Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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How to Knit Your Own Coffee Cozy

October 25th, 2012

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knit your own coffee cozyAs an obsessive coffee drinker, I love handmade coffee cozies! The coffee sleeves cafes use always seem to be too thin, so coffee cozies are an amazing reusable alternative. In the winter, they keep my coffee warm and my hands burn-free; in the summer, they keep my beverage cool and my hands dry. No matter what your style is, you can make your own cozy in just a few easy steps. Here’s how to do it!

1. Gather your supplies. Choose a yarn you want to work with and the appropriate hook or needle size. If you’re using buttons, grab some of those as well. Remember that wools are fantastic for insulating beverages, and both wool and cotton will absorb condensation from your cup. For my cozies, I used Martha Stewart Crafts Roving Wool in Sea Glass Blue and DaVinci in Quartz.


Craft = Love

October 10th, 2012

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Craft = love

Life can get a bit crazy sometimes, so it’s important to remember that every stitch contains a little bit of love.

Craft Your Own DIY Halloween Wreath

September 14th, 2012

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Craft Your Own DIY Halloween Wreath TutorialHalloween is right around the corner, but crafting for the holiday doesn’t have to be a fright! In just 15 minutes, you can make your very own sparkling wreath. All you need to gather is a styrofoam wreath (any size; mine is 6 inches wide), a styrofoam cone (mine is 2.5 inches tall), some glue, a crafting/Xacto knife (be careful!), a writing utensil, 1 ball of Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash in Onyx, and one package of Bonbons in Beach. Ready to craft? Let’s get started!


How to Knit Jogless Stripes

September 4th, 2012

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How to Knit Jogless StripesHave you ever knit stripes in the round only to find that they look a little lopsided? It’s not just you. The nature of circular knitting causes stripes to jog, which means that they don’t line up. The good news is there’s a technique for knitting stripes in the round that straightens up your stripes. Best of all, jogless stripes are just as easy to knit as regular stripes, so they don’t slow down your knitting at all! Are you ready to take your stripes to the next level?

9 Back to School Projects for Teachers

August 23rd, 2012

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It’s back to school season! Start the school year off right with a yarncrafted classroom. These projects are perfect for any educator, so get your yarn ready. Click each image to view the pattern.

Knit Felted School Colors Laptop Sleeve
This laptop sleeve helps keep computers and tablets safe. You can also use it to store textbooks!
Yarn Wrapped Desk Organizers
Keep track of your office supplies with yarn wrapped organizers.
Fall Nesting Bowls
Nesting bowls help keep your desk neat and tidy. Use them to store paperclips, office supplies, or sweet treats.
Felted Acorn Pencil Case
Store your pencils or chalk in this sturdy felted case.
Greenmarket Lunch Bag
Always keep track of your lunch with this reusable lunch bag.
Super Summer Backpack
Keep all of your school supplies in one handy place with this handy bag.
Amigurumi Apple
Every teacher deserves an apple, and this crocheted one will last for years!
Wise Owl Toy
This owl will watch over the wisdom of your classroom.
Amigurumi Bookworm
A bookworm’s place is in the classroom!

How are you using yarncrafting this school year? Be sure to share in the comments!

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Top 10 Colors for Fall

August 15th, 2012

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Every season, Pantone, the world’s leading color authority, releases its list of trending fashion colors. To help you incorporate these beautiful shades into your yarncrafting, we’ve selected yarn shades that best match Pantone’s 10 shades for autumn. Check out the trends below!

French Roast Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend in Mink
Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend
in Mink
Vanna's Choice in Espresso
Vanna’s Choice in Espresso
Fishermen's Wool in Nature's Brown
Fishermen’s Wool in
Nature’s Brown
Honey Gold Hometown USA in Las Vegas Gold
Hometown USA in
Las Vegas Gold
Wool-Ease in Gold
Wool-Ease in Gold
Vanna's Choice in Honey
Vanna’s Choice in
Tangerine Tango Hometown USA in Tennessee Tango
Hometown USA in
Tennessee Tango
Vanna's Chocie in Radiant Orange
Vanna’s Choice in
Radiant Orange
Silky Twist in Tangerine
Silky Twist in
Pink Flambé Vanna's Choice in Rose
Vanna’s Choice in
LB Collection Cotton Bamboo in Hibicus
LB Collection Cotton
in Hibicus
Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend in Flamingo
Martha Stewart Crafts
Extra Soft Wool Blend

in Flamingo
Rose Smoke Baby's First in Twinkle Toes
Baby’s First in
Twinkle Toes
Wool-Ease in Blush Heather
Wool-Ease in Blush
Martha Stewart Crafts Merino in Milk Glass Pink
Martha Stewart Crafts
in Milk Glass
Rhapsody Hometown USA in Seattle Sea Mist
Hometown USA in
Seattle Sea Mist
Vanna's Glamour in Purple Topaz
Vanna’s Glamour in
Purple Topaz
Martha Stewart Crafts Roving Wool in Lavender Soap
Martha Stewart Crafts
Roving Wool
Lavender Soap
Titanium Superwash Merino Cashmere in Slate
Superwash Merino
in Slate
Martha Stewart Crafts Cotton Hemp in Slate
Martha Stewart Crafts Cotton Hemp in Slate
Vanna's Choice in Silver Grey
Vanna’s Choice in Silver Grey
Olympian Blue Cotton-Ease in Turquoise
Cotton-Ease in
Homespun in Montana Sky
Homespun in
Montana Sky
LB Collection Organic Wool in Dark Teal
LB Collection Organic
in Dark Teal
Ultramarine Green Hometown USA in Grand Rapids Green
Hometown USA in
Grand Rapids Green
Martha Stewart Crafts Mambo in Sea Turtle
Martha Stewart Crafts
in Sea Turtle
Jiffy in Country Green
Jiffy in Country Green
Bright Chartreuse Jiffy in Apple Green
Jiffy in Apple Green
Hometown USA in Key Lime
Hometown USA in
Key Lime
Kitchen Cotton in Kiwi
Kitchen Cotton in

What do you think of autumn’s hottest shades? Let us know in the comments below!

