Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Round-Up: Design It Yourself

May 12th, 2011

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Every once in a while, we like to give you tips and tricks for designing your own knit and crochet projects.  Whether you want to design your own garment or play around with colors, here are our favorite posts on the subject.


Designing with Squares


Creating Your Own Color Combination


Discover Embroidery


Creating Colors By Double Stranding


Create Your Own Version of a Store-Bought Piece


4 Easy Baby Blankets

May 5th, 2011

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Baby blankets are a fun and easy way to play with different techniques and constructions.  Here are four basic baby blankets that anyone can knit or crochet. Click on the images to go to the patterns.

Knit Sunny Diagonal Blankie

Knit from corner to corner, all you need to learn to make this blanket is yarn-over and knit 2 together.

Crochet V-Stitch Baby Throw
An easy all-over v-stitch pattern gets a beautiful finishing touch with a picot border.  Even if you’ve never done these handy stitches, they are easy to learn by following the directions in the pattern.
Crochet Baby Throw
A single oversized granny square works up quickly in a super-bulky yarn. Try Wool-Ease Thick & Quick or Hometown USA for this dramatic throw.

Knit Princess Basketweave Throw

For a timeless design, go with a basketweave stitch.  In bulky cotton-acrylic blend Baby’s First, this simple design will be super-soft and work up quickly.

As with all projects, the yarn you use makes a big difference.  A diagonal baby blanket can be a simple solid or incorporate stunning stripes.  You can use a cool cotton or warm wool. Click here to read Ilana’s post on our favorite baby yarns.


5 Cotton Yarns for Spring

April 21st, 2011

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It’s finally warming up here in New York, and I’m ready to start working on projects that are appropriate for the warmer days ahead.  Cotton is a great fiber to wear in warm weather because it’s cool and breathable.  It’s also ideal for market bags, accessories, and washcloths.  But, with so many cottons out there, it can be hard to pick the right one for a project.  To help you decide which cotton to use for different projects, I thought I’d give you a rundown of my five favorite cotton yarns.

Cotton-Ease is a worsted weight cotton-acrylic blend. It combines the absorbency of the cotton and the lightness of acrylic.  It’s machine washable, so whether you make a sweater or a washcloth, you can easily clean any project made with Cotton-Ease.

Baby’s First is a cotton-acrylic blend like Cotton-Ease, but it is a chunky weight.  It is constructed of many thin plies, so it is soft and cushy with wonderful stitch definition.  Ideal for fast-finish projects, you don’t have to limit yourself to baby items.  See Zontee’s adorable cardi (below), which she made by substituting Baby’s First for the required Cotton-Ease in the Bebop Cardi.

Zontee’s Bebop

Recycled Cotton is possibly our most unique cotton-acrylic blend.  Like Cotton-Ease, it is a worsted weight, but this yarn is made of cotton fabric clippings that would get wasted in the tee-shirt manufacturing process.  The material is sorted by color so that minimal dying is required. Before it’s dyed, it’s spun with acrylic and the result is a beautiful heathered yarn.  Make your market bags even more green, or make a cozy cardi for your little one like the Eyelet Remix Cardi (below).

Knit Eyelet Remix Cardi

Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton is organically grown and dyed according to the Global Organic Textile Standard by the Institute of Marketecology.  This super-soft 100% cotton is worsted weight, and I like to use it for things that will be close to my skin, such as shawl, scarves, and hats.  The construction of this yarn is ideal for simple stitches in knit or crochet.

Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton

LB Collection Cotton Bamboo, our most luxurious cotton, combines all the wonderful qualities of cotton with the beautiful drape and sheen of rayon from bamboo!  Bamboo is used to make rayon because it is a renewable resource.   The result is an affordable little luxury that can be used on garments and baby projects.

What do you like to make with cotton?


Tips for Weaving for the First Time

April 15th, 2011

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After a long time contemplating weaving (and even giving a back-strap loom a few passes of the shuttle), I finally took the time to set up and get going on a Cricket Loom.  I thought I’d share a few pictures and tips from my first attempts at weaving.

1. Set up with a friend. It really helps to have an extra hand when putting the Cricket Loom together.  It was pretty simple, but I was happy to have the help.  Also, as someone who is relatively unfamiliar with weaving terms (I know they are all related to weaving, but I can never remember which word means what), it was helpful to read the directions for setting up the warp out loud and decipher it together.  Plus, it’s just more fun with a friend.

2.  Plan your project width.  Learn from my mistakes. I thought we’d start the warp all the way at the end of the heddle and just go as wide as we wanted, but this caused our warp to be off center and the weaving to get a little funky. You don’t need to know the exact length of your final project. Overestimate the length to ensure that your warp will be long enough.

3. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. Even though I made plenty of mistakes, I had a lot of fun. When we were setting up the warp, I accidentally skipped the sixth hole in the heddle. I decided I’d just skip every sixth, and I think it made for an interesting effect. We made plenty of other mistakes, but instead of getting the perfect project, I’m learning a lot about weaving and all that you can do with it.

4. Play with color and texture. I played with fun color and texture combos. I used Sock-Ease in Green Apple for the warp. I started weaving with Cotton-Ease in Golden Glow and I liked how the two colors worked up together. When the first shuttle started running low, I decided to try something else, Fishermen’s Wool in the new Birch Tweed. I loved the way it worked up! Even though it’s a neutral color, the texture and flecks of color made it exciting to work with. Working with beautiful yarns is great motivation for finishing a project.

Overall, I really enjoyed learning to weave!  The Cricket Loom was easy to understand and the directions were pretty straight forward.  It was also nice and light so I could move it around as needed. For my next project, I think I’d like to try the Boyfriend Scarf. I love the design and think I’m ready to try following a pattern.

Trying weaving? Tell us about it by leaving a comment!


Making a Pattern Your Own

April 1st, 2011

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The fun thing about simple patterns is that there is a lot you can do to add flair. I like to add a splash of color or maybe pin a flower to something I knit or crochet to make it my own. I recently came across a blog post where blogger Emily added dino spikes to a simple hat for a fabulous, funky toddler topper.

What have you done to customize a pattern? Share in the comment below or add pictures to our Customer Gallery.

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