Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Crocheting' Category


Save Time by Doing Finishing Work as You Knit or Crochet!

August 1st, 2012

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Save Time by Finishing As You Go!Finishing work is usually saved for the end of the project, but it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of easy ways that you can speed things up. Here are my favorite ways to add new colors or change skeins without weaving in ends.

The Russian Join: This is a fantastic way to add a new skein of yarn to your work without weaving in any ends. It creates a steady, secure join, so it’s great for most yarns.

The Felted Join: Working with wool or another feltable yarn? Try the felted join! This technique locks your two yarns together, creating a solid join without a darning needle.

Crochet over your ends: Why use a darning needle when you can use your hook? This quick strategy allows you to keep crocheting as you tuck your yarn ends into place.

Do you have a time-saving tip? Be sure to share it in the comments below!


7 Quick & Easy Patterns for Cookouts & Backyard Grilling

July 31st, 2012

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It’s the end of July, which means we’re wrapping up our month of patterns for outdoor dining!

Today is the annual Lion Brand company barbecue where all of Lion Brand’s staff gathers at our NJ facilities to enjoy some fun in the sun, burgers, and camaraderie. In honor of the barbecue (and our month of cookout/picnic/grilling patterns), I’ve selected a couple of great beginner- and novice-friendly patterns that make for perfect hostess/chef gifts for any cookouts or parties you attend this summer.

Loom Woven Apron with Pockets

Loom Woven Apron with Pockets

A great apron is the perfect companion for any cookout chef. Use it to hold your secret seasoning bottles, spatulas, and thermometers. Plus, designed in Martha Stewart Crafts™ Cotton Hemp, this durable woven apron is machine-washable and will last for years to come.

Click here for the pattern.

4th of July Apron

Crochet “4th of July” Apron

Don’t let the name fool you; you can use this apron all summer long (and beyond)! Perfect for both men and women, this quick-to-crochet project is perfect for your grill-master.

Click here for the pattern.

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Neon Done Right: Just Add White!

July 25th, 2012

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Bright pop colors have increased in popularity over the past few years. It’s always fun to incorporate neons into your yarn crafting, but how can you create a bright project that’s neutral enough for everyday use? The answer is simple: pair your neons with a neutral border! I like to use white for a clean, modern look. To illustrate this, I’ve made a few granny squares in the newest bright shades of Vanna’s Choice: Radiant Orange, Radiant Yellow, and Radiant Lime.

Neon granny squares in Vanna's Choice

As you can see, the squares are super fun and vibrant, but maybe they’re a touch too fluorescent for an everyday afghan.

Neon granny squares with white border

Here, I’ve added a border in the Buttermilk shade of Martha Stewart CraftsTM/MC Extra Soft Wool Blend. The creamy white breaks up the neon and softens the brightness. I can absolutely see myself making an entire afghan out of this color combination!

What do you think of the neon trend? Let us know in the comments!


Show off Your Yarncrafting Pride with Fun Accessories!

July 24th, 2012

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Are you a proud knitter or crocheter who wants to share your love for yarn crafting with the world? Then I have just the right goodies for you!

If you’ve ever been to our store, the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in NYC, then you probably know that in addition to selling yarn, we also have a great rotating selection of gifts to choose from for crafters.  But, if you can’t make it to our store – I’ve gathered a selection of inspiring yarn crafting gifts from vendors that can be found online; I also found some items from other vendors that can be purchased on Ravelry. Check out some of these cool accessories below!

(Image to the right is our yarn stash sign in the office from J.L. Flickenstein’s ILiveonaFarm Etsy Shop, scroll down for details.)

These “Getting Through The Day One Stitch at A Time” and “Peace, Love, Crochet” notecards from Kniterella are super cute and would make a great gift for yourself or a yarn crafter you know.  Knitterella also carries bright and inspiring project bags, gift tags and and note cards in her shop.

