worse, fail to protect your hands from the heat. Read on for our tips on how to make potholders that will have a place in your kitchen for years to come. (To access the pattern for the potholders shown at left, click the picture.)

Choose fibers that can stand the heat. Yarns with 100% natural fibers, such as Lion Cotton® and Lion® Wool, have a natural ability to withstand high temperatures. (In fact, wool is naturally flame-retardant!) Plus, cotton and felted wool are both machine-washable. If you’re unsure whether your yarn will work as a potholder, check the label — if it’s able to be ironed, it’s perfect.

Thick fabrics make happy hands. A thin knit may be flexible, but it may allow heat to transfer through too easily. Choose a knit or crochet stitch with thickness, like a cushy garter stitch or a sturdy single crochet. If you’re working with wool, try felting your work: felting shrinks the stitches together, making the fabric thicker and more solid.

Stay closely stitched. Using an open stitch is an absolute no-no! If you are a loose knitter or crocheter, try trading in the hook or needle size you would normally use for something two (or more) sizes smaller. This way, your stitches will sit closer together, eliminating any gaps in your work.

Do you have any potholder-making tips or stories that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

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5 Easy Baby Booties to Knit

June 9th, 2011

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We’re continuing our baby bootie celebration with a round-up of our favorite baby booties to knit! (To read last week’s post about crochet baby booties, click here.) These patterns are great for beginning knitters and easy to embellish for all occasions.

Gansey Booties by Lorraine Goddard (Lobolita) on RavelryMade to stay on baby’s feet, this classic style can be knit in cool Cotton-Ease® or warm Wool-Ease® for year-round machine wash- and dry-ability.
Simple Garter Stitch BootiesGarter stitch makes these booties snuggly to wear and quick to knit! Replace the ties with ribbons for a world of different styles.
Booties from Pumpkin Hat and Booties Set by Michelle EdwardsCelebrate baby’s first autumn with one of our most popular baby patterns! For an apple set, trade Vanna’s Choice® Baby in Goldfish for Cheery Cherry.
Sweet Slip-OnsThe pom-poms on these little booties will make you want to nuzzle baby’s toes! Make them in any self-striping Sock-Ease® color for a fun and funky look.
Lavish BootiesDestined to become an heirloom piece in your family, these T-strap booties in LB Collection® Cashmere are soft as a cloud and so very warm.

Quick and portable, baby booties are a wonderful project for summer!

Readers, are you knitting a baby project? Let us know in the comments!

5 Easy Baby Booties to Crochet

June 2nd, 2011

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In recent months at the Lion Brand Yarn Company offices, we’ve had three new births! We couldn’t be more excited for these new mommies, and to celebrate, we’re sharing our favorite baby bootie crochet patterns. They’re fun and fast to make for beginners and experts alike!

Easy Booties

The color possibilities are endless for this classic pattern in Vanna’s Choice. Make dress-up time fun with a different bootie color for every day of the week–or every day of the month!

Sea Creature Baby Booties by Sandy Scofield (Sandyfroglegs) on Ravelry (click through for picture)

Layette meets amigurumi in these whimsical octopus booties. If baby gets fussy, she’ll have a toy to cheer her up right at the tips of her toes!

Booties from Easy Baby Set

These cozy little booties are made from Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton, which is both breathable and wonderfully soft. Best yet, organic cotton is free from pesticides and herbicides, so it’s safe for  little ones with sensitive skin.

Elfin Baby Booties by DIYMaven on Ravelry (click through for picture)

Perfect for mom’s little Christmas present, these newborn-sized booties include charming little jingle bells.

Felted Cowbaby Booties by BreeSoCrafty on Ravelry

Want to try felting, but not ready to toss your wool into the washing machine? These fun little “cowbaby” boots in Fishermen’s Wool are the perfect size for hand-felting!

Are you working on a project for a new baby? Share it with us in the comments!

