Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Learn the Provisional Cast On in 6 Easy Steps!

October 4th, 2013

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The provisional cast on is, as the name implies, a temporary cast on row. It is done with waste yarn so that you can take it out later and have “live” stitches in your working yarn. Waste yarn should generally be a contrast-color yarn (so that it’s easy to locate) and in a smooth, non-grippy fiber (to make it easier to rip out later). This technique is used in projects like infinity scarves because you can join the ends of your work so that it looks seamless. This invisible seaming (known as grafting) is achieved by doing a kitchener stitch with the live stitches that you will pick up from your cast on row. The provisional cast on is also used when you’ll be picking up the stitches in order to work the piece in the other direction (seen sometimes in patterns that feature lace designs, for example). Only use this cast on if directed by your pattern or if you’ll be grafting or picking up the stitches.

There are a few different ways to do a provisional cast on but we are going to do the version that utilizes a crochet hook. Let’s walk through how you work this technique…

provisional cast on

1. With a crochet hook make five chain stitches with your waste yarn.

2. With your left had hold your chain stitches and a knitting needle. Bring the yarn behind the knitting needle and wrap it around the index finger of your left hand (the way you would if you were doing continental knitting). Your crochet hook should still be in the last loop of your chain stitches.

3. Reach your crochet hook over your knitting needle to grab the yarn.

4. Pull the yarn through your loop. This is essentially the same motion you were making when doing the chain stitches.

5. Move your yarn behind the knitting needle again. Repeats steps 3 and 4 until you’ve made the desired amount of stitches.

6. Make five more chain stitches. Cut the yarn, tie a knot at the end, and pull the knot through the last chain stitch. This is now your cast-on row. From here you will attach your working yarn and knit as you normally would.

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Video: The Benefits of Knit and Crochet

October 3rd, 2013

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Everyone who crafts knows that it is about more than just hats and scarves. In fact, readers often leave comments here on the Lion Brand Notebook about how knitting and crochet make their lives better. See members of the Lion Brand family along with our customers and spokeswoman Vanna White tell why they knit and crochet.

If you’re reading this blog post in your email or an RSS reader, please click on the title to view the full blog post and videos on our website.

For more blog posts about the benefits of knitting and crochet, check out:


Lessons Learned From Crafting – A New Animated Series!

September 18th, 2013

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We asked our customers on Facebook what lessons they’ve learned from crafting over the years. I was so inspired by the responses we got that I created an animated series! Share your story and you might get animated!

Subscribe to our Youtube channel here to make sure you don’t miss the next episode!


Great Customer Projects from STITCHES Midwest!

August 22nd, 2013

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One of the best parts of attending craft shows like STITCHES Midwest for me is seeing projects that customers have made with Lion Brand yarn. Some customers approach me shyly, while others proudly brandish their handiwork. They’re often surprised when I enthusiastically ask to take their pictures, they have no idea how gratifying these moments are for me! Check out some of my favorite finds from the last show!

swing dress

Swing dress made with Amazing yarn.

Click here to learn more about this pattern.

mitered ridges top

Mitered Ridges Top made with Lion Brand® LB Collection® Cotton Bamboo

Click here to get the knit pattern.

fishermen poncho

Poncho made with Fishermen’s Wool®

She made this project back in the ’70s (wow!) so the pattern is no longer available.

hexagon market bag

Hexagon Market Bag made with Lion® Cotton

Click here to get the crochet pattern.

lily collage

The highlight of the show was definitely when designer Lily Chin came to our booth wearing a girl scout costume that she made with Recycled Cotton  in Seagrass, Kitchen Cotton in Olive, and Bonbons in Brights and Celebrate were for her badges.

*Please note: this is an original design so no pattern is available*

Didn’t get to see us at the last show? Come visit us at STITCHES East from November 10-11 in Hartford, CT! Don’t forget to bring you Lion Brand projects!


Learn to Knit with Imagine Yarn in 5 Easy Steps!

August 15th, 2013

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One Ball Twirly Scarf

Have you been admiring our beautiful Imagine yarn but can’t wrap your mind around how to knit with it? Imagine’s webbed tubing construction is what makes it unique but it can also seem tricky to work with at first. I’ve broken it down into five simple steps for you so you’ll have the confidence to try it for yourself!

Click here to see the pattern for the project shown on the left!

How-to-Knit-with-Imagine


How to Do the Long Tail Cast On

July 31st, 2013

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Also known as the slingshot cast on, this technique is fast and creates a neater look than your basic cast on. If you’ve ever seen it done by somebody else it looks very complex (I was super intimidated when I first saw it!), but it actually isn’t. Once you get the hang of it, you can quickly produce a beautiful and even cast on row!

how to do a long tail cast on

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Easy Way to Hand Paint Yarn with Kool-Aid, Not Just for Wool!

July 10th, 2013

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Editor’s Note: This post was updated on July 11th.

How to Hand Paint Yarn with Kool-Aid | Lion Brand Notebook

Have you ever come across a yarn that you loved the feel and gauge of but couldn’t find the color that you wanted? Well, being the savvy crafter you are you don’t have to let that stop you! I found myself in a similar predicament shortly after I started working at Lion Brand. The smooth softness of the Casey yarn made me melt but it only comes in confetti colors suited for baby items. Since I rarely make baby projects, I tried to put the yarn out of my mind. But occasionally I would be digging through the yarn closets in the office and my fingers would brush a skein of Casey yarn and I would fall in love again. Then it hit me, I could dye it to make it fit my needs!

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Knit a Drink Cozy for the Premiere of Iron Man 3!

May 1st, 2013

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Knit a Drink Cozy for the Premiere of Iron Man 3

Since Iron Man 3 is premiering on May 3rd I thought that I would make a project to prepare with our new yarn, Heartland! Heartland officially goes on sale today but we’ve had a few skeins in the office to play with for weeks. One day I walked by them and realized that it came in the perfect Iron Man colors!
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Knit Some Bunny Gloves for Spring!

March 1st, 2013

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How to Make Bunny Gloves

Lately I’ve had spring on the brain despite the weather reports of chilly temperatures. In hopes of making my wishful thinking a reality, I decided to make a spring-themed project to usher in the season. One day while I was browsing the cyber universe, I saw these adorable gloves on Japanese blog with bunnies on them! “How perfect is this”, I thought. “Nothing says spring like bunnies!”
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Knitted Boots with Bellini!

February 22nd, 2013

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finished-small

I was immediately attracted to the Bellini yarn when we were given a few skeins to play with in the office. The bold texture appealed to me since I love making a statement with my style. I imagined knitting with the cushy fringe between my fingers and knew I had to work with it. As I was pondering what I would make with it, it occurred to me that the Turin colorway looked a lot like fur. What kind of accessory could I make that would be different and would lend itself to the the fur-like texture? Then it hit me – I should make boots!
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