Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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3 Helpful Crochet Tips for the Left-Handed

March 17th, 2015

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Arabia Temple works at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio and gives some of her favorite tips for crocheters who often come into the store asking for help.
left-handed-crochet

At least once a week, someone will come in and talk about how they’d love to crochet, but they’re afraid to try because they’re left-handed. Admittedly, the majority of crochet patterns, diagrams, and instructions are created for crafters who hold their hook in their right hand.

Here are a few tips that have proven helpful to those who hold their hook with their left.

Re-write for left

stGeorgesVariationChart-left

Before you even pick up a hook, you should read your entire pattern from start to finish. Once you’ve gone through it and understand what it’s asking of you, go through it once more and make adjustments to the directional instructions to reflect crocheting from left to right.

Create a mirror image

If you’re working with granny squares, motifs, or other patters using charts, symbols or illustrated stitch explanations, see if the images can be flipped horizontally (see example of St. George’s variation on the right) before they’re printed or photocopied to show the stitches being worked clockwise. Or, you can simply find an actual mirror and place it next to the image to follow the pattern.

Declare it Opposite Day!

Online instructional videos, like Lion Brand’s Youtube Channel, are a great resource for crafters, but when the host is a right-handed, you’ll want do the opposite of what you see the instructor doing. For example, right–handed instructors will turn their work from right to left – like turning the page of a book; you would instead turn your work from left to right-like going back a page.

While crochet doesn’t exactly cater those who are left-handed, it certainly shouldn’t scare them away. As long as you remember that patience, practice, and perseverance are all you really need to crochet, no matter what hand your dominant hand is, you’ll be just fine.


New! Learn to Crochet 3 Easy Cowls with Moogly

January 30th, 2015

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Learn How to Crochet With Moogly!

  In the Round, In Style: Crochet Cowls Made Easy Cowls are quite the craze amongst crocheters, and it’s easy to see why! They’re small projects that make a big impact in any wardrobe — plus, they’re quick, easy and fabulously fun to work. Join me, Tamara Kelly, the mind behind Moogly, in my online Craftsy class, Quick and Easy Crochet Cowls, to create quick and captivating cowl projects that will work up with ease, and open up a brand new world as you crochet in the round! During class, we’ll work our way through three dazzling cowls. Start with the easiest, then turn your sights to a lace cowl, getting acquainted with lace charts as you crochet. And finally, create something a little more advanced, adding fabulous granny square embellishment to the final cowl. Plus, throughout class, you’ll get tips and tricks for blocking and finishing to really make those cowls pop! And, did I mention that the first 1,000 students to enroll get a heavenly, heathered treat? That’s right — enroll today and get a free skein of Lion Brand Amazing® yarn!

 For our first lesson, we’ll make the aptly–named 45–Minute Cowl. I’ll show you how to work two strands at once from the same skein, and we’ll start our foundation row, learning to properly measure gauge. As we move on, I’ll give you tips for joining the beginning row in the round, including a more professional way to start the round, and take you through each stitch used. Then, we’ll complete this cowl with fabulous finishing tips that will help you take care of those ends!In our third lesson, we explore lovely lace in the round. You’ll improve your chart–reading skills as I walk you through the pattern and show you how it translates to the chart. Join your first round, and enjoy my nifty trick you can use in all your in–the–round projects so that your chain doesn’t get twisted! While we crochet, I’ll explain how the stitch pattern develops round by round, and you’ll learn which loops to work into to create the beautiful shells of this stunning cowl.

 We’ll finish lesson four by flipping the cowl once we’ve worked it half way, working into the foundation chain once more to build fabric out in the opposite direction. Once we’re finished, it’s time for the beautiful Brompton Abbey Cowl! This more advanced cowl is still very approachable — it just takes a few special stitches, like picots, which I’ll show you step by step. Plus, I’ll share some advice on adjusting length and width, so you can customize for the fit you crave! Then, we’ll create our cowl’s dazzling centerpiece by crocheting and attaching the granny squares. I’ll show you how to make the center spiral, square–off corners for a traditional look and attach the squares to the neck piece. For our final lesson, we’ll add finishing touches with a beautiful picot edge and functional snaps, and end class with blocking tips for all your projects! Get three incredible designs, plus a FREE skein of Lion Brand Amazing yarn, when you sign up for Quick and Easy Crochet Cowls today.

 For me, as much as I’ve fallen in love with crochet over the years, it’s the aspect of community and sharing with other crocheters that has truly become my passion. That’s why I started Moogly, a crochet website, and made it my mission to connect with crocheters, sharing my knowledge by blogging, designing, curating pattern collections, crafting tutorials and more! Now, I get to connect with you too — thanks to Craftsy! With Craftsy you get expert instruction and ample support, with me and the crochet community by your side. Plus, with online lessons you can watch when you want and where you want, you get to learn on your terms, in crystal clear high–definition!So, join me, and get ready to cowl with delight! Learn all the skills you need to start creating cowls and other in–the–round projects with complete confidence.

Join me in for only $19.99that’s 33% off today!


How to Make a Yarn Wreath in 4 Easy Steps!

November 17th, 2014

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This article series was featured previously in our Weekly Stitch newsletter, which features new products, tips, and more. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

mohairwreaths
A great gift for a knitter or crocheter – turn two balls of yarn into two cute wreaths in minutes! Use them as ornaments, then knit or crochet them into fabulous projects.

