Do you have some free time this summer? In our Christmas in July series, we’ll be rounding-up our favorite gifts to make and give, including ones you can get started on now. Trust us – you’ll be thanking yourself between holiday parties when you’ve got all your gifts blocked and wrapped.
Matching sets make wonderful handmade holiday gifts. They are just the thing for when you want to make more than a scarf for someone, but maybe you aren’t sure of their size or you don’t feel ready to take on a more complex garment. All of these projects are rated EASY, which means they feature basic stitch patterns and simple construction – perfect for beginners!
If you’re not sure what to make, a hat & scarf combo is always a great choice. Choose a yarn that the recipient will love for a gift that easily coordinates with their wardrobe. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try something like our Rectangle Cardigan & Cowl and use the accent color from one piece to create a matching accessory.
Want something a little more grand? Our Neck’s Best Thing series is made for matching! Each of these projects start with a scarf and finish with an afghan. Make both as a set that will keep your loved ones warm at home and on the go. Try the crochet Color Blocks Afghan & Scarf or the knit Neutral Slip Stitch Afghan & Scarf pictured below, and find even more ideas HERE.
|Knit Sassy Stripes Leg Warmer Trio made with Modern Baby®||Crochet Color Blocks Afghan & Scarf made with Heartland®||Crochet Granny Square Hat & Scarf made with Bonbons|
|Knit Docklands Hat & Scarf made with Heartland®||Knit Neutral Slip Stitch Afghan & Scarf made with Lion’s Pride® Woolspun®||Knit Easy Rectangle Cardigan & Cowl made with Vanna’s Choice® and Vanna’s Tapestry|
Crafters are often intimidated by straying from pattern instructions, but one of the easiest ways to customize a project is by simply changing the colors! Pattern designers do a great job picking colors for their samples, but sometimes you’ll find that although they look lovely, they aren’t your colors. For patterns that are written for one solid color, it’s an easy swap, but what happens when the pattern includes color work? Choosing a whole new color palette need not be daunting!
Vanna’s Choice® is an excellent yarn to work with if you are looking to create a custom palette. With 66 colors currently in the main line, you’ve got a lot to choose from. Add double-stranding into the mix, and you’ve got a whopping 2,145 color options! Vanna’s Choice® is also expertly designed with color matching in mind, so customize your creation with confidence – Vanna’s Choice® colors work together no matter what your desired palette!
To help get you started, we’ve created four kits based on some of our favorite color combinations:
|Mystic Mermaid||Fetching Fern|
|Dapper Daisy||Happy Harvest|
Each kit contains 6 skeins of yarn, one in each color pictured. Try combining them in one of these 6 ball patterns, or pick a favorite pattern from your own library. You’ll be amazed at how simply changing the colors can give a familiar project a new look! Did you notice that the two ripple afghans below are actually the same pattern?
|Crochet Ripple Afghan||Knit Sampler Afghan||Cozy Ripple Lapghan||Color Blocked Hoodie|
If you’re ready to create your own palettes, there are lots of tools online to help you. Here are just a couple to get you started:
Coolors has an excellent color palette generator (free to use on the web) which allows you to choose a base color and generate matching color schemes with the click of the spacebar. Drag to reorder the swatches, click the lock to keep colors you like, and use the sliders to tweak colors manually.
Photocopa is another nifty color palette helper (also free to use). Upload a photo or choose one from their gallery and Photocopa will generate a palette based on the photo! Choose the ones you like and use the sliders to change the proportions of the swatches.
Whether you call it the Felted Join or the Spit Splice, this way of adding on a new ball of wool is perfect when you want to avoid having to weave in ends.
A few drops of water help wool fibers bind together — the result is seamless! Please note that this method is for wool yarn only! If you are interested in an invisible join for other types of yarn, check out our Russian Join tutorial.
