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.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m still a beginner yarn crafter, as I just learned how to knit last summer. Since I’m not as experienced as others, I’m always thankful when I find tips or new techniques to improve my knitting experience as a whole. Lion Brand just released an e-book entitled Secret Stash: Helpful Tips For Yarn Lovers, which is a compilation of tips submitted by users like you, ranging in topics from organization, how to teach others to knit/crochet, easy ways work with multiple yarns at once, and a lot more. As a little sneak peek, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tips with you!
I think this one is my favorite:
“I knit up gauge swatches for the yarns in my stash and staple them to index cards on a spiral ring.
I write the yarn name, color name, care instructions, needle size and gauge on each card. That way, the next time I use that yarn, I don’t have to swatch again. It also works well as a color wheel for choosing shades for a new project”
-Collen M. Palmer
Making Easter basket grass yourself is a great idea; it’s a simple, fun activity you can do with kids, and helps get everyone into the holiday spirit with egg-hunt anticipation.
Making your own out of yarn secured inside the basket also means you’ll have a lush, great-looking basket and no more plastic grass all over your house or yard. This easy tutorial will show you how to create a festive Easter basket in any color.
What you’ll need:
In a recent essay in our newsletter, The Weekly Stitch, Michelle Edwards, author of A Knitter’s Home Companion, discusses project sustainability. Michelle writes,
“Sustainability is about working a project from the first to last stitch, sewing it up, and weaving in loose ends. Blocking it, if needed.”
Her essay discusses the importance of managing your projects, and considering the different factors that help you decide what the purpose of your project is (who is it for, time allotment, yarn needed, etc).
For example, when you see that luxurious, super soft, richly colored skein of yarn, ask yourself: Do you just have to have it? Can it work into a project you have in mind?
Michelle shares her tips with us to help become more efficient yarncrafters. Maybe after you read her story you’ll start tackling some of those WIPs (Work In Progess) that are laying around in storage!
What do you do to ensure that your project is sustainable? Share some of your tips and thoughts with us int he comments.
Did you know that March is both National Crochet Month and National Craft Month? It’s such an exciting month, and there are so many different ways to celebrate. Our favorite way, of course, is to give back to others through teaching. If you’d like to teach a friend, relative, or complete stranger how to crochet or knit, we have many resources to support you. You can find helpful instructions, illustrations, and videos at learntocrochet.lionbrand.com and learntoknit.lionbrand.com.
We also have lots of blog posts to support your teaching. Here are some of our favorite posts.
As you’re teaching friends, remember to check out the two great sweepstakes sponsored by our friends at Knitty Daily. Click here to find out how you can win some amazing books and DVDs. I hope you celebrate the rest of the month with tons of crafting, crocheting, and knitting!
|When your work with your hands as much as knitters and crocheters do it’s important to remember not to strain or overwork your body.
Knitting and crochet should be hobbies that help you relax and relieve stress. There are several ways to reduce stress on your hands and body, and these simple tips will help you avoid injury and treat existing symptoms.*
|Pay attention to how you are sitting.
Sit down as though you were about to begin crafting. Is your back supported? Is there enough light to see well, and enough room to move your elbows and arms freely as you work? You may be straining your hands to try and compensate for one of these other issues. Examine the places you craft for simple fixes you can make to add light, support and space.
|Remember to take breaks while you craft.
While it can be tempting to power through a few more rows when you are tired, listen to your body and put your project on pause. Breaks should vary the motion of what you are doing; try doing small, rewarding activities during your break like taking a short walk, watering houseplants or playing with a family pet.
|Massage and stretch your hands.
This is a wonderful (and relaxing) way to rejuvenate your fingers, wrists and palms. Try different methods and go easy on yourself; only rub or stretch your hands to a point that feels comfortable. There are some great hand stretch suggestions on LiveStrong.org (click here).
|Choose ergonomic tools.
If you’ve only ever tried straight knitting needles or metal crochet hooks, it might be time to try something new. Many knitters prefer using circular needles when possible because of the bounce-back of the cord that connects them, and crocheters are raving about this ergonomic crochet hook set that fits in the palm of your hand.
|Wear stress relief gloves.
Wearing these stress relief gloves allows the muscles of your hand to relax while you work. These gloves have been specially designed with crafters in mind, so they are completely fingerless and stand up to long-term use.
