Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Keep Yarn Organized: Learn How to Wind a Center-Pull Ball By Hand

July 13th, 2012

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Center-pull balls of yarn are convenient to use and to store, and are perfectly easy to make! Rest assured: if you can wind yarn into a regular wrapped ball, you have all the skills it takes to make a center-pull ball. Use this one trick to keep your yarn safe and tidy in storage, and stop it from bouncing all over the floor as you work!

You’ll need:

Yarn: Skeins, wrapped balls of yarn, spools and hanks can all be wound with this method. If you’re winding yarn from a hank, you’ll need a swift to keep it spread out (or a volunteer to hold it spread out as you work). For this tutorial, I used a skein of Alpine Wool in Olive.

A smooth, sturdy winding tool: I like to use a thicker-gauge crochet hook or long knitting needle. You could use a pen or a pencil in a pinch, they just have to be clean, sturdy and smooth.

6 Easy-to-Make DIY Hair Ties

June 27th, 2012

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Hair Ties for Any Occasion!Making your own hair ties is a great way to get creative with your favorite yarns, colors and textures. It’s a wonderful way to try out new yarns, or to use up scraps. Your finished decorated hair ties make excellent gifts for girls sports teams, clubs, girl scout troops, or you can make them as party favors (and don’t forget to make a few for yourself while you’re at it)!

First, check out these step-by-step instructions with pictures we wrote on how to create your own crocheted hair tie. In this post, I’ll show you how to expand on those basic instructions to create a variety of looks by using different textures, colors and techniques.

Here are some inventive variations you can crochet to make your hair ties (or those you are make for others) extra special!

The Sparkling, Fluffy Hair Tie

Technique: Add a second yarn in a new texture for a stunning visual impact
Yarn Used: Vanna’s Choice and Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash

Get this look by using a straight yarn like Vanna’s Choice for the first round in double crochet, and used a strand of Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash to create a border! Once you’ve completed the first round, join the second yarn and make one single crochet stitch loosely into each stitch and chain-1 space. If you find your stitches are tighter than you’d like, single crochet into each stitch but chain one stitch in between, to add more give to the finished project.

Dress Up a Hair Tie: Make a DIY No-Sew Scrunchy

June 18th, 2012

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Create your own designer hair ties with this quick and easy method for turning any hair elastic (or plain old rubber band if you’re daring) into a fabulous scrunchy! Scrunchies make great party favors, gifts for girls’ sports teams or fun accessories for any occasion. Cute scrunchies are useful and always add a note of celebration – even for grown ups! Adding a scrunchy to a bridal shower goodie bag, making them for bride’s maids or crocheting enough for a spa day or girl’s night are all clever ways to give handmade scrunchies as gifts.


  • Hair elastic/rubber band. Any elastic that works well in your hair will work well for this project.
  • Crochet hook. Try using a hook slightly larger than you usually would with the yarn of your choice. You want volume in this project with  looser stitches.
  • Yarn of choice. I’ll be demonstrating how to create these stitches with a strand of Vanna’s Choice so you can easily see the stitches. But scrunchies like these are extra special in novelty yarns like Vanna’s Glamour, Fun Fur or Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash.


4 Yarns Perfect for Your First Dye Project

June 12th, 2012

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Dyeing your yarn is a great project for the warmer months of the year, and can blossom into a hobby that you’ll enjoy year round! When you want to try dyeing your own yarn, here are a few tips that will help you choose the yarn, dye and tools you’ll need to have a successful project:

What tools to use? The first step in dyeing is assembling the right materials. Make your you have a non-reactive pot to heat the dyebath in (try steel or enamel pots), tongs to move the yarn, and protective covering/clothing in case of spills. If you’re working with kitchen-safe dyes, then you can use the pots you cook with, but in general it’s a good idea to have a separate set for dyeing.

Make Your Own Purse or Bag with just 1, 2 or 3 Balls of Yarn!

June 6th, 2012

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All month long, we’re featuring patterns that use 1, 2, or 3 balls of yarn, making them perfect for a quick summer project!

Market totes and reusable bags are some of the most popular projects for the summer. When you make your own reusable bags you’ll get to use comfortable, cool yarns for the season (like cotton and cotton blends), you’ll get to use the finished project right away (unlike a sweater or scarf), and when you use it you’ll carry a light handmade bag instead of a heavy purse or plastic bags. Making a smaller clutch-style bag is a good idea too, that way you can keep your wallet, keys and sunglasses separate and easy to access.

Here are some of our most popular patterns for bags made with one, two or three balls of yarn each. Click on the image of the one you like best to download the free pattern!

(Interested in making the Mini Market Tote in the image to the right? Click here for the free pattern.)


Knit and Crochet with All the Colors of Spring Flowers

May 28th, 2012

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With spring in full bloom all around us, it’s hard to ignore all the beautiful colors!

These flowers were all in bloom near our New York City offices, and have the same lovely tones as the cotton and cotton blend yarns that are perfect for light, warm-weather crafting. Beside each flower and the matching yarn, I’ve added one of the most popular patterns we have in that yarn and a link to explore even more patterns in the chosen fiber.

