Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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

September 30th, 2014

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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!

Congratulations to the following: Susan S., Judy N., Lola E., Jean L., and Margaret B.! Thank you for sharing your stories!


Top Down Crochet Jacket: Sleeve Construction

September 25th, 2014

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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.
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