There are many ways to improve your crafting life and alleviate stress on your body while you work. How have you made your crafting more comfortable? Share your tips to help others in the comments section below.
*If you are experiencing recurring or intense pain, please follow the recommendations of your physician for treatment.
Loom knitting and weaving has been increasing in popularity lately; although many people turn to needles and hooks for yarncrafting, there are some who prefer loom boards with pegs and a hook as their yarncraft tool of choice. Loom knitting is a great alternative to traditional knitting for those who may have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome; it’s also a good way to introduce beginners to the world of yarncraft. We’ve been receiving a lot more interest in regards to loom weaving and knitting with the recent introduction of our Martha Stewart Crafts™ Lion Brand Yarn Knit and Weave Loom Kit.
Although loom knitting and weaving is a very niche community, there are a lot of different resources available on how to get the best out of your tools. Below, I’ve shared a few helpful resources to get you started on your loom crafting.
Lion Brand Yarn: Loom Knitting and Weaving
This playlist includes 24 videos with tutorials on knitting and weaving on the Martha Stewart Crafts™ Lion Brand Yarn Knit and Weave Loom kit; you can also see the many different configurations that can be created with the loom.
Noreen Crone-Findlay: Loom Knitting and Weaving
Noreen Crone-Findlay is an expert weaver and loom-knitter who has provided a plethora of different weaving techniques and loom configurations on her YouTube Channel that go beyond the conventional ways of thinking about loom weaving. She’s weaved potholders, bags, hearts, and even gnomes!
GoodKnitKisses: Loom Knitting
Kristen, the popular vlogger of GoodKnitKisses, offers a great selection of videos featuring different techniques and patterns that can be utilized on the loom.
Loom Knit Lab: Loom Knitting
Another great site for pattern inspiration from Isela Phelps with tutorials that can show you how to cable knit on a loom in addition to the many other techniques; you can also learn how to pick up a dropped stitch!
Loom Knitting Help: This is an excellent site to get you started on your loom knitting ventures. This website is very insightful, provides tips, explains different tools and even shows you how to convert traditional knitting patterns to loom patterns.
Loom Knitters Circle: Isela Phelps, Bethany Dailey and Denise Layman have teamed up to provide a webzine which features plenty of loom patterns, videos, product reviews and cute comics related to loom knitting.
Loom Knitting Groups on Ravelry: Don’t forget about one of the biggest online communities for yarncrafters, Ravelry. There are a decent amount of groups on this site dedicated to loom knitting and loom weaving.
Have you previously tried loom knitting or weaving before? Do you think you may want to give it a try soon? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
With Valentine’s Day only a week away, you might be thinking about fast, last-minute patterns you can knit or crochet for someone you love.
If you’re knitting or crocheting for a man, I think it’s important to make something that he’s really going to wear. That means selecting yarns that are easy-care, colors that match his wardrobe, and classic styles and textures. Make the project something he’ll really use day to day and be able to take care of. Here are 6 projects that I think fit the bill, but we’ve got plenty more on our site (plus hats, gloves, and more).
This classic stockinette stitch scarf with garter stitch border gets its interest from the heathered color of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. Woodsy and natural, it’s adds a touch of quiet interest to this understated scarf. Plus the super bulky yarn will help you finish this project in no time flat.
| Loom Woven Houndstooth Check Scarf
A classic pattern that’s experiencing a come-back, I love houndstooth’s rich, dapper feel. For the stylish man in your life, consider this quick-to-weave project made on our Knit & Weave Loom Kit.
| Knit Varsity Stripe Hat & Scarf
You can’t go wrong with a classic striped hat & scarf set. Make it in his favorite team’s colors or his school colors. With such a big color palette in Vanna’s Choice and Vanna’s Choice Baby, you can mix and match to get just the shades you’re looking for.
| Crochet Easy-Wear Scarf
Make him staple that will never go out of style: a classic ribbed scarf that can be wrapped twice for those windy days. It’s also fast-to-crochet in bulky, machine-washable Vanna’s Colors.
|Knit Harbor Scarf
For a little added interest, consider a timeless stitch in a smaller scale. These cables add a wonderful honeycomb texture to the scarf, but when combined with the simplicity of the classic off-white yarn, the whole look is still masculine.
|Crochet Hometown Scarf
By holding two strands of solid color yarn together, you can create a tweedy look. Use colors that match his wardrobe, or for a more subtle look, select different shades of the same color.
