Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Crocheting' Category


Crocheting Flowers and Inspiring Others to Yarncraft

May 4th, 2012

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About two weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of attending SNAP!, a three day conference held at Thanksgiving Point, Utah which brought together hundreds of amazing D.I.Y, crafting, and home decor bloggers.  I was surrounded by creative women who have a passion for sharing things like  photos, projects, recipes, and parenting tips online; you could spend hours browsing through the blogs of these talented crafters.

While I was at SNAP!, Zontee joined me in hosting a crochet party after conference hours with the very talented and creative blogger Cindy, from Skip to My Lou.  We thought crochet flowers would be a fun project, since flowers can become great embellishments and accessories.  One simple crochet flower can be used for a broach, headband, and even a hair pin; there are so many different possibilities. A few of these bloggers already knew how to crochet, but most of them didn’t.  Lion Brand Yarn and Skip to my Lou thought that SNAP! would be the perfect venue to round up a few of these bloggers and teach them how to crochet.

Most people got the hang of it and were crocheting little flowers before the end of the event, and those who didn’t have enough time to practice and complete their flower, had a fun time chaining and thinking about the different ways chains can be useful (belts, necklaces, bracelets, garlands, etc.).  It’s always good to challenge yourself a little and learn something new – persistence pays off!


Cindy demonstrating to the crowd.

Heather from Whipperberry knocked out this granny square!

Mandi from Vintage Revivals crocheted her first flower & made a headband.

Marie from Make and Takes and Becca from Blue Cricket Design having fun crocheting.

 

A special thank you to The Chocolate for providing “yarn ball” cupcakes, Natalie of “Sweet” Hobby for providing yarn inspired and granny square cookies, and thanks to Utah Kernel for donating the gourmet popcorn!

Have you taught or inspired any to knit or crochet lately? Share your experience with us!


Announcing May Flowers Month! Get Inspired with Flower Patterns All Month Long

May 3rd, 2012

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As the weather gets warmer, flowers are blooming everywhere. This May, we’ll be bringing you flower-inspired designs all month long!

First, be sure to check out our newsletter, The Weekly Stitch, each week for featured designs from the new book, Crochet Garden by Suzann Thompson.

Click the photo (right) to see the directions for the European Rose, our FIRST excerpted design from this book.

Plus, for even more flower designs, be sure to check out our StitchFinder, where we feature 20 flowers from the book, 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet by Lesley Stanfield including…

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8 Fast & Easy Knit & Crochet Projects for Mother’s Day

May 1st, 2012

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With about two weeks left before Mother’s Day, there’s still plenty of time left to get started on your handmade gift; especially if you use a little trick – working with multiple strands.  Multiple stranding adds more texture, durability, and makes a project done in a simple stitch look great.

By knitting or crocheting with multiple yarns as one, you create a thicker fabric, speeding up the process; this technique also allows you to play with different colors at once, creating your own “tweed” look.  Click on the images below to see the different possibilities you can explore with multi-strand yarn-cafting!

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How to Crochet Broomstick Lace

April 26th, 2012

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Broomstick lace has a beautiful, open look that really shows off the character and texture of your yarn. Dating back to the 1800s, this technique creates large loops of yarn that gently twist to the left, giving the finished project especially elegant drape. For a long time I was intimidated by broomstick lace, so I wanted to share how easy it is to create this beautiful, reversible fabric!

Ready to get started? You’ll need:

  • Yarn for your project: Choose a yarn you want to show off. I chose Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend because I love the twist and soft luster.
  • Crochet hook: Use whatever hook you feel works best with your yarn. I used a US K10.5/6.5mm hook for larger, more open stitches.
  • Large knitting needle (or actual broomstick, if you dare!): You can use any large needle for this project; the larger your needle, the larger your loops will be. I used a needle from a pair of ‘Speed Stix’ (US 50/25mm). When making broomstick lace, this tool is often called the “pin.”

How to Crochet Broom Stick Lace Step By Sep Guide with Pictures

 

1. First, make a chain. For this sample I wanted to make repeats of 5, so I chained 15 stitches for 3 repeats. Draw the final chain up over the knitting needle.

2. Crochet back into the chain, drawing up a loop in each stitch and pulling it up over the knitting needle.

3. Repeat until you have drawn up a loop through every stitch in your chain and transferred them onto the knitting needle. This step creates the large loops of yarn you will see in the finished lace.

4. Slide your hook through the first group of loops (for this example that’s 5 loops per repeat) and pull them off the needle. At this point, if it is easier for you to manage, you can remove the large needle from your work altogether.

5. Yarn over and pull through the group of large loops on your hook. Work one single crochet for every loop in the group on your hook (I worked 5 single crochet into the group of 5 loops). Continue this process until all the loops have been crocheted into. Note: make sure to check how many loops you have in each group to avoid accidental increases or decreases.

6. This completes your first row of broomstick lace! You can now draw loops up through each of the single crochet stitches you made in step 5, and continue to repeat steps 1-5 till your project reaches the desired length.

 

What new techniques have you tried that looked tricky at first? What would you tell a crafter who was nervous about trying a new craft for the first time? Leave a comment to share!

