Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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After My Hair Turned Grey, My Whole Outlook on Color Changed …

August 26th, 2015

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The Scarfie Effect! A funny thing happened when my hair began to grey.  I was thirty-five and resented a situation that seemed premature and, well, unfair.  For every grey hair I plucked, ten appeared, suggesting that resistance was futile. So I began experimenting with different DIY hair colors offered by the neighborhood drugstore.  Experimenting was fun.  I could choose shades with cool or warm highlights, go auburn in the summer, or Goth when I felt dramatic.  After a while, though, I sadly realized I wasn’t very good at covering what needed to be covered.  I sought professional help.

Between Brunette and Blonde…

My hairdresser worked for months to remedy the self-inflicted dye damage.  By now I was a decade older.  My underlying color was so grey that when brown dye was applied, my hair seemed blonde.  So, I became a dark blonde.  But it didn’t stop there—I went lighter and lighter.  My hair is now honey-colored, and I’m satisfied with the results.

My point is about personal color, but it applies equally to clothing.  No matter what, I want to look my best—don’t we all?  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered that the colors most flattering to me aren’t the brights I wore when my tresses were chestnut.  With light hair, I prefer neutral and natural shades.  Fortunately, I really like neutrals and naturals.  They seem serene, and they play well with jazzy accents.  I love a camel coat with a crimson scarf, a grey tunic with a cobalt shawl, and anything black with apple green.

…And Every Shade in Between

My knitting, of course, reflects this preference.  Right now I’m in the mood to knit a beautiful sweater to wear in the cold months ahead, and I want an interesting yarn, as enjoyable to work with as to wear.  And—total wish fulfillment!—I’ve discovered Lion Brand’s Scarfie!

The Scarfie palette fits my personal color theory exactly. Scarfie is an ombré yarn that subtly moves from one shade to another.  It’s dreamily dynamic, hypnotic, and outright magical as it transitions from light to intermediate tones, then darkens. Working with it is like watching clouds at sunset or morning haze over mountains, except it’s you and your pattern, not Mother Nature, behind the changes!  The natural shades have a rustic purity, from cream to taupe in one skein, from silver to charcoal in another.  There are stunning low-key colors, too—rich cranberry to deep black, forest to deep black, denim to midnight.   All of them are in the palette most flattering to me.

It’s called Scarfie because one generous skein makes one generous scarf.  But I’m determined to do something larger—a sweater.  The gorgeous “Free Spirit Topper” in the Lion Brand Pattern Finder is exactly what I had in mind.  But there’s also a high-fashion crochet pattern, the “Duo Tone Throw” which is ultra simple to make but totally interesting at the same time, because two different shades of Scarfie, moving along their individual paths, create a rhapsodic interplay of colors.

I might have to make them both….

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Knit Free Spirit Topper Crochet One Ball Scarfie Crochet Duo Tone Throw
pero_poncho diagonal_shawl neutral_slant
Crochet Pero Poncho Crochet Diagonal Shaded Shawl Knit Neutral Slant Shawl


Flattering Sweater Styles For Women Of Every Age

July 28th, 2015

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sweater_07272015Selma Moss-Ward writes and knits in Rhode Island. She is a regular contributor to the Notebook.

As we get older our bodies change. The clothes I wore in my 20s and 30s wouldn’t suit me now and they wouldn’t fit. But, why should I scold myself because the clothing I wore years ago no longer flatters?

As knitters and crocheters, we’re privileged.  Rather than settling for something cloned and off the rack, we can select customizable designs, choose yarns in colors we love, and craft sweaters that are gorgeous, practical, and absolutely right for us.

That’s where Lion Brand comes in.  There’s an abundance of great designs in the huge Lion Brand pattern database, and so many are flattering to women of a certain age.  Each pattern keys to a perfect match of Lion Brand yarn, so guesswork about gauge and fit is minimal.

I’ll highlight some of the Lion Brand designs I’ve discovered.  They’re comfortable, crafted in lovely yarns, and range from easy to moderately challenging.  All are absorbing to work and beautiful to wear.  When you wear them, you’ll feel attractive and relaxed, as well as accomplished, delighted, and in control of your fashion destiny!

