Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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How to Style a Rectangle Wrap

January 16th, 2013

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Rectangular shawls and wraps are so fun and easy to make, but did you know how versatile they are? The possibilities are endless! Check out our 7 favorite ways to wear the Crochet Maple Shade Wrap in this quick styling video.

Want more styling tips? Click here to visit our YouTube channel for even more videos. Want to see our newest videos as soon as they’re posted? Click here to subscribe to our channel (must be logged in to YouTube to subscribe).

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Fair Isle Favorites: 9 Patterns to Try Stranded Knitting

January 10th, 2013

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The new year is the perfect time to learn a new skill, and colorwork is a great place to start. Fair Isle knitting, also known as stranded knitting, is my favorite technique for adding colorwork to a project. With this technique, you carry your unworked yarn behind your working yarn to create floats. Click here to find out more about Fair Isle knitting.

Knit Snow Day Cap Knit Chance of Flurries Hat Knit Glamorous Fair Isle Hat
Knit Snow Day Cap in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Knit Change of Flurries Hat in Alpine Wool

Knit Glamorous Fair Isle Hat in Vanna’s Glamour
Knit Three Color Cowl Knit Tablet (iPad) Fair Isle Tech Vest Knit Limelight Stirrup Socks
Knit Three Color Cowl in Vanna’s Choice Knit Tablet (iPad) Fair Isle Tech Vest in Wool-Ease

Knit Limelight Stirrup Socks in Wool-Ease
Knit Colorwork Sweater Knit Colorful Fair Isle Throw Knit Fair Isle Capelet
Knit Colorwork Sweater in Martha Stewart Crafts Alpaca Blend Knit Colorful Fair Isle Throw in Wool-Ease and Amazing

Knit Fair Isle Capelet in Wool-Ease

Looking for more Fair Isle inspiration? Click here to view all of our Fair Isle patterns. Happy knitting!

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Introducing Emerald as the 2013 Color of the Year!

January 7th, 2013

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Each year Pantone, the leading color authority, announces the hottest shade of the year. The big color for 2013 is Emerald, a rich, cool shade of green. In the words of Pantone, Emerald is “Lively. Radiant. Lush… A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.” Personally, I love how serene and calming this shade is, and I can’t wait to incorporate it into my yarncrafting! Want more Emerald in your crafting, too? Here are our favorite Emerald yarns for the coming year.

Emerald: Pantone Color of 2103

Left to right: Hometown USA in Grand Rapids Green, Homespun in Pesto, Jiffy in Country Green, and Martha Stewart Crafts Alpaca Blend in Meadow Green.

What do you think of this trend? Will you be using Emerald in your yarncrafting projects this year?


Different Yarn, New Look!

December 21st, 2012

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Casey baby bootiesHave you ever substituted in a different yarn than the one called for by the pattern? I’m a bit of an obsessive substituter, so when I saw the gorgeous Rainbow Spots shade of Casey, I just had to knit some baby booties for my cousin’s new baby girl! The only question was which pattern to make. Ever since it was posted, I’ve loved the Ruby Slippers, so I knit a quick gauge swatch, got the right needle, and away I went! The only adjustment I made was leaving off the button band since these booties are for a very tiny baby. Overall, I’m thrilled with how they came out, and I hope little baby Ally is, too!

Isn’t it amazing how a different yarn can make the pattern look totally different?

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On Trend: Chunky Stitches

December 11th, 2012

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Everywhere I turn in New York City, I see beautiful knit and crochet accessories with super thick stitches. Stores like Anthropologie, Gap, and H&M are highlighting the chunky stitch trend. By combining super bulky (category 6) yarns with thick needles and hooks, you can work up these fun accessories in a flash. Best of all, they’re fast enough that they make easy holiday gifts! Here are some great patterns for trendy accessories.

Cowls

Knit Ribbed Cowl Openwork Crocheted Cowl
Knit Ribbed Cowl in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Openwork Crocheted Cowl in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick

Hats

Easy Rib Knit Hat Crochet Unisex Slouchy Hat
Easy Rib Knit Hat in Hometown USA Crochet Unisex Slouchy Hat in Hometown USA

Wristers

Knit Snow Day Mitts Crochet Touchdown Wristers
Knit Snow Day Mitts in Da Vinci Crochet Touchdown Wristers in Wool-Ease Thick & Quick

Want even more chunky stitch ideas? Be sure to check out this post by our friend Jen that highlights her favorite chunky stitch patterns.


How to Plan (and Make!) Last Minute Gifts

December 4th, 2012

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How to Plan and Make Last Minute GiftsIt’s holiday crafting crunch time, but I’m here to tell you that everything will be okay. You can finish all of your gift crocheting and knitting with a bit of planning. Here are some easy tips to help you achieve all of your holiday crafting goals.

Step 1: Make a list of what you want to achieve. Choose the patterns, the yarn, and the gift recipients.

