Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Author Archive


Spring Lace Shawl Knit-Along — Gauge Swatching

April 10th, 2014

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KAL_BADGE_2014-300x180

Hi, I’m Grace and I’m so excited to be leading the knit along for the Spring Lace Shawl.

This is a great project for both experienced knitters and beginners who are ready to advance beyond simple stitch patterns. With an elegant lace pattern and a chunky, multi-stranded construction, this quick knit will be the perfect addition to your wardrobe to curl up with on those cooler spring evenings.

I’ll be posting every week giving you tips for getting through the project successfully.

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Lion Brand Recommendations: The Neutral Cabled Afghan

March 27th, 2014

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l32161aJackie Smyth is a Technical Editor in Lion Brand’s Design Department. Today she shares one of her favorite Lion Brand patterns. 

I work in Lion Brand’s New York Design Department, where every day is a bit like a birthday! Wrapped packages arrive every afternoon – each holding a new and exciting design. On a daily basis, we’re all inspired to add way too many new items to our project queues.

When we opened the box containing the Neutral Cabled Afghan, I knew it was something I should put at the top of my list.

A good friend recently moved from New York (a city of steam heat) to less well heated Dublin, so was clearly in need of something to wrap up in on chilly evenings. The colors of the Neutral Cabled Afghan are a perfect match for his color scheme and the cables are lovely nod to his Celtic surroundings.

I’m a big fan of interesting construction techniques, so I was super excited when I saw how this afghan was made. No sewing! And a different stitch pattern on each of the panels means I’ll never be bored.

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Meet the Soldier Who Learned to Crochet While in Afghanistan

March 25th, 2014

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We featured David Muir on our Facebook page earlier this month, which received an overwhelming positive response. We asked him a few questions about himself and how he got interested in crocheting.

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself, like where you’re from and why you decided to join the military.

I’m originally from Easton, Maryland but I call Pooler, Georgia home now. I joined the Army because of the “adventure” and “awesome toys” — eventually it became more than that. I worked with a group of individuals that became my great friends, and my family.

I was in the Army for 10 years until I decided to seek new adventures. Many of us were stationed together for 6+ years. At that point, others started getting out or changing duty station. It just changed. It wasn’t the same. I needed to try something new. When I got out of the Army in July 2011 I lived in Spain for the summer. I even worked at a scuba dive shop just for fun.

afghan-facebook
David Muir and his first afghan,
made with Hometown USA.

After that I moved to Pooler, GA where I lived with my brother, Danny. I worked for Gulfstream as a Quality Engineer but soon missed my Army brothers. When I heard my old unit was deploying to Afghanistan, I decided to look for a job with the slight chance I’ll see them again. Working on the Apache Helicopter is my specialty so our field is quite small. Unfortunately I didn’t get the same base as my old unit, so I’m not in the military anymore. Now I work for DynCorp Aviation.

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7 Ways Knitting Keeps You Healthy and Well

February 28th, 2014

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This article originally appeared in TreeHugger and is reprinted with permission from Katherine Martinko.

knitting-keeps-healthy

Last month I wrote an article called “Why bother knitting a scarf?” Much to my surprise, I received thousands of positive reactions from readers who share my love of homemade, local, and beautiful “slow fashion” items. Clearly, knitting is being embraced by people from all walks of life who benefit from its peaceful, relaxing repetition. It got me wondering – what’s really going on when people knit? Why is it so tremendously popular?

It turns out that knitting has incredible health benefits. It makes people feel good in just about every way. A bit of research has revealed a wide range of ways in which knitting helps humans cope, physically and mentally.

1. Knitting is used for therapy. It’s a powerful distractant, helping people manage long-term physical pain. For those who are depressed, knitting can motivate them to connect with the world. It is a conversation starter, allowing people to interact politely without making eye contact. It builds confidence and self-esteem.

2. Knitting is supremely relaxing, which is extremely important for reducing stress and anxiety. Dr. Herbert Benson, founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, wrote The Relaxation Response, in which he recommends the repetition of a word, sound, phrase, prayer, or muscular activity to elicit “the relaxation response” – decreased heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. Knitting is likened to meditation, sometimes described by knitters as “spiritual” and “Zen-like.”

