Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Author Archive


Two Knitting Runners: David Babcock Interviews Friend and Fellow Knitting Runner, Susie Hewer

October 11th, 2014

Pin It

db_squareFeatured in the New York Times and around the world, David Babcock is the Guinness World Record holder for knitting the longest scarf (12 feet!) while running a marathon, which he did in Kansas City last October. Coupled with a great deal of skill and endurance, David credits his choice in using Lion Brand’s Hometown USA as a factor in his amazing accomplishment! Lion Brand is sponsoring David in the New York City Marathon on November 2nd, 2014 and lucky for us, he’s agreed to write for us leading up to race day!

:: Sponsor David and support Alzheimer’s research — make a donation today! ::

susie_hewer_10082014When someone discovers a person who knits or crochets while running, they’re understandably surprised by the incongruous pairing, even more surprised when they learn that it’s a phenomenon not limited to one person AND even has a bit of a history!

David Babcock interviews the pioneer of yarn-on-the-run, the original knitting runner, Susie Hewer. Susie held David’s record previously and currently she is the Guinness World Record holder for the longest crochet chain made while running a marathon, achieved at the 2014 London Marathon in London, UK, on April 13, 2014.

David: On your blog you share the story of wanting to do something special for the 2005 London Marathon while running for the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK when a friend said that you should ‘act your age and stay at home with your knitting!’. Did you take this as a challenge? What was your process in figuring out how you would use your knitting with the marathon? Had you heard of anyone else that had tried anything like it?

Susie: I most certainly did take it as a challenge! I didn’t act upon it immediately but I turned the thought over and over in my mind, thinking perhaps I’d run in fancy dress as a ball of yarn or a giant knitting needle or even running it dressed entirely in knitted garments, until the idea of actually taking my knitting with me on the run popped into my head. Of course I dismissed that idea straight away as that would be plain silly now wouldn’t it! But the idea festered away in the back of my mind until I decided that I would in fact take my knitting with me with the intention of running for a bit and then stopping to chat to the crowd whilst knitting.

This concept caught the attention of the media and I was featured in a few articles in the Press which was spotted by the people from Guinness World Records who contacted me to suggest that I could turn it into a record attempt. After much tooing and frooing of ideas we came up with the concept of me knitting a scarf whilst running. This of course meant that I would actually have to knit whilst running. Oh my!

(more…)


Top Down Crochet Jacket Crochet-Along: Finishing Touches

October 9th, 2014

Pin It

CAL_08282014We’ve made it! It’s the final week of the crochet along and all we have left now are a few finishing touches. Adding a few buttons and some blocking will make our projects perfect.

Blocking

Blocking is one of the final steps that should be used for almost every project. Blocking sets the stitches and gives you the chance to straighten edges and slightly reshape any areas that need it.

There are different methods for blocking but the one that I recommend for this project is wet blocking. To wet block take your garment and soak it in water for at least 30 minutes to make sure it is thoroughly wet all of the way through. If you think your sweater could use a cleaning add some wool wash to your soak.

Once soaked, carefully pull it out of the water and gently squeeze out the excess. Be careful not to agitate the sweater too much while it is wet to avoid felting. Lay it out on a blocking mat or stack of towels and pat it into shape. Pin down rolling edges if necessary. Allow a day or two for drying. Once dry your sweater will remember the shape it dried in.
(more…)


Top Down Crochet Jacket Crochet-Along: Edging

October 2nd, 2014

Pin It

CAL_08282014 Welcome back everyone! We’re getting so close, at this point our sweaters actually look like sweaters, just a few finishing touches! This week we will focus on the edging.

For the edging a surface slip stitch is used first to create a foundation then later as a design element. A surface slip stitch makes a chain appear on the surface of the fabric. This is a great technique that you can use to add embellishments to any project. Here is a couple pictures of me starting the edging:

(more…)


David Babcock, the Knitting Runner, Wants to Make a Trade: Your Alzheimer’s Story for a Scarf

September 30th, 2014

Pin It

babcock_knitrun_sept10Featured in the New York Times and around the world, David Babcock is the Guinness World Record holder for knitting the longest scarf (12 feet!) while running a marathon, which he did in Kansas City last October. Coupled with a great deal of skill and endurance, David credits his choice in using Lion Brand’s Hometown USA as a factor in his amazing accomplishment! Lion Brand is sponsoring David in the New York City Marathon on November 2nd, 2014 and lucky for us, he’s agreed to write for us leading up to race day!