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How to Do a Felted Join on Yarn Ends

July 19th, 2012

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Let’s face it: weaving in ends is not nearly as fun as crocheting or knitting. My favorite way to avoid weaving in ends is the felted join. Also affectionately dubbed the spit splice, this method is the perfect way to add join a new skein to your work. Keep in mind that this will only work on feltable fibers like non-superwash wool, alpaca, mohair, and so on. Here are step-by-step instructions on this fast and easy technique. I used 2 different colors so that you can better see the technique, but this works brilliantly for attaching the same color yarn practically invisibly.
Felted Join Tutorial
Step 1: Carefully untwist your yarn for a few inches and separate the half of the plies. This Fishermen’s Wool has 4 total plies, so I’ve divided my yarn into 2 sets of 2 plies each. 2-ply yarn would be separated into 2 sets of 1 ply each, 6-ply yarn would be 2 sets of 3 plies each, and so on.
Step 2: Take one set of your plies. A few inches down (4-5 inches, just to be safe), break these plies. Now you’ll have a set of longer plies and a set of shorter plies.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the yarn you’ll be joining.
Step 4: Lay the long sets of plies next to each other. This will be the transition section of your yarn. Because each long piece of yarn only has half the plies, you’ll end up with roughly the correct thickness in your join.
Step 5: Get your yarn wet. You can dip it in water, mist with some water, add some saliva — just get it wet. Remember, felting simply requires heat, humidity, and agitation.
Step 6: Let’s felt! Rub the yarns together in your hands briskly. Continue for a few minutes until the fibers have locked together. You may need to add some more water if your yarn isn’t wet enough.
Step 7: Give both sides of the yarn a gentle tug. If they’re firmly locked, congratulations! You’ve made a felted join! If not, just continue the felting process until the yarn is secure.

Now you’ll have an easy and secure join in your yarn, so you can continue crafting with having to weave in ends.

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Squares, Flowers, Stars, and Ripples: What’s Your Favorite Pattern Motif?

July 17th, 2012

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Incorporating motifs in your pattern is a great way to play around with color work and different stitch patterns.  Motifs also are also perfect for personalizing projects- such as adding skulls to a little boys cap, or butterflies to a girl’s headband.  What fun would it be if all our clothes and home decor just came in solid colors? So – I figured I would include a round up of some of my favorite patterns with popular motifs that might make a great gift for someone you know, or even for yourself!  Below you’ll find a selection of patterns that include flowers, stars, ripples and squares.

Squares

Bauhaus Washcloth
The Bauhaus Washcloth knit by Michelle Edwards reminds me of summers spent on the beach. This sophisticated color palette, paired with a ribbed, basketweave stitch makes for an efficient, yet aesthetically pleasing set of wash/dishcloths.
Patchwork Squares Throw
Play around with color with the crochet Patchwork Squares Throw. This is a great addition for someone looking for a more modern piece for their home decor, or even for a kid’s room.
Tumbling Blocks Afghan
No this isn’t a piece of art, although you could turn it into a tapestry if you’d like – this is the Tumbling Blocks afghan knit in Vanna’s Choice. Follow the pattern chart to complete this unique, eye popping afghan

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6 Perfect Patterns for Your Picnic & BBQ Accessories!

July 12th, 2012

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I’m sure many of you are enjoying the summer sun and the opportunities to take your homemade goods with you outdoors.  Picnics and BBQs are summer traditions that I personally love to take advantage of!

So if you’re heading out for a picnic or bbq, or simply just having a fun get together in your backyard – I’ve put together a round up of some of my favorite patterns that are great for outdoor usage.

(Click here for Plant Hanger pattern and tutorial in picture)
Knit Striped Dishcloth

Knit Bright Stripes Dishcloth

Bright and bold colors are all the rave right now, and they’re great colors to incorporate for your BBQ accessories. Knit in the retro-inspired color palette of Kitchen Cotton are our Bright Stripes Dishcloths. Kitchen Cotton comes in many fun colors that allows for great mix and matching, you’ll think of summer whenever you look at these eye catching potholders!