Kitchen Cotton
Hot Pepper
Crochet Hexagon Market Bag

More Patterns

Knit Women’s Eloise Eyelet Cardi

More Patterns

Martha Stewart Crafts Cotton Hemp
Loom Woven Placemats

More Patterns

Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton
Knit Sun and Sea Shawl

More Patterns

Recycled Cotton
Rose Coral
Crochet Cottontail Dishtowels

More Patterns

LB Collection Cotton Bamboo
Knit Eyelet Swing Cardi

More Patterns

What’s your favorite flower, or favorite color to craft with in spring and summer? Leave a comment to share your thoughts!

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Father’s Day Gifts: Great Handmade Projects to Knit and Crochet for Him

May 15th, 2012

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Father's Day Gift PatternsFather’s Day is just a month away, which means you still have time to pick out and make the perfect gift! With these tips and pattern ideas to choose from, you’ll be way ahead of the game when it comes to Father’s Day gift-giving.

Tips to remember:

Tip #1: Take a look at what he already wears.

Chances are that the man you’ll be crafting for already has an idea of the sort of knit and crochet projects he likes to wear or use. Taking a peek at his closet can also tell you what colors he prefers, what fibers he likes to wear, and what style garments he likes. You might even learn that he’s a fan of zany-colored socks!


How to Choose the Right Yarn to Knit & Crochet With This Spring & Summer

May 11th, 2012

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Guide to choosing the right yarns for spring and summerKnitting and crochet aren’t just crafts for the fall and winter; when you choose the right yarns and projects, you can keep right on crafting in the hotter months of the year! With these 5 tips on choosing the perfect yarn for your spring and summer projects, you’ll be comfortable making and wearing your crafts throughout the warmer seasons.

Think animal fibers for winter, plant fibers for summer.

Animal fiber yarns like thick wools, fluffy angoras and snuggly alpacas keep us warm when it’s chilly, and when it comes to staying cool, plant fibers can help. Yarns and blends with cotton or bamboo are best for projects that will be comfortable to work on and you’ll be able to wear or use right away. Many of the yarns we love for the cooler months feel heavy or sticky in the heat, so choose something with a cool hand like Cotton-Ease for crafting in the summer.

How to Crochet Broomstick Lace

April 26th, 2012

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Broomstick lace has a beautiful, open look that really shows off the character and texture of your yarn. Dating back to the 1800s, this technique creates large loops of yarn that gently twist to the left, giving the finished project especially elegant drape. For a long time I was intimidated by broomstick lace, so I wanted to share how easy it is to create this beautiful, reversible fabric!

Ready to get started? You’ll need:

  • Yarn for your project: Choose a yarn you want to show off. I chose Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend because I love the twist and soft luster.
  • Crochet hook: Use whatever hook you feel works best with your yarn. I used a US K10.5/6.5mm hook for larger, more open stitches.
  • Large knitting needle (or actual broomstick, if you dare!): You can use any large needle for this project; the larger your needle, the larger your loops will be. I used a needle from a pair of ‘Speed Stix’ (US 50/25mm). When making broomstick lace, this tool is often called the “pin.”

How to Crochet Broom Stick Lace Step By Sep Guide with Pictures


1. First, make a chain. For this sample I wanted to make repeats of 5, so I chained 15 stitches for 3 repeats. Draw the final chain up over the knitting needle.

2. Crochet back into the chain, drawing up a loop in each stitch and pulling it up over the knitting needle.

3. Repeat until you have drawn up a loop through every stitch in your chain and transferred them onto the knitting needle. This step creates the large loops of yarn you will see in the finished lace.

4. Slide your hook through the first group of loops (for this example that’s 5 loops per repeat) and pull them off the needle. At this point, if it is easier for you to manage, you can remove the large needle from your work altogether.

5. Yarn over and pull through the group of large loops on your hook. Work one single crochet for every loop in the group on your hook (I worked 5 single crochet into the group of 5 loops). Continue this process until all the loops have been crocheted into. Note: make sure to check how many loops you have in each group to avoid accidental increases or decreases.

6. This completes your first row of broomstick lace! You can now draw loops up through each of the single crochet stitches you made in step 5, and continue to repeat steps 1-5 till your project reaches the desired length.


What new techniques have you tried that looked tricky at first? What would you tell a crafter who was nervous about trying a new craft for the first time? Leave a comment to share!


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4 Reasons to Bring Yarn on Your Vacation This Spring & Summer

April 16th, 2012

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Take yarn with you when you travelKnitters and crocheters are in demand every fall and winter; making scarves, hats, sweaters, mittens and more for friends and family to keep them warm in the cold months of the year. But what about spring and summer? Do we hang up our needles and hooks, leaving our beloved skeins and hanks tucked away until the chilly weather returns?

Hardly! Spring and summer are the ideal time to experiment with new fibers, new patterns and all kinds of projects you’d never have time for in winter. Here are 4 reasons to bring yarn with you as you travel or keep a project handy at home during the warmer months of the year.

Turn “travel time” into crafting time. Who doesn’t love traveling over the summer? The only downside to taking a vacation can be tedious time spent waiting to get there on trains or planes. Taking along a small project can soothe even the most frustrating travel situations, and turns idle moments commuting into a brand new shawl or sock! Just be sure to check what tools you’re allowed to take with you, especially if you are traveling internationally. Check out this handy regulations update site from TSA: click here.