Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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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.

craftsy_MyFirstSweaterCardigan_1
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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My Weekend of Peace, Music, and Goodtimes

November 13th, 2013

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label

Today’s story comes from Shira Blumenthal, a current employee at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, and the daughter of our President and CEO, David Blumenthal. Shira is excited to share with us how she’s getting ready for her upcoming wedding at the end of the month.

As I was in the final stages of getting ready for my wedding, I was also thinking of some way to thank my bridal party for all their support and hard work. They were a smattering of 11 close friends who I had known throughout my entire life, from 5th grade to the present. With all the last-minute planning, not to mention the overall nervous fact that the event was just weeks away, I just wanted to go away for a bit and relax.

When they had surprised me with a bachelorette weekend at our family house in Woodstock, I couldn’t have been happier.

It was no secret that my family ran Lion Brand or that I loved to knit. So I decided the best thing was to make a thank you gift for everyone. I loved cowls for the sheer fact you could just put it on and go out the door. I am fond of knitting in the round, and knew I could whip up several in no time—which came in handy if I was making them for eleven people.

With the Lion Brand Yarn Studio’s  distinctive wall of yarn, it made choosing colors a breeze. I’m traditional at heart and felt a range of natural shades would suit all of them. When we got to the house, I got a bit nostalgic as we drove up to the house—remembering all life’s milestones I’ve had in that house: my first steps, my first words, and now my bachelorette weekend.

When the girls showed me the t-shirts they would all be wearing, complete with a picture of She-Ra and the date of the event. I couldn’t help but laugh, and had wonderful flashbacks of when I first met each of my friends who thought I was named after the famed Princess of Power! Although this was not so, they knew that given any superhero to idolize it would be her!

In turn, I gave them their own goodie bag filled with fun weekend essentials and their own cowls with a customized label to commemorate the weekend. They all loved them and some traded them like friendship bracelets on the playground because of the variety of colors. As my wedding worries were quickly forgotten as we reminisced about the old days, I remembered the excitement that I was getting married and they were going to all be there as I said my vows.

shirasweekend


The Cowl: A Winter Favorite

October 27th, 2013

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Our Design Department shares their thoughts on a favorite accessory of theirs.

We have been watching the cowl take off on the runways as this season’s favorite accessory. This face-framing neck warmer is versatile, practical and fashionable. Here are two variations on the theme that show how different a cowl can look, depending on your choice of yarns.

Knit Dobbs Ferry Cowl Crochet Wildfire Cowl
Knit Dobbs Ferry Cowl Crochet Wildfire Cowl

The Dobbs Ferry Cowl in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, knit by holding three strands of this extra-bulky, easy-care yarn together, features the popular look of large stitches. It not only keeps you warm, but also creates a flattering high collar. The Wildfire Cowl uses only one bright painterly shade of Homespun to make a simple stitch look like a complex mix of different colors of yarn. You’ll love the compliments you’ll get when you wear this eye-popping cowl with your dark winter coat. Wear the cowl long (as pictured) to stay warm indoors, or loop it over again for a cozy accessory that keeps you warm while staying in place.

For a selection of over 60 cowl patterns, click here.

A version of this article first ran in The Weekly Stitch newsletter. Click here to sign up for the newsletter and get articles, free patterns, and exclusive offers in your inbox each week. 


An Introduction to Needle Felting

October 14th, 2013

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Darrin, our needle felting teacher at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City, shares some insights into this fun and sculptural craft technique. Shop felting tools on LionBrand.com by clicking here.

If you knit or crochet, then you know how important it is to follow the pattern.  Obtaining the correct gauge, and counting stitches and rows are all required to be certain that your project will turn out like the pattern describes.  With needle felting you can forget about all of that!

I hope you will find needle felting liberating as I do, it is refreshing to be free from all of that regulated structure. Take back control of your yarn crafting, and make choices as you go.  Often, if I don’t like something, I just take my scissors and cut it off of my work. It is very liberating to work in a creative free-form way, where you can decide as you go if you like how your work is turning out.

What Is Needle Felting?

Needle felting is a popular fiber arts craft that creates felt without the use of water. Fiber artist Eleanor Stanwood first used special needles that were originally used in industrial felting machines in the 1980s to sculpt wool by hand. Now this art form is gaining in popularity.

Frequently, the needles are described as having barbs, spurs, or notches, along the shaft of the needle that grab the layers of fibers and tangle them together as the needle passes through the wool fiber. These notches face toward the tip of the needle and do not pull the fibers out as the needle exits the wool. Once tangled and matted, the felt can be very strong and used for creating fabric, jewelry, 3D sculptures, and just about any thing that you can imagine.  This is a very versatile art form, and you can really achieve very fine detailed work.

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A Guest Post: Everything You Wanted to Know About Measuring for a Sweater + Free Sweater Planning Guide

September 12th, 2013

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Measuring-for-a-Sweeater-image

Today, we have a guest post from Johnny Vasquez, a knitwear designer, and “Head Honcho” over at the New Stitch A Day blog.  Johnny will be sharing some important tips to help you learn how to get proper measurements to ensure the perfect fit for your sweater!

One of the most important parts of knitting a sweater is being honest with your body and gauge measurements. If either your body or gauge measurements are even the slightest bit off, you risk having a sweater that doesn’t fit as well as you’d hoped. Taking the time to take accurate measurements before you begin your project will pay off in the long run with a great fitting sweater!

Measuring Gauge
I’ll be honest, when I started knitting I didn’t even know that you were supposed measure gauge. I figured they just put it in the pattern as a given fact – you knit with a specific size needles to correspond to the yarn, and you end up with the given gauge. Right? Not so much.  Gauge varies by person, as it depends on your style of knitting or crocheting (if you have a tight or loose style of crafting, it will affect the gauge)

Your gauge (that is the number of stitches and rows per inch) is incredibly important because it will determine how big or small your sweater will be. This also means that knowing how to measure your gauge is key. To learn how to accurately measure gauge, check out Lion Brand’s information on gauge swatching here.

Taking Body Measurements
Let’s take a look at how to properly take all of the measurements that you will ever need to make a great sweater!

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Ramon the Lion Gets a New Scarf

April 29th, 2013

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Ramon | Lion Brand NotebookThis is a guest blog post by Carolyn, our customer support supervisor. Her first blog post about Ramon, the lion statue by our NJ office door, can be read here

Back at the Carlstadt office, Ramon was thinking that he needed something new for spring…

Something stylish and fresh…and bold like his roar. After all, his current neckwear was getting tired.

So, he tried out our new color of Neon Pink in our Hometown USA line—what do you think?

Looks like he is ready to kick it into spring with his new look!

The pattern I used was Crocheted Rosettes/Flowers (free on LionBrand.com) – I used the largest size and just didn’t close up the Rosette.

P.S. I like to use this pattern for scarves for other things like stuffed animals and dolls—with a little imagination, the possibilities are endless.

Happy Spring!

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