Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Knitted Toys: Bouncy Bunny Sock Critter

April 20th, 2014

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Writer and avid knitter Selma Moss-Ward joins us for a series of blog posts about becoming a first-time grandmother and knitting toys. Click here to read her previous blog posts.

bouncy-bunny-sill
Maybe because I’m a serious sock knitter, I found this pattern irresistible. Sock construction from cuff to toe cleverly shapes Bouncy Bunny Sock Critter from his neck up. Equally clever is how his legs and body, which are knitted first, flow into the ribbed neckline.

I knitted Bouncy Bunny in a heathery Wool-Ease® color called “Mushroom.” The naturalness of this shade is augmented by subtle black fibers, resembling guard hairs, spun into the yarn.

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Knitted Toys: Little Bunny

April 2nd, 2014

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Writer and avid knitter Selma Moss-Ward joins us for a series of blog posts about becoming a first-time grandmother and knitting toys. Click here to read her previous blog posts.

If you’re a knitter who’d rather work with two needles than with double-points, this “Little Bunny” pattern is for you. Of a size easily grasped by small children, she’d make a wonderful gift for a baby or toddler, and be adorable in an Easter basket.

Little Bunny is knitted flat, and seamed up the back, using the mattress stitch. Ears, arms, legs, and tail are made separately and lightly stuffed before they’re fully seamed and sewn together. The tail, knitted from a scrap of Pound of Love in Antique White, is an ingeniously constructed pouf that’s more durable and shapely than a pompom—worth keeping in mind, as young children can be rough with their toys.

While this pattern specifies Lion Brand’s Superwash Merino Cashmere, any medium weight worsted yarn may be used. The Lion Brand website has appropriate substitutions which you can find here.

When knitting toys, it’s a good idea to work with yarn that’s washable and soft. My preference would be for an acrylic like Vanna’s Choice®, or an acrylic blend, like Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool BlendTM/MC. I also tend to favor natural colors, like grey, brown, and off-white, for animals, but as the Lion Brand pattern photos often show, stuffed toys can also look great in pastels and bright yarns. The choice is really up to you!

When completed, Little Bunny has a direct, folk-art quality that’s unique and appealing. I can imagine her crossing the prairies in a covered wagon as the dear companion of a small pioneer girl.


A Special Delivery: Baby Squares Storyteller Afghan

March 30th, 2014

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This story is from our newsletter called Pattern Journal which brings a warm-hearted, wholesome story to your inbox to read every month. We’re sharing the most recent story here in the blog. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

What do you give an expectant mother who has everything? Kerry had already furnished and decorated the nursery when she first told Jane the exciting news. She also announced her purchases on social media for the benefit of friends and family. It would be hard to find a shower gift that wasn’t a duplicate of something Kerry already owned.

What Kerry couldn’t buy, though, was the afghan Jane had crocheted. Jane had always known she’d make something unique for Kerry’s baby and when she saw the Baby Squares Storyteller Afghan pattern on the Lion Brand website, everything clicked.

The blanket, of creamy yarn crocheted into twenty textured squares, softy back-dropped bright pictures of animals, numbers, flowers, trees, and objects. Illustrating the pictures had been a blast, from choosing images to the actual embroidery. Jane used the adorably bright Bonbons mini-skeins to outline the darling pictures from Lion Brand’s motif library, creating a collage of color.

Nineteen of the afghan’s twenty squares were illustrated. When the baby arrived, Jane would embroider the child’s name and birthdate on the one blank square.

At the baby shower, Kerry opened Jane’s present last. She held the afghan close, and studied the bright pictures. “This is an amazing gift.” Kerry’s voice was filled with emotion. “I’ll show baby these pictures at bedtime, and make up special stories about them. We’ll treasure this…I can’t thank you enough.”

“When the baby arrives, I’ll embroider his or her name in the corner square,” Jane said.