Take a look at how we’ve done it:
There’s something irresistible about baby booties! Their tiny size means they work up fast (and who doesn’t love a fast-finish project?), but I think we love to make them because they are just so cute! Baby Day is May 2nd. Even if you don’t have a baby or grandbaby to celebrate, chances are you know someone who does. Those little feet need booties! Of course, booties make fantastic shower or new mom gifts too, and if you’re feeling extra crafty, why not make a whole baby set? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite free patterns to get you started.
|Crochet Springtime Set. Make this set with
Lion Brand Fun.
|Knit Lullaby Layette.
Make this set with
|Learn to Knit Baby Set. Make this set with
|Crochet Butterfly Barefoot Sandals* by Repeat Crafter Me. Make them with Bonbons!||Crochet Summer Sandals* by AshleeMarie. Make them with Babysoft® & Extra Soft Wool Blend!||Crochet Loopy Love Booties (3 sizes)* by Moogly. Make them with Vanna’s Choice® Baby!|
|Snips & Snails Set.
Make this set with
NEW Ice Cream®!
|Made by Marni Knitted Booties*. Make them with
|Berry Pretty Set.
Make this set with
NEW Ice Cream®!
* not a Lion Brand pattern
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Big personalities have helped some cats like Grumpy Cat, Lil’ Bub and Keyboard Cat to achieve celebrity status on the internet, but we think they’re ALL stars! With that in mind we’ve created a special gallery where you can share your favorite felines with the world. Post your pics of crafting with cats on your favorite social media site (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and simply include the hashtag #LBcats!
You can also upload your pics directly to our gallery here:
Make your furry friend a special #Caturday treat with these patterns for knit and crochet!
Amigurumi Sardines Cat Toy
Amigurumi Fortune Cookie Cat Toy
Felting and acrylic aren’t usually words that go together, so when the opportunity arose to try out some of Lion Brand’s “Spinnables” 100% acrylic fiber, I was skeptical. You might recognize this fiber because it’s our Homespun® before it’s spun into yarn! (We wrote about how Homespun® is made HERE.)
|Here is a look at the fiber. It’s incredibly soft and silky. I frequently felt with superfine Merino wool, but even that does not compare to the softness of this fiber! It reminds me more of silk than of wool.|
|Next step was to try felting a simple object. I picked a cat, although I think the result looks more like a gummy bear. So let’s say it’s a gummy cat. The acrylic fiber felted surprisingly quickly and densely! The gummy cat feels very solid, although the surface texture retains some of the fiber’s silky smoothness. I started with a coarse felting needle and moved on to a finer one as the fiber began to firm up.|
|All finished! I only had one color to work with, but with multiple colors it would be possible to add details like eyes if desired (of course, a gummy cat doesn’t need them). Because of its extreme softness, this fiber is better suited to projects with simple shapes and rounded edges.|
|All-in-all, I think acrylic fiber is an excellent alternative to wool and a great way for those who forgo animal products to get into needle felting. I look forward to experimenting with it further and to seeing what others come up with.|
“Spinnables” fiber is available in 3 oz packages of assorted colors – more than enough for several small projects like this. You can find it at the Lion Brand Outlet and on our website. If you are new to needle felting, we also have everything else you need to get started. We hope you’ll give it a try!
Do you love sharks? We do! In celebration of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel we’re bringing you a roundup of some of our favorite shark-themed patterns to knit and crochet while you watch.
|Crochet Shark Hat by Repeat Crafter Me
made with Vanna’s Choice®
|Crochet Shark Time Pouch by Moogly||Knit Whale Shark iPhone Cover by Reuben Briskie||Crochet Shark Pencil Holder
by For His Glory Handiwork
|Crochet Shark Hat by Boomer Beanies||Knit Shark Hat and Mittens by Nuriya Khegay
made with Vanna’s Choice® Baby
|Knit Lemon Shark by Karen Null||Crochet Hammerhead Shark weight by Jazmo
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The Lion Brand Outlet in Carlstadt, New Jersey is more than just a place to get great bargains on yarn. We recently hosted the Summer Chemo Cap Project: a charitable knitting and crochet drive for the patients at Steeplechase Cancer Center in Central NJ, part of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Lion Brand supplied the yarn and many enthusiastic volunteers provided the labor. Lightweight hats were made especially for patients who are undergoing chemotherapy during the warm weather months, when a woolen cap would be too hot. These caps were made with Cotton-Ease® and Nature’s Choice Organic® Cotton yarn for maximum comfort and as you can see, they were knit and crocheted in a wide variety of colors and styles.