Do you have a favorite pattern for the men in your life? Tell us about it in the comments!
Two weeks ago, I wrote about one of my new year’s resolutions being to organize my hooks, needles, and notions–something that most yarncrafters have to tackle at one point or another–and I got a response from Syd who asked if I could share some do-it-yourself ideas, since one of her resolutions was not to spend money when possible.
As knitters and crocheters (and generally crafty people), of course, there are some great ways to do this. I was happy to oblige, and so here are just a few patterns that will help you get your tools in order. (Click on the photos or titles for the patterns on LionBrand.com.)
Designed specifically with knitters & crocheters in mind, these two patterns tell you to create slits in the felted (and therefore, strong and dense) material through which you can slide your hooks or needles. It’s a great way to keep your hooks and needles together, fitting hooks, straight needles, and double-pointed needles too.
| Knit Felted Roll-Up Case
Shown here with pencils, this case would be great for crochet hooks or double-pointed needles. I love that it’s made with tweedy Fishermen’s Wool and that it has individual pockets sewn in. For another similar case that has a flap closure, click here.
| Loom Woven, Knit & Crochet Eyeglass Cases
Okay, so these are meant for your glasses, but why not use them for your hooks or double-pointed needles? They’re the perfect length! We’ve got patterns for woven, knit, and crochet case patterns, so be sure to click on the photo or title above to see them.
|Knit & Crochet Felted Coin Purses
If you’re like me, you have tape measures, darning needles, stitch markers, and other notions to use in your knitting & crocheting projects. Keep track of them by making a little purse in which you can keep them all. Plus the little purse can be easily moved from project back to project bag.
|Knit Lace Vase Cozy
For knitters & crocheters who want to have their tools out, whether in a craft room or just for a decorative touch, consider putting them in a lovely vase. We hear from customers all the time, who tell us they display their needles and hooks in this way. While you’re at it, why not dress up your vase with a beautiful lace cozy?
| Wrapped Desk Organizers
Along the same lines as the vase, consider recycling glass jars into desktop organizers by decorating them with–what else–yarn. You can use a taller jar for straight needles, a medium one for crochet hooks, and a little one for your T-pins, stitch markers, row counters, etc.
How do you store your needles & hooks? Leave a comment and share your tips!
Have you ever wondered how to get the perfect color palette for a multicolor project? The secret is surprisingly simple color theory! When selecting your colors, there are two important things to keep in mind: hue and value. To illustrate these, I’ll be using the same Fair Isle pattern with a variety of color combinations.
Let’s start with hue. This is the basic color that you’ll be selecting. To see how multiple hues work together, it’s important to look at a color wheel. Here’s a very simple version:
How you select hues from the wheel will depend on the effect that you’re trying to achieve. In general, remember that colors that are closer together will blend together more, and colors that are directly across from each other will provide the most contrast. So if you want a subtle look, select colors that are next to each other on the wheel. These touching colors are called analogous hues, and they can help you create delicate transitions and color gradients. I’ve selected yellow, orange, and red for my subtle colorwork.
If you want your colors to really pop, select complementary colors. These are located directly across from each other on the color wheel. Using complementary colors will give your colorwork a lot of contrast. Let’s see how changing the swatch looks when I replace one analogous hue with a complementary one. I’ve replaced the rusty red with a blue-violet shade.
Blue-violet is across the color wheel from yellow and orange, so it provides a lot of contrast.
Now, let’s move on to value. Value is lightness or darkness of a color. Imagine you have a colored pencil and a piece of white paper. No matter what, you’ll be using the same color, but the value changes the appearance. If you color super softly, you’ll end up with a very pale value; if you press very hard, you’ll have a very dark value. To create contrast, select yarns that have different values.
Here, I’ve selected yarns with the same color but varying values, from the almost white to the rich chocolate. The difference in brightness creates a nice contrast, allowing my Fair Isle pattern to stand out.
In this swatch, I’ve used yarns with different colors but similar values. As you can see, this creates very little contrast. The same thing will happen if you pair multiple dark shades together; closer values will have less contrast than varied values.
So all you have to remember is that yarns with analogous hue and similar value will create subtle combinations, while yarns with complementary hues and varied value will create contrast. Have fun and experiment! And remember, crocheting or knitting a quick gauge swatch is the best way to see how colors will behave together!