Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Crafting' Category

Yarncrafting Costumes: Designing a Winged Superhero

September 14th, 2015

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In this guest post by Gali Beeri, she walks us through her design process for a superhero costume party she recently attended. Looking for costume inspiration for conventions or Halloween? Read on!

New York Comic Con is one of the city’s biggest pop culture conventions, dedicated to comics, movies, TV shows, and more. Over 150,000 fans are expected to flock to the NYC Javits Center on October 8-11, 2015, and many of them will be in costume! With this event fast approaching, we would like to share our own take on costuming – which features yarncrafting, of course!

When I’m not in the office assisting Lion Brand’s President/CEO David Blumenthal and writing about our staff’s favorite places to explore in the neighborhood, I like to design whimsical knitted pieces for costume parties. Read on for a peek into my design process and photos of my winged superhero costume!

To begin my design process, I looked first to the costume party’s theme: glow-in-the dark superheroes. I researched images of female superheroes online, and found myself drawn to a figure with wings attached to her headpiece. Once I figured out that my muse was named She-ra Princess of Power, I knew I had found the right inspiration – after all, I already know one fabulous Shira, our very own Brand Ambassador! Why not design something inspired by another? The wings on She-ra’s headpiece were my jumping-off point.

Next I chose the yarn. The “glow” element meant there would be lots of blacklights at this costume party, and so I brought a blacklight flashlight to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio to test out the yarns. Most whites and neon colors were UV-reactive. I chose Vanna’s Glamour in Diamond – the sparkle adds the perfect touch of glitz to any costume!


How to Weave on a Cardboard Loom with Lion Brand!

August 29th, 2015

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For beginners who are interested in weaving, a cardboard loom is a great way to learn and practice designs before deciding to invest in a sturdier loom – like the Cricket Loom or Martha Stewart CraftsTM Knit & Weave Loom Kit. This step by step tutorial will help you get started on your new journey into weaving!



You will need a 14 X 20 in. (35.5 X 51cm) piece of cardboard, a ruler, a large-eye blunt needle, pencil scissors, and, of course, yarn.

The tutorial below is for a placemat made with Lion® Cotton, but we also recommend Bonbons, Vanna’s Choice®, Cotton-Ease® for beginner weavers.

Making Your Loom

With the ruler and pencil, mark a line 1 in. (2.5 cm) from each short end of cardboard. Beginning 1/2 in. (1.5 cm) from one end of line, and ending 1/2 in. (1.5 cm) from opposite end of line, make 53 evenly spaced (about 1/4 in. (6 mm) apart) marks along length of line. Cut a slit in cardboard at each mark, down to the 1 in. (2.5 cm) border.

Step 1

We are showing you the over 2, under 2 weaving method.

Wrap loom with base yarn, placing one strand in each notch then around the back of the loom to the next notch. At last notch cut yarn, leaving a 6 in. (15 cm) tail. There should be 53 strands. Thread blunt needle with about 10 in. (25.5 cm) of working yarn.

Note: Use a length of working yarn that feels comfortable to you. The longer the yarn, the more chance for tangles! The shorter the yarn, the more ends you’ll have to weave in!

4 Coordinated Color Palettes for Your Next Project

July 3rd, 2015

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Give your pattern a color makeover!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
Mystic Mermaid Color Palette Fetching Fern Color Palette
Dapper Daisy Happy Harvest
Dapper Daisy Color Palette Happy Harvest Color Palette

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?

Ripple Afghan L40069 Sampler Afghan L0323B Cozy Ripple Lapghan L50064 Crochet Color Blocked Hoodie L20665a
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.




4 Ways Knitting and Crocheting for an Animal Can Be Healing for Yourself

May 26th, 2015

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she explores the benefits of having pets and other animals in our lives and how we can craft for them as a way to heal ourselves. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

Pattern: Barkley Loves His Blanket
Every week I pick up a friend’s Golden Retriever and together we volunteer through the SPCA doing animal-assisted emotional support therapy. We visit hospitals, schools, housing shelters, community organizations, transitional living residences … and no matter where we visit, the energy of the room changes as soon as the puppy walks through the door. People relax. People smile. People play.

One of the most underlooked ways that animals can help us is through our knitting and crochet. Whether or not you have a pet of your own, you can find ways to crochet for animals that help to benefit them as well as yourself.

1) Crafting for Pets That Are Ill

It can be so difficult on us when our pets get ill, especially with a chronic illness. Animals with long-term illnesses require a lot of care and support. People sometimes reduce their hours at work or change their social schedules for years at a time in order to accommodate the special needs of a sick animal. We do this because we love them but we shouldn’t underestimate how stressful it can be for us.

Having a pet that is chronically ill can lead to the same kind of caregiver stress experienced by people who are taking care of elderly parents or special needs children. Knitting and crochet help to relieve depression in caregivers. Making items for your own pet in need can be a way that you give to them while sustaining yourself. It can feel especially healing to make something that will comfort the animal – a soft new pet bed, a cuddly new pet toy – because it really feels like the time that you’re taking for yourself is also giving to the animal.


Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth Be With You!

May 4th, 2015

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It’s May the Fourth, it’s May the Fourth! Happy #StarWarsDay!

In observance of this great day of geekery, we’ve put together a collection of our favorite patterns. Enjoy!

l0017a Springtime Set 90060ada Lullaby Layette May the Fourth
Crochet Dark Commander mask by Crafty Ridge.* Make your own with
Vanna’s Choice®.
Crochet Droid Beanies by Jen Spears.*
Make your own with
Vanna’s Choice®.
Mini Master Amigurumi by Vivianne.* Make one using
Vanna’s Choice®.
Butterfly Sandals by Repeat Crafter Me Crochet Summer Sandals by AshleeMarie Loopy Love Booties by Moogly
Crochet Dark Side Cat* by MysteriousCats. Make one with Modern Baby®. Crochet Freezie Cozy* by Dearest Debi. Make them with Vanna’s Choice®. Crochet Farmboy Amigurumi* by Amidorable Crochet. Make with Vanna’s Choice®.
l40365a Snips and Snails Set Made by Marni Knitted Booties l40366a Berry Pretty Set
Yub Nub Scoodie*
by Kristen Stevenson.
Make this hat with Wool-Ease®Chunky!
Knit Droid Tea Cosy* by TeaCosyFolk. Make one with Modern Baby®. Crochet Patricia Castillo’s Doomed Star pillow.*
Make one with Vanna’s Choice®.

* not a Lion Brand pattern