In a Pinch? Use Everyday Objects for Crafting Accessories!

August 8th, 2012

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Make Everyday Objects into Yarncrafting AccessoriesWe’ve all been there: you’re happily working through your pattern, then you reach for your stitch holder and realize that you don’t have one in your bag. Never fear! There are plenty of everyday desk and office supplies that you can use for a quick fix. Here are some common households items and how they can be used in crafting.

Paperclip: This is one of the most versatile tools you can have! It makes an excellent stitch marker as is, or you can unbend it to create a cable needle or double-pointed needle. Drop a stitch in your knitting? No problem! Just unbend the paperclip except for one end to create an emergency crochet hook.

Binder clip: Need to keep project pieces together for seaming but don’t have any pins handy? Binder clips will keep your project together as you’re seaming.

Rubber band: Snip into small pieces to create custom-sized stitch markers. For a stitch holder, just cut one end, then thread the band through your stitches. Tie the ends together to secure your holder. (You can also use extra yarn or string for these!)

American dollar bill: If you’re trying to measure your work and forgot your tape measure, reach for your wallet! American currency is 6.14 inches long, so you can easily use a bill to estimate measurements. (You can also use a standard piece of printer paper to estimate; the normal size is 8.5 inches by 11 inches!)

Do you have any other ideas on how to turn common household items into emergency yarncrafting supplies? Share your ideas in the comments!

Save Time by Doing Finishing Work as You Knit or Crochet!

August 1st, 2012

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Save Time by Finishing As You Go!Finishing work is usually saved for the end of the project, but it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of easy ways that you can speed things up. Here are my favorite ways to add new colors or change skeins without weaving in ends.

The Russian Join: This is a fantastic way to add a new skein of yarn to your work without weaving in any ends. It creates a steady, secure join, so it’s great for most yarns.

The Felted Join: Working with wool or another feltable yarn? Try the felted join! This technique locks your two yarns together, creating a solid join without a darning needle.

Crochet over your ends: Why use a darning needle when you can use your hook? This quick strategy allows you to keep crocheting as you tuck your yarn ends into place.

Do you have a time-saving tip? Be sure to share it in the comments below!

Neon Done Right: Just Add White!

July 25th, 2012

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Bright pop colors have increased in popularity over the past few years. It’s always fun to incorporate neons into your yarn crafting, but how can you create a bright project that’s neutral enough for everyday use? The answer is simple: pair your neons with a neutral border! I like to use white for a clean, modern look. To illustrate this, I’ve made a few granny squares in the newest bright shades of Vanna’s Choice: Radiant Orange, Radiant Yellow, and Radiant Lime.

Neon granny squares in Vanna's Choice

As you can see, the squares are super fun and vibrant, but maybe they’re a touch too fluorescent for an everyday afghan.

Neon granny squares with white border

Here, I’ve added a border in the Buttermilk shade of Martha Stewart CraftsTM/MC Extra Soft Wool Blend. The creamy white breaks up the neon and softens the brightness. I can absolutely see myself making an entire afghan out of this color combination!

What do you think of the neon trend? Let us know in the comments!

How to Do a Felted Join on Yarn Ends

July 19th, 2012

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Let’s face it: weaving in ends is not nearly as fun as crocheting or knitting. My favorite way to avoid weaving in ends is the felted join. Also affectionately dubbed the spit splice, this method is the perfect way to add join a new skein to your work. Keep in mind that this will only work on feltable fibers like non-superwash wool, alpaca, mohair, and so on. Here are step-by-step instructions on this fast and easy technique. I used 2 different colors so that you can better see the technique, but this works brilliantly for attaching the same color yarn practically invisibly.
Felted Join Tutorial
Step 1: Carefully untwist your yarn for a few inches and separate the half of the plies. This Fishermen’s Wool has 4 total plies, so I’ve divided my yarn into 2 sets of 2 plies each. 2-ply yarn would be separated into 2 sets of 1 ply each, 6-ply yarn would be 2 sets of 3 plies each, and so on.
Step 2: Take one set of your plies. A few inches down (4-5 inches, just to be safe), break these plies. Now you’ll have a set of longer plies and a set of shorter plies.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the yarn you’ll be joining.
Step 4: Lay the long sets of plies next to each other. This will be the transition section of your yarn. Because each long piece of yarn only has half the plies, you’ll end up with roughly the correct thickness in your join.
Step 5: Get your yarn wet. You can dip it in water, mist with some water, add some saliva — just get it wet. Remember, felting simply requires heat, humidity, and agitation.
Step 6: Let’s felt! Rub the yarns together in your hands briskly. Continue for a few minutes until the fibers have locked together. You may need to add some more water if your yarn isn’t wet enough.
Step 7: Give both sides of the yarn a gentle tug. If they’re firmly locked, congratulations! You’ve made a felted join! If not, just continue the felting process until the yarn is secure.

Now you’ll have an easy and secure join in your yarn, so you can continue crafting with having to weave in ends.

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