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8 Knit and Crochet Sea Creature Patterns

July 3rd, 2012

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8 Knit & Crochet Sea Creature PatternsI absolutely love the summertime, sun and swimming.  I’ll never forget my first snorkeling experience where I was able to actually swim with the fish and look at all of the beautiful, colorful life in the sea. Unfortunately, living in NYC, I don’t get to see much of the ocean life, unless I visit the aquarium.

Thankfully, there are knit and crochet sea creature patterns available so that I can bring elements of the sea home to me!  Below, you’ll find some patterns from Jessica Polka’s book, 75 Seashells, Fish, Coral & Colorful Marine Life to Knit & Crochet.  These patterns are so fun and cute, they’re perfect for creating your your own little seascape without the actual water.  I’d love to crochet the Sea Horse in a bright shade of Amazing, like Mauna Loa for a magical looking Sea Horse. There’s so much fun that can be had with these patterns, see for yourself.

Click here for Crochet Blue Starfish pattern in top left image, Click here for Bullion Coral pattern in top left image.

(Background sea image credit to Flickr user Sarah_Ackerman)

Crochet Pygmy Octopus
Crochet Sea Creature: Seahorse
Crochet Sea Horse
Crochet Sea Creature: Anglerfish
Crochet Anglerfish

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Are You Participating in the Ravellenic Games?

June 28th, 2012

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Ravellenic GamesThe London Olympics are less than one month away! If you’re a member of Ravelry, you know what that means: The Ravellenic Games! Formerly known as the Ravelympics, this event brings together yarncrafters from around the globe as complete yarncrafting projects during the duration of the Olympics. Each participant selects a team (think of it as your country) and participates in special yarn-related events, including Sock Put, Sweater Triathalon, Synchronized Stash Busting, and more. There are just two rules: challenge yourself and finish the project during the Olympics (July 27th – August 12th)! For more information, be sure to visit the Ravellenic Games Ravelry board.

In the meantime, we want to help you prepare! Get 15% off your LionBrand.com purchase of supplies for the Ravellenic Games; just enter code rav2012 at checkout! This coupon is good for US orders now through 11:59pm EDT on Friday, July 6th, so you’ll be able to receive your supplies in time for the mass cast-on during the Olympic opening ceremony. Still looking for a group to join for the Ravellenic Games? I kindly suggest our friends at the Vanna’s Choice Fan Club.

So, what are your plans for the Ravellenic Games? Do you have a project in mind? Share your ideas in the comments!


6 Easy-to-Make DIY Hair Ties

June 27th, 2012

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Hair Ties for Any Occasion!Making your own hair ties is a great way to get creative with your favorite yarns, colors and textures. It’s a wonderful way to try out new yarns, or to use up scraps. Your finished decorated hair ties make excellent gifts for girls sports teams, clubs, girl scout troops, or you can make them as party favors (and don’t forget to make a few for yourself while you’re at it)!

First, check out these step-by-step instructions with pictures we wrote on how to create your own crocheted hair tie. In this post, I’ll show you how to expand on those basic instructions to create a variety of looks by using different textures, colors and techniques.

Here are some inventive variations you can crochet to make your hair ties (or those you are make for others) extra special!

The Sparkling, Fluffy Hair Tie


Technique: Add a second yarn in a new texture for a stunning visual impact
Yarn Used: Vanna’s Choice and Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash

Get this look by using a straight yarn like Vanna’s Choice for the first round in double crochet, and used a strand of Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Eyelash to create a border! Once you’ve completed the first round, join the second yarn and make one single crochet stitch loosely into each stitch and chain-1 space. If you find your stitches are tighter than you’d like, single crochet into each stitch but chain one stitch in between, to add more give to the finished project.
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