Let’s consider two cardigans, knitted and crocheted.  The knitted Seaside Kimono Cardi requires only 5 skeins of Fishermen’s Wool®.  Its basic shape is squared and loose, but dense cables at the wrist, collar, and lower edge create a gentle blouson that complements many different figures.  The cardigan’s natural tones and rich textures convey an elegant, slightly ethnic sensibility that’s great with jeans, a simple dress, or a skirt.

The crocheted Retro Swing Cardi, in Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®, packs a lot of style into a quick project.  Done with a large hook, it works up swiftly into a gentle A-line jacket that floats over the torso.  This design is great for petite figures, as it doesn’t overwhelm.

There are many reasons to favor cardigans, as they’re easy to slip on and off, and useful if you like to layer.  Much as I enjoy cardis, though, the Level Two Knit Pullover really captured me.  I love the dropped shoulder of the loose, yet sculpted design.  I love the textural interest of the front and sleeves, and the adorable band collar.  For such a sophisticated pattern, it’s hard to believe the skill rating is “easy.”  I can’t wait to knit it in several different colors!

 

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Knit Seaside Kimono Cardi made with Fishermen’s Wool® Knit and Crochet Retro Swing Cardi made with Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® Knit Level 2 Pullover made with Lion’s Pride® Woolspun®

 

 


New Pattern Journal: One Thing Leads to Another … Featuring the Tribeca Tunic and the Dotty Dots Afghan

April 26th, 2015

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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. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

One Thing Leads to Another

If Kathy’s sister hadn’t been named Dorothy, and if Dorothy hadn’t been expecting a baby, and if Kathy hadn’t crocheted a blanket for Dorothy’s baby, Kathy would never have knitted herself the most sophisticated sweater ever. It was as simple as that.

Dotty Dots Afghan

She’d gone to the crafts store, where the blanket was on display. Its upbeat colors–cream and soft grey, vivid yellow and purple–immediately appealed. She also loved the whimsical layout of squares, diamonds, and circles, as rhythmic and happy as a children’s song. When Kathy saw the pattern was titled “Dotty Dots,” that clinched it! The family had called her sister Dorothy “Dottie” since forever. A Dotty Dots blanket for Dottie’s baby—the coincidence was pure serendipity!

It was crocheted from a subtly-chained, petal-soft yarn, Modern Baby®, which had a lively, bouncy quality that her fingers loved. The Modern Baby® palette was joyous, the yarn a pleasure to use. After finishing the blanket, Kathy wondered what else she could do with it. Too much fun to stop now!

Maybe, she thought, it’s time to focus on me. Making something just for her — that was when her creativity peaked. She could play with color, shape, and structure. She could express herself.


Tribeca Tunic

The Tribeca Tunic, a sophisticated look in two shades of Modern Baby® and one of sparkle-inflected Vanna’s Glamour®, was the perfect next project, Kathy discovered. Its construction appeared complicated, but was surprisingly straightforward. Yet there were enough changes in direction and color to keep things interesting. Knitting that sweater was as fascinating as crocheting the Dotty Dots afghan had been. She marveled at Modern Baby®‘s versatility—it worked equally well for adults’ and kids’ clothing.

At the baby shower, Kathy wore the chic Tribeca Tunic, worked in cream and two shades of black, over velvet leggings. She gave Dottie the Dotty Dots Afghan, and her sister was enchanted. “Thank you so much!” Dottie enthused. “I’ve never seen anything as adorable! And by the way, that’s a fabulous sweater you’re wearing. Is it new?”

Kathy smiled, and considered how lucky she was to be a sister and an almost-aunt, as well as someone who loved to crochet and knit. It had been so rewarding to follow her intuition from baby blanket to Tribeca Tunic, as one creative project led to another, in natural succession — just like life itself.

Nothing is more fashionable than a handmade accessory you’ve made yourself. Save 20% off these kits for a limited time:

1) Tribeca Tunic
2) Dotty Dots Afghan

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

A story by Selma Moss-Ward.

Selma Moss-Ward writes and knits in Rhode Island. You can find her work on our blog, as well as Lion Brand’s monthly newsletter, Pattern Journal, which you can subscribe to here.


A Shrug That Will Have You Totally Hooked: Rib and Shells Shrug

March 29th, 2015

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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. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

Coming into the office, Jan saw Carrie at the reception desk. As usual, the young woman looked adorable — her hair perfectly styled, her makeup impeccable. What really caught Jan’s eye, though, was Carrie’s short, jazzy shrug — open and swingy, with bright flashes of color that popped off a darker background.