 

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10 Tips for Washing Your Handmade Items

April 25th, 2012

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There was a time when I did laundry and the most sorting I would do for my loads would be to separate the whites and colors.  I washed everything in hot water, and threw them all into a hot dryer to dry.  Needless to say, my cashmere sweater was no longer a recognizable garment.  It shrunk incredibly and had multiple holes in it; that sweater was dead.  Thankfully it wasn’t a hand-made item, but it still hurt to lose it – so today, I’ll share some tips on how to properly wash those yarn-crafted goods that you spent your precious time and energy on.

  1. Check Your Label:  The ball band will indicate with symbols, and in text how to wash and dry the yarn.  There will also be a symbol indicating whether or not you may iron the fabric. (When gift giving, it’s best to give the care label with some scraps of the yarn attached to the intended recipient).
  2. Test Your Gauge Swatches: Another reason to gauge swatch! Not only do you want to make sure your gauge is correct, but you want to see how the fabric reacts when it’s washed.  Note your initial swatch measurements, then take note of any size, color or textural changes after washing it (if applicable).
  3. Hand or Machine Wash?If the label says hand wash, hand wash the fabric! If you throw it in the washing machine, you might damage your final piece.  If it’s machine washable, keep it on a low, gentle setting (also to ensure your weaved ends stay in place).
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6 Wonderful Knit & Crochet Wedding Projects Made by Customers Like You!

April 23rd, 2012

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On tomorrow’s episode of YarnCraft (our radio-style podcast about the wonderful world of knitting, crocheting, and yarn), we’ll be talking about projects for formals, proms, and weddings. As we enter the warmer months (at least here in the northern hemisphere), it seems like there are more parties, both indoors and out–which is why we’ll be talking about purses, shawls, and even some non-traditional yarncrafting projects that you may want to tackle.

In the meantime, we often hear from customers that they’ve made special projects as gifts or to decorate for their own or their friends’ weddings. Here are just a few fun projects that I spotted in our Customer Gallery (click on the photos to read their full stories):

Paul created this very cool blanket for his youngest step-daughter’s wedding–his own design, with a little help from his wife. He made it using Pound of Love, and you can really tell a lot of love went into this cool playing card-inspired design. Janice B. made an adorable little bunny bride & groom–and bridesmaid too!–based on our Cake Topper pattern. It was for a recently-married friend who loves bunnies!

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How to Invisibly Seam Granny Squares

April 19th, 2012

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I love granny squares because they make it so easy to play with exciting colors. Often, my squares end up with different colored borders, so how do I choose a shade to seam them? The answer’s easy: I can use any color because I use an invisible seam! This super easy technique creates a durable seam that disappears into your crocheting. Ready to get started? Gather your granny squares and follow the steps below!

How to Invisibly Seam Granny Squares

Step 1: Gather your materials: finished granny squares, a blunt needle, and your seaming yarn (I used a contrasting yarn for demonstration, but you may want to use matching yarn). Lay your granny squares side to side with the front side facing up.

Step 2: Insert your needle into your first crochet stitch from the back to the front.

Step 3: Repeat Step 2 on the opposite side. Continue this process on each stitch, alternating between sides. It’s sort of like lacing shoes.

Step 4: Ready for that seam to disappear? Lightly pull on both ends of your seaming yarn.

Step 5: Repeat with all squares, and that’s all there is to invisible seaming! Remember to weave in your ends and enjoy your new granny square project.

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10 Adorable Knit and Crochet Baby Patterns for Spring

April 18th, 2012

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I’m almost positive that this spring of 2012 is baby season.  I personally know a few people who are currently pregnant and a few who just had babies, so I thought I’d share some patterns to get you thinking about yarn-crafting a special hand-made gift for a special little person you may know (or who’s on the way!).

I’ve included knit and crochet patterns made with yarns that are most suitable for warmer weather, from super soft cottons like Nature’s Choice Organic and Baby’s First— to the brightly colored, and easy care of Vanna’s Choice Baby.

(pattern in image: Soft and Sweet Baby Blocks)

 

Sunshine Day Baby Throw
(Knit) Sunshine Day
Baby Throw in
Vanna’s Choice Baby &
Cotton-Ease

(Knit) Baby Booties in
Nature’s Choice Organic
Cotton

(Click here for hat pattern)
Baby Hat with Flower
(Crochet) Baby Hat
with Flower in Vanna’s
Choice Baby

(Crochet) Baby Blocks
Throw in Babysoft

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New to Yarncrafting? We’ve Got Some Tips to Help You Along Your Journey

April 12th, 2012

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Secret Stash: Helpful Tips For Yarn LoversI’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

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Making a Patchwork Baby Blanket for Liz’s Baby Shower

April 11th, 2012

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One of the best things about working at Lion Brand is the great people that you get to work with. When I first started here, one of the first people I became friends with was Liz, who works on yarn development. When we decided to launch the Lion Brand podcast–YarnCraft–back in 2007, Liz was definitely a go-to person for interesting yarncrafting facts and stories to share. Eventually, she and I began co-hosting the show. We’ve done over 100 episodes, sharing pattern recommendations, techniques, stories, interviews with influential yarncrafters, and in doing so, we’ve also found ourselves with a lot of amazing listeners who share their comments and stories with us, some of whom have been with us for years.

Because of my friendship with Liz, I knew that when the company was recently planning her baby shower (for her first baby!), I wanted to do something special for her. I also knew that it would be wonderful to get not only my coworkers involved, but also our wonderful YarnCraft listeners.

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