Step 2: Be realistic. Do you have enough time to make all of these items? If you have to buy yarn, will you have it in time? Can you really knit 5 Aran sweaters with heavy cabling in 3 days? Consider what you can reasonably accomplish, then edit down your list. Try using thicker yarns for fast-finish gifts. Being realistic is the best way to eliminate handmade gifting stress.

Step 3: Prioritize. Figure out which items are your must-finish projects, and start those first. If you won’t see your aunt until New Year’s Eve, you can probably start her gift after you finish Mom’s holiday shawl.

Step 4: Edit once more. Once you get working on your gifts, you might find that cowl you thought would take a day really took five. That’s totally fine! Revisit your list and adjust accordingly. Remember, it’s absolutely okay not to craft for every single person on your holiday list.

Step 5: Plan for the unfinished gifts. Even with the best of plans and intentions, sometimes life gets in the way. Set yourself a deadline, and if you find yourself getting a little too close for comfort, consider alternate plans. You can give an IOU card if your gift will be finished shortly, or consider gifting some handmade items from a local store or market.

By staying organized, you can relax and enjoy your crafting instead of stressing about deadlines. Good luck with your gift projects!

Pictured above: Amigurumi Christmas Mouse Ornament

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22nd, 2012

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Happy Thanksgiving!

From our family to yours, here’s wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! We love all of the wonderful friendships we’ve made over the years. Thank you for being a part of our family!

Pictured above: Crochet Tom Turkey


All About Alpaca

November 16th, 2012

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All About Alpaca YarnAlpaca yarns have been gaining in popularity quite quickly over the past few years, and it’s no wonder: alpaca yarn is strong, soft, and warm. But how is it different from other fibers? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked alpaca questions.

How are alpaca yarns so soft?
Every piece of hair is made up of a series of scales. Animal fiber yarns that are soft tend to have very small, short scales. On average, alpaca fibers have shorter scales than sheep.

I can’t wear wool. Can I still use alpaca?
Give it a try! Alpaca yarns do not contain lanolin, an oil that sheep produce to protect their fleece. That means that people with wool or lanolin sensitivities can still wear alpaca. Baby alpaca is especially great for people with sensitive skin.

Does alpaca yarn felt?
Unless the yarn is superwash, alpaca will felt. Because the scales are small, alpaca yarns will take a little bit longer to felt than traditional wool. However, the results are just as beautiful.

How do alpaca yarns drape?
100% alpaca has a beautiful drape, so it creates gorgeous shawls and accessories.

How stretchy is alpaca?
A yarn’s bounce or stretch is determined by its scales. Since the scales are so short and smooth, they don’t lock together. That means 100% alpaca yarns will have a tendency to stretch, and they won’t shrink back into place like some wools will. This is a fantastic advantage when knitting or crocheting lace, as the stitches will really open up.

How are there so many undyed shades of alpaca?
Believe it or not, there are actually 22 natural colors of alpaca, ranging from neutrals like white and brown to rich golden oranges and silvery blues.

How warm is alpaca?
Super warm! Although it’s very light, alpaca is incredibly warm, even when wet. In fact, it’s my go-to yarn for winter knits because I know that it’ll keep me cozy. It also has great moisture wicking properties.

So now that you know a little more about alpaca, why not give it a try? Our LB Collection Baby Alpaca comes in beautiful undyed shades, and our Martha Stewart Crafts Alpaca Blend combines alpaca with wool and acrylic for an easy care yarn.

Have more alpaca questions? Be sure to ask in the comments!


Learn How to Style a Cowl with Our YouTube Channel

November 14th, 2012

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So you’ve knit or crocheted yourself a beautiful chunky cowl. Now, how do you style it? In this video, Claire from the Lion Brand Yarn Studio shows us 3 warm and stylish ways to wear the Knit Cabildo Cowl.

Want more styling tips? Click here to visit our YouTube channel for even more videos. Want to see our newest videos as soon as they’re posted? Click here to subscribe to our channel (must be logged in to YouTube to subscribe).

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Getting Back to Normal After Hurricane Sandy

November 5th, 2012

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Our offices have reopened today following Hurricane Sandy. We’re just now getting back in the swing of things, so there will be some delay in shipping and responding to your emails and calls. Since our power was out for a week, please allow us time to catch up. We consider ourselves very lucky to be back at work, but our staff is still coping with the latent damage from Sandy.

Most of our staff has made it back to the office, but over in my home neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, transportation is at a stand-still. The subway tunnels are still flooded, buses are beyond capacity, and the East River Ferry stop is out of commission. Grocery stores are completely depleted of bread and perishables. Here’s a look at the bread aisle of my store last night:

Grocery Store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Even so, I am very grateful that things are looking up. After all, my power and internet have been restored, so I’m able to get some work done from home. I can’t help but smile when I think of the amazing amount of support and love we’ve received through social media. There are still so many without basic necessities like food and shelter, so I encourage you to look into the many ways you can donate. The American Red Cross is a great place to start, and Bev’s Country Cottage has this great round-up of places to donate knit/crochet items. It’s truly inspiring how our community has really come together in this time of need, so from all of us at Lion Brand, thank you!