Suddenly, there was nothing Jan wanted more than a shrug like Carrie’s. Jan always dressed well for work, but she felt her clothes made her seem decades older than her mid-thirties. Carrie’s shrug suggested new possibilities. Draped and elegant, the garment would create a glamorous, professional look, and also provide warmth without encumbrance.

“Carrie,” Jan exclaimed, “Your shrug is gorgeous! Where did you get it?”

“Actually,” said Carrie, “I crocheted it. It’s handmade.”

Jan processed this information. It was boggling to realize that anyone could crochet something that looked so perfect. Once upon a time Jan had crocheted a simple afghan and some scarves, but nothing as amazing as Carrie’s shrug.

“Do you know how to crochet?” Carrie asked. “I can give you the pattern.”

“Oh gee,” Jan began. “I used to, but it’s been years . . .”

“This pattern is totally for beginners,” Carrie said. “You just crochet a rectangle, then fold and seam. The stitches are easy to remember, so you can crochet while watching TV, and it’s done in no time! Look, I’ll print the free pattern from the Lion Brand website, you buy the yarn, and I’ll help if you get stuck. Deal?”

The softly-plied yarn, called Landscapes®, glowed with the impressionist brilliance of a tropical ocean sunset. Carrie was a willing crochet consultant, but Jan quickly recalled the stitches and easily understood the pattern. “It’s like riding a bike,” she observed. “You never really forget.”

“So what’s next?” Carrie asked. “Something more challenging?”

“I haven’t even finished this shrug!”

“But soon you will.”

“In that case, I think I’ll make myself another one, in a different colorway,” said Jan. “I have to confess that when I bought the yarn, I just couldn’t decide which colors I liked best. So I bought some extra.”

“Really?” Carrie seemed quite amused. “How much extra?”

“Um . . . a lot?” Carrie was laughing now. “Jan,” she said, “I think you’re totally hooked.”

Save 20% off Landscapes® until the end of March!

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

A story by Selma Moss-Ward.

Selma Moss-Ward writes and knits in Rhode Island. You can find her work on our blog, as well as Lion Brand’s monthly newsletter, Pattern Journal, which you can subscribe to here.


Homespun with Love: The Sunset Throw

February 22nd, 2015

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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. If you enjoy it and would like to subscribe, click here.

The Sunset ThrowIn my family, Peggy, my big sister, weaves, Mom crochets–and I knit. For as long as I can remember, it seemed, we each had our piece of yarn turf, and we didn’t trespass. Why it was like that, I don’t know. Maybe we didn’t want to compete with each other.

But one day I got this super strong urge to learn to crochet. Actually, I imagined myself crocheting something really cool for Mom’s birthday.

Mom had sometimes offered to teach me before. “There’s only one tool,” she’d explained. “And things work up quickly.” I always made excuses, so after a while she stopped. I guess I just wasn’t ready then. But now I certainly was.

My urge to crochet just wouldn’t disappear and I was too proud to ask her this time. I got a “How To” book at the library, but the diagrams made me cross-eyed. Then a light bulb went on — I’m a visual learner! If I just paid attention to someone crocheting, I’d certainly get the hang of it.

That’s when the next light bulb illuminated. The Lion Brand Website! It has a Learning Center, with short instructional videos. So once my homework was done, I’d watch a How to Crochet video multiple times each night, practicing a chain stitch, or single or double crochet stitch. Pretty soon I could tell that I was ready for a real project.

Naturally I wanted something perfect for a beginner. In addition to the Learning Center, Lion Brand had a gigantic pattern directory and through it I found this amazing Sunset Throw design, crocheted in eight rich colors of Homespun®. That yarn has unbelievable qualities–it’s loopy and lustrous, and really soft. It just makes you want to snuggle! I planned to crochet the individual sections in my room, sew them together, and give the throw to Mom for her birthday.

* * *

“Happy birthday!” I crowed, handing Mom my debut work, neatly folded. “I taught myself to crochet so I could make this for you.”
“Oh wow,” she laughed. “So that’s where my K hook went.” Then she hugged me so hard, it was like we were blanketed in love.

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

A story by Selma Moss-Ward.

Selma Moss-Ward writes and knits in Rhode Island. You can find her work on our blog, as well as Lion Brand’s monthly newsletter, Pattern Journal, which you can subscribe to here.

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