“Oh, I can tell you that now,” Kerry replied. “It’s Cameron.”

“It’s a boy!” someone cried.

“Maybe.”

“What do you mean by ‘maybe’?” Jane asked.

Kerry smiled and said, “That’s the name we chose, for either a boy or girl.”

That evening, Jane embroidered “Cameron” on the corner square. And a week later, she added:

Cameron Elizabeth Bennett
24 March 2014.

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Selma Moss-Ward is a freelance writer who combines her love of writing and of knitting in her columns, stories, and blog posts. Selma is also an active classical musician and the caretaker of five wonderful pets. She lives with them and her husband in Rhode Island.


Knitted Toys: A Caterpillar Emerges

March 16th, 2014

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Writer and avid knitter Selma Moss-Ward joins us for a series of blog posts about becoming a first-time grandmother and knitting toys. Click here to read her previous blog posts.

I enjoy knitting toys more than most other projects I undertake, because they’re easy and fun to make. There aren’t concerns with gauge or fit, as with a garment, and if a toy doesn’t turn out looking exactly like the photo on the instructions, it seems individualized and special, rather than flawed.

This is to say I loved making the “Cuddly Caterpillar” from Lion Brand’s vast pattern database.  It’s great for any beginner just starting out or an experienced knitter like myself.

Vanna’s Choice,” the  specified yarn, knits into a smooth, slightly glossy fabric, and, being washable and firm, withstands the rigors of playtime.  It’s also non-allergenic and moth-proof .  As with the other Lion Brand toys I’ve blogged about—William the Hedgehog and Leo the Lion—there’s plenty of yarn left over for another caterpillar…or two!

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Amazing and True: Raglan Sleeve Topper

February 23rd, 2014

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This story is from our newletters called Pattern Journal which brings a warm-hearted, wholesome story to your inbox to read every month. We’re sharing the most recent story here in the blog. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

l0613aSome garments just call out to you, and this Raglan Sleeve Topper was one of them, Rose thought. But “raglan sleeve topper”was too modest a title for something so beautiful. To Rose it seemed a magical wrap that transformed the wearer into the best she could possibly be. It was obvious that your natural attributes—whether you were willowy or full-figured, long-or short-haired, enthusiastic or reserved—would be optimized by the form and colors of the gently curving sweater.

Rose didn’t believe in love at first sight, but her attraction to the design she saw online was close to that. The more she studied the image, the more she felt compelled. This was a must-do project. Yet there was some half-completed knitting that should take precedence: two baby gifts, an almost- done afghan, a hat for Dad’s birthday…

Uncharacteristically, she wasn’t dissuaded. She knew those things would be finished eventually, and…she really needed a sweater.

Actually…honestly…she really wanted to knit something just for herself.

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The Stars Are All Aligned

January 26th, 2014

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This story is from our newletters called Pattern Journal which brings a warm-hearted, wholesome story to your inbox to read every month. We’re sharing the most recent story here in the blog. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

This year, Allie resolved to be more sociable. It was hard to put yourself out there, but necessary if you wanted to have a life that was more than your job. She was an Aquarius—friendly, but also private—and cherished weekends when she could sleep late, crochet, and chat on the phone. That was her restorative reward after a killer work-week. But she was tired of being alone. Maybe she needed a little less privacy and a little more friendship.

Wearing her favorite pink sweater and skinny jeans, Allie strolled the few blocks from her apartment to the Java Library. With the comfy seating and alluring bookshelves, the Java Library invited you to relax. She usually spent no more than five minutes there, always satisfied with buying her morning coffee and leaving.

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Knitted Toys: A Friend for William

August 26th, 2013

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Writer and avid knitter Selma Moss-Ward joins us for a series of blog posts about becoming a first-time grandmother and knitting toys. Click here to read her previous blog posts. 