3. Knitting connects people. By joining a knitting group, a solitary activity turns into a social one. One study, called “The Benefits of Knitting for Personal and Social Wellbeing in Adulthood” and published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, found that “knitting in a group impacted significantly on perceived happiness, improved social contact, and communication with others.”

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Being A Part of the Family – My Story by Gabby Blumenthal

February 27th, 2014

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Gabby Blumenthal, 20 year old college student and the daughter of Jack Blumenthal, Senior VP of Lion Brand Yarn Company, shares her story of growing up in the family that started Lion Brand Yarn Company. She recently attended the annual Craft and Hobby Association trade show with her Dad, and talks about her experience.

Family picture.
Family picture taken in 1999.  Pictured from left to right: Dean, David, Isidor, Gabby, Jack, and Reuben Blumenthal.

When I was a little girl, my Dad would come home from work, loosen his tie and tuck me into bed with a story. Now, my Dad’s stories were far from conventional. For one thing, he was terrible at make-believe and couldn’t tell a princess from a portal. So, telling me all he knew how to tell, my Dad would talk at length about his own life-long adventures. I can’t tell you how many times I heard about how he got stuck in an international airport, or when he was babysitting a cat and, not to ruin the story or anything, but the poor cat died.

When these “epic” tales wore thin, my dad started on the family tree. I heard about everyone from Great, Great Grandpa Reuben to my own Grandfather, George, whom I never had the chance to meet and am honored to be named after. I heard about how Dad wanted to go into Lion Brand since he was four years old, always knowing that he was passionate about having a career in the yarn industry.

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7 Tips for Knitting Your First Sweater

January 16th, 2014

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:: Re-printed with permission, Craftsy writer Ashley — aka “The Feisty Redhead” — offers these tips for knitting your first sweater. If you’d like a little more help with the leap to sweater knitting, Lion Brand and Craftsy have partnered to bring you the online class: “My First Sweater“. Keep reading … ::

The step from knitting a scarf to knitting a sweater is a big one, but it’s necessary if you want to avoid knitting rectangles for the rest of your life. Knitting your first sweater can be frustrating, but it can also be a lot of fun. If you’re looking for a winter project, why not knit a sweater? Here are a few things to keep in mind before you even start knitting that sweater.

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Sweater cardigan on a mannequin.
Photos via Craftsy instructor Amy Ross

1. Know the basics

No need to have a PhD in knitting (if only!) to knit a sweater. If you can knit and purl, you can knit a sweater. The cardigan above is one of the sweater patterns from Craftsy’s My First Sweater class with Amy Ross. Enroll in the class and Amy will walk you through everything you need to know about knitting your first sweater, from body measurements to sleeves and seaming. You can even ask Amy questions if you get stuck!

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A Fast and Easy Yarn-Themed Ornament

December 1st, 2013

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Bonbons Ornament Idea | Lion Brand Notebook

With less than a month to go until Christmas, it’s fun to make quick and easy little projects to add a festive touch to your home. Friend of Lion Brand, Chris Zimmerman, of the Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Festival sent us this photo of his great ornament idea from the last holiday season. Here’s what he had to say about it: 

We were invited to bring an ornament to trade instead of a gift to trade with other attendees at the party.  The ornament was suppose to be related to something that was important in your life or related to you life in some way. Of course since my partner and I do so many things with fiber arts we automatically thought of something with yarn. Being only a day or so before the event there was no time to actually knit something so our thoughts were running into dead ends. While walking through Joann Fabrics I spotted the last few packages of Bonbons that they had. A little imagination  and what I came up with are seen in the pictures.

Enjoy!!

For more ornament ideas from LionBrand.com, click here.


Kitchen-Safe Dyeing, Part 3: Grape Juice

November 26th, 2013

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Sister and brother duo, Elizabeth and Robby Miracle, first created this dyeing series for a Lion Brand newsletter several years ago. Although that newsletter is no longer around, we loved the idea of making kitchen-safe dyes so much, that we’ve updated it and reprinted the series here. 

Kitchen-Safe Dyeing | Lion Brand Notebook

Creating your own dyes can be a fun and exciting way to personalize projects.  This month, we show you how to make all-natural dyes and use them with different cotton and wool yarns.