We are very pleased to report that the project, which concluded with a “finishing party” on August 4th, was a huge success! The final count is in and together we were able to make almost 350 caps. Thanks to everyone who volunteered – whether it was over the weekend, at the “finishing party”, or by sending a cap in – and special thanks to Pam MacKenzie for organizing!
Read more about this fantastic charitable effort at MyCentralJersey.com!
Many of you have asked for the patterns we distributed so that you can do your own charitable knitting and crochet. Many of our patterns make excellent summer caps. Try the Tranquil Violet Hat (knit), the Spice Solace Hat (crochet), or the Lace Beanie (knit).
If you are in the New York or New Jersey area, we encourage you to come visit us at the Lion Brand Outlet!
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If you were born between August 23rd and September 22nd, your Astrological sign is Virgo, the sixth sign of the Zodiac. Virgo is represented by the Virgin Maiden, and like their namesake, people born under this sign are typically gentle and reserved. Virgos often gravitate to care-taking professions like healthcare and medicine and they make loyal friends and companions.
Virgos are known for their attention to detail. They are intelligent, analytical folks and great problem solvers. Careful Virgos prefer to take their time making decisions and with their slow and calculated approach, they are excellent communicators. For better or worse, people born under this sign are often perfectionists and while this quality may lead them to great professional success, it can also cause them to be too critical of themselves and others.
Famous Virgos include Beyoncé Knowles, Keanu Reeves, Sean Connery, and Sophia Loren.
The colors used in this scarf are inspired by the attributes associated with the astrological sign: sapphire for eloquence, navy for intelligence, colonial blue for helpfulness, and chocolate for loyalty. If you have a Virgo friend with a birthday coming up, they will surely appreciate the time and skill that goes into a handmade gift. Since Virgo loves to analyze, an especially thoughtful gift would be to teach them your craft. Activities like knitting and crochet are great for Virgo’s careful, methodical mindset, so don’t be surprised if your friend wants to make you something in return!
The final stop on our tour of The 7 Wonders of the Yarn World is colorwork. If you’re new to the 7 Wonders series, I encourage you to start at the beginning with the unveiling of seven fiber sculptures by artist Nathan Vincent based on the 7 Wonders of The World. Each sculpture represents a yarn technique that was also incorporated into seven collections for a Lion Brand fashion show. The collections highlight all of the wonderful and sometimes unexpected things each technique can do.
|Nathan Vincent sculpture of the Lion Sphinx; model wearing knit Rhapsody of Color Dress|
The Lion Sphinx is our seventh Wonder of the Yarn World. The real Sphinx (or Great Sphinx of Giza) is the largest and oldest monolith sculpture in the world. Our Sphinx’s pedestal is adorned with hieroglyphics, showcasing the amazing detail that can be achieved with colorwork. The patterns associated with this technique are bright, bold, and colorful!
The yarns featured in the colorwork collection are perfect for the yarncrafter in need of colorful combinations for stranded colorwork or intarsia – like Vanna’s Choice®, Heartland®, and Wool-Ease® – as well as vivid self-striping yarns like Amazing®, Unique, and Keppi.
Below you’ll find several of the designs from the colorwork collection. We hope you’ve enjoyed your tour of The 7 Wonders of the Yarn World and that you’ve picked up some new patterns and techniques along the way. If you missed any of the other collections, take a look back at all of our posts on The 7 Wonders of the Yarn World: Textures, Stripes & Chevrons, Cables, Embellishments, Lace, Granny Squares, and Colorwork.
|Knit Color Paneled Coat
(pattern coming soon)
|Poetic Colorwork Pullover
Knit Bobble Beret
|Knit Slip Stitch Pom Hat with
Knit Slip Stitch Pom Scarf
|Knit Shaded Colors Afghan
Knit Ski Lodge Cap