Leo and William

If you’ve ever played with stuffed animals, you know that proportion in the Toy Universe has its own logic.  In the Toy Universe, unlike our own, Leo the Lion’s much smaller than William the Hedgehog—and that is perfectly fine.  In the Toy Universe, it doesn’t matter if someone’s face is the size of another’s paw.  What matters is having stuffy friends, and a person who loves you.

As soon as I began knitting Leo, from a buttery shade of Lion Brand’s Martha Stewart Crafts™ Extra Soft Wool, I knew he’d be a great pal for William, who’s metaphorically prickly on the outside, but soft within.  The two of them are excited about traveling to California to live with my new grandson.

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Knitted Toys: The Making of a Hedgehog

August 18th, 2013

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Writer and avid knitter Selma Moss-Ward joins us for a series of blog posts about becoming a first-time grandmother and knitting toys. Click here to read her previous blog post. 

Beatrix Potters' Mrs. Tiddlywinks, Knitted Toys: The Making of a Hedgehog | Lion Brand NotebookHedgehogs are wild creatures, native to Europe; those on this continent are raised as pets…or knitted from Lion Brand’s William the Hedgehog pattern!  I’ve always loved hedgies, as they’re affectionately known, because Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle was a childhood favorite.  So when I saw William in  the Lion Brand pattern library, I was a goner.

If you’ve never knitted a toy before, William is an excellent first project.  He’s done on size 11 needles with thick yarn—two subtly-colored strands of Fun Fur and one of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, knitted simultaneously.  The results are swift, because William is only one piece—and very exciting as he develops!  It’s like starting with a real pelt [insert photo of pelt on needles] that animates as you work your way from nose to rump, then seam and stuff.  (A bit of advice—knit slowly, because it’s easy to drop a partial stitch when you’re working with three strands, and you may not notice until you’re a few rows beyond.)

Though he’s only 32 rows long, William’s a huggable 10” long and 14” around.  I’m pretty sure there’s enough yarn left over to knit him a twin.  Until then, his best friend here is Leo, another adorable toy from the Lion Brand pattern menagerie.  More about him next time!

Selma Moss-Ward is a freelance writer who combines her love of writing and of knitting in her columns, stories, and blog posts. Selma is also an active classical musician and the caretaker of five wonderful pets. She lives with them and her husband in Rhode Island. Read a monthly fiction story by Selma in our Pattern Journal newsletter.


Knitted Toys: The Slippery Slope

August 12th, 2013

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Writer and avid knitter Selma Moss-Ward joins us for a series of blog posts about becoming a first-time grandmother.

Many years ago, expecting my first child, I focused my knitting on baby clothes.  I saw these small projects as ideal canvases for learning complex techniques—Fair Isles, Arans, and other fancy work—and the garments I made tended to be, so to speak, labor intensive.

After my first and then second son outgrew them, the tiny sweaters, caps, and sundry garments were wrapped up and saved for The Future.  Now I’m delighted to report that a special baby will arrive in late November, when I become a first-time grandma.  The heirloom knits will go to him.

For this reason (and also because he’ll live in LA, where heavy clothing isn’t required), I decided to knit him something else…something unique…and something fun.  Combing through the Lion Brand pattern database, I found a trove of adorable designs for stuffed toys.

Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t limit myself to just one.  My first pattern choice, though, is a real winner.  A blast to knit, it took me less than three hours from start to finish including stuffing and embroidery, and is so adorable that I must make a companion for WILLIAM the HEDGEHOG in the very near future.  (There’s enough leftover yarn for this.)

Here are some photos of the finished William, and in my next post I’ll tell you about his creation.

William the Hedgehog | Lion Brand Notebook

William the Hedgehog | Lion Brand Notebook

Selma Moss-Ward is a freelance writer who combines her love of writing and of knitting in her columns, stories, and blog posts. Selma is also an active classical musician and the caretaker of five wonderful pets. She lives with them and her husband in Rhode Island. Read a monthly fiction story by Selma in our Pattern Journal newsletter.