For this project you’ll need two balls of yarn (here we’re using LB Collection® Silk Mohair in Azure and Sunbeam), as well a tapestry needle.

Step 1

mohair1

Remove labels from yarn, (hang on to them if giving to a yarncrafter!) and remove a little bit of yarn from each ball. If your yarn isn’t already in a cake or doughnut shape, wrap it around a water bottle or cup to make “cakes.” From the yarn you removed from each ball, cut 2 lengths of yarn (1 of each color), long enough to wrap around your package. Set them aside. Thread tapestry needle with remaining yarn in first color.

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Make a Mini Pom-Pom Gift Topper in 5 Easy Steps!

November 10th, 2014

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This article series was featured previously in our Weekly Stitch newsletter, which features new products, tips, and more. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

pompom4Pom-poms are easy, fast, and fun — add a couple of mini ones to your packages for a whimsical touch! This week we’re showing you how to make a Mini Pom-Pom Gift Topper

For this gift topper, you’ll need several colors of yarn (the example below uses Lion® Cotton in Turquoise and Lion Wool® in Dark Teal*).

*Editors’ Note: Lion Wool® has been discontinued since this article was originally published. Try a color-changing yarn like Amazing® and Vanna’s Tapestry or use the leftover yarn from the handmade gift inside.
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Make a Woven Wonder Gift Topper in 5 Easy Steps!

November 7th, 2014

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This article series was featured previously in our Weekly Stitch newsletter, which features new products, tips, and more. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

weavingTurn any package into a mini loom! If you teach the recipient how to tie off the edges, they’ll have a little coaster or place mat in addition to the gift inside.

For this gift topper, you’ll need two types of yarn (the example below uses Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® in Citron and Lion Wool® in Dark Teal*.), tape, and a tapestry needle, in addition to your wrapped gift.

*Editors’ Note: Lion Wool® has been discontinued since this article was originally published. Try a color-changing yarn like Amazing® and Landscapes® or use the leftover yarn from the handmade gift inside.

Step 1

Tape the end of the first yarn to the back of your package. Wrap yarn around package lengthwise, keeping strands close together (aprox ¼” apart). Wrap about 20 times for a coaster, 50 for a placemat OR any even number of times. Once wrapped, cut yarn, remove the tape holding the other end of yarn and tie the two strands together, being careful not to distort the front lineup. Trim tails.
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Learn to Finger Knit with the Knitting Runner, David Babcock

October 29th, 2014

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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! Plus, you can meet David while he’s in New York City!

This Sunday, I’ll be running the New York City Marathon while knitting a scarf. I’m doing it to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s. While training for the New York City Marathon, I was faced with a problem. Due to security concerns I was told that I would not be allowed to bring knitting needles or a crochet hook with me on the run. I respect the great service that the New York Police Department provides and want to support their efforts. So I had to come up with a way to knit on the run without needles.

I tried arm knitting, but a 15 minute scarf doesn’t fill my target 4 hour finish time and the giant loose gauge would not hold up well on the run. I was aware of what is commonly called finger knitting but I didn’t feel that a 4 stitch stockinette would work well either. So I did a little experimentation of my own and in the process I learned more about knitting.

Knitting at its simplest level is just a series of loops inside of loops. Knitting needles are a very helpful tool for holding stitches and picking up and pulling loops through, but learning where to insert them and how to twist them was quite a challenge for me as a beginner.

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Go To The Fair – Michelle Edwards Visits Rhinebeck

October 29th, 2014

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“… Go to the Fair, Templeton. You will find that the conditions at a fair will surpass
your wildest dreams. Buckets with sour mash sticking to them, tin cans
containing particles of tuna fish, greasy paper bags stuffed with rotten …”
“That’s enough!” cried Templeton. “Don’t tell me anymore. I’m going.”

E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

baaaaConvincing my cousin Janet to go to The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival wasn’t hard. Unlike Templeton the rat in Charlotte’s Web, she didn’t need the lure of sour mash, stray particles of tuna fish, or even greasy paper bags. The mere mention of sheep and wool and she was on board.

I had been to Rhinebeck, as the event is known in the fiber world, when I was promoting my knitting book, A Knitter’s Home Companion. My fair days back then were spent almost entirely signing books. This summer, after attending a small Iowa sheep and wool festival, I got the itch to go back to the big one, to Rhinebeck, to see what I had missed.

Rhinebeck is not only about wool. Among the offerings there were a bred ewe auction, an angora goat show, and an exotic breeds parade. In addition, there were demos of “blue ribbon hearth” cooking, canine Frisbee, sheepdog herding and more. Not to mention classes like Weave a Williamsburg Basket, Art and Science of Natural Dyeing, Needle Felting in 2-D and 3-D, Made in the Moment Jewelry, Double Knitting, Beginning Rug Hooking and Spinning for Socks.

Of course, Janet and I went straight for the wool. We cruised booth after booth, discussed the merits of projects and yarns on display. Often our eyes were drawn to the handwork worn by other fair attendees. We admired lacy shawls, cabled sweaters and the stunning green baby blankets covering a pair of adorable twins in their side-by-side stroller.
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Two Knitting Runners: David Babcock Interviews Friend and Fellow Knitting Runner, Susie Hewer

October 11th, 2014

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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!

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Top Down Crochet Jacket Crochet-Along: Finishing Touches

October 9th, 2014

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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.
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Top Down Crochet Jacket Crochet-Along: Edging

October 2nd, 2014

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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:

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