Greetings from the Knitting Runner. I have some knit-while-running scarves I want to give away, keep reading …

It’s hard to believe that the fall marathons are nearly here — it’s just starting to get cool enough that I’m thinking about knitting some new hats. I’ll be running the Kansas City Half Marathon on October 18th and the New York City Full Marathon on November 2nd. And yes, I’ll be knitting as I run! I’m deep into my training runs and testing my multi-tasking dexterity.

I’ve also joined the NYC Athletes To End Alzheimer’s team and am actively fundraising – please donate!

So, about those scarves I mentioned …

I want to hear your stories about Alzheimer’s and knitting. Are you a knitter or crocheter who has Alzheimer’s? Do you care for someone with Alzheimer’s and still find the time to knit or crochet? Please share your story in the comments below. If I have your stories in my head and heart as I run/knit, they will lend me more strength and purpose.

On October 30th, Lion Brand will randomly select five people who have shared stories to receive one of my scarves. At least once a week I knit a scarf while on the run and they’re stacking up!

I really want to get connected with my Alzheimer’s community. I know you’re out there and that, like me, knitting (or crocheting) is something you do while doing other hard things too. I am cheering for you!

Sincerely,

David Babcock
knittingrunner.com

***

Since its creation in 2009, the Alzheimer’s Association’s NYC Marathon teams have raised well over $2 million. The Chapter offers free support and education to the more than half a million New York City residents who either have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia or are caring for someone who does.

:: Support Alzheimer’s research — make a donation today! ::

Photo: David with a recently-made scarf, finger-knit with Hometown USA while running 10 miles in 80 minutes on September 10th!


Top Down Crochet Jacket: Sleeve Construction

September 25th, 2014

Pin It

CAL_08282014Welcome back! We’re half way through the CAL this week, now that we’ve gotten our start and worked out the kinks it’s time for the rows to start flying by. After working through the raglan, the body of the sweater follows suit. As you go you can try it on just as you did before and work to your desired length.

The next place where we will do something new is the sleeves. Here we will shift from working back and forth to working in the round. Here is a visual guide for starting the sleeve.
(more…)


Top Down Crochet Jacket Crochet-Along: Raglan

September 18th, 2014

Pin It

CAL_08282014Welcome back everyone! I hope you all had a good week of swatching and are ready for the real fun to begin! There were some great questions and comments on last weeks post. It’s great to see everyone jumping in to help each other out so keep those questions coming.

This week is all about raglan. Raglan is a sweater construction that extends the sleeve up into the neckline creating diagonal lines from the underarm to the neck. In this pattern we work from the top down which allows us to try on the sweater as we go and make adjustments if needed to fit perfectly.

As we get started careful reading for this pattern is the key to success. The sweater is divided into 5 sections: right front, right sleeve, back, left sleeve, and left front. Increases are worked in each section to make the shaping. The differences in the increases from row to row are very subtle. For instance, take a look at row 3 and notice how the increases are different in this row. These subtle changes will occur throughout the pattern.

(more…)


Top Down Crochet Jacket Crochet-Along: Swatching

September 11th, 2014

Pin It

CAL_08282014Welcome all to the 2014 Fall Crochet Along! I’m Grace and I will be guiding you through the Top Down Crochet Jacket. This is a great project that should give most a little challenge. (If you haven’t acquired your materials yet, you still can: http://lby.co/1liJ1a1.) Throughout the next 5 weeks we will explore swatching, raglan shaping, working with multiple colors and much more. If you are a beginner don’t let the skill level discourage you. We are all here to support each other. Throughout the project post your questions and I’ll be here to help. I also invite other experienced crocheters to share their knowledge so we can all learn from each other.

