Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Author Archive


A Trend for Your Home: Chunky Calais Afghan!

May 6th, 2016

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What’s on our needles? Just ask Margaux, Lion Brand’s Marketing Analyst, who’s taking a cue from 2016 Knit & Crochet Trends and making a big-stitch afghan!

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Margaux says:

I love knitting but, I admit it, I’m a bit lazy and I love when my project works up fast!

The LB Collection® Wool definitely complied with that requirement — my blanket was ready in a few hours! It’s chunky, soft, modern and just the best thing to wrap up in on a grey day. It’s a nice decor item too.

Hear all about this fast-finish afghan in the video below!

:: Can’t see the video above? Click here to watch — https://youtu.be/y75r9Uy9LFc ::
 

Grab the Calais Afghan Kit — now 20% off!

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Knit Calais Afghan Kit made with LB Collection® Wool

 

 


Planning on Crocheting or Knitting for Mother’s Day?

April 26th, 2016

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by Tamara Kelly of Moogly
Planning on Crocheting or Knitting for Mother's Day?
Whether you have kids, or you were a kid once (which is, well, everybody!), you probably remember those classroom art projects for Mother’s Day. Clay, macaroni, paint, and maybe even a bit of yarn all combined to make something that was full of love, if not raw artistic talent. I have a whole collection of interesting clay items and glued together poems from my own three kids, and as they get older and the handmade presents dwindle, it makes me a little sad to be honest.

My own mother, who had 6 children, has a very impressive collection on her dresser top of tchotchkes and doodads, drawings and trinkets. The first thing I remember making for her was a small wooden heart, which my grandfather helped me whittle. She loved the heart – or at least pretended to – but was appalled that he let me loose with a pocket knife at only 4 years old! Thankfully, no harm done – and last I looked, she still had the heart.

Now that I’m a mother myself, I know just how special those handmade items are! And while not every mother is the kind that enjoys crafted gifts, we knitters and crocheters are fortunate enough to have the skills to continue creating for our moms, when we are lucky enough to still have them to craft for.

Of course, when we were kids, the crafts were more often than not teacher directed – I don’t know any kid that would come up with the idea of printing out a slightly sappy poem and gluing it next to their hand print on a piece of construction paper. Now, as adults, it’s time to step back and think about what mom would really like and appreciate – not what we just happen to want to crochet or knit for her!

So before you pick a pattern and yarn, be sure to consider these 3 factors!

1. Color
Does your mom like brights? Pastels? Jewel tones? Animal prints? Does she have neutrals around the house but always wear a pop of color? Take into account whether it’s a wearable accessory or a home decor item – her favorite color might be green, but if she never wears it, use that emerald yarn to make a blanket or throw pillow.

2. Style
Is mom’s style sleek and modern, fun and funky, or classic and traditional? More pineapple doily, or colorblocked cowl? Triangle shawl, or rectangle wrap – or bikini top with motorcycle leathers? You know crochet and knit patterns are out there to suit every taste with a little searching!

3. Climate
There are gorgeous crocheted and knitted afghans out there to suit any taste and style, but if mom has retired to a tropical climate, they aren’t the best pick! If it’s always cloudy and rainy in her locale, then a floppy yarn sunhat won’t get much use.

Beyond these factors of course, hobbies and lifestyle can affect your choices as well. If she hates cooking, a set of crocheted dishcloths won’t suddenly inspire her to take up baking. If she collects goat figurines, look for a goat basket pattern (I happen to know where you can find one of those…). If she is traveling the country year-round in an RV, make sure any gift is both practical and small enough to fit in relatively cramped quarters!

So don’t just follow the teacher’s instructions – put some thought into it! Moms are notoriously difficult to come up with gifts for – especially when they like to answer “Oh nothing, dear” to requests for ideas. And for inspiration, there are literally thousands of free patterns here in the Lion Brand Pattern Finder, as well as elsewhere around the web.

And if she’s a crochet or knitter herself… well, you can always order her some gorgeous luxury yarn from the LB Collection and call it a day!


Get Zen with Crochet Wraps and Blankets: A Round-Up by Moogly!

March 30th, 2016

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by Tamara Kelly of www.mooglyblog.com

There’s something so soothing and meditative about crochet. The rhythm of the stitches, the motion of yarn and hook, it can be perfectly relaxing, leading you to that “zen” state of mind – a place many of us need to visit a little more often!

In fact, crocheting can be the ideal meditative activity for many – and the benefits are too many to list here! It can improve your emotional well-being, with less worry and stress, and greater self-esteem; it improves your physical health by relaxing your heart rate and reducing blood pressure; and it can improve your mental health too, boosting both memory and focus!
Of course, the crochet patterns we’re talking about here aren’t the ones that make you scratch your head and test your skills – they are for items like wraps and blankets, particularly those with simple stitch patterns. So with that in mind, here are 6 handpicked and free crochet patterns to help you relax and “get zen!”

Get Zen Graphic

1. Nettie’s Super Simple Tube Wrap by Jessie at Home – Made with 2 strands of Heartland®, the color changes melt into each other to create a stunning gradient!

2. Penelope’s Lacy Wrap by Simply Collectible Crochet – Within 2 to 3 hours, using just one skein of Amazing®, you’ll have something lovely for a Quick Christmas gift or Easter picnic!

3. Braided and Broken Wrap by Cre8tion Crochet – This oversize wrap combines simple stitches with a creative twist to make them pop. Created all with dc and chains only, in Heartland®!

4. Wind Chime Afghan by Lion Brand Yarn – Simple strips made with Vanna’s Choice® are joined with a row of “lace” that’s much simpler than it looks!

