Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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My First Yarn Project

July 3rd, 2008

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Before working at Lion Brand, I only had limited experiences with handknit items. A friend of mine knit me a beautiful ribbed red scarf when I was in college, (It wasn’t until working at Lion Brand that I realized that the yarn used was Wool-Ease Thick & Quick) and later in college, my girlfriend knit me a scarf with Homespun. I kept thinking about how beautiful and amazing hand-knit pieces were, but could never wrap my head around the idea that two long cylindrical objects (needles) could take a piece of yarn and create something wearable. It was a task that I considered far too difficult for my clumsy, maladroit hands.

Not two weeks into working at Lion Brand, however, I noticed the incredible knitting and crocheting culture here. From Zontee (of the YarnCraft podcast) to Jackie and Karen (of the Design Department), I had a number of people telling me that knitting wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought. So one day after work, I sat down with Zontee and was ready to learn. She taught me how to cast on and how to knit. That night I knit a number of rows, and came back to work ready for something new.

After work that next day, Zontee was ready to teach me how to purl. A few rows later, I was knitting a stockinette stitch, and was excited to start my first real project. Looking for a fairly simple project that could help me hone my newly found knitting and purling abilities, the people in our Design Department found a great, easy 2 and 1/2 Hour Scarf for me to complete. This would be a little bit more complex, and used three strands weaved in as one, but was an exciting first project. The first day I was ready to choose my yarn. With the expertise of our creative director, Karen, I picked out three beautiful colors of Vanna’s Choice, and I was ready to go. Once again, Zontee helped me cast on and watched me knit my first few rows.

Knitted ScarfFor the next few days, I could be found at home, on the train and after work working on this scarf. This was during NFL playoffs as well, so I was knitting while watching the Giants play – something that I would have never anticipated. The first few rows started off a little shaky (as you can see on the left side of the scarf), but after that, it was four and a half feet of pretty smooth sailing. When I got into trouble toward the end, Zontee also helped me to fix a stitch I’d dropped.

Truthfully, it was fun, exciting and really not as hard as I’d originally imagined. Though the “2 and 1/2 hour” label given to me probably did not take into account the fact that I had knitting growing pains, it still was a fairly quick project to do. With a little bit of help from everyone here, I now have a scarf that I’m proud to say I knit! I’ll admit though, it’s easier to knit a beautiful scarf when you’re surrounded by fantastic knitters.

Do you or someone you know want to learn to knit or crochet? Check out our Learn to Knit Guide and our Learn to Crochet Guide.


The Blogging World

July 2nd, 2008

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We were recently contacted by a blogger from Spain named Ariel, who authored a post about how to knit (como tejer in Spanish) over 2 years ago. Since he thought our own learn-to-knit instructions were very useful, he linked back to our website as a graphical resource that he found and used for these instructions, which are also available in Spanish.

All the content on LionBrand.com is provided to help you to grow as a crafter, whether that entails learning new stitches from the StitchFinder, discover more with YarnCraft, or connect with our Notebook. The great thing about the internet is that it is vast, yet completely interconnected – if you find something of ours that is useful, feel free to link to it and share with your friends or family! I hope you’re enjoying this journey as much as we are!


Seen in the Yarniverse: Quitting Smoking

June 26th, 2008

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quitting the habitKnitting and crocheting are not simply hobbies for relaxation, can be very useful to kick habits like smoking as well! Chapel Hill News chronicled Riva Econopouly, a woman who put down her cigarettes for knitting needles, and has been smoke-free ever since. This is an incredible story of a woman who used to smoke up to three packs a day, but thanks to her knitting needles, was able to kick the habit. In fact, About.com’s guide to quitting smoking suggests picking up portable hobbies such as crocheting or knitting to control the urge. Rocky Mountain News wrote that even teenagers are knitting to get rid of their nicotine dependence.

If you have any stories about how crafting helped someone quit smoking, we’d love to hear about it. Send us your comments.


Seen in the Yarniverse: Male Knitters and Crocheters

June 19th, 2008

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Male knitters are popping up more and more these days. It’s exciting to see boundaries being changed and people are being more open-minded about crafts. There’s a wonderful article at Greatreporter.com that looks at males in the knitting community. We also had an episode of YarnCraft featuring Men Who Knit & Crochet. As a male knitter myself, I got odd looks from subway passengers while knitting a scarf on my way to work. But it’s great to see that the number of males crafting is on the rise — one of the readers of the blog, Robert is working on the Tree of Life pattern right now, in fact. Also, one of my good friends, who’s a world-class rock climber was one of the last people I’d have expected to crochet, but he’s made some incredible things.

Are you a male knitter or crocheter? Speak up by commenting on this post and introducing yourself!


Seen in the Yarniverse: Knitting the Ones You Love

May 16th, 2008

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How far would you go to remember your beloved pets? Some people create elaborate memorials to best give tribute to their best companions. One married couple in England took it one step further, by knitting their pets’ fur into garments. The Cleveland Plain Dealer had readers email their local Dog Lady about the practice with comments. The English couple who had knit their two pets into jumpers had heard about the process through their dog breeders, and now have keepsakes of their best two companions.

Even Martha Stewart creates items out of her dog Paw Paw. In a segment of her February 14 show, she showed the care she takes of her dog, and how she is interested in knitting a keepsake using a skein of Paw Paw’s fur yarn. She personally uses a local company VIP Fibers to spin the fur.

What do you think about this process? Have any of you tried using your dogs’ or pets’ fur to create a keepsake?

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