There are so many things that excite me about this project. I love wooly yarns like Fisherman’s Wool®. While at first is may seem a little rough it softens up wonderfully with wear, the longer you wear it the cozier it gets, perfect to cuddle up with this coming winter! The self-striping colors of Amazing® are beautiful and add so much interest without the extra work. For those of you who don’t need such a warm wooly sweater there are plenty of yarns that you could substitute. For something wool-free and machine-washable I would suggest substituting Vanna’s Choice® for the Fisherman’s Wool® and Landscapes® for the Amazing®. For my project I will be using Fisherman’s Wool® in Nature’s Brown and Amazing® in Strawberry Fields .

(more…)


A Knitter’s Portrait

August 10th, 2014

Pin It

This column by Michelle Edwards, author of A Knitter’s Home Companion, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter. To sign up for the Weekly Stitch and get columns like this, free patterns, how-to videos and more, click here.

mother knittingMy mother, Lillian Edwards, was a life-long knitter. She was an attractive, well-dressed woman: tall and thin with dark black hair and almond-shaped brown eyes that almost looked Asian. She called them “laughing eyes,” and that is how I like to remember them.

I’m told that as a young woman my mother knit socks, argyle ones. It was in the days before I was born, perhaps before she was married … maybe even as a young, single, working woman, living in Manhattan with her parents in a tiny apartment on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island.

My mother grew up poor. Her parents were both Russian immigrants. My grandma Yetta, with a handkerchief soaked in vinegar, wrapped around her head, rested a lot. She suffered from migraines and was always carrying a large purse with her — as if she was waiting to be uprooted again. This time she would be prepared. I would often seen her stuffing sugar packets in her purse when we were at HoJo’s.

My grandfather, Samuel, was as a quiet man. Hard to reconcile my gentle grandpa with the gangster he used to be. My grandfather and his brothers were the strongmen for a liquor smuggling ring during prohibition. When they double crossed the boss, two of my uncles were murdered in broad daylight at a Philadelphia street corner. My grandparents, my mother, and my uncle fled Philadelphia in a hurry and slipped into Coney Island where they could meld and blend into the mass of Russian Jews like themselves.

I don’t know who taught my mother to knit. Maybe my grandmother did, when she was not resting. It wasn’t a question I ever thought to ask my mother when she was alive. I know that she taught me how to knit and that she knit like a Russian Jew, with her yarn in left hand, wrapped around second finger, picking open the stitch and pulling the yarn through with her right hand needle. It is a very fast and efficient way to knit and I am often asked by knitters out here in the Midwest to teach them “my way” of knitting.

(more…)


How to Customize a Pattern Using Color

June 5th, 2014

Pin It

Hand-knit and hand-crocheted items make great gifts to be treasured and loved. Make them even more special by making them unique. Pick colors special to you or your recipient and you’re sure to please, says Jackie Smyth, our technical editor. We asked Jackie to recommend readers three patterns that feature color as the main attraction. (This column originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.)

Knit Slip Stitch Pom Hat Crochet Sante Fe Throw Crochet Little Princess Throw

LBY Newsletter: Knitting and crocheting are great for handmade gifts that really reflect the giver or the recipient. What’s a simple recommendation about how to customize a project?

Jackie: One word—COLOR. The great thing about patterns is that it’s easy to choose other colors in the same yarns and get a totally different look. To make a pattern really personal, choose colors that you like or that have representative meanings to the recipient. Perhaps they love autumn colors or spring colors. The right colors can add a lot of depth to a project.

LBY Newsletter: What if you are nervous about choosing colors that will go together?

Jackie: Going with a yarn that has a great color range is often a good place to start. The Lion Brand Design team works to create yarn collections that are designed that coordinate beautifully.

LBY Newsletter: What’s a yarn you might recommend for someone looking for easy-to-match yarns?

Jackie: Vanna’s Choice® is a great yarn for mixing and matching colors. All 23 of the solid colors in this collection are designed to match and coordinate. You could use three colors in one family—say, Dusty Rose, Rose, and Antique Rose—to get a light-to-dark effect, or you could pick a few contrasting colors like Purple, Chocolate, Pea Green, and Rust that will really pop against each other.