Knitters, check back next week for a knit baby bootie round-up!

Fiber Arts in the News, Plus 5 Fiber Artists We Love

May 26th, 2011

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You don’t need to search far to see that fiber arts are a huge news trend this year. Profiles in The New York Times, Woman’s Day, and New York Magazine are talking about how yarn-bombing is 2011’s hottest art form. As they’re discovering, and as we here at Lion Brand have known for years, yarn just might be the most chic-yet-comforting medium that an artist can use!

Over the years, we’ve featured many textile artists from around the globe; here are some of our favorites. [As always, highlighted text are active links.]

Nathan Vincent

We’ve been a longtime fan of Nathan’s; he’s even displayed some of his knitted taxidermy on our very own Lion Brand Yarn Studio Gallery Wall. Seen above, his current Bellevue Arts Museum installation, “Locker Room,” was created from more than 200 skeins of yarn! We love how all the different stitches can create a world of lifelike texture.

Anna Hrachovec, MochiMochi Land

Nothing brightens our day like Anna’s adorable creations. Just this April, she exhibited a knitted solar system called “MochiMochi Worlds” at the Pictoplasma Festival in Berlin.

Robyn Love

Our collaboration with Robyn began in 2008 with her outdoor installation, “The Knitted Mile.” Most recently, at the World Maker Faire, she yarnbombed the fairgrounds’ rocket ship with handcrafted, flame-like extensions. Afterwards, the “yarn flames” were removed to be recycled into afghans to donate to Warm Up America.

Amy Caterina

Amy is well-known in the textile arts world for
Pseudo-Sod, a grass-like material that she makes from Fun Fur. Her material of choice not only looks soft and snuggly, but also is flexible enough to cover taxidermy, landscapes, and even a car!

The Beehive Craft Collective

Looking for upcoming yarn-bomb installations? This Canadian homesteading collective will be creating a yarncrafted installation at the James Street North Supercrawl in Hamilton, Ontario this fall. We can’t tell you the details, but you can read about the collective’s day-to-day adventures at their blog.

Want to learn more about the hottest trends in fiber art? Episodes 45 and 60 of the YarnCraft podcast feature interviews And if you live in the NYC area, stop by the Lion Brand Yarn Studio to take a look at our Gallery Wall. We feature a different artist every month!

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Discover Your Next Project with Pattern Finder

May 19th, 2011

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Itching to get some yarn back on your hook or needles, but stumped for what to make next? is home to over 4,000 free patterns, but browsing them doesn’t have to take all day. The Pattern Finder® is an excellent way to search for your next project based on stitch technique, skill level, stash yarn, and much more!

We’ve created a video for you that explains all the different aspects of the Pattern Finder® in just 2 minutes.

Remember, there’s more than one way to discover the perfect pattern. Try combining different search fields and see what you find. Your next project is waiting for you in our pattern library!

To access the Pattern Finder®, click here.

In Her Own Words: A Customer Review of Lion Brand Yarn Studio

April 8th, 2011

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Alice of OMG! Heart has written a wonderful review of our retail store, the Lion Brand Yarn Studio [LBYS] in NYC. Not only do her kind words make us blush, but they also highlight some of our favorite aspects of the store.

Alice writes:

It’s the perfect combination of local yarn shop along with what I’m looking for in an NYC yarn shop! Personal yet professional attention. Unlikely on first glance since Lion Brand Yarns is actually a large nationwide company that you’d normally associate with a more mass market approach. But no. Their lovely bright studio, 2 floors, has all the character and style of a small boutique store but without the prices and all the comforts and perks a large store can afford!

You can read her full post by clicking here, which goes into our free help, classes, groups, and more. But don’t just take OMG! Heart’s word for it: next time you’re in the New York City area, come check out LBYS for yourself. We’re sure you’ll “heart” us, too!

The Lion Brand Yarn Studio is located at 34 West 15th Street, New York, NY 10011.

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