5. Rainbow Dash Baby Blanket by Beatrice Ryan Designs –  Pound of Love® and a fun two row repeat will put a smile on your face and brighten your day – and living room!

6. Weekend Weather Afghan by Moogly – With super bulky Lion Brand Color Clouds and an S hook, a unique and easy to make stitch, you can bliss out all weekend!
Now grab your favorite Lion Brand yarns, a comfy hook, and go enjoy the zen of crochet!


Yoga With Shira: Yoga for Knitters & Crocheters, Poses for Carpal Tunnel!

March 22nd, 2016

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In the latest episode of Tea with Shira, our brand ambassador teams up with a friend to learn how yoga pairs well with yarn crafting. This guest post was written by AJ Wolbrum.

Hi #roarers! I’m AJ, a yoga instructor based in NYC and Shira’s childhood friend. I am not here to convert you to buy a mat, get some new gear and call yourself a yogi, but I am here to tell you that yoga can enhance what you already love to do. And what I can gather as to why you are reading this post is what really makes your heart sing is the sacred art of knitting and crocheting. I do not use the word ‘sacred’ lightly. Knitting and crocheting tap into an ancient ritual (like yoga) of coming together for a common purpose; to achieve a specific goal; and a direct side effect is an opportunity for introspection. Yes, you can potentially achieve enlightenment from knitting your afghan.

Now, here’s the thing; You don’t need to do much to receive the benefits of yoga, but you do have do something. My recommendation is to just get on the floor. Once you’re on the floor your body will want to move. Another suggestion is to lift your arms in the air. Let the blood flow in a new way. This has very therapeutic benefits and will give your wrists and hands a needed flush of oxygen. One more easy addition to your practice is simply observing your breath. Notice if your mind starts to wander and all of a sudden you’ve forgotten to exhale. If you could add an awareness of breath and thread it into your knitting/crocheting routine, you will immediately see a change in mood and the integrity of your work.

:: Can’t see the video above? Click here to watch — https://youtu.be/_dugK70nihA ::

How does yoga relate to crafting? Simply put, the repetitive action of knitting/crocheting causes similar bodily reactions as yoga. Knitting or crocheting, like yoga, slows down the brain, tells the body to go into restore mode and allows time for the body to heal from the inside out. They both reduce levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — and shut down overactive brain noise. Mindfulness will allow you to stitch longer with deeper awareness and a sense of ease. We’re talking about connection here. Connection to self. Connection to the material you are working with and connection to each other. About cultivating inner peace and a sense of community through activities that bring people together.

So grab a friend, get on the floor and do what you love because this life is all about one thing, working from heart and whenever you come from that place magical things will happen.

Find me at Yoga By AJ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Follow Shira on Instagram or Twitter, and don’t forget to check out our YouTube playlist of all the yoga poses we did in this episode!


Comfort With Crochet: Showing Love with Stitches

March 3rd, 2016

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It’s National Crochet Month! This March, celebrate the craft by sharing it with others. In this guest post, Tamara Kelly of Moogly shares how she uses her crochet talents for good.

As my friend Kathryn Vercillo has shown time and again, crochet can be healing, comforting, even life saving. I know my own life was changed and improved by crochet, before I even began Moogly! But crochet isn’t only for the crocheter.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years as a member of the online crochet community, it’s that crocheters love to give back. There are dozens of crochet based charities, with new ones popping up all the time. And then there are those who crochet scarves to leave tied to trees for those who need them in cold climates. Those who crochet recycled plastic mats for the homeless. Those who crochet tiny, heartbreakingly small hats for their local NICU.

However, crocheting for people we know and love is a natural instinct as well. Sure, there’s a little bit of fun in showing off what we can do with hooks and yarn. But when we crochet for those who need extra comfort in times of trouble or stress, it’s the love in each stitch – the time we spend thinking about them, what they like and how they are doing – that makes crocheting comfort gifts so special.

Prayer shawls are a particularly popular gift for those who’ve gone through a loss, whether it’s a spouse, a child, or a job, a home. Those who make them often say there is a little prayer in each stitch! But you don’t have to pray, or follow a particular religion, to stitch a comfort wrap for those who need it. The warm, cozy hug of a handmade wrap or shawl needs no words to give comfort, and any favorite pattern will do – it’s doesn’t have to be designed as such to be made and given with love.

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Crochet Fortune’s Wrap by Moogly made with LB Collection® Superwash Merino Knit Prayer/Healing Shawl made with Homespun® Crochet Log Cabin Arrow Afghan made with Heartland®

And it isn’t always one to one. There’s something very special that happens when an entire community of crocheters comes together to support one of their own. Whether it’s the happiness of a new baby or the tragedy of loss, blankets are another popular project to make and give as a group. I’ve been honored to participate in several such projects, and it’s always amazing seeing the all the individuals’ efforts come together to create a greater whole.

When making a group blanket like this of course, organization is key. Making sure everyone is using the same weight of yarn, ideally with the same hook size, and creating the same size block, hexagon, or section. The person putting them all together at the end will certainly appreciate the pre-planning!

Do you know someone who could use a comfort wrap or blanket? Someone who could use something to wrap up in, someone who needs to feel a little extra love? Or are you inspired to find a crochet charity to donate to? Here are some resources to get you started!

Lion Brand Charity Finder – Lion Brand offers a charity registry and a search feature so those who wish to craft for charity or donate can find appropriate groups and services.

Comfort Wrap Patterns – Find lots of free Lion Brand patterns for shawls and wraps here, as well as chemo caps and other items!

Printable Prayer Shawl Cards – Some lovely sentiments, as well as handy dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

Afghan Pattern Ideas for Group Comfort Blankets

Already Have a Charity You Support? – click the link to add your favorite yarny charity to Lion Brand’s Charity Finder!

 

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