It’s good to look for inspiration from the things around you. The garden is one place to find unexpectedly beautiful contrasting colors. Fashion and architecture are other places to draw inspiration.

LBY Newsletter: Would you recommend a few colorful patterns for our readers?

Jackie: For a simple project, I like the Slip Stitch Pom Hat pattern. We’ve carefully plotted the colors for each pattern stripto create a bold statement piece, but I would encourage you to experiment with your own color combinations. You could draw from the current fashion concept of Normcore and create a more traditionally color hat.

Next, I like the Santa Fe Throw. In colors to match the recipient’s home décor, it but would make a truly fabulous house warming gift.

My third recommendation, the Little Princess Throw, of the impact of color in your project. Tailor your color choice to the baby to create an heirloom – or have fun with gender neutral brights–have fun!

Don’t be afraid to change the colors in a pattern to suit you better. That’s the great thing about knitting and crocheting; you can really make every item your own.

LBY Newsletter: Thank you for your recommendations, Jackie. We look forward to speaking with you again next month.

For more pattern ideas, click to visit our Pattern Finder.

–-

To sign up for the Weekly Stitch and get columns like this, free patterns, how-to videos and more, click here.


Lion Brand Recommendations: Two Fast-Finish Afghans

May 22nd, 2014

Pin It

Looking for a fast, last minute gift for an anniversary, birthday, or baby shower? The secret is to pick a project that uses basic stitches and multiple strands of yarn, says Jackie Smyth, Lion Brand’s technical editor. We asked Jackie to recommend two quick and simple patterns for beautiful afghans on the fly and to tell us all about why she likes them.  (This column originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.)

Fast Finish Throw Speed hood Baby Blanket
Fast Finish Throw Speed Hook Baby Blanket

LBY Newsletter: You’ve chosen two simple, speedy patterns for our readers. What’s your first recommendation?

Jackie: I love the Fast Finish Throw because it’s just about as simple as they come. The beautiful colors in this afghan are soothing and it has a wonderful texture.

This project is easy and fast for two reasons: First, it’s made using only stockinette stitch. And second, it’s worked on Speed Stix, our exclusive size 50 knitting needles. When you work with Speed Stix the resulting fabric is quite forgiving so exact gauge is not a worry, making it simpler for knitters of all levels. When you knit with Speed Stix, it creates stitches that are an inch tall, which means that you see results quickly.

LBY Newsletter: What about the gorgeous colors in this afghan? How did you get that blended effect?

Jackie:The Fast Finish Throw is made with four different colors of Jiffy®yarn held together, so it has the beautiful look of tweed. It’s a gorgeous look without a lot of effort, something that everyone from beginners to designers can appreciate.

LBY Newsletter: That definitely sounds like a great, simple project. What’s the second pattern you’d like to recommend to our readers?

Jackie: My second recommendation is our Speed Hook Baby Blanket. You only need to know how to do a single crochet stitch to make this one! This blanket is made with our size S-35 Speed Hook, which is an extra large crochet hook. Again, your gauge doesn’t have to be exact with the Speed Hook. Like the first afghan, this adorable baby blanket also uses multiple strands of yarn—this time three strands of Cotton-Ease—which not only makes it extremely fast to crochet, but adds dimension to the color. You can make it in the recommended colors, our alternative color combination, or in colors of your own choosing. I think that this one is absolutely perfect to make for a last minute gift.

LBY Newsletter: So what are the main things that our readers should remember about these projects?

Jackie: Again, the key to the ease and beauty of both of these projects is simplicity. You can use basic stitches and super-sized needles and hooks, along with multiple strands of yarn worked together, to make these simple and satisfying blankets.

LBY Newsletter: Thanks for your recommendations, Jackie. We look forward to speaking to you again next month for more great tips.

For more great patterns, sign up for our New Patterns Alert, and see the latest creations from our Design Department.

–-

To sign up for the Weekly Stitch and get columns like this, free patterns, how-to videos and more, click here.

css.php