We used only edible items purchased at our local market, boiling water (and in some cases, salt or vinegar) to make beautiful, all-natural dyes.

After trying our dyes, you will probably want to experiment with other natural food dyes of your own.  Start by using fruits or vegetables that stain and experiment!  You can mix dye baths to make different colors.  You will probably find, as we did, that the colors are all — surprise — “earth” tones!

Because this project requires boiling water, adult supervision is required.

Dye Bath with Grape Juice

This quantity of dye will easily color 2 skeins of LB Collection Pure Wool or , 2 skeins of Nature’s Choice Organic CottonOther options include: Alpine Wool, Fishermen’s Wool, LB Collection Organic Wool, LB Collection Superwash Merino, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Merino, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Roving Wool, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Cotton Hemp, Kitchen Cotton. Click here to see all Lion Brand yarns. 

grape-cottona  grape-woola
Dyed Cotton Dyed Wool

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Kitchen-Safe Dyeing, Part 2: Using Skins of Yellow Onions

November 19th, 2013

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Sister and brother duo, Elizabeth and Robby Miracle, first created this dyeing series for a Lion Brand newsletter several years ago. Although that newsletter is no longer around, we loved the idea of making kitchen-safe dyes so much, that we’ve updated it and reprinted the series here. 

Kitchen-Safe Dyeing, Part 2: Using Skins of Yellow Onions | Lion Brand Notebook

Creating your own dyes can be a fun and exciting way to personalize projects.  This month, we show you how to make all-natural dyes and use them with different cotton and wool yarns.

We used only edible items purchased at our local market, boiling water (and in some cases, salt or vinegar) to make beautiful, all-natural dyes.

After trying our dyes, you will probably want to experiment with other natural food dyes of your own.  Start by using fruits or vegetables that stain and experiment!  You can mix dye baths to make different colors.  You will probably find, as we did, that the colors are all — surprise — “earth” tones!

Because this project requires boiling water, adult supervision is required.

Dye Bath Using Skins of Yellow Onions

This quantity of dye will easily color 2 skeins of LB Collection Pure Wool or , 2 skeins of Nature’s Choice Organic CottonOther options include: Alpine Wool, Fishermen’s Wool, LB Collection Organic Wool, LB Collection Superwash Merino, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Merino, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Roving Wool, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Cotton Hemp, Kitchen Cotton. Click here to see all Lion Brand yarns. 

yellow-onion-skin-cottona  yellow-onion-skin-woola
Dyed Cotton Dyed Wool

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Kitchen-Safe Dyeing, Part 1: Turmeric

November 14th, 2013

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Sister and brother duo, Elizabeth and Robby Miracle, first created this dyeing series for a Lion Brand newsletter several years ago. Although that newsletter is no longer around, we loved the idea of making kitchen-safe dyes so much, that we’ve updated it and reprinted the series here. 

Kitchen-Safe Dyeing | Lion Brand Notebook

Creating your own dyes can be a fun and exciting way to personalize projects.  This month, we show you how to make all-natural dyes and use them with different cotton and wool yarns.

We used only edible items purchased at our local market, boiling water (and in some cases, salt or vinegar) to make beautiful, all-natural dyes.

After trying our dyes, you will probably want to experiment with other natural food dyes of your own.  Start by using fruits or vegetables that stain and experiment!  You can mix dye baths to make different colors.  You will probably find, as we did, that the colors are all — surprise — “earth” tones!

Because this project requires boiling water, adult supervision is required.

Turmeric Dye

This quantity of dye will easily color 2 skeins of LB Collection Pure Wool or , 2 skeins of Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton. Other options include: Alpine Wool, Fishermen’s Wool, LB Collection Organic Wool, LB Collection Superwash Merino, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Merino, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Roving Wool, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Cotton Hemp, Kitchen Cotton. Click here to see all Lion Brand yarns. 

turmeric-cottona  turmeric-woola
Dyed Cotton Dyed Wool

Ingredients:
1 oz ground turmeric
3 quarts water

Bring mixture to a boil in a stainless steel or enamel pot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  It will reduce in volume some what while boiling. As soon as it